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Globalisation is a broad amorphous term, the meaning of which is difficult to pin down (Reich 1998). Generally globalisation refers to the increase of Western economic activity across political, social, technological, cultural and geographic borders (Healy 2004:1). Globalisation has given rise to the integration of international markets; meaning broader trade, investment and capital flows (Healy 2004:40). The points of integration are illustrated in the following map from a Biz/ed presentation of International Economics:

external image globalisationmap_small.gif

There are many comprehensive studies relating to globalisation which attempt to characterise this phenomenon, particularly in respect to its effects on global cultures, environment, communications, business and equity issues (Healy 2004:1). For example, the working papers of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies provide detailed information and commentary regarding other possible definitions and interpretations of globalisation; and Douglas R. Nelson, Professor of Economics in the Murphy Institute and the Department of Economics at Tulane University, maintains a comprehensive list of sources on globalisation.

When and where did globalisation begin?

Globalisation began by degrees since the beginning of human civilisation, though many theorists argue that the dawn of contemporary globalisation evolved in the 18th century when Europeans sought free trade and lands to colonise (Sharp 2008). Hogan argues "the desire for wealth accumulation became paramount as geopolitical discourse intensified" (Hogan 2002:282).

What were the main changes in the world that supported the development of globalisation?

The industrial revolution saw the emergence of Fordism in the United States which became the new socio-economic and capitalistic movement: factory lines, and mass production. Industrialised institutions produced goods through the division of labour with an increase in mechanisation and coordination of large scale manufacturing processes which supported stability throughout the 20th century (Rupert 1999).

Three main changes within the American marketplace created the conditions for Post-Fordism, namely: the emergence of new technologies; universal connections; and "the shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism" (Jessop n.d.). Central to this era was efficiency and profitability based on flexibility within production. From the division of labour, to teams of production utilising computerised machinery, responding to pressures of change in global consumer markets, dramatic changes occurred to the normative patterns of consumption (McIntosh2008).

Developments in transportation and information technology

From ships to 747s, from carrier pigeons to Blackberries: developments in transportation and information technology have increasingly enabled the flow of people, produce and ideas that is globalisation (Scholte2005)

Is globalisation restricted to certain countries?

The poorer the nation, the greater the potential for profitability if work is outsourced there. This has positive and negative impacts on developing countries. Fair trading and access to knowledge through information technology are critical components in helping poor and disadvantaged countries. However, many nations become isolated due to oppressive regimes or cultural barriers, for example Burma in May 2008 where aid was rejected by the military junta after many thousands lost their lives, homes and means of survival after a severe cyclone decimated their country (youtube video S7SOqN02goc ). This demonstrates how some countries resist the influence of the new global order.

Click arrow to see report on Burma:

Areas of Effect of Globalisation

This wiki explores the following dimensions of globalisation: media and communications; the environment; and information technology.

Media & Communication

Media and communication are interdependent, and include topics such as music, books, education, and popular culture. The media is in general terms a compiler and supplier of print images film, sound and news. Communication is the stream in which these packets are delivered to the receiver. With this in mind it is easier to understand the vital role that media and communication plays in globalisation of our world today. On the Media and Communication page Paul James discusses these interdependent topics.


Globalisation has emerged at the same time as worldwide concern in both scientific and non-scientific communities about humanity's various negative effects on the environment. Globalisation creates a unique context in which the unique issue of the global environment finds itself in need of management. On the environment page John Elliot discusses these joint themes.

Internet & Transnational Corporations

Over the last two decades the Internet has united the world via electronic communication technology at a remarkable pace. With the evolution of information technology, humans can economically communicate anywhere on the planet, any time. Due to advancements in services through sophisticated marketing and consumer psychology, large corporations have infiltrated the commercial sphere. These global corporations use this technology to establish business interests in developing countries where attractive incentives, such as cheaper labour and trade agreements, increase shareholder's profits.

Many experts believe globalisation is trade liberalisation. Others believe that ownership is being transferred from individual countries into the hands of transnational corporations. These 'titanic' companies control the global economy by transforming the global structures through power and monetry policies (Healy 2004:35). On the Internet page Margaret Hampton covers these and other issues.

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