Globalization (Key Ideas)

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But having read as much of it as I have, I might as well get some use out of it -- certainly the book's contents weren't worth the time. Just about any book has some good insights, otherwise it probably wouldn't have gotten published. But any insights here are overcome by the author's exaggerations. Perhaps part of the author's misunderstandings can be attributed to the book having been written in Maybe if he were writing it today, after a near-financial collapse only prevented by government action, he'd be less impressed by the growth of multi-national financial institutions.

For certain, I think he'd have to modify his statement that economic globalization has overtaken and weakened national states as proven by the U. But the book has a revision date of , which is after the neoconservatives won the election, putting two former oil company executives in charge.

Hmm, let's see -- think they might invade an oil state? Unfortunately, that was hardly the only bizarre assertion. As with most globalization cheerleaders, Waters is awed by the idea of instantly communicating with someone halfway around the world. Well, clearly, you can send the email or make the phone call or whatever, but you're not going to get a response back instantly, because the guy at the other end will be asleep.

Nowhere in the book does the author seem to recognize the existence of timezones. No matter how much the world "shrinks", if you're an American corporate manager who needs to schedule a conference call with management at your Chinese factory, you'll need a couple of days to set this up so that you can synchronize hours. That Prof Waters is unaware of this indicates to me he's written a book about something he has had no actual experience with -- that he's just doing armchair speculation about what the future will be like. And was apparently a bad year to be a budding futurist, as Waters completely missed the rise of China.

There's lots more to wonder about: This is doubly disconcerting: Prof Waters also has the disconcerting habit of contradicting himself. For instance, in a section where he asserts that nationalism is irrational? In the next paragraph, he asserts, correctly, that Stalinism was very much Russian nationalism, on his way to making another point, but apparently forgetting his previous point.

It can't be denied that the book is well-researched, full of statistics and quotations. But they're seemingly all selected to promote globalization. Globalization has a dark side, which is not treated here. Some things are more easily globalized -- such as what sociologists refer to as symbolic products -- intangibles. But other things are not, and shouldn't be. Orthodox economists often make the mistake of thinking labor is a commodity. Usually, sociologists have more sense that that. Anyway, I've read a number of books dealing with globalization and this is easily the worst. The only reason to read it is if you think globalization is wonderful and you want to hear your opinions repeated.

The Concept

But don't think, even though this is a work by an academic, that this is an academic work. The world we live on is one planet. It's a simple, obvious observation, but Waters seems to spend much time illustrating this idea. But his view of globalization is not quiet so simple. That we share the same space is a geometrical given.

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He illustrates even in his preface that people throughout the world have become interrelated. These links are span the global based on their mobility. Waters defines their mobility according to their nature: While cash in the form of coins or bills previously had a physical form, today, the concept of money or capital is, in many cases, just numbers on a transaction sheet.

Waters views the economic realm as highly symbolic, highly fluid and highly globalized giving it the capable of moving most rapidly over the planet and subsequently the providing strong impetus for global interactions and subsequently globalization. Some good information, but would not recommend. See all 5 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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  • About Globalization?
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  • Customers who bought this item also bought. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Of course, although if he was at it for years, the poor man went insane long before he was done. As I began to take notes for this book in February , pondering where to begin to tackle the in every way huge topic of globalization, an event in the outside world came to my rescue, as is so often the case with us academics.

    I had just been reading two very different books about globalization. Friedman , described an increasingly integrated world market where 'the playing field had been levelled' in the sense that Indian, Chinese, North Atlantic and other companies were competing with few impediments: His integrated world was a place where capitalism had won, and where the fittest would survive, like it or not. Worrying about the future of the American job market, Friedman noted the emergence of China as a rising power in the global economy, and spoke about the Internet and global financial markets as guarantors for global economic growth.

    The other book was James Lovelock's Gaia's Revenge Lovelock , a deeply pessimistic book about climate change and environmental destruction, where the author argued that the Earth's self-regulating mechanisms were beginning to falter in the face of massive human energy use, with unforeseeable but doubtless enormous consequences. A different take on globalization from Friedman's upbeat assessment of global capitalism, Lovelock's book indicated an important way in which globalization creates universal vulnerability.

    Thinking about these books and how to compare them, I glanced at my morning paper to be met by a picture from an animated demonstration in a Middle Eastern city. The reason for this demonstration, and subsequent acts of sabotage, consumer boycott and a brief diplomatic crisis, was the publication, some months earlier, of twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a leading Danish newspaper.

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    Few of the cartoons could be described as offensive in their content, but there is a general ban against depictions of the Prophet in Sunni Islam, and many Muslims outside and not least inside Denmark felt that their dissemination was a deliberate act of humiliation. Regardless of his motivation for commissioning the cartoons, the Danish editor could not have anticipated the reactions, fanning out across the Muslim world and, through its repercussions, damaging relations between Denmark and several Muslim countries. Thinking about the implications of the cartoon controversy for our attempts to understand globalization, it occurred to me that the affair had demonstrated that not only are political, economic, cultural and ecological issues globalized these days, but so are emotional ones, in this case the feeling of humiliation and offense.

    One can no longer publish a critique of Islam or Judaism, or Hinduism etc. Not all messages travel freely and swiftly in a globalized world, but all have the potential to do so. We live in a shrunken world, a world of contacts, frictions, comparisons, communication and movement which are unrestricted by distance.

    At the same time, many activities continue to take place without any consequences beyond the local. The aim of this book is to outline some of the main dimensions of globalization and to indicate some ways in which they are being studied and critiqued. Far from being a comprehensive overview of the area, at least this book is an attempt to open more doors than it closes and to point the reader in directions that I have myself found fruitful.

    Not many people have been directly involved with this book, but those who have - two anonymous referees and Berg's Tristan Palmer - have given me enough resistance and encouragement to improve substantially on the first draft, and for this I am grateful. Kristin Opsahl Alvarez tracked down and copied a vast number of relevant articles for me - thanks Kristin! Of more enduring, if less direct, significance, is my association with the Transnational Flows group at the University of Oslo , directed by Marianne E.

    Many others could have been mentioned, but one will have to do: It was Eduardo Archetti who put me on the track many years ago, and until his premature death in June , we discussed the topics featured in this book and many other things so incessantly that I still feel him peering over my shoulder, eager to offer his views, as I try to write about globalization.

    The very popularity of the word globalization signals a need for caution. The word was scarcely used before the late s, even in academic circles, but today you can hardly open a newspaper without encountering the term. It may easily appear to be a fashionable label used to designate phenomena one has but the vaguest ideas about. Yet to discard the concept of globalization, and the huge attention accorded the phenomena it encompasses, on such grounds, would be foolish. There is a real need for a common, generic term to describe the manifold, multisided ways in which the world is, and increasingly so, interconnected.

    However, used by itself, the word globalization is empty or at least fuzzy. Before moving to some substantial areas of globalization research in the subsequent chapters of this book, it is therefore necessary to do some sorting and sifting, to delimit some fields of enquiry and to propose a theoretical approach. The fact that the term globalization is new does not mean that people have not been thinking and theorising about global interconnectedness before.

    Perhaps the philosopher Hegel was the first theorist of globalization, since he did not merely talk of connections between disparate areas and places, but about the emerging consciousness about such connections. Through his famous concept of the world-spirit Weltgeist , an abstract entity immanent in all peoples but unevenly developed, Hegel saw the possibility of imagining all of humanity as a kind of community.

    Now, the philosophies of Kant and Hegel were developed in the same period as modern nationalism, and as will later become clear, the ideology of nationalism, although it is often contrasted with and seen as an enemy of globalization, shares many of its characteristics. The nineteenth century was an era of colonial expansion, scientific discovery and industrialization in the North, and accompanying these processes were new forms of thought, new models of the world.

    Thanks to industrial development, colonial expansion and technological change the steamship first appeared in the s , the growth in international trade was formidable in this century. Another important 19 th -century invention, the telegraph, made it possible, for the first time in human history, to move a message independently of an object physically carrying it.

    With the opening of the first functioning transatlantic cable in , messages could be sent from London to New York in a matter of minutes. It goes without saying that such innovations changed the perception of space and distance. Technological development in both main forms of communication technology — that transmitting messages and that transporting physical objects — continued in the 20 th century with the invention of the aeroplane, the radio and so on. In the s, the Marxist theorist Leo Trotsky argued that socialism in one country was impossible since the world was too interconnected for separate development at the national level to be feasible, and agitated in favour of a world revolution.

    The Second World War was, despite its name, the first truly global war which involved fighting in, and troops from, all continents the First World War was chiefly a European war. In the first postwar decades, global interconnectedness continued to intensify. The number of transnational companies grew, as did the number of transnational NGOs non-governmental organizations.

    The United Nations grew into an immense conglomerate of sub-organizations with offices in nearly all countries. International travel became easier and more common. In this period, global change — economic, environmental, political — became the subject of many new scholarly books. Others preferred to use the word imperialism, suggesting that the rich countries were actively exploiting the poor ones and preventing them from developing e.

    Globalization - Wikipedia

    Amin , Frank The term Westernization, usually used in a derogatory way, became common. Around this time, Immanuel Wallerstein developed his influential world-system theory Wallerstein —79 , which traced the development of the contemporary world system to the intercontinental trade beginning in the 15 th century. Elaborating on world-system theory, Chase-Dunn and Hall take a longer view than Wallerstein, describing the development of transnational systems in a perspective spanning ten thousand years, and showing that a multicentred world was finally becoming integrated at the outset of the 19 th century, in the sense that all major centres were by then in regular contact.

    Various parts of the world were interconnected, and there was considerable awareness of this, long before the recent coinage of the term globalization. Yet, it can be argued that there is something new to the present world, that is to say the world which began with the end of the Cold War in , which goes a long way to explain the meteoric rise of public interest in globalization and transnational phenomena more generally. Three factors, roughly coinciding in time, may be mentioned here.

    The global two-bloc system, which had lasted since the s, had made it difficult to think of geopolitics, transnational communication and international trade in terms not dictated by the opposition between the USA and the Soviet Union and their respective allies.

    With the dissolution of this conflict, the world seemed to have been left with a one-bloc system notwithstanding the continued existence of a few states such as North Korea, which continue to stay largely aloof. The world appeared to have become a single marketplace. The World Wide Web was introduced in , around the same time as many academics and businesspeople grew accustomed to using e-mail for their daily correspondence.

    Cellphones became ubiquituous in the rich countries and the middle classes of the poorer ones. The impact of this double de-localization — the physical letter replaced by email, the fixed phone line replaced by the wireless mobile — on the everyday life of millions of people has been considerable, but it remains undertheorized.

    It soon became apparent that Rushdie could move freely nowhere in the world since the fatwa had global implications. Only two years later, Yugoslavia dissolved, with ensuing civil wars based on ethnic differences. In the same period, debates about immigration and multiculturalism came to dominate political discourse in several Western countries, while the Hindu nationalists of the BJP came to power in India. These three dimensions of globalization — increased trade and transnational economic activity; faster and denser communication networks; increased tensions between and within cultural groups due to intensified mutual exposure — do not suggest that the world has been fundamentally transformed after the late s, but that the driving forces of both economic, political and cultural dynamics are transnational — and that this is now widely acknowledged.

    As a pioneering theorist of contemporary globalization, Roland Robertson, succinctly puts it: The compression of the world, in all of its forms, brings us closer to each other for better and for worse. The consciousness about these interconnections gives a sense of both opportunities and of vulnerability. This dual character of globalization — increased interconnectedness and increased awareness of it — can be studied from a myriad of empirical vantage-points.

    It would be perfectly feasible and it is probably already being done somewhere to write a dissertation on European reactions to the Asian bird flu in The impact of globalization on tribal peoples in Melanesia has, moreover, long been a subject in anthropology. Human geographers write about the displacement of people in India as a result of globally driven economic deregulation. Many write about migration, again from a variety of perspectives. Just to mention a few subject areas. As far as academic disciplines are concerned, globalization is a central topic in sociology, political science, geography, anthropology, media studies, education, law, cultural studies and so on.

    The examples in this book, I should emphasize, are meant to indicate variations over a large theme, and do not claim any form of representativity.


    Before outlining some central analytical dimensions of globalization, it may be a good idea to mention a few things often associated with globalization, either simplistically or wrongly. World-systems have existed earlier in the sense that people all over the world have participated, often involuntarily, in political and economic systems of a huge, often intercontinental scale.

    The labour market situation in Oslo has been known to thousands of Pakistani villagers for decades, and the reggae fashion in Melanesia, advertising in Central Africa and the rhetoric of the political opposition in Taiwan all indicate the existence of a global discourse , a shared but not uniform communicational system.

    In this cultural sense, globalization is recent, and the number of people who are unaware of the existence of television, chewing-gum and basic human rights is decreasing every year. This view reduces the vast range of transnational processes to certain economic ones. Although it is tautologically true that rich countries are dominant, the situation is not static. China, India, South Korea and other formerly poor countries are emerging as equal players, and regional powers such as South Africa and Brazil are both exploited and exploiters in the global economy. However, the main problem with this view is its neglect of the non-economic dimensions of globalization.

    Westernization is not a good synonym for globalization. This view is simplistic and usually misleading. First, the participation in global, or transnational, processes often entails a vitalization of local cultural expressions, be it African art, Caribbean popular music or Indian novels, which depend on an overseas market for their survival. Second, large segments of our everyday lives are hardly touched by globalization.

    Although Taiwanese, like people from the North Atlantic, wear jeans and use iPods while eating burgers and drinking cokes, they do not thereby become Europeans or Americans. However, as will be argued later, it is true that similarities between discrete societies develop as an integral dimension of globalization.

    On the contrary, the global spread of human rights is one of the most spectacularly successful forms of globalization experienced in the world. At the very best, this is a truth with serious modifications. Local identities are usually strengthened by globalization because people begin to emphasize their uniqueness overtly only when it appears to be threatened. On the other hand, it is evidently true that local power is often weakened as a result of globalization. Yet others point out that a large number of people, and huge swathes of social and cultural life, are relatively untouched by transnational processes.

    It may be useful, following Held and McGrew According to the sceptics see e. Gray , Hirst and Thompson , we are witnessing a process of internationalization and regionalization rather than the emergence of one integrated world of rapid communication, transnational networks and global financial capital, which is the view of globalizers. Sceptics argue, further, that the nation-state remains the most important political entity, while globalizers claim that state sovereignty is on the wane, and that multilateralism and transnational politics are replacing it.

    Friedman with diminishing obstacles to truly global competition. Sceptics see a continuation of the classic North-South divide in terms of prosperity and power, while globalizers argue that inequalities are chiefly growing within and not between societies. While sceptics believe in the continued or indeed increasing power of national identities and cultures, globalizers describe hybridities and cosmopolitan orientations as an outcome of intensified interaction.

    The sceptics do not deny that changes are taking place, but they emphasize continuities with the modern world of the nation-state while globalizers are concerned to show that the world is going through a series of qualitative changes. There is no reason to take an unequivocal position here. Few of us are simply globalizers or sceptics; and both positions can often shed light on the issues.

    For example, the extent of global solidarity in environmental and human rights questions is no doubt enhanced by extensive travel and global communication and media, and this lends credibility to the view that cosmopolitanism and cultural hybridity mixing results from increased interconnectedness. Yet at the same time, identity politics based on religion, ethnicity or nationality is also on the rise.

    Both phenomena co-exist side by side and are possible responses to the opportunity space created by intensified transnational contacts. Most empirical generalizations about globalization are therefore false. At the same time, it is possible to delineate a framework for global or transnational processes, objective changes or features of the world that people everywhere have to relate to.

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    Whether we look at global capitalism, trends in consumer tastes, transnational migration and identity politics or online communication, the globalising processes of the late 20 th and early 21 st century have a few salient characteristics in common. These features are dealt with in detail in the main chapters of this book, and I shall only briefly mention them here. Globalization means that distance is becoming irrelevant, relative or at the very least less important.

    Ideas, songs, books, investment capital, labour and fashions travel faster than ever, and even if they stay put, their location can be less important than it would have been formerly.