Overview of Globalisation: Integration and Division

• Globalisation has increased trade and cultural exchanges but caused inequality.

• Impacts include the rise of multinational companies, climate change, and disease spread.

• Anti-globalisation movements oppose corporate power and cultural loss.

Updated •
November 23, 2023
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Globalisation – A brief overview

Globalisation refers to the increasing integration of countries and peoples worldwide through advances in technology, transportation, and communication. While global exchange originated thousands of years ago, its pace has accelerated greatly since the late 19th century. Globalisation has enabled unprecedented economic growth through trade and investment, facilitated by multinational corporations and innovations like the internet. It has also led to the exchange of ideas, culture, and people across borders. However, globalisation has also contributed to rising inequality, job losses in developed nations, and environmental issues. Additionally, the spread of Western consumer culture has raised concerns about the loss of local traditions and identities. As a complex, multifaceted phenomenon touching many aspects of life, globalisation presents opportunities as well as challenges that societies worldwide continue debating.

Globalisation – A brief overview

Globalisation – A brief overview
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Origins and Evolution of Globalisation

Globalisation refers to the process of increasing interconnectedness between individuals, businesses, and countries across the world. This phenomenon has been driven by advancements in technology, transportation, and communication, which made it easier for people and goods to move across borders. Globalisation impacts every aspect of our lives, including the economy, culture, and politics. It has changed the way we work, play, travel and eat. All in all, it has changed how we conduct our lives.

<h6 class="textbox" font-size:14px>Whether directly or indirectly, globalisation affects us all. It is a process that drives social, political, and economic changes that transform our modern society.</h6>

While discussions of globalisation often focus on developments since the 1980s, many facets of global integration have much earlier origins. The exchange of ideas, beliefs and traditions between societies dates back thousands of years to ancient trade routes and empires, exemplifying early cultural and religious globalisation. The cross-border spread of technological innovations such as the printing press truly began to accelerate in the 15th century. Political convergence emerged regionally through imperial administration and legal systems. Rudimentary economic globalisation began in the 16th century as European trading companies and colonial plantations integrated international markets.

However, most scholars argue that the pace and scale of globalisation have increased significantly since the late 19th century, when industrialisation, rapid transportation, mass communications and political shifts opened up borders. This enabled unprecedented mobility of money, goods, people and information around the world. While certain processes of globalisation have been in motion for thousands of years, the current era is characterised by the intensity, speed and breadth of global flows.

Steger<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">periodizes</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Steger, M. B. Globalization: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2023.</div></div></span>four great eras of globalisation, each marked by different "social formations," which refer to the prevailing forms of global connectivity. These four eras are, chronologically:

• Prehistoric (pre-3500 BCE) - early human migration and dispersion across continents

• Premodern (3500 BCE - 1500 CE) - emergence of ancient empires and trade routes

• Early Modern (1500-1750) - rise of European colonialism and capitalist world system

• Modern (1750-1980s) - industrialisation and rapid technological advances

However, Steger argues the world has entered a new era of globalisation since the 1980s. He calls it the “great convergence”. Indeed, the current era is characterised by different people and societies coming together and connecting more rapidly and intensely than ever before. The scale and intensity of contemporary globalisation are without historical precedent.

A few key developments have been largely responsible for continuing to drive global integration. The aftermath of industrialisation linked regions through trade networks. Advances in transportation technologies, like air travel and container shipping, enabled greater movement of people and goods over greater distances and at higher speeds. Policies promoting trade liberalisation, tariff reductions and free trade agreements helped to further break down national barriers. The information technology revolution, especially the rapid spread of the internet, mobile phones and digital communications, has also intensified globalisation.

Together, these factors have compressed time and space to generate unprecedented levels of global interconnection.

Types of globalisation

The most commonly discussed and visible types of globalisation, frequently mentioned in both media and political discourse, are:

• Economic Globalisation - integration of national economies through trade, investment, finance, migration, and corporate reach across borders.

• Political Globalisation - spread of political ideologies, policies, institutions, and agreements through intergovernmental organisations like the UN or the WTO.

• Cultural Globalisation - exchange of cultural ideas, traditions, and media through increased intercultural contacts. Cultural globalisation leads to cultural diffusion and influences beyond national borders.

• Technological Globalisation - cross-border transfer of knowledge, methods, and innovations, enabled by communication technologies.

• Ecological Globalisation - environmental interdependence through climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss.

These dimensions are often cited by scholars as the essential aspects of the globalisation process. However, they also have sub-branches and more specific dimensions that may be a little less obvious at first glance.

For instance, scholars have analysed the global spread of diseases, health risks, and wellness trends as an aspect of health globalisation. The emergence of international institutions, military alliances, and arms proliferation falls under military globalisation. The integration of financial systems through trade, banking, and investment markets is studied as financial globalisation. Other sub-branches look at the worldwide spread of religions, languages, innovations, Western consumer culture, and even criminal networks. The nuances are endless, but these examples demonstrate the diverse sub-types and spheres of activity that exhibit globalised patterns.

Major impacts of globalisation

Globalisation has had a major impact on the world economy. The increasing interconnectedness of countries has led to the growth of international trade and investment, with companies and states investing and doing business across borders.  This led to the creation of new markets and opportunities for businesses and individuals. Globalisation has also enabled the creation of multinational companies and the development of new products and services.

For example, between 2000 and 2022, global merchandise exports<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">grew</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Statista. Trends in global export value of trade in goods from 1950 to 2022. 2023.</div></div></span>from $6.4 trillion to over $24.5 trillion. This shows a significant increase in the growth of global trade. During a similar period, China's exports alone<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">increased</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Macrotrends. China Exports 1960-2023. 2023.</div></div></span>from $249 billion to over $3.5 trillion. In 2021, there were over 60,000<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">multinational corporations</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>World Atlas of Global Issues. Multinational Corporations. 2018.</div></div></span>(MNCs) operating worldwide. These global companies’ operations cover different sectors of the economy, such as technology, retail, financial services, automobile, etc. Notable examples of these multinational companies include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Samsung, IBM, Adidas, to name just a few out of thousands.

Through these and other multinational companies, the development and distribution of innovative products and services across borders has grown rapidly. For example, because of globalisation, companies like Apple and Samsung have been able to introduce advanced smartphones that have become available and sold worldwide. Similarly, globalisation has enabled the development and expansion of e-commerce platforms, with companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Shopify, creating and expanding online shopping opportunities for people around the world. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter (now known as X), and Instagram have further connected people around the world. Through these platforms, people around the world are now able to communicate easily and share information instantly.

These examples and statistics show how global trade, the presence of multinational companies, and the introduction of new products and services have been integral to the impacts of globalisation.

<h6 class="textbox" font-size:14px>Huntington, an American social scientist, argued that conflicts in the post-Cold War world would be mainly between civilisations with fundamentally different cultures and values. For example, he predicted growing conflict between Western and Islamic civilisations due to their different worldviews on issues such as the role of religion in society. Huntington suggested that with the end of the Cold War, which had divided the world into communist and capitalist camps, conflicts would now arise over cultural and religious differences rather than just ideology and economics. He believed that civilisations would be the new fault lines along which divisions and conflicts would emerge, as fundamental differences in values and social structures between them would be difficult or even impossible to reconcile through compromise or integration. Since its publication, his view has been at the centre of both academic and political debate.</h6>

Globalisation has also profoundly shaped culture and identity. Increased migration and travel between countries have accelerated the exchange of ideas, traditions, and beliefs. This cultural exchange has led<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">grew</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Held, D. et al. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Stanford University Press, 1999.</div></div></span>to more shared experiences and perspectives, blending together local cultural elements with Western consumer culture to create an emerging global culture. However, some<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">argue</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Amin, S. Capitalism in the Age of Globalization: The Management of Contemporary Society. Zed Books Ltd., 1996.</div></div></span>this global culture is defined largely by Western traditions, norms and consumption patterns. The concern is that the diverse local and indigenous cultures may disappear over time through cultural homogenisation and Americanisation. Another pessimistic view of multicultural encounters is that of a "clash of civilisations", as explained by Huntington in his 1996<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">book</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Huntington, S. The Clash of Civilisations and the Making of the New Order.  Penguin, 1997.</div></div></span>of the same name.

Additionally, globalisation has fueled growing economic inequality between nations. While this new interconnected world has generally benefited industrialised countries of the 'Global North' like the United States and Europe, developing countries of the 'Global South' have often been left behind.

However, inequality has also risen within countries, even wealthy ones, as the gains of globalisation have disproportionately affected certain groups.  For example, in the US, urban skilled workers have prospered<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">from trade and outsourcing</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Dicken, P. Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy. Sage Publications, 2019.</div></div></span>while rural unskilled workers and manufacturing communities suffered job losses. As a result of globalisation, the outsourcing of jobs and the import of cheaper goods from developing countries have resulted in the decline of local industries and the loss of jobs in such places.

<h6 class="textbox" font-size:14px>"Global North" and "Global South" are the terms used to refer to a divided world with the economically developed, industrialised countries located in the northern hemisphere (North America, Europe, and parts of Asia) and the less economically developed low-income countries located in the southern hemisphere (Africa, most of Asia, and Latin America). These terms are conceptual: the line between the South and the North has mostly been drawn by Western intellectuals, such as former German chancellor Willy Brandt who famously represented the North-South division with the Brandt Line.</h6>

In addition to economic effects, globalisation has profoundly impacted the environment and health on a global scale. Globalised trade and travel have enabled the quicker spread of diseases across borders, as evidenced by the worldwide spread of HIV or COVID-19. Factors like increased human mobility and transportation of goods have facilitated the transmission of viruses across continents.

At the same time, increased industrial activity, trade, transportation, and consumption contributed to issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and resource depletion. It has been suggested that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">has increased</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. AR5 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2014. 2015.</div></div></span>by about 47% since the pre-industrial era. This increase is primarily due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Average global temperatures are<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">estimated to have risen</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. AR5 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2014. 2015.</div></div></span>by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century due to greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes and transportation. For example, the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation is<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">believed to be responsible for</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>EarthCharts. Climate Change: Causation - Emissions Sources.</div></div></span>about 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. These environmental impacts in turn affect public health.

In summary, globalisation is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that impacts virtually every aspect of our lives. While it has brought about many benefits, such as increased trade and investment and the spread of global culture, it also poses significant challenges, including income inequality, the decline of local industries, environmental issues, and the spread of diseases. Additionally, some view the spread of Western consumer culture under globalisation as detrimental to local traditions and identities.

As globalisation continues to evolve, societies worldwide grapple with balancing its opportunities and costs. There are complex challenges ahead in managing this increasingly interconnected world. Diverse voices across academia, government, business and civil society are exploring different ideas to pull back some of the negative aspects of globalisation while optimising its positive consequences.


The Interconnection of the World: Interdependence, convergence and the ‘death of distance’

Interdependence, convergence, and the "death of distance" encapsulate increasing global interconnectedness. Interdependence means countries and peoples impact each other more through mutual reliance. Convergence points to the global adoption of similar policies and practices. The "death of distance" reflects how technology enables global connections irrespective of location. While bringing opportunities like collaboration, these trends also pose challenges such as cultural homogenization. Overall, these concepts underscore the complex, evolving relationships in our interconnected world.

The Interconnection of the World: Interdependence, convergence and the ‘death of distance’

The Interconnection of the World: Interdependence, convergence and the ‘death of distance’
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Interdependence, convergence and the 'death of distance' are three concepts that encapsulate how the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. These concepts are closely related and describe the changing nature of relationships between nations and individuals.


In the context of globalisation, interdependence is a concept that describes the interconnected and mutually dependent relationships between peoples, communities, regions, and countries in terms of economic, social, and political activities. There is no single universally accepted academic definition of interdependence. However,<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">according to Keohane and Nye</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Keohane, R. O. and Nye, J. S. Power and interdependence: world politics in transition. Harper Collins, 1989.</div></div></span>, ‘Interdependence is a situation in which actors are mutually dependent on one another's actions. It refers to a variety of mechanisms through which the actions of states or other actors mutually influence one another.’ Similarly, Bhagwati<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">used</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Bhagwati, J. N. In defense of globalisation. Oxford University Press, 2004.</div></div></span>the term interdependence, to refer to ‘a variety of mechanisms through which the actions of states or other actors mutually influence one another’.

In the past, countries had more economic independence and were less affected by other nations' actions, although they still interacted through trade and diplomacy. In today's globalised world, countries are far more interdependent. For example, if a major oil-producing country suddenly cuts production, that decision will drive up oil prices worldwide, impacting other countries that rely on importing oil. Similarly, if a large economy like the United States or China devalues its currency, the ripple effects are felt across global markets. No single country can make major decisions in isolation anymore. This growing interdependence has led to a complex web of evolving relationships.


The term 'convergence' refers to the idea that, over time, different regions or countries become more similar in various economic, social or cultural matters. While there is no single definition of convergence, academics have used the term to refer to the narrowing of differences in income, productivity and living standards between countries or regions. Convergence<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">suggests</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Dowrick, S. and DeLong, J. B. Globalization and Convergence. University of Chicago Press, 2003.</div></div></span>that as globalisation progresses, economies and societies tend to adopt similar policies, technologies and practices, leading to increased similarities between nations.

In essence, convergence refers to the process by which different technologies, industries, and markets are becoming increasingly interconnected. This convergence is driven by advances in technology that have enabled people and organisations to connect and collaborate across geographical boundaries easier than ever before. As a result, different industries and markets are growing, and new forms of collaboration are emerging.

Moreover, cultural convergence is a significant aspect of this phenomenon, as ideas, values, and beliefs from various societies intertwine, influenced by global interconnectedness. However, convergence can also be perceived as an assimilation of liberal policies and the Western capitalist model worldwide, raising questions about the preservation of cultural diversity and local traditions. Yet convergence can equally be seen as an assimilation of liberal policies and the Western model of capitalism around the world. International organisations such as the World Trade Organisation and historical milestones such as the Bretton Woods Agreement have helped to create legal frameworks and conditions that have enabled global convergence.

The Death of Distance

The concept of the "death of distance" in relation to globalisation<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">refers</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Cairncross, F. The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Is Changing Our Lives. Harvard Business School Press, 2001.</div></div></span>to the diminishing significance of physical distance in economic and social interactions due to advances in communication and transportation technologies.

The term is used to describe the way in which technology has made it possible for people to connect and communicate across vast distances. As a result, geographical boundaries and physical distance matter less. Thanks to advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), people can connect, collaborate and work together regardless of physical location. This shift was explored by Cairncross in "The Death of Distance" and continues to be examined today.

<h6 class="textbox" font-size:14px>Advances in ICT have led to the creation of what is now termed the ‘information society’.</h6>

The death of distance may also be a profound cause of the cultural convergence we are witnessing. The death of distance is not just about the ease of connection; it's a paradigm shift that challenges traditional notions of nationalism and isolationism.  This move towards cosmopolitanism is thus criticised by some conservative and nationalist voices as not only the death of distance, but also the death of identity. In recent years, this has led to the emergence of radical political theories and a reshaping of the political debate around the concept of identity in many cosmopolitan countries around the world.

Interdependence, convergence, and the death of distance are thus closely related concepts. They all reflect the changing nature of relationships between nations and individuals. The increasing interdependence between different countries and organisations is driving convergence, which in turn is leading to the 'death of distance'. This has profound implications for the way we live and work.

However, while these trends are evident, they are all met with resistance. Convergence and interdependence are often partial, while physical distance remains a reality in some cases. This complexity underscores the importance of viewing globalisation not as an absolute fact but as a process that interacts with various other processes and perspectives. Globalisation advances unevenly. While communication technologies and global markets expand interconnectedness, countervailing forces of nationalism, protectionism, and cultural distinctiveness also arise. The 'death of distance' is not monolithic, as geographic constraints persist based on infrastructure limitations or regulations on virtual activity. Nor is convergence uniformly embraced, as institutions and individuals may resist practices perceived as homogenising.

To conclude, interdependence, convergence, and the 'death of distance' are three concepts that are reshaping the way we live and work. These concepts represent the increasing interconnectedness of our world, and how technology is making it easier for people to connect regardless of where they are located. As we continue to embrace these changes, we can expect to see new forms of collaboration and innovation emerge, and a more interconnected and interdependent world. A major challenge posed by ICTs and globalisation is the need to build a people-centred, inclusive, and sustainable society where everyone can create, access, use and share information and knowledge; and no one is left behind.


Economic and Political Effects of Globalisation

Economically, globalisation has enabled growth through increased trade and investment. However, it has also led to uneven distribution of benefits, job losses in developed nations, and exploitation concerns. Politically, globalisation challenges state sovereignty in multiple ways. But it enables cooperation on global issues, albeit often serving dominant states and corporations. Overall, globalisation's economic and political dimensions are intertwined. While bringing growth, it has also generated inequalities and control challenges. Nations grapple with managing and responding to globalisation's effects. Some promote equitable policies, while others let markets decide.

Economic and Political Effects of Globalisation

Economic and Political Effects of Globalisation

Globalisation is a complex phenomenon that involves the gradual integration of economies, societies, and cultures across national borders. It has been a major force in shaping the world over the past few decades and has had a significant impact on both the economics and politics of the world.

Economic Effects of Globalisation

On the economic front, globalisation has brought about changes in the way businesses operate. The opening of national markets, the liberalisation of trade and the rise of global supply chains have led to increased competition, lower prices and greater efficiency. Countries are now able to specialise in specific goods and services where they hold a comparative advantage, while importing other things from countries that can produce them at a lower cost. This led to an increase in global trade and investment, which has brought economic benefits to many countries. Indeed, global trade allows businesses to access cheaper raw materials and reach more customers in foreign markets. As a result, companies can increase productivity and profits by specialising in what they do best. The rise in international exchanges and business investment opens up economic opportunities and benefits for many countries, allowing them to grow businesses and jobs in their export industries.

However, the benefits of globalisation have not been evenly distributed. Some countries, particularly in the developing world, have struggled to compete with the developed world and have been left behind in the global economy. The rise of multinational and transnational corporations has also led to concerns about the concentration of economic power and the potential for the exploitation of workers and resources.

Indeed, increased global competition has led to job losses and wage stagnation in some industries in developed countries. This is due to the relocation of production to countries where labour costs are lowest. Globalised supply chains have permitted the use of cheap labour in poorer countries. In such places, workers are often subjected to poor conditions and low wages, as in the<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">garment industries</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Fleck, A. The Low Wages of Garment Workers. Statista, 2022.</div></div></span>of Bangladesh or China. Environmental standards can also suffer as countries compete for a place on the market.

Thus, while globalisation has created economic growth, the benefits have not been shared equitably. It has often favoured the accumulation and mobility of capital over worker protection or the environment.

Political Effects of Globalisation

On the political front, globalisation is challenging the traditional role of the nation-state. As national borders become less relevant, governments are finding it increasingly difficult to control the flow of goods, people and ideas across their borders. This has led to concerns about issues such as immigration, national security and the protection of local industries. These concerns have, in turn, contributed to the resurgence of nationalist movements in many countries, where globalisation is seen as undermining national sovereignty and identity.

At the same time, globalisation has also created opportunities for greater cooperation between nations. As countries become more interconnected, they are increasingly recognising the need to work together to address common challenges such as climate change, poverty and terrorism. However, critics argue that this large pooling of resources often reflects and serves the interests of powerful states and corporations, rather than being truly fair cooperation. International institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations have played a role in facilitating cooperation, although some view these institutions as propagating a model of globalisation that favours the dominant capitalist economies and the global North.

To conclude, the economics and politics of globalisation are closely intertwined. While globalisation has brought significant economic benefits, it has also generated challenges and inequalities. Although it has created economic growth and efficiency, it has also led to inequalities, job losses in some sectors and concerns about national sovereignty.

As the world becomes more interconnected, nations grapple with the question of how to manage and respond to the effects of globalisation. Some argue governments should implement policies to reduce its downsides and distribute benefits more equitably. Others contend that market forces should dictate outcomes.

Nationalist forces seek a different path, in which the nation-state assumes greater prominence. International institutions play a role in facilitating cooperation on global issues, though their involvement is sometimes viewed as biased. Globalisation is likely to continue shaping economies, politics and societies worldwide. How states choose to collaborate and compete in this context will have significant implications for the future global order and the well-being of humanity.


Social Effects of Globalisation

Globalisation has had significant social benefits, including the rise of global social media, which facilitates cross-border connections and empowers marginalised voices. However, it also poses challenges such as mental health risks and the spread of misinformation. Migration, another consequence of globalisation, has an impact on social services in host countries, especially during major migration crises. It often leads to strains on resources and potentially negative attitudes towards migrants. While globalisation promotes economic growth and cultural exchange, it also creates job insecurity and cultural homogenisation. Various approaches are proposed to address these challenges.

Social Effects of Globalisation

Social Effects of Globalisation

The Rise of Global Social Media and its Effects on Society

One key effect of globalisation has been the growth and popularity of social media. Globalised social media have enabled people to connect, interact and communicate easily across borders. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (X) offer opportunities for people around the world to share experiences, views, ideas and cultures.  Through social media, numerous online communities have been created based on shared interests. These communities bring together like-minded people who might never have met otherwise. This has fostered cross-cultural understanding and appreciation among people from different parts of the world.

Furthermore, globalised social media have been used to great effect in social and political movements, providing platforms for marginalised voices to be heard. For example, social media have been used to organise protests, demonstrations and political rallies. A key example is the use of social media such as Twitter (X) to mobilise people and spark political change across the Middle East and North Africa in what has become known as the Arab Spring. This began in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly spread to other countries in the region, with the<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">help of social media communication</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Alhindi, W. A., Talha, M. and Sulong, G. B. The Role of Modern Technology in Arab Spring. Archives Des Sciences, 2012.</div></div></span>.

Despite its social benefits, globalised social media has some drawbacks. At an individual level, it poses serious risks to people's well-being. For example, constant and relentless exposure to curated online material can create unrealistic expectations and idealised versions of reality for some people. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and an erosion of self-confidence. Spending too much time on social media can also lead to a loss of productive time for some people. The constant pursuit of likes and followers and excessive craving for validation on social media<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">can affect people's mental health</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>United States Department of Health and Human Services. Social Media and Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory. 2023.</div></div></span>, especially younger generations.

<h6 class="textbox" font-size:14px>Care should be taken not to over-generalise the mental health impact of social media on young people. Research findings on this are mixed. Some studies<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">show negative impacts</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Karim, F. et al. Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 2020.</div></div></span>of social media on mental health, while others<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">show</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Andrews, G. Computer therapy for the anxiety and depression disorders is effective, acceptable and practical health care: An updated meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 2018.</div></div></span>neutral or even positive effects. The effects tend to differ across individuals. Viewing social media as universally bad in terms of well-being may miss some of the complexity.

While excessive social media usage can lead to negative outcomes, social media is also a tool that can be used for positive effects, such as connecting with loved ones, finding support communities, and expressing creativity. Also, social media platforms have facilitated the dissemination of mental health resources and raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health issues.</h6>

Another issue raised by the development of social media is that of misinformation. The rise and spread of misinformation and fake news through social media has the potential to cause damage to society. Globalised social media can be used to manipulate public opinion, sow division, spread hatred and undermine the democratic process. For example, social media platforms have been criticised for their role in perpetuating online harassment, cyberbullying and the spread of hate speech. These can cause significant harm to individuals, leading to emotional distress, depression and even suicide.

Misinformation also has political consequences, as demonstrated by scandals in 2016 such as Russian interference and the illicit use of Cambridge Analytica during the US election. Online propaganda and misinformation also led various European citizens to join the ranks of ISIS during its propaganda campaign on social media and the internet in the 2010s.

It could therefore be argued that the social effects of globalisation have, on the one hand, been positive. This is particularly true in the context of globalised social media, as it has enabled unprecedented connections and empowered marginalised voices, amongst many other benefits. On the other hand, globalised social media pose challenges to individuals and society with regard to mental health issues, the spread of misinformation and harmful or illegal online activities.

Waves of Migration in Today’s Global Order

Another social effect of globalisation is migration. The movement of people across borders, known as international migration, has significant effects on social services in host countries that receive migrants. Some host countries may face challenges in providing adequate healthcare, housing, education, employment and training opportunities for a growing number of migrants. This can exert pressure on existing resources, resulting in longer waiting times and reduced access to services, such as healthcare, for both migrants and the local population.

Accommodating migrant children can put pressure on schools and education systems in certain situations. Indeed, these children often need additional language support and cultural integration programmes.  This can put strains on school resources and potentially affect the quality of education for all children in host nations. Social welfare systems can also be impacted by a growing migrant population, as migrants often need access to social benefits or assistance in finding employment.

All of this can affect the attitudes of local residents towards integration. International migration can evoke a range of responses from the local population. While some people may embrace diversity and multiculturalism, and welcome the contributions of migrants to society, others may oppose migration or be hostile to migrants.

The openness of the world resulting from globalisation can pose new threats to society, especially in areas related to national security and social cohesion. Real or perceived concerns about crime, terrorism and the erosion of national identity can sometimes result in negative attitudes towards migrants. These may lead to a rise in xenophobia, discrimination, social exclusion and polarisation in the host nation, which may impact on migrant communities.

The social effects of international migration vary in different contexts and from country to country. Factors such as economic conditions in host countries, government policies, cultural norms, political stability and level of economic development may influence public attitudes towards migration and its impact on society. Some commentators, such as<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">Bauman</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Bauman, Z. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Columbia University Press, 1998.</div></div></span>, believe that understanding these factors is essential in order to address the impact of migration on host communities. According to him, this is essential to promoting inclusive societies that embrace the benefits of globalisation while mitigating its potential negative consequences.


Over the past few decades, globalisation has profoundly shaped the world by<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">driving</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Rigg, J. Is Globalisation good? Geography Review, 2001.</div></div></span>increased economic growth and cultural exchange while also<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">creating</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Martin, H. and Schumann, H. The Global Trap: Globalization and the Assault on Democracy and Prosperity. Zed Books Ltd., 1997.</div></div></span>new challenges like job insecurity and cultural homogenization.

Globalisation has opened up new markets and opportunities for individuals and businesses. With the rise of global supply chains, individuals are now able to work and do business with people from all over the world. This has led to increased economic growth and job creation, particularly in developing countries. Additionally, globalisation<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">has allowed</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Held, D. et al. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Stanford University Press, 1999.</div></div></span> the spread of ideas and cultures, promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

However, globalisation has also created new risks for individuals. The rise of global competition has led to job insecurity and the displacement of workers, especially in developed countries. Many workers are finding it difficult to compete with cheaper labour from other countries, leading to a decline in wages and job security. Moreover, the pressure to remain competitive globally has prompted some countries to keep regulations and worker protections at low standards, creating a "race to the bottom" that negatively impacts workers. Additionally, globalisation has contributed to a widening income gap between the rich and the poor, leading to social and political unrest in many countries.

Globalisation has also created challenges for society as a whole. The rise of global corporations has fuelled concerns about the concentration of economic power and the potential for exploitation of workers and resources. In addition, the spread of Western culture has led to concerns about cultural homogenisation and the loss of cultural diversity.

To address these challenges, many argue for greater cooperation between individuals, businesses and governments. Some believe that governments should play a role in regulating the effects of globalisation through policies that protect workers and the environment. Others say companies should promote ethical and sustainable practices and invest in the communities in which they operate.

To conclude, globalisation has created both opportunities and challenges for individuals and societies. While globalisation has led to increased economic growth and cultural exchange, it has also created new risks such as job insecurity and cultural homogenisation. Perspectives differ on how to reconcile the benefits of globalisation with its disruptions. Some call for collaborative approaches between stakeholders, while others claim that market forces will naturally balance the effects of globalisation. Other voices argue the solution may be found outside the current global economy framework.


Anti-globalisation Movements

Anti-globalisation movements have emerged in response to perceived negative aspects of globalisation. They have grown largely in opposition to growing economic inequality and the erosion of cultural identity, both perceived consequences of globalisation. Critics argue that globalisation benefits the wealthy few while leaving smaller businesses and developing economies behind. Anti-globalists employ different tactics to change the current economic model of globalisation. The impacts of these movements remain uncertain, and policymakers face the challenge of addressing these concerns while acknowledging the potential benefits of global integration.

Anti-globalisation Movements

Anti-globalisation Movements
Photo: Canva Pro

Anti-globalisation movements, also known as anti-globalist or alter-globalisation movements have emerged in recent years as a response to the perceived negative effects of globalisation. These movements are characterised by their opposition to the increasing interconnectedness of the world, and the economic, social, and cultural changes that have resulted from it.

Anti-globalisation movements are often driven by the perception that globalisation has led to a concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a select few, i.e. multinational corporations, private actors, and billionaires. Some anti-globalisation activists believe that as globalisation has progressed, the rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer. In turn, they argue that the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' has continued to widen because of the spread of global capitalism.

Critics contend that globalisation favours a model of unregulated capitalism that gives an advantage to developed nations and large corporations, at the expense of developing countries and smaller businesses. Because developing economies lack the established assets and institutions to compete on a global scale, they struggle to gain a foothold in global markets. As a result, anti-globalists<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">claim</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Bhagwati, J. N. In defense of globalisation. Oxford University Press, 2004.</div></div></span>that the benefits of trade and development have primarily flowed to wealthy nations and individuals, while poorer regions have been relatively marginalised and excluded from the gains of globalisation. This dynamic, they argue, has exacerbated global inequality and contributed to the perception that globalisation magnifies the privilege of established elites.

International institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">have faced several criticisms</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>World Trade Organization. Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the World Trade Organization? Criticism, yes … misinformation, no!</div></div></span>, not only for having too much influence over global economic policies, but also for their actions that were said to lead to the exploitation of workers and the environment. Some argue international institutions impose policies that primarily serve the agendas of Western nations and open developing markets to exploitation. From this perspective, organisations like the IMF and WTO perpetuate an international status quo that favours established players over emerging economies, acting as instruments of economic “<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">neo-colonialism</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Ziai, A. Neocolonialism in the globalised economy of the 21st century: An overview. Momentum Quarterly, 2020.</div></div></span>”. However, proponents counter that these institutions aim to create rising<span class="span"><span id=hint class="box-source">prosperity</span><div class="popover">Source:<br><br><div>Georgieva, K. and Okonjo-Iweala, N. World Trade Can Still Drive Prosperity. International Monetary Fund, 2023.</div></div></span>for all through an open global marketplace.

Globalisation has also sparked concerns about the loss of national identity and cultural homogenisation. In response, the goals of anti-globalisation movements vary, but they generally focus on promoting national sovereignty and protecting workers' rights. Some of them advocate protectionist policies, such as trade barriers and restrictions on immigration, whereas others focus on building local economies and promoting sustainable practices suited to regional needs.

The tactics used by anti-globalisation movements range from peaceful protests and civil disobedience to violent acts of terrorism. The most notable anti-globalist protests target international organisations deemed to perpetuate economic injustice, such as the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund. Groups such as Reclaim the Streets and the Direct Action Network employ non-violent tactics such as blockades to disrupt high-profile meetings, believing that conventional channels are unresponsive to their concerns. More radical groups have engaged in property destruction and violent clashes with the authorities. More recently, anti-globalisation movements have used social media to organise and mobilise their supporters, as well as to spread their message to a wider audience.

The anti-globalisation movement encompasses a diverse array of ideologies and desired outcomes, ranging from reforming globalisation to rejecting capitalism and consumerism altogether. With no single leader or hierarchy, the movement consists of loose networks and coalitions united primarily in their shared opposition to the current model.

The potential impacts of anti-globalist movements on the world are complex. If they were to achieve their goals, it could lead to a reversal of globalisation and a return to localised economies and national borders. While this seems unlikely, proponents argue that this could strengthen communities and allow for autonomous policies. However, the impacts on traditional cultures are debated. Indeed, some believe localism preserves traditions, while others argue it encourages isolationism and nationalism, conflicting with diversity. Some view localism as reconnecting with local identities, while others see it as sacrificing cultural exchange.

Critics of anti-globalists believe that such a reversal could also have negative consequences for the global economy, as well as for international cooperation on issues such as climate change and global security. Anti-globalists counter these critiques, arguing they could catalyse reforms to unresponsive, illegitimate institutions and find more appropriate and inclusive ways to tackle such issues.

In conclusion, anti-globalisation movements have emerged as a response to the perceived negative effects of globalisation. While anti-globalisation activists have legitimate concerns about the concentration of power and wealth, their tactics and goals are often uneven and divisive. Anti-globalisation movements highlight concerns about globalisation's effects on issues like jobs, culture, and sovereignty. Policymakers and global institutions face debates about how to balance these concerns with the potential benefits of global integration and cooperation.


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Videos & Documentaries

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Teaching ideas and recommendations

1. Globalization: A Brief Overview. International Monetary Fund, 2008.

2. Globalization. National Geographic.

3. What is globalisation and how does it impact us?. FutureLearn, 2022.

4. Effects of Economic Globalization. National Geographic.

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1. Jeffrey Sachs - on globalization, climate change and happiness. Planet A - Talks on Climate Change, 2023.

2. Globalization. Thinking Allowed, 2007.

3. O'Sullivan, M. The end of globalization. TED, 2021.

4. Alfandary, P. The myth of globalisation. TEDx Talks, 2015.

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12. Kis-Katos, K. Globalization and the poor -- a look at the evidence. TEDx Talks, 2014.

13. Krugman, P. and Sachs, J. Globalization, Technological Change, and Inequality. CUNY Graduate Center, 2015.

14. Krugman, P., Gornick, J. and Milanovic, B. Globalization and Inequality. CUNY Graduate Center, 2016.

15. Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump: Joseph Stiglitz on Shared Prosperity Without Protectionism. Democracy Now!, 2017.

16. Trubowitz, P. and Burgoon, B. Anti-globalism and the Future of the Liberal World Order. London School of Economics and Political Science, 2023.

17. Is Globalization Dead?. World Economic Forum, 2022.

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