The concept of globalisation is one that has become widely used in debates in politics, business and the media over the past few years. A decade ago the term globalisation was relatively unknown. Today it seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Globalisation refers to the fact we all increasingly live in one world, so that individuals, groups and nations become interdependent. According to Held, Goldblatt and Perraton “globalisation is an idea whose time has come… yet it (globalisation) lacks precise definition”.
Despite the imprecision of the term “globalisation” the use of the term, according to Held and McGrew, reflects increased interconnectedness in political, economic and cultural matters across the world creating a “shared social space”. Hyperglobalists argue that contemporary globalisation defines a new era in which peoples everywhere are increasingly subject to the disciplines of the global marketplace. Although economic forces are an integral part of globalisation, it would be wrong to suggest that they alone produce it.
Globalisation is created by the coming together of politics, social, cultural and economic factors. It has been driven forward above all by the development of the information and communication technologies that have intensified the speed and scope of interaction between people al over the world. As a simple example, think of the last 2008 Olympics. Because of global television links some of the sports are now watched by millions worldwide. Marx believed direct expressions of underlying economic organisation, quite different types of political order may exist in societies that have similar production systems.
For instance, some societies based on industrial capitalism have had authoritarian political systems (examples are Nazi German and South Africa under apartheid) whole others are much more democratic for example, the United States, Britain or Sweden. The impact of science and technology both influence and are influenced by political and cultural factors scientific and technology development for example helped create modern forms of communication such as radio and television. Radio, television and other electronic media have also come to shape the how we think and feel about the world.
The invention of writing for instance, allowed for the keeping of records, making possible increased control of material resources and development of large scale organisations. The free market does nothing to address re-distribution of wealth. It assumes that wealth will “trickle down” to the poor. The former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, once said “it is our job to glory in inequality and see that talents and abilities are given vent and expression for the benefit of all of us”.