Globalization is a process of integration of the world in terms of economy, social relationships, and culture. Globalization implies something more than interdependence. While interdependence means that countries depend more and more on other countries, integration implies that countries are becoming part, albeit at different levels, of one economic system.
It is frequently thought that globalization was a very recent phenomenon which began at the end of the XX century with the development of the Internet. This belief, however, is incorrect. There is no doubt that the development of commercial and communication interdependence or integration have recently reached explosive levels, but the tendencies that we are witnessing now are the culmination of something that began a long time ago. Marx saw this process as a consequence of the typical development of capitalism, something with which his biggest critics would agree.
This process has impacted us in a number of ways: communication with remote places has been transformed into something easy and readily accessible through the Internet; goods and services originating in distant places have become accessible as if they were local products; and in some parts of the world, the mobility of workers and capital has been facilitated. Although it is a multifaceted process, the economic factor is the most important one because of its consequences and overall impact.
This growth is, on the other hand, controversial. Some see it as beneficial due to an increase in production and consumption of goods made in distant places. Others focus on the inequalities between rich and poor countries and between the rich and poor citizens within the same country.
Globalization is related to technological growth, and is, thus, stimulated by the economic development which new technologies allow. Technological development produces breakthroughs in production and communication. These breakthroughs in communications produce increases in investments and consumption. This results in a notable increase of the economic activity as a whole.
Globalization is also a product of a series of political changes. The decision of reducing the restrictions on international trade, allowing higher investment levels on the part of multinational corporations in many countries, opening borders so that workers from one country can work in another without restriction, allowing capital to move with equal freedom to facilitate investments, countries adopting the same currency, and creating financial institutions to manage the shared currency are all political decisions. These decisions have facilitated opening markets in more remote regions.
Many debates have arisen as a result of this phenomenon. The most important focus on two problems: the first, in relation to the real range of globalization and the second, in relation to the desirability of globalization.
The debate on the range of globalization has to do with the nature of the process: is it something fleeting or permanent? Is it a far-reaching process as many think or it is a more limited process?
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