Globalization means integration that goes beyond international borders. It includes economic, strategic, social and cultural incorporation. Globalization has paved the way for better understanding not only between the governments but also better people to people contact thus resulting in an environment that is conducive to building mutually beneficial relationships. With the rapid strides taken by social media platforms of late, they have almost obliterated international boundaries. A byproduct of globalization has been the booming of multinational companies. This has led to massive co-operation between people of different countries as they come together for working towards the same end and achieving common objectives.
From International to Multinational
While globalization has opened more markets for manufacturers and service providers, it has also given the end consumers a wider array of goods and services to choose from, thus making them savvier and consumers with more refined tastes. It also means that the same product is available in different price spectrums, albeit of varying qualities, it does bring in more consumers to that industry. Additionally, as companies expand, more employment opportunities are created and overall, it is a win-win situation. Companies also develop products aimed specifically at particular regions of the world or take a successful product from one place and make slight alterations to make it suitable for another. Multinational companies also give their employees a chance to work in different regions and countries, thus giving the employees a chance to travel around and gather new experiences. It also provides the right atmosphere for the exchange of views, ideas and other aspects of culture.
From Culture Shocks to Culture Rocks
The other important facet of globalization is the cultural side. Sports, cinema and music combined with the outreach of the internet have done more than any other effort to bring people closer. With some of the top chefs practicing their craft outside their own countries, the world now tastes cuisines which are not a part of their inherent cultures. Professional sporting events like the European football leagues and 20-20 cricket leagues around the world attract foreign players and the level of competition at these events is no less than international standards. Globalization also lends itself naturally to transformation. While it can be difficult to preserve and age-old local music and dance traditions, globalization gave these art forms a new lease of life by giving them an opportunity to collaborate with artists from other countries and produce fusion forms of dance and music.
North Korea might answer that as no as it has steadfastly kept itself behind closed doors, but almost every other country in the world is a today a part of some supranational institution. The EU, WTO, G8 are some examples of countries using these platforms to facilitate international dialogues. Although the Exit of Britain from the EU might give the skeptics some talking points, it cannot be disputed that because of these associations, the world has become a lot smaller. Globalization has also led to economic balance between countries to some degree, which otherwise was skewed in favor of a few. Political co-operation also allows nongovernmental bodies to be involved in developmental and humanitarian work across borders. Additionally, factors like global warming and terrorism have necessitated the need for closer international co-operation as these are issues not isolated to only one or a few countries.
Role of Technology
The history of globalization suggests that even if the word did not exist, the idea did. The interaction between countries is not a modern phenomenon. Colonization could be seen as an early form of globalization as goods and services did move from one country to another. That it was to serve the interests of one country while oppressing the other is another matter, but the seeds of colonization were sown by the early traders who did actually come with the intention of doing business. Later on, countries within the same geographical region began to cooperate, but it was a limited interaction based on needs and not necessarily development and certainly not on a very large scale. Now, with technology allowing transfer of goods and services from any part of the globe to another, globalization has made its presence felt in a major way. With the ability to communicate instantly with anyone, anywhere at any time, transport and logistics services with the ability to reach any destination within a short period has boosted ties among countries like never before.
Like everything else, there are two sides to globalization as well. While in principle, it sounds great, in the real world things do get a little different. Free trade was supposed to reduce tariffs and other barriers, the reality is that many new restrictive regulations have found their way into the rule books of many countries. While labor can move freely and work can be outsourced, it also makes the local workforce antagonistic as they come under pressure. Many large multinational companies are being blamed for exploiting tax havens to avoid paying taxes. The critics also claim that with rapid global growth, the inequality has also worsened.
Irrespective of how you look at it, globalization is here to stay. In these days when public opinion and pressures can actually dictate government actions, it is highly complicated to keep the real world apart when the virtual world is almost seamlessly integrated.