Globalization (or globalisation) describes a process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a globe-spanning network of communication and trade
*The term is sometimes used to refer specifically to economic globalization: the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and the spread of technology.
  • However, globalization is usually recognized as being driven by a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural, political, and biological factors.
  • The term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, or popular culture through acculturation.

Since World War II, barriers to international trade have been considerably lowered through international agreements__ GATT. Particular initiatives carried out as a result of GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO), for which GATT is the foundation, have included:

Promotion of free trade:
  • Elimination of tariffs; creation of free trade zones with small or no tariffs
  • Reduced transportation costs, especially resulting from development of containerization for ocean shipping.
  • Reduction or elimination of capital controls
  • Reduction, elimination, or harmonization of subsidies for local businesses
  • Creation of subsidies for global corporations
  • Harmonization of intellectual property laws across the majority of states, with more restrictions
  • Supranational recognition of intellectual property restrictions (e.g. patents granted by China would be recognized in the United States)

This has all contributed to a rise in Trans-National Corporations which help fuel globalization.

Cultural globalization, driven by communication technology and the worldwide marketing of Western cultural industries, was understood at first as a process of homogenization, as the global domination of American culture at the expense of traditional diversity. However, a contrasting trend soon became evident in the emergence of movements protesting against globalization and giving new momentum to the defense of local uniqueness, individuality, and identity, but largely without success.

Cultural effects
Globalization has had an impact on different cultures around the world.
Japanese McDonald's fast food as an evidence of corporate globalization and the integration of the same into different cultures.

"Culture" is defined as patterns of human activity and the symbols that give these activities significance. Culture is what people eat, how they dress, beliefs they hold, and activities they practice. Globalization has joined different cultures and made it into something different. As Erla Zwingle, from the National Geographic article titled "Globalization" states, "When cultures receive outside influences, they ignore some and adopt others, and then almost immediately start to transform them."

One classic culture aspect is food. Someone in America can be eating Japanese noodles for lunch while someone in Sydney, Australia is eating classic Italian meatballs. India is known for its curry and exotic spices. France is known for its cheeses. America is known for its burgers and fries. McDonald's is an American company which is now a global enterprise with 31,000 locations worldwide. This company is just one example of food causing cultural influence on the global scale.

Another common practice brought about by globalization is the usage of Chinese kanji in tattoos. These tattoos are popular with today's youth despite the lack of social acceptance of tattoos in China. Also, there is a lack of comprehension in the meaning of Chinese characters that people get, making this an example of cultural appropriation.

The internet breaks down cultural boundaries across the world by enabling easy, near-instantaneous communication between people anywhere in a variety of digital forms and media. The Internet is associated with the process of cultural globalization because it allows interaction and communication between people with very different lifestyles and from very different cultures. Photo sharing websites allow interaction even where language would otherwise be a barrier.

Globalization has various aspects which affect the world in several different ways such as:

  • Industrial - emergence of worldwide production markets and broader access to a range of foreign products for consumers and companies. Particularly movement of material and goods between and within national boundaries. International trade in manufactured goods increased more than 100 times (from $95 billion to $12 trillion) in the 50 years since 1955. China's trade with Africa rose sevenfold during 2000-07 alone.
  • Financial - emergence of worldwide financial markets and better access to external financing for borrowers. By the early part of the 21st century more than $1.5 trillion in national currencies were traded daily to support the expanded levels of trade and investment.40 As these worldwide structures grew more quickly than any transnational regulatory regime, the instability of the global financial infrastructure dramatically increased, as evidenced by the Financial crisis of 2007–2010.

As of 2005–2007, the Port of Shanghai holds the title as the World's busiest port.

  • Economic - realization of a global common market, based on the freedom of exchange of goods and capital. The interconnectedness of these markets, however, meant that an economic collapse in any one given country could not be contained.

Economic Example: Almost all notable worldwide IT companies are now present in India. Four Indians were among the world's top 10 richest in 2008, worth a combined $160 billion. In 2007, China had 415,000 millionaires and India 123,000.

Migration Example of Globalization Britain is a country of rich diversity. As of 2008, 40% of London's total population was from an ethnic minority group. The latest official figures show that in 2008, 590,000 people arrived to live in the UK whilst 427,000 left, meaning that net inward migration was 163,000.

  • Political - some use "globalization" to mean the creation of a world government which regulates the relationships among governments and guarantees the rights arising from social and economic globalization. (EU, NAFTA, WTO)

Politically, the United States has enjoyed a position of power among the world powers, in part because of its strong and wealthy economy. With the influence of globalization and with the help of The United States’ own economy, the People's Republic of China has experienced some tremendous growth within the past decade. If China continues to grow at the rate projected by the trends, then it is very likely that in the next twenty years, there will be a major reallocation of power among the world leaders. China will have enough wealth, industry, and technology to rival the United States for the position of leading world power.

  • Informational - increase in information flows between geographically remote locations. Arguably this is a technological change with the advent of fibre optic communications, satellites, and increased availability of telephone and Internet.

Language - the most popular language is Mandarin (845 million speakers) followed by Spanish (329 million speakers) and English (328 million speakers).
    • About 35% of the world's mail, telexes, and cables are in English.
    • Approximately 40% of the world's radio programs are in English.
    • About 50% of all Internet traffic uses English.

Note: English is actually the most spoken language in the world but many of those people are people that learned English after learning the language of their native country. Whereas Chinese is the most spoken as a first language and is largely isolated to China or to the Chinese that have migrated.
English is in over 50 differing countries
English words have entered other languages around the world

  • Competition - Survival in the new global business market calls for improved productivity and increased competition. Due to the market becoming worldwide, companies in various industries have to upgrade their products and use technology skillfully in order to face increased competition.

  • Ecological - the advent of global environmental challenges that might be solved with international cooperation, such as climate change, cross-boundary water and air pollution, over-fishing of the ocean, and the spread of invasive species. Since many factories are built in developing countries with less environmental regulation, globalism and free trade may increase pollution. On the other hand, economic development historically required a "dirty" industrial stage, and it is argued that developing countries should not, via regulation, be prohibited from increasing their standard of living.
The construction of continental hotels is a major consequence of globalization process in affiliation with tourism and travel industry, Dariush Grand Hotel, Kish, Iran

  • Agriculture - More and more MDCs get their food from distant places. Plantation crops from LDCs and fruits and veggies from countries like Chile go to America during the winter when they are out of season in the north. Also food comes from ever greater distances hence the new local food movement goes against this as unsustainable.

  • Labor - increasing labor/jobs are divided according to where people live (by region and country). There is increasingly a global division of labor.

  • Cultural - growth of cross-cultural contacts; advent of new categories of consciousness and identities which embodies cultural diffusion, the desire to increase one's standard of living and enjoy foreign products and ideas, adopt new technology and practices, and participate in a "world culture". Some bemoan the resulting consumerism and loss of languages. Also see Transformation of culture.
    • Spreading of multiculturalism, and better individual access to cultural diversity (e.g. through the export of Hollywood and, to a lesser extent, Bollywood movies). Some consider such "imported" culture a danger, since it may supplant the local culture, causing reduction in diversity or even assimilation. Others consider multiculturalism to promote peace and understanding between people. A third position gaining popularity is the notion that multiculturalism to a new form of monoculture in which no distinctions exist and everyone just shift between various lifestyles in terms of music, cloth and other aspects once more firmly attached to a single culture. Thus not mere cultural assimilation as mentioned above but the obliteration of culture as we know it today.
    • Greater international travel and tourism. WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any one time. In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007.
    • Greater immigration, including illegal immigration. The IOM estimates there are more than 200 million migrants around the world today.61 Newly available data show that remittance flows to developing countries reached $328 billion in 2008.
    • Spread of local consumer products (e.g., food) to other countries (often adapted to their culture).
    • Worldwide fads and pop culture such as Pokémon, Sudoku, Numa Numa, Origami, Idol series, YouTube, Orkut, Facebook, and MySpace. Accessible to those who have Internet or Television, leaving out a substantial segment of the Earth's population.
    • Worldwide sporting events such as FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.
    • Incorporation of multinational corporations in to new media. As the sponsors of the All-Blacks rugby team, Adidas had created a parallel website with a downloadable interactive rugby game for its fans to play and compete.
  • Social - development of the system of non-governmental organisations as main agents of global public policy, including humanitarian aid and developmental efforts.
  • Technical
    • Development of a Global Information System, global telecommunications infrastructure and greater transborder data flow, using such technologies as the Internet, communication satellites, submarine fiber optic cable, and wireless telephones
    • Increase in the number of standards applied globally; e.g., copyright laws, patents and world trade agreements.
  • Legal/Ethical
    • The creation of the international criminal court and international justice movements.
    • Crime importation and raising awareness of global crime-fighting efforts and cooperation.
    • The emergence of Global administrative law.
  • Religious
    • The spread and increased interrelations of various religious groups, ideas, and practices and their ideas of the meanings and values of particular spaces.

Negative effects

Brain drain
Opportunities in richer countries drives talent away from poorer countries, leading to brain drains. Brain drain has cost the African continent over $4.1 billion in the employment of 150,000 expatriate professionals annually.

Uneven Development
Effect on Income disparity

A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research at United Nations University reports that the richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000. The three richest people possess more financial assets than the poorest 10% of the world's population, combined. So a country might have a section of very rich people but then have rural poor living off of two dollars a day.

Effect on environmental degradation
Burning forest in Brazil. The removal of forest to make way for cattle ranching was the leading cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon from the mid 1960s. Recently, soybeans have become one of the most important contributors to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.92

The Worldwatch Institute said the booming economies of China and India are planetary powers that are shaping the global biosphere. In 2007, China overtook the United States as the world's biggest producer of CO2. So as LDCs develop, they also pollute more.

Critics of Globalization often argue:

* Poorer countries suffer disadvantages: While it is true that globalization encourages free trade among countries, there are also negative consequences because some countries try to save their national markets. The main export of poorer countries is usually agricultural goods. Larger countries often subsidise their farmers (like the EU Common Agricultural Policy), which lowers the market price for the poor farmer's crops compared to what it would be under free trade.
* Exploitation of foreign impoverished workers: The deterioration of protections for weaker nations by stronger industrialized powers has resulted in the exploitation of the people in those nations to become cheap labor. Due to the lack of protections, companies from powerful industrialized nations are able to offer workers enough salary to entice them to endure extremely long hours and unsafe working conditions, though economists question if consenting workers in a competitive employers' market can be decried as "exploited". It is true that the workers are free to leave their jobs, but in many poorer countries, this would mean starvation for the worker, and possible even his/her family if their previous jobs were unavailable.
* The shift to outsourcing: The low cost of offshore workers have enticed corporations to buy goods and services from foreign countries. The laid off manufacturing sector workers are forced into the service sector where wages and benefits are low, but turnover is high. This has contributed to the deterioration of the middle class which is a major factor in the increasing economic inequality in the United States . Families that were once part of the middle class are forced into lower positions by massive layoffs and outsourcing to another country. This also means that people in the lower class have a much harder time climbing out of poverty because of the absence of the middle class as a stepping stone.
* Weak labor unions: The surplus in cheap labor coupled with an ever growing number of companies in transition has caused a weakening of labor unions in the United States. Unions lose their effectiveness when their membership begins to decline. As a result unions hold less power over corporations that are able to easily replace workers, often for lower wages, and have the option to not offer unionized jobs anymore.
* Increase exploitation of child labor: for example, a country that experiencing increases in labor demand because of globalization and an increase the demand for goods produced by children, will experience greater a demand for child labor. This can be "hazardous" or "exploitive", e.g., quarrying, salvage, cash cropping but also includes the trafficking of children, children in bondage or forced labor, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities. link)