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Globalization Definition, History & Theories

Globalization Definition, History & Theories

Globalization is found in everything, therefore it consists of economic integration; the transmission of knowledge; the transfer of politics across borders; and cultural stability in reproduction, relations, and discourses of power. Furthermore, globalization defines in two different opposite perspectives; one as the means of progression, development and stability, and the other as the means of regression, colonialism, and destabilization. The most determiner aspects of how the globalization can be defined are the individual’s political ideology, geographic location, cultural background, social status, and finally the ethnic and religious membership. (Al-Rodhan, 2006, p.3)

History of Globalization:

According to Held et al. (1999), he provides a clear division of globalization into a number of historical phases. The first phase is known by the pre-modern globalization. This period started from the Neolithic Revolution, between 9,000 and 11,000 years ago and ended in 1500. The second phase is named early-modern globalization, which appeared in 1500 to 1850. The last phase is the modern globalization, which is followed by the contemporary period of globalization. It appeared at the end of the Second World War until the present time. (El-Ojeili & Hayden, 2006, P. 16)

Globalization Definition: 

The Swedish journalist Thomas Larsson, in his book The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization (2001) defines globalization as "the process that makes the world so small, in which the distances become closer and people can exchange mutual benefits together even if they are in different remote places".

Theories of Globalization:

According to globalization, there are many perspectives around it. These perspectives are different and contains many meanings for globalization. These perspectives are from the viewpoints of the globalists, traditionalists, and transformationalists. 

1- Globalism Theory:

Globalists are coming at first to introduce the fully developed global economy that has displaced former forms of the international economy. The uncontrollable market forces drive the global economy, which resulted in unique cross-national networks of interdependency and integration. Furthermore, the category of a national economy is increased due to the dissolve of the national borders. This leads the economic agents to follow the criteria of being internationally competitive. This position is supported by economic neoliberals but doomed by the new Marxists.

2- Traditionalism Theory:

Traditionalists come in the second stage. In this stage, the international economy does not reach the stage of a global economy. Through this stage, it is possible to establish cooperation between national authorities to challenge market forces; manage domestic economies; and govern the international economy. 

3- Transformationalism Theory:

Finally, through transformationalists new forms of interdependence and integration are conquering the international economic system. These forms make restrictions on the behavior of the national economic policy-making. They also establish the formation of international public policy to control the system very well. This stage realizes the present time as another step in an extended evolutionary process in which closed local and national economies break into more mixed, interdependent and integrated ‘cosmopolitan’ societies. Held (2000: 90–1).

Economic Globalization:

Economic globalization is one of the most important topics in the world of globalization, as its results appear to be difficult and tangible. It is also presented as the driving force behind the numerous changes, which are connected with culture and politics in the contemporary world, as well as being the main concern of the different globalization movement. Capitalism, socialism, and neoliberalism are three approaches, which are strongly connected to the economic globalization. Capitalism is a system, which is related to economy and based on the widespread production and movement of goods and services for markets. The movement of these goods and services are directed to the need for the profits (Buick and Crump, 1986).

Neoliberal ideas have a great impact on establishing the new economic common sense after the 1970s, and the powerful criticisms that can be leveled at neoliberal arguments, which is treated as unrealistic or extremist. Thus, many perspectives define neoliberalism. For instance, according to Susan George’s (1999) estimation, neoliberalism is emerging as a new ‘worldwide religion’ and Perry Anderson (2000) names neoliberalism as the most powerful and successful ideology in world history.

The socialist movement is formed at the time of Marx and Engel’s 1848 Communist Manifesto, had formed capitalism in a series of intellectual, moral, economic, and political challenges. According to socialists, capitalism’s dominant logic of the pursuit of self-interest, competition, and profitability are disastrous. The main goals for socialists according to economic system are the satisfaction of needs and the achievement of co-operation, rather than about one’s own profitability. Socialists argue that if the economics are not well organized and work in a fair way then values would come to correct and colonize all other values (Patrick Hayden and Chamsy el-Ojeili, 2006, page: 53).

Globalization and Culture:

Globalization is accompanied by many clashing ideas of cultural differences. This is due to modernization, which is represented as a steamroller, which erase cultural and biological multiplicity in its way. Therefore, cultural differences are regarded as unchallengeable and generating conflict. On the opposite side, there is a widespread notion that growing global interconnectedness leads towards enhancing cultural standardization such as MacDonaldization. According to that and as a reflection of the cultural differences there are three perspectives on cultural difference: cultural differentialism or lasting difference; cultural convergence or growing sameness; and cultural hybridization or ongoing mixing. Each one of these cultural perspectives introduces theoretical precepts and they are all models. Each one represents a particular politics of difference and involves different biases and higher perspectives (Pieterse, 2009, p.43 - 44)

Summary of Globalization:

To sum up, globalization is the most debated subject, which control part of our lives. Without globalization, there would be no encounters, challenges, and the nature of our life would be boring. Poppi defines globalization by saying that it is the debate and the debate is globalization without one part the other is unbelievable. The matter of finding the proper definition for globalization and a stable one is a difficult matter. This is because the changeable nature of globalization as it has a shifting nature, ambiguity problems and its different influence from the perspective of each one’s views it. 

Therefore, searching for a definition helps in focusing upon the policy challenges and responses needed which reflects its impact on the globalization process and influences its stability. Finally, the most likely thing in globalization is that one cannot come up with a Webster’s-dictionary-style definition, which makes it interested aspect of the subject of globalization. This leads to searching for more discussions and studies and being up to date with the change that occurs upon globalization. This at least will help in knowing its definition at the exact time of searching (Al-Rodhan, 2006, p. 8).

Globalization Definition, History & Theories


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