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Economic, Social and Cultural Effects of Globalization

The word globalization has been probably the most used in academic, business and government circles in the 1990’s and so far the new century. During this period hundreds of conferences, forums, conferences, workshops, etc. on the subject and many articles and books to invade a library were published were held. Such word – concept came to occupy the place, if only partially, otherwise than in the 1980’s attracted the attention of scholars, especially in the social sciences.

What do we mean by globalization?

First of all it must be recognized that although the word ‘global’ has over 400 years, the common use of words such as ‘globalization’, ‘globalize’, ‘globalizing’ did not begin to be used until about the 1960s. The Economist (April, 4.59, quoted by Waters, 1995) reported that ‘the “global fee” of Italy for imported cars had increased’, and in 1961 Webster was the first major dictionary offered definitions of globalism and globalization.

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It is also essential that we present there is no universally accepted definition of what is globalization. Hardly anyone would question that we live in an age of globalization. However, clearly define what this means and entails can be even more difficult, considering that this is a phenomenon that is developing and that in itself is complex. Just as with all the core concepts of the social sciences its precise meaning remains deeply discussed. ‘’ To Held & McGrew (2000), globalization is variously conceived as :

  1. The action at a distance (where the actions of a social agent in a town can have significant consequences for ” others who are distant “)
  2. The compression of space – time (referring to the way in which the instantaneous electronic communication erodes the constraints of distance and time in organizations and social interactions)
  3. The acceleration of interdependence (understood as the intensification of relations between economies and societies national so that events in one country impact dir ectly others)
  4. The process that leads to a world shrunk (the erosion of borders and geographical barriers of socio- economic) activity
  5. The extent of global integration
  6. Reordering of interregional power relations
  7. Awareness of the global condition
  8. The intensification of regional interconnectivity

With this in mind, obviously we can see that the concept of globalization implies, first and foremost, a widening of the social, economic, politic and across borders, such that events, decisions and activities in a region of world can have great significance and importance for individuals and communities in distant regions of the globe. In this sense, globalization embodies and synthesizes ” transregional interconnectedness, widening the scope of the network activity and social power, and the possibility of action at a distance. Beyond this, globalization implies that the connection across borders is not only casual or random, but have been regularized to the extent that it is possible to detect an intensification, or the growing magnitude of interconnectivity patterns interaction and flows that transcend existing established companies and states worldwide. Moreover, the increasing extent and intensity of global interconnectedness also implies an acceleration of global interactions and processes, just as the development of global transport and communication system increases the potential of the global diffusion speed of ideas, goods, information, capital and people. And the growing extent, intensity and velocity of global interactions can also be associated with a deepening of ties between the local and the global (“globalization”) so that the impact of distant events is magnified, while up to more local developments begin to have enormous global consequences. In this sense, the boundaries between the domestic and global affairs tend to fade ‘’(Held, et al., 2000, p. 54-55).

If we agree with the aforementioned points, then a satisfactory definition of globalization must capture each of these elements: extension (widening), intensity, velocity and impact. Waters (1995), trying to present a definition that summarizes what is commonly meant by globalization, says this can be defined as a social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements are reduced and the people are increasingly aware that they are declining (p. 3). This definition gives much importance to what Giddens (1990) refers to as, a growing global reflexivity, ie the awareness of the global condition.

‘’ In the debate on the notion of what globalization is a confluence between the normative and the descriptive, and this, therefore, has important ideological as well as temporal, spatial, historical and geopolitical implications. As a conceptual notion, then, globalization offers mixed messages. This sounds like a relatively neutral descriptor values of the universe of media interconnectivity and exchange of material and symbolic goods.

But closer examination reveals extensive causal assumptions, intentions and normative value judgments ‘’(Ferguson, 1992, p. 73-74).

Globalization: an innate process to building human communities

Globalization is a complex phenomenon that is placed on a continuum that includes local, national, regional and international levels in the ends lie social and economic relations structured on a local or national basis and those that appear in the scale of regional interaction. Therefore, the social, political and economic activities take place in an expansive way, along this continuum in which models of interaction and flows that are juxtaposed to companies, states and the global context are implemented. These facilitate the global spread of ideas, information, capital and people, which increases levels and amplifies the impact of events in the various fields of individual and collective work. In this sense it is a process initiated when the first human communities politically and collective identity defined around political, economic, social and cultural interests, built relationships with similar agents, exchanging experiences and influence each other to build a “community organized international. ” From this perspective the origin of this phenomenon can be located around 10,000 years ago, after the first agricultural revolution which led to the interaction of human groups to share knowledge and agricultural technologies.

Consequently, globalization is rooted in two basic and opposing processes, one understands the forces of centralization, integration and globalization itself, and the other includes the opposing forces of decentralization, fragmentation and localization.

Consequently, globalization is rooted in two basic and opposing processes, one understands the forces of centralization, integration and globalization itself, and the other includes the opposing forces of decentralization, fragmentation and localization. Further characterized by philosophical assumptions and empirical process, the first consisting of mindsets, orientations and worldviews, given in terms of localism and globalism, and the second serving the localization and globalization that affect the boundaries between the domestic internal the foreign or external (Rosenau 2003, 14-5).

The process has become so great, extent and depth leading to A. Giddens (2000, 15) noted that ” globalization is reshaping our ways of living, and very deeply. ” That is not simply about the ” growing influence ” of the world on the national and local (as stated ECLAC 2000), or the removal of trade barriers and integration of national economies (as Stiglitz points out), but is ” a complex series of processes and not just one ” (Giddens 2000, 25).

Therefore, this phenomenon “has to do only with what is ‘out there ‘, remote and out of the individual. It is also a phenomenon of ‘ in here, influencing intimate and personal aspects of our lives ” (ibid., 24-5).

In this sense, not only weighs on the economic, social and cultural processes, but becomes a key element in the construction of new individual identities, local and societal in all regions of the world (perhaps with the exception of some very limited tribal groups that still remain relatively isolated from contact with great civilizations, especially the West – for example the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon). In this coincides A Giddens (2000, 26) when he warns that globalization “create new economic and cultural zones within and across countries. Examples are Hong Kong, northern Italy and Silicon Valley in California. Or the Barcelona region. The area around Barcelona in northern Spain enters France. Catalonia, where Barcelona is tightly integrated into the European Union. It is part of Spain, but also looking out. “

Therefore, globalization can not be seen only as a political or economic process, but must be understood as a multidisciplinary and multidimensional phenomenon, the result of mutual interaction between all spheres of human endeavor. That is, their own political and economic actions of a globalizing dynamic impact on the culture, but at the same time it affects those in a constant movement of action-reaction, which had not been observed before, perhaps because of the speed with which today have place interactions and interconnections and the large number of international players.

Therefore, it is more appropriate definition of globalization formulated David Held, et all (p. xlix), when considered as “a process or set of processes which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of relations and social transactions, evaluated in terms of its scope, intensity, velocity and impact, and generating transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and the exercise of power. “

This allows you to find, throughout the history of mankind, periods where globalizing and centrifugal forces have dominance, such as the European conquests of the sixteenth century, the colonial expansion of the nineteenth century, and, of course, the explosion of independent states in the 1960s.

But other periods where centripetal forces were fragmentary and features, for example the European Middle Ages or Japanese isolation part of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

However, it should be noted that the contemporary dynamics shows very particular features that differentiate these statements for prior periods. The technological revolution, the global dominance of capitalism (globalism) and accelerated acculturation of local and national communities have led to a rethinking of the globalization process.

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What is relevant for understanding the phenomenon is to recognize that globalization can not be reduced to a simple causal process, for in reality is a complex set of causal logic. So, on the one hand, the size of the local has lost the conceptualization that characterized the twentieth century, as part of the new concept and context of the space – time dimension. Thus one can speak of ” hyperspace ” of the community and the “global citizen.” Moreover, such dialectical plane lead to ” Alter Ego and ” incident powerfully in creating identities (individual and collective). At the same time, the global has been resized to introduce new elements that lead to really observe a multidimensional world.

Hence it is necessary to explore the conjunction of the integrating forces and disintegrating and the dynamics of interaction for understanding contemporary globalization, especially because its implications affect both international institutions and national and local, redefining the agenda and introducing new issues that were not under consideration in the recent past. This is because, as well as in physics there is no centripetal force centrifugal, transformed the world today cannot exist without the integration fragmentation, for without them the world is fractional in thousands of small and isolated groups (tribes, hordes) or become a great global community.

Globalization and the rethinking of the global logic

When we review approaches R. Keohane and J. Nye (1989) on complex interdependence and transnational relations, with mechanisms such as sensitivity and vulnerability, with a redefinition of the features of the contemporary international system (multi-channel, multi-thematic agenda and decline of military action as an instrument of state power), it must be recognized that world reality has changed rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century and particularly in the last two decades. Continue thinking of the state as the dominant actor in the international arena, as the controlling agent of all that flows across their borders, resulting in a reductionist vision and increasingly obsolete.

Today the border between the domestic and the international guarantee is more diffuse and less and less the possibility of allowing the entry or exit of the government only what you find convenient. However, this does not mean that it is possible to announce, as did K. Ohmae (1997), the end of the nation state, the state agent will remain dominant in the international system and it remains influential on the local and individual – even if a very different player back centuries. So you can not talk about or the triumph of globalization (as they would like some schools of thought and economic actors), or the victory of the local (as crave anti-globalization and protectionist). The reality of early twenty-first century is much more complex, which does not mean new.

Today, therefore, the analysis of globalization requires a comprehensive approach based on the context of fragmenintegración since

The particular combination of. .. developments in the political, military, economic, migratory, cultural and ecological spheres, the complex interactions between them, is what played the distinctive shape and dynamics of contemporary globalization. Consequently, the explanation of contemporary globalization simply as a result of the expansionary logic of capitalism, the global diffusion of popular culture, or military expansion is necessarily unilateral and reductionist (Held et al, 2002, 545).

In that scenario, the various state and non-state actors move around these two forces, some of which favor one opposing the other and vice versa. However, neither seem to be dominating, because while globalization creates new and innovative trends towards integration, favoring phenomena such as the multinational production of goods and services, on the one hand, the fragmentation and localization of social processes enables emergence of specific references in the construction of identities. Thus, it is difficult to find a product “made in. .”, ie a truly national or local or even good craftsmanship, for some commodities, furthermore dyes are important but at the same time people feel more and more attached to their closest social fields in an attempt to consolidate their identities and differentiate themselves from others.


Globalization/Anti-Globalization: Beyond the Great Divide, Held & McGrew


Hettne, B. 1996. “Globalization, The New Regionalism and East Asia” en Globalism and Regionalism; edited by Toshiro Tanaka and Takashi Inoguchi. Selected Papers Delivered at the United Nations University Global Seminar ’96 Shonan Session, 2-6 September 1996, Hayama, Japan. Disponible en: www.unu.edu

Keohane, R. and J. Nye. 1989. Power and Interdependence. Illinois; Scott, Foresman and Company.

Rosenau, J. 1997. Along the domestic-foreign Frontier. Exploring governance in a turbulent world. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

Rosenau, J. 2003. “Globalization and Governance: Bleak Prospects for Sustainability”. Internationale Politik und Gesellshaft. 3: 11-29.

Shaw, M. 1999. “The global revolution and the twenty-first century: from international relations to global politics” in International History and the Twenty Century; edited by S. Chan and J. Wiener. London; IB Taurus. Disponible: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/hafa3/IRglobal.htm

Steger, M. 2005. “From Market Globalism to Imperial Globalism: Ideology and American Power after 9/11”. Globalizations. 2(1): 31–46.

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