China and Europe during the Middle Ages Essay
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Globalisation is not new, though. For thousands of years, people and, later, corporations have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages. Likewise, for centuries,
People and corporations have invested in enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of globalisation are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by twenty times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from $468 billion to $827 billion. Distinguishing this current wave of globalisation from earlier ones, author Thomas Friedman has said that today globalisation is further, faster, cheaper, and deeper.
The current wave of globalisation has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments have also negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. Taking advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners. A defining feature of globalisation, therefore, is an international industrial and financial business structure.
Technology has been the other principal driver of globalisation. Advances in information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life. Information technologies have given all sorts of individual economic actors consumers, investors, businesses valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities, including faster and more informed analysis of economic trends around the world, easy transfers of assets, and collaboration with far-flung partners.
Globalisation is deeply controversial, however. Proponents of globalisation argue that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living; while opponents of globalisation claim that the creation of an unfettered international free market has benefited multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people. Resistance to globalisation has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a governmental level as people and governments try to manage the flow of capital, labour, goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalisation.
In sum, most distinctive conception sees globalisation as a fundamental transformation of human geography on the eve of the twenty-first century; world affairs have acquired a rapidly growing global dimension alongside the territorial framework of old. Of course – and this point cannot be stressed too much – it is not that territorial space has become wholly irrelevant in contemporary history. We live in a globalising rather than a completely globalised condition. Global spaces of the kind formed through telecommunications, transworld finance, and the like interrelate with territorial spaces, where locality, distance and borders still matter very much. Thus, for example, people have not while acquiring a global imagination discarded their affinities for particular territorial places. Similarly, global marketers have found on countless occasions that they need to tailor their products and promotions to local sensibilities.
Globalisation is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and the governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well being in societies around the world.