All definitions of globalization have key components that are responsible for the globalization that we observe today. These certain factors that are necessary to adequately define the term cannot be summed up with a one word or simple phrase definition. Globalization is elaborate and has evolved tremendously over the past century. In order to break this term down to the core and give it a simplistic definition we must focus on what main events have occurred throughout this past century to make globalization such a widely used term and popular current event.
Globalization certainly has a history but the term itself is constantly modernizing and a proper explanation of the word should reflect more of its modern roots. Therefore globalization is most accurately defined as the increase of Westernization/modernization of the world. This explanation sums up its current relevance and it contains historical reasoning as well. The events following World War II had a great impact on the Westernization of the world. America solidified its status as the primary hegemonic figure and following that globalization flourished.
This occurrence along with Ronald Reagan’s policies sparked a tremendous change in the way countries do business and how America was transformed into a global leader. Reaganomics changed America throughout the better part of the eighties and opened up neoliberal practices that continue to dominate international order today. These practices haven’t necessarily positive for the world in an overall standpoint but it is how events have transpired. Any time the wealthiest countries and companies become wealthier while the weak become weaker something is clearly flawed. That is how these neoliberal practices conducted by Reagan have evolved.
Globalization in this regard hasn’t been beneficial to the world as a whole but in the future weaker countries will begin to prosper more. A recent event that supports this was the agreement of the Group of Eight (G8) at its annual meeting in 2005 to eliminate the debt owed by the eighteen poorest countries in the world. This was a positive attempt to help eradicate the current poverty issue at the time. More events like this are necessary to help restrain the previous ways of the neoliberals and promote more valuable globalization. Another modern event that complemented Reagan’s policies was Bill Clinton’s trade negotiations.
These negotiations boomed a capitalist rush in outsourcing that America was quick to take advantage of. By utilizing the incredibly low labor rates in foreign countries large corporations began importing goods from Asian countries at incomparable prices. These Western practices created a capitalist dominance in the trade market that is still visible today and will continue to be until these unfair labor practices are corrected and outsourcing is controlled to some degree. The decisions of these two presidents have made some vast changes in the rate at which our world has globalized.
By becoming the primary hegemonic figure for the past forty years America took control of the global markets and put America’s standards as the world norms. These standards that have been adopted by the majority of the world include the English language and the US dollar. With global dominance America’s language has presented itself as the international business language. Since communication is a huge part of globalization if countries combine and implement one universal language it breaks down a huge barrier that has in the past prevented overseas transactions.
If everyone is capable of communicating then the ease of doing business with other countries in greatly increased resulting in continued globalization. The US dollar has also become very powerful in a global sense because the majority of the world’s reserves are held in dollars. This also correlates with the language aspect of globalization because if countries can use a standard currency to implement transactions then the worry of currency conversion is diminished along with the need of a gold standard. The greatest contribution to globalization from the Western World is its technological advances.
America has created numerous products and services that have shrunk the globe on an astronomical level including enhanced transportation, communication, and knowledge. With the development of the airplane travel to other countries has become much more practical. The airplane has also made the trade of perishable goods much more common. Shipping to countries overseas by means of air transport has also increased the rate at which America can export and import as well as communicate on a tangible level, i. e. etters, documents, contracts, gifts, etc. America’s invention of the cell phone has also done a lot for communication at the international level. Primarily in Africa along with other parts of the Middle East where the infrastructure for communication is mediocre at best. These cellular devices promote an increased importance of literacy and it also opens the world up to internal conflicts that countries are having because they are much more able to get the word out. An obvious impact of the cell phone is its benefit to the business world.
Negotiations between distant companies can be completed in seconds in what would normally take days or even weeks. The most important of these types of technology is the internet. The internet not only enhances communication via email or video but it also offers something much more valuable, knowledge. At the click of a mouse individuals can analyze companies’ income statements, find the cheapest price on products worldwide, and learn about current events from countries on the other side of the globe.
This contribution has made a big difference in globalization because in the blink of an eye any person can virtually be in another country interacting with people of that country with online programs like Second Life or Skype. These modernizations have done a considerable amount in terms of shrinking the globe, which is essentially the process of globalization. The evolution of globalization throughout the past century has made it very difficult to summarize the term by any simplistic means.
All definitions contain pertinent explanations to the complex word’s meaning but the definition that focuses on the Westernization and modernization grasp both the historical and current aspects of globalization. This definition represents America’s contributions to world and how these brought the countries of the world closer together through commerce, travel, and communication. Without American influences and movements globalization would not be what it is today, whether that has positively or negatively affected the world is whole different argument.