David Held

Whether they really understand it or not, most of people in the world today seem to talk about globalization. One can talk about a random subject yet it is often linked to globalization. What is globalization? Globalization is an idea whose time has come, yet it lacks precise definition. 1 Being such a ubiquitous term, there is no inevitable and clear definition of globalization. It is classified in many definitions, such globalization as a necessary myth,2 globalization as an interconnected world, and globalization as a phenomenon of modern world.

However, in this essay, I tend to refer the term of globalization as a set of processes. There are debates surrounding the idea of globalization. These debates are based on different perspectives thus they have generated different school of thoughts of the globalists, the sceptics, and the transformationalists of which will also be discussed in this essay. Meanwhile, questions about globalization have also been raised. The first and foremost one is: “how should we define globalization? ” There are many definitions classified about globalization, yet the certain term remains a challenged concept that can not be assumed easily.

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This essay is another attempt to find the answer of how we should really define the trend of globalization. To find the most sensible and the simplest definition of it, the idea of globalization in general will be discussed. Globalization, known as the buzzword of the new millennium, covers a wide range of aspects. Thus, with the intention to obtain a lucid picture of it, I limit the subject by only talking about economic, politics, and cultural globalization. Impacts of economic activities in contemporary multi processes are many and cover other aspects in their reconfiguration.

Yet, this essay does not discuss the impact of globalization as the main subject matter. It only discusses in order to get a better image of what globalization is in those three main aspects. Debates surrounding the idea of globalization are also acknowledged and discussed in this essay, particularly in each main aspect to create a better idea of globalization within it. The sceptics’ and globalists’ thesis are most emphasized considering the contrasting perspective between both, while the transformationalists’ thesis is not ignored. Scholte wrote that globalization is a distinctive and significant feature of recent world history.

3 As a phenomenon, globalization covers an extensive range of aspects such as economic, politics, social and cultural. In an uncomplicated means, globalization refers to a shift or transformation in the scale of human organization that links distant communities and expands the reach of power relations across the world’s regions and continents. 4 Inclusively, David Held stated that globalization is fundamentally a spatial phenomenon; it lies on a spectrum with the local and national at one end and the (supranational) regional and global at the other…

It is about the interconnections between different regions of the world – from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the environmental – and the ways in which they change over time. “5 International flows of people, activity and interaction, goods, information and technology, communication, and cooperation indicate the process of globalization. Globalization refers to a set of processes in life that happens naturally as life moves forward, which can not be denied nor be ignored, and as the world becomes more modern and more interconnected.

The modern world often refers to the innovation of information and technology which has been greatly enriched thus it impacts to connecting people in the whole world, in many aspects. For example, the innovation of internet gives us many accesses to gain much information by using a search engine provided by web companies such as Google and Yahoo. In short, globalization can be best understood as a process or set of process rather than a singular condition,6 since it does not happen in a blink of eyes nor does it happen in a certain area in certain short of time.

There are multiple processes of globalization that such processes are unevenly developed over space and time, are complex and often resisted and, are simultaneously social, cultural, political, and economic. 7 Nonetheless, those processes are acknowledged diversely. People often hold radically different definitions of the term globalization. 8 While the popularity of globalization attracts intellectuals, journalists, and political thinkers, perspectives generated are various, and somewhat opposed to each other.

Most of them argue about how globalization should be best-conceptualized. The debate has raised different school of thoughts; they are classified as globalists, sceptics, and transformationalists. 9 Sceptics are those who tend to refuse ‘globalization’ as an accurate idea in defining of those of multiple processes that has happened in today’s world. They rather define it as ‘internationalization’. They criticize this diagnosis as highly exaggerated and as ‘a necessary myth. ’10 Globalists are those who acknowledge those of multiple processes as, indeed, ‘globalization’.

They have also been described as the ‘first wave’, ‘extreme’, ‘strong’ or ‘radical’ thesis. 11 They consider that contemporary globalization is a real and profoundly transformative process12 which will gradually expand further and eventually shape a more globalized world. Transformationalists consider those of multiple processes as globalization and it is a powerful transformative force which is responsible for a ‘massive shake-out’ of societies, economies, institutions of governance, and world order.

13 For them, globalization is emphasized as a long-term historical process of profound change, of which is experienced by states and societies as they try to adapt to a highly uncertain and more interconnected world. Of all these theses, the globalists’ and the sceptics’ are the most contrasting to each other. Their perception on contemporary world has certainly influenced the meaning of the idea ‘globalization’. Nonetheless, we shall look at three aspects in which the multi processes indeed happen thus impact each other.

They would be the economic globalizations, political globalizations. Economic globalization is seems to be the most debated issue since it has not only caused such a vast change in economic field but also in other aspects when the world becomes more borderless. Economic globalization is what happens in the world in which the moving flows of goods, capital, labour, and information and technology seem to easily advance across national boundaries thus it rapidly expands the political and economics interdependence.

In essence, definitions of today’s economic activities within the multiple processes of globalization are similar. Although some would say that, today, fewer activities are oriented towards local – or even national – markets, more and more have meaning only in regional or a global context. 14. Bhagwati wrote that Economic globalization constitutes integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, direct foreign investment (by corporations and multinationals), short-term capital flows, international flows of workers, and humanity generally, and flows of technology.

15 Activities such as the accelerating international flows of goods, capital, people, and services; international free trade and free market; international and or regional organizations, institutions, and cooperations; international trade and finance organizations; and increasing of Multinational Companies (MNCs) across borders – denote the economic globalization. These activities bring benefits for people in some extent, while it also brings suffer. For example, we can find tropical fruits sold in Indoor Market in Birmingham even in winter time because it has been imported as a benefit of the international flows of goods.

There is an International trade and finance organization named as World Trade Organization (WTO) that was formed to liberalize the world market. In the case of regional organization, the European Union (EU) is often referred as a perfect example for this – where closer integration in terms of market and political decisions shows how far transnational relations and institutions can be created in one form. The mobility of MNCs across borders has had impact to economic activity in the contemporary world and is considered to influence nation states’ economic and political policies as well as the society.

For instance, many people in the world today highly use the cellular phone; it has become a vital need with a vital role in order to function daily activities. One of the successful leading companies providing cellular phone is a Japanese brand, Nokia. Brilliantly, this company uses such a slogan that reflects the idea of globalization that is “Connecting People”. Even in a third world country such as Indonesia, Nokia’s cellular phone has become the most commercial brand among the people. The processes of economic globalization have been highly debated by the sceptics and globalists.

From globalistst, Ohmae stated that contemporary globalization defines an era in which peoples everywhere are increasingly subject to the disciplines of the global marketplace, while Hirst and Thompson argued that globalization is essentially a myth which conceals the reality of an international economy segmented into three major regional blocs in which national governments remain very powerful. 16 Hirst and Thompson choose to believe that, rather than a ‘globalized economy’, it is an ‘international economy’. They conceive it as one in which the principal entities are economies. 17

Furthermore, the globalists have proposed the further liberalization of the international economy and deregulation of domestic economies18. What they mean may refer to such international trading regime such as WTO with its purpose to liberalize the international economy. This advocacy has had serious effects in Asia and in emerging financial markets, leading to economic crisis, unemployment, and impoverishment. 19 The South East Asian monetary crisis was as a result of the liberalization since every single member of WTO has to implement the result of agreements although not all nation states have enough capabilities for it.

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