views updated May 17 2018


Thomas W. Zeiler

Globalization became a buzzword following the end of the Cold War, but the phenomenon has long been a factor in the foreign relations of the United States and has deep roots in history. To the extent that it meant the expansion of trade and investments, it can be defined as economic expansion, as in the transition from territorial expansion in the nineteenth century to the increasing internationalization of markets in the twentieth century. In the aftermath of World War II, economic internationalism, or the suggestion of growing interdependence of nations and the development of international institutions, seemed to capture the essence of what more recently has been termed globalization. But such usages are too limited; they do not adequately define a phenomenon that shaped American diplomacy and its constituent elements of economics and culture.


"Globalization" is a fairly new term. Professor Theodore Levitt, a marketing professor at the Harvard Business School, apparently first employed it in a 1983 article in the Harvard Business Review. It is arguable, however, that the basic concept dates to the first humans. Defined broadly, globalization is the process of integrating nations and peoplespolitically, economically, and culturallyinto a larger community. In this broad sense, it is little different from internationalization. Yet globalization is more than this incremental process that over the centuries has brought people and nations closer together as technological innovation dissolved barriers of time and distance, and enhanced flows of information promoted greater awareness and understanding.

The focus, as the term suggests, is not on nations but on the entire globe. Consequently, a more sophisticated definition might emphasize that contemporary globalization is a complex, controversial, and synergistic process in which improvements in technology (especially in communications and transportation) combine with the deregulation of markets and open borders to bring about vastly expanded flows of people, money, goods, services, and information. This process integrates people, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and nations into larger networks. Globalization promotes convergence, harmonization, efficiency, growth, and, perhaps, democratization and homogenization.

Globalization also has a dark side. It produces economic and social dislocations and arouses public concerns over job security; the distribution of economic gains; and the impact of volatility on families, communities, and nations. Many also worry about a growing concentration of economic power; harm to the environment; danger to public health and safety; the disintegration of indigenous cultures; and the loss of sovereignty, accountability, and transparency in government. These, too, are issues that have been topics of concern to American diplomats and foreign policymakers throughout the twentieth century.

There are two principal drivers to globalization: technological innovation and changing ideas about how to organize and regulate economic activity. Rapidly changing technologies for transportation and communications continue to dissolve the barriers of time, distance, and ignorance that once complicated long-range relationships. In the twentieth century some of the most important technological innovations that changed diplomacy were the jet plane, satellite communications, fiber-optic cables, and the Internet. Ideas also shape globalization, particularly the widespread belief that free trade, private enterprise, and competitive markets promote efficiency and economic growth. Another set of ideas also influences the globalization process: the belief among international lawyers that harmonization of standards, rules, and legal systems is the most appropriate way to resolve business conflicts. The impact of technology and ideas are the building blocks of globalization, and have shaped U.S. power, policy, and diplomatic conduct.

The globalization process has other independent drivers. In the history of the modern world, a rising population in less-developed areas frequently has triggered emigration to areas of economic opportunity, and this in turn has frequently produced a stream of remittances to family members who remained behind. Famine and malnourishment, as well as the need for energy and industrial raw materials to support advanced economies, also affect the globalization process, promoting greater flows of materials, food, and goods, and thus enhancing the interdependence of people and economies. Also, two World Wars, a Cold War, and the Great Depression disrupted in significant ways the ongoing globalization process through much of the twentieth century. Finally, leadership is an important element of all human activity. Had the United States, as the world's leading economic and military power in the twentieth century, not committed its public policy to promoting an open, and nondiscriminatory, international economic system, it is quite possible that the globalization process would have taken a different courseperhaps one that gave priority to regional blocs.

In explaining the emergence of globalization, it is almost trite to observe that the underlying forces of technology and economics have transformed the traditional nation-state system and compressed once-formidable barriers of time and space. But postCold War globalization did just that, although the process had roots in the late-nineteenth-century growth of American power. The concept, therefore, requires scholars of foreign relations to leap outside of the normal parameters of the nation-state and political-military affairs and take into account such elements as the flows of goods, services, and money; the increasing international mobility of people (and especially business professionals and skilled workers); the emergence and growth of large corporations that view the world as a single market in which they allocate resources, shift production, and market goods; the expansion of financial, legal, insurance, and information services; and the interconnections of cultures, customs, political processes, and ideas.

Mindful that the concept addresses historical transformations, scholars in political science, economics, linguistics, anthropology, geography, law, art, and film studies help to define the term. Political scientists, economists, and business historians have accurately identified techno-economic globalization as the precursor of other forms of globalization, such as transnational cultural exchanges. That is, the open and expanding market, in a synergistic relationship with technology (including scientific developments), has given rise to concomitant political, institutional, social, intellectual, and diplomatic changes. Economics and technology exert an enduring impact on international relationships, seemingly proceeding on their own separate tracks but not immune from events.

This calls into question the interpretation of economic determinists, for globalization complicates while it also complements Marxism, corporatism, and the like. To be sure, the power of markets associated with money, goods, services, and information facilitates international relationships, but it does so in diverse ways. Wealth is only one of the critical factors propelling the global economy. When viewed from a perspective of globalization, Marxism overemphasizes capitalism's contradictions of overproduction and underconsumption, diverting attention from the impact of economic and business concerns on diplomacy. Corporatists tend to discount the influence of strategic, humanitarian, and idealist considerations in government circles and within the private sector as well, while world systems theorists draw on an international lineup of states rather than global, private-oriented networks.

Traditional approaches to diplomatic history, including post-revisionism, also ignore the globalization construct in that they relegate economics and technology to a second tier in their levels of analysis. Globalization requires attention to nongovernmental actors, including religious and philanthropic organizations, consumer and environmental groups, workers, and unions, along with those active in business and finance. By including these groups, globalization lends an appreciation to the variety of concerns in U.S. foreign relations, from national security to advancing national ideals to humanitarian concerns.

Globalization is also not event or crisis driven, which are common foci for diplomatic historians. Instead, it explores the factors that are significant to diplomacy in the long run. For instance, the dispute between Guatemala and the United Fruit Company that led to the ouster of the government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in 1954 is considered a crisis point in Cold War diplomacy. But just as important is discussion of the efforts of Carl Lindner, owner of United Fruit's successor, Chiquita Brands. He opened Western European markets to exports of Central American bananas by using the power of the purse to reward American politicians of both parties, thus placing his agenda at the cutting edge of U.S. trade diplomacy toward the European Common Market. Diplomatic history can account for such actions, which are often hidden by more traditional approaches, by placing the Guatemala episode and other flash points in the context of the globalized expansion of business and culture.

With its application to the many strands of the historiography of U.S. foreign relations, it is clear that globalization promotes new ways of explaining American diplomacy. And because globalization is a historical phenomenon, scholars and commentators can draw on it as an interpretive device to examine change and continuity across the world at various times. Technology and economics have long colluded with each other, beginning at least with the Industrial Revolution. Yet conquests, trade, slavery, and religious expansion, across the world as it was then known, have occurred farther back than that. The spread of Islam, the Crusades, the Roman Empire, and continuous agricultural revolution all represented the inexorable push of the market and technology that lay at the foundation of globalization. Economic globalization undergirded strife, growth, and interchange within and beyond local boundaries throughout history, but the globalizing economy, through the penetrating impact of technology, has also changed culture and politics. Globalization is of a synthetic quality in that it addresses the factors that comprise American diplomatic history; it helps group priorities in foreign relations and explain them in a coherent way.


The current brand of globalization in American diplomacy can be traced back to the postCivil War era, when internationalization and Americanization emerged in U.S. ideology and expressions of power. From this period to World War I, globalization came under the rubric of Anglo-American control of the transatlantic economy. From about 1850 to 1914 an international economy existed, managed by Great Britain, resting on free trade and open capital markets and reliant on colonies and developing areas as resource bases and on consumers in advanced nations. It was in the midst of this first international industrial economy that the United States rode to world power on the strength of its economic muscle and competed with Europeans, spurred on by production and technological inventions.

This period did not experience the revolutionary form of globalization that characterized the postCold War years, with their highly synchronized and integrated worldwide communications, transportation, and politics. In the earlier era, less production was attributed to foreign operations. Those affected by globalization were mostly of the elite, rather than the masses, in the early twentieth century. In the preWorld War I period, it was clear which nation controlled production, marketing, culture, and the like, while the multitrillion-dollar world market of the 1990s and beyond had no natural owners. The velocity of globalization in the pre-1914 years was immensely slower than at the end of twentieth century, as were the volume and the scope. The years before World War I did not witness the fundamental transformation in the global economy that started in the last century's final two decades.

Evident in the earlier era, however, were improvements in technology and a greater volume of world economic connections that indicated the influence of globalization on American power, diplomacy, and the economy. However, remarkable changes wrought by new business networks were not fully understood by diplomats back then. Some policymakers noted the importance of new technology and economic relationships; the presidents of these times, for instance, became more aware of global economic concerns. That was particularly true of William McKinley, known for the protectionist tariff with his name but actually a far-sighted globalizer. But they could not possibly foresee all of their applications. Movement toward globalization occurred, nascent and incomplete and interrupted by events of the twentieth century though it was. Thus, it is fair to argue that globalization offered, and offers, a new paradigm in which to view not only diplomatic history, but world history as a whole.

By the twentieth century, the United States had begun to replace Britain's colonial and trans-Atlantic systems of free trade and governmentrun transportation and communication networks. The new form of organization was a structured but open economic system of private enterprise and business-friendly public support for access to foreign markets, inventions, immigration, and adherence to international law. Private enterprise could export and produce abroad, the fruits of America's leadership in technology and intellectual property. People and ideas could move easily, facilitating the outward diffusion of America's political ideals and cultural values. America practiced an informal imperialismin which investment and trade accompanied missionaries and, on occasion, the militarythat gradually superseded British industrial and agricultural power.

The early era of globalization, before World War I, was greased by the technological leaps of transportation improvements like the steamship, and by marvels like the Suez and Panama Canals, which sped European and American commerce around the globe. Transatlantic cables, then direct telegraph links to Latin America and connections through British cable to Asia, allowed American investors and merchants to communicate faster abroad, thus expanding their markets. The great expositions of the agein Chicago in 1893, Omaha in 1898, Buffalo in 1901, and St. Louis in 1904, as well as later gatherings in West Coast citiespublicized American achievements and the promise of empire based on progress in technology. Global connections shrunk the world itself.

Globalization was also driven by the emergence of America in the international economy. Capital exports, the plethora of inventions with American trademarks that were sold overseas, and a greater presence in financial markets boosted U.S. power. For instance, one of the most successful exporters was a capital goods firm, the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, whose engines came to symbolize power, speed, and the march of civilization. In 1900 Baldwin exported an average of one engine a day, shipping locomotives to South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Exports soared after its engines gained recognition for their speed and for hauling weight up steep grades. At the turn of the twentieth century, Baldwin locomotives climbed Pikes Peak, hauled the Trans-Siberian Express, roamed the Argentine pampas, and whistled past the Egyptian pyramids. In the British Empire, American firms won contracts for building railroad bridges in Uganda and supplying rails for the construction of Cecil Rhodes's Cape to Cairo Railway, a project intended to develop British trade in Africa. Elsewhere, in the world's breadbaskets, Argentine, Australian, and Russian farmers used U.S. machinery to gather grain. Here were the companies that engaged in the international economy, as well as the privately run globalized market that was outside the realm of states.

Such economic connections promoted cultural ones as well. Thus, early signs of globalization in cultural exchanges were evident in sports (the Olympic Games), marriage, tourism, entertainment (Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show), the temperance movement, missionary work, and philanthropy. Regarding the latter, American-led internationalization in the years before World War I involved magnates like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, who turned to global philanthropy to counteract the label of "robber baron" and to advance their social concerns. Carnegie bequeathed millions to build public libraries in the United States and throughout the British dominions. For his part, Rockefeller established a huge foundation with a global mission to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world. The oil baron personally contributed some $530 million to foundations and his son added another $537 million, which went for medical and scientific research, public health, education, and international exchange programs. The Foundation combated yellow fever and tropical African diseases. In China it established Peking Union Medical College to spread knowledge of medicine and sanitation, conduct research, and support the medical activities of Western missionaries. In addition, Carnegie's associate Henry Phipps in 1908 donated enough money so that Washington, D.C., could host the sixth International Congress on Tuberculosis, a disease that had killed thousands across the world. His contemporary, Darius Ogden Mills, funded an expedition to Chile in 1912 that measured over three hundred of the brightest stars in one-quarter of the sky surrounding the South Pole.

Besides the globalization of science and medicine, the fortunes of Americans were also spent on human rights causes. Jacob Schiff, the famous head of the banking firm Kuhn, Loeb and Company, turned his attention in 1906 to funding the American Jewish Committee, an organization dedicated to alleviating the persecution of Jewry at home and abroad. A host of banking, mining, and export firms, moreover, poured money into relief projects before World War I. For example, the New York Merchants Association raised $8,000 to help the victims of the Valparaiso earthquake of 1906, Guggenheim Sons, W. R. Grace and Company, and others more than matched this amount. In sum, the rich in America transferred some of their wealth to the international stage, in the process moving outside the realm of nations to influence the world economy. This is the essence of globalization.


The period from the end of World War I to 1950 also experienced some elements of globalization as new technology joined expansion in finance, trade, investment, and culture throughout the world. Yet in a major sense this was an era of deglobalization: first, the international economic system malfunctioned or broke down; then, during the Cold War, the world divided along ideological fissures.

World War I accelerated the expansion of U.S. business overseas. American firms were especially successful in replacing dominant British firms in Western Hemisphere and Asian markets. In addition, war requirements created a soaring U.S. demand for raw materials, especially copper, iron, and other key mineral products. Soon American firms, with the help of their government, began scouring the world for essential raw materials. Rubber companies acquired plantations in Sumatra, sugar producers expanded operations in Cuba, and meat packers enlarged their operations in South America. Paper companies opened pulp and papers mills in Canada, while mining companies purchased nitrate, iron, and copper mines in Chile. Oil companies explored China, the Dutch Indies, and other remote regions and invested heavily in unstable Mexico. War needs drove much of this overseas expansion, but American business leaders were not oblivious to long-term opportunities.

President Woodrow Wilson left an enduring mark on U.S. foreign relations, especially in providing American leadership for the postwar economic and financial system. But if he was the father of internationalism, then he also presided over the disruption of globalization. The defeat of the Treaty of Versailles demonstrated the variations in thinking about globalization. Prevailing sentiment was not prepared to abandon nationalism even as the expansive course of global commerce and investment and America's role in the world maintained their momentum. Americans would not fully adopt Wilsonian ideals until after the Cold War. In addition, globalization took a backseat to revolution. Mexico's new constitution under the Carranza government of Venustiano Carranza provided for restrictions on foreign ownership of land and subsoil resources. This meant that American investors would be limited to oil reserves; at the broader level, the clash was between nationalism and international legalism, with the former winning out. In Russia, the Bolshevik government survived a shaky start, including a civil war in which Americans participated, to create a decidedly anti-capitalist regime. At first the Soviet Union promoted globalization of the masses but not capital, lashing out at the imperialist nature of capitalist globalization. Moscow then retreated to building a socialist state under Communist Party control at home. Thus, the world started to split ideologically and politically even as Wilson's vision reached its expressive high point.

Yet many bankers and administration officials still sought outward, long-term solutions to promote peace and prosperity. Because Europe had bought three-fifths of American exports before the war, freer trade was a national interest after World War I. More generally, policymakers embraced internationalism. Understanding that the Great War had caused an explosion in U.S. exports and imports, that suffering farmers could be aided by overseas expansion, and that America held a key role in global finance, Republican administrations of the 1920s did not separate the international from the domestic. They pushed for globalism, albeit a less political brand than Wilson's. Global disarmament indicated one side of Republican engagement in the world. This effort energized citizens, diplomats, and businessmen into even more cooperative, internationalist endeavors during this era than before the war.

Cultural internationalism grew stronger as nations created numerous associations designed to facilitate global ties. An International Office of Museums, and International Congress on Popular Arts, and an International Society for Contemporary Music fostered linkages and understanding. In the United States, political scientists began studying the causes of war and universities offered new courses in various national histories and languages, all a reflection of the need to understand the global context in which America operated. Americans organized hundreds of scholarly discussion groups, such as the Institute of Pacific Relations, a multinational association of journalists, academics, and businessmen based in New York City. The new Guggenheim Foundation funded artistic projects and scholarly research, focusing on Latin American intellectuals. The Institute of International Education funded and directed foreign students to universities throughout the United States. Asians were the main beneficiaries, but increasingly, Latin American and European youth traveled to America to study. In this globalized ethos, Americans believed in peace and prosperity wrought by international contact. The influence of such private activity on foreign policy was extensive, demonstrating that globalization continued to some degree. Disarmament was one arena, regional stabilization and multilateralism another, and arbitration yet another.

Business made global connections in the 1920s. Air transport and travel became a reality under the machinations of Pan American World Airways under the leadership of Juan Trippe. American trade and investment multiplied. Along with the spread of radio, cinema was not only an American phenomenon but a global one as well; people around the world listened and watched the new media and thus developed some common cultural markers. Hollywood stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were known worldwide, for example.

Nonetheless, the onset of the Great Depression and World War II dealt a setback to further globalization. The globalizers of the 1920sthe Republican presidents and bureaucrats, the business and banking establishmentswere ultimately limited by their own ideology and by the powerful concentration of forces that elevated the domestic economy over the international order. The effort at privatizing decisions and policy ultimately grounded itself on the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and imperial trade preferences of the 1930s, which reserved British Empire markets for member states and excluded or discriminated against outsiders such as America. And politics could not be taken out of the economy; businessmen could not be trusted with, nor were they capable of, running the global system of trade and finance. The Republican governments promoted the ideology of technoglobalization but often refused to take responsibility through policies of running the world economy. They were unwilling to make the tough moves that involved political haggling at homeon matters like reducing war debts and tariffs, for instancethat were requisites to continuing their brand of internationalism. This proved especially so when economic times spiraled from prosperity to misfortune during the Great Depression.

Paradoxically, however, as governments turned away from efforts to harmonize and integrate the international economy to cope with domestic distresses, advances in technology continued to erode the barriers of time, distance, and ignorance that separated nations and people. Some of the most significant improvements in air travel and mass communications, particularly the movies and short-wave radio, took place during the 1930s. At a time when dire economic circumstances compelled most government leaders to think local, a few leaders in government and business dared to speak up for closer international economic cooperation. Thus, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., the head of International Business Machines (IBM) and the International Chamber of Commerce, mimicked Secretary of State Cordell Hull in proclaiming that freer international economic relations meant world peace, and that if goods did not cross borders, he feared that armies would.


World War II further threatened Anglo-American-style globalization. The Axis powersa loose coalition of Germany, Italy, and Japanresorted to military force to overthrow the post-Versailles world order and to establish closed, regional systems dominated from Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo. The conflict afforded the United States a second chance to provide leadership and to promote its vision of a peaceful, prosperous, and united world. The Roosevelt administration pressed plans for international rules and institutions that would structure the postWorld War II global economic and political system. In joining technology with national security, the war forged an enduring partnership among business, government, and science. Afterward, the new military-industrial complex would sustain America as an economic and military superpower, develop endless frontiers for scientific discovery, and speed the globalization process.

In effect, scientists and their laboratories, with government funding and direction, contributed in a major way to the success of the war effort, and in the process they developed many new products that had commercial applications which would transform the postwar world. Atomic energy, for instance, had many peaceful applications, particularly as a source of electrical power. The mass production of penicillin transformed the treatment of disease. Also, radar provided the basis for microwave cooking. The first computers appeared during World War II to assist the military with code breaking and long-distance ballistics calculations. ENIAC, one of the first, was a huge machine, occupying 1,800 square feet and using 18,000 bulky vacuum tubes. Not until the development of transistors and the microchips that resulted from them could cheap and reliable computing power be loaded into desktop and portable units. The transistor, which was developed in 1947 and 1948, grew out of wartime research on silicon and germanium at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. The transistor led directly to the technology of the personal computer, which itself spawned the globalized information age in the last third of the twentieth century.

No industry benefited more from wartime cooperation and federal contracts than aviation. At the outbreak of war the Boeing Company of Seattle, renowned for its seaplanes and engineering skills, had fewer than two thousand employees and was on the verge of bankruptcy. From this inauspicious beginning the company flourished on the strength of its bombers (the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Superfortress). Employment rose to nearly forty-five thousand. At the end of the war Boeing, on the strength of its experience and reputation in military aircraft production, turned its attention to the civilian market, using the B-29 as the basis of the luxurious 377 Stratocruiser that Pan American used on Atlantic routes. It contained a spiral staircase and a downstairs bar, but was soon superseded by the four-engine 707 passenger jet, launched in 1954. The latter also had roots in military work to develop a jet tanker and from wind tunnel experiments with jet engines during World War II. Thus, with government assistance, American companies like Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed would come to dominate the rapidly expanding world market for civilian aviation.

Growth was also in order for consumer goods, which were also foundations for later globalization. Robert W. Woodruff, who had taken over the Coca-Cola Company in 1923, aimed to make his beverage an ordinary, everyday item for Americans and people around the world. He built on his foreign operations, particularly in Europe, during World War II by having Coke accompany the military overseas. Soldiers not only identified with Woodruff's product during and after the war but heroes requested itas did an American pilot who crashed in Scotland and asked, upon regaining consciousness, for a Coke. The beverage was so pervasive that the Nazis and Japanese denounced it as a disease of American society. By war's end the company ran sixty-three bottling plants across the globe, on every continent. Its net profits in 1948 soared to $35.6 million, elevating it to near-universal acceptance as the world's beverage of choice.

The Cold War dashed the hopes of internationalists who would have facilitated the globalization of the world economy, but still strides were made toward the technoglobal system, induced particularly by governments working through the United Nations. In these instances, officials instilled international law and arbitration processes in the international economy, yet another foundation of globalization. For instance, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) pushed for global rules to govern the dynamic medium of air transport and travel. The objective was to establish international law, as well as promote order, safety, and efficient development in aviation, although ICAO authority remained limited by national desires to control lucrative commercial air traffic. The ICAO, established on a permanent basis in April 1947, provided the framework for the vast expansion of commercial airspace after World War II. By the late 1960s its 116 member nations connected markets around the world more closely by integrating various technical aspects of airplane transport, such as air navigation codes, as well as by devising a mechanism to resolve civil disputes, promote simpler procedures at borders, and boost Third World development in civil aviationall enhancing globalization through air transport.

The protracted Cold War struggle that divided the world into two spheres of influenceone led from Washington, the other from Moscowprompted national security considerations, rather than invisible market forces, to define international relationships. Governments continued to regulate trade and financial exchanges, despite efforts to lower barriers and promote commerce. But America's technological advantage, adaptable production processes, and access to resources, so decisive in the struggle against Axis aggressors, helped win the conflict. Also, a new generation of U.S. political and corporate leaders, familiar with mistakes made at the end of World War I when the United States shunned overseas responsibilities, chose to accept this second opportunity to guide the world. Furthermore, as it turned out, these internationalists were also better salesmen than Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his heirs, who presided over a decrepit, controlled Soviet economy unable to satisfy basic consumer wants. Aware that a troubled world had an insatiable appetite for American values, goods, and services, U.S. leaders exploited their comparative advantage in communications and marketing to advance the American dream of democracy, mass consumption, and individual enterprise. In the long Cold War, the formula of guns, butter, and liberal ideals eventually proved a winner that spread American values on a global basis. Without America's Marshall Plan, support for Japan, and containment of the Soviet Union, the history of the Cold War might have turned out quite differently, and likewise for the course of globalization. Had the USSR won the Cold War, Soviet-directed expansion would have been far differentfar more capricious, authoritarian, and state-managedthan the American-led alternative based on the rule of law, democratic elections, open markets, and the relentless energy of technology and entrepreneurship. Thus, the era of globalization that began near century's end evolved, ironically, from the deglobalized structure of the Cold War.


The indicators of globalization were present throughout the superpower struggle. Prosperity and peace brought greater individual mobility. Before World War I an average of 1.5 million people arrived annually at U.S. shores, with about half that many departing. Travel lagged until after World War II and then revived. Two million people arrived in 1956, 10 million in 1970. Immigration, which fell to a low of 24,000 in 1943 and stagnated during the Depression and World War II, revived slowly after the war, reaching 327,000 in 1957. The largest numbers of immigrantsmany of them war refugeescontinued to come from Europe, and at this time particularly from Germany. Air travel also took off. Before the 1940s the typical traveler from abroad came by sea; after World War II the traveler arrived by air. On domestic routes the number of revenue passengers rose rapidly from 6.6 million passengers in 1945 to 48.7 million in 1957 and 153.4 million in 1970. On international routes the rise was equally dramatic: from 476,000 in 1945 to 4.5 million in 1957 and 16.3 million in 1970.

Despite Cold War crises and the further regionalization of the world economy, highlighted by the launching of the European Common Market in 1957 (which lured massive American investment), a revolution in critical technologiesincluding transatlantic telephone service, satellite communications, computers, and jet travelaccelerated the globalization process and ushered in a new era of rapid intercontinental travel, instantaneous communications, and economic interdependence. America's humbling experience in Vietnam, dollar woes, and the rise of oil exporting nations in the 1970s did not dampen globalization. Americans still enjoyed the benefits of unprecedented prosperity spurred by technology and economic expansion overseas. They bought new homes equipped with the latest labor-saving appliances, vacationed and studied abroad, and followed breaking news and sporting events abroad on new color television sets receiving signals transmitted via space satellites. Despite domestic political turmoil, technoglobalization continued to press forward, gradually transforming the world of separate nations.

Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian who analyzed the impact of mass media on society, made the metaphor of the "global village" famous in 1962 as a reference to the new electronic interdependence that had recreated the world. At the time, McLuhan was concerned largely with how noninteractive communications like radio and television were homogenizing the world: everyone watched the same sporting events, news, and soap operas. He identified a significant trend. The late 1950s was a period of enormous change as technical developments in aviation, transportation, and communications brought cost reductions and improved service. People, goods, and capital began to move across borders, creating interactive bonds among people and between nations. These flows integrated markets, harmonized tastes, and homogenized cultures.

Some of the most significant advances involved air transportation for people and freight. In 1957, Boeing, having gambled 25 percent of its net worth on development of a long-range passenger jet, launched the 707-120, designed as both a tanker for the air force and a civilian jet. Equipped with long-range Pratt and Whitney J-57 engines, it halved flying time across the Atlantic and opened the era of cheap air travel. The number of passengers departing internationally on scheduled airliners rose 340 percent (from 4.3 million to 18.9 million) from 1957 to 1973 as airlines introduced tourist-class fares. A round-trip flight, New York to London, fell to $487. The arrival of the wide-bodied Boeing 747 in 1969 further expanded capacity and drove down costs. Originally designed as a cargo carrier, it could accommodate two containers side by side that could be transferred to trucks; soon, high-value goods were moving swiftly by jet freighter. It also offered lower operating costs at a time when fuel prices were rising.

Thus, by the early 1970s improvements in air transport made it possible for business to source suppliers and serve markets globally. From 1957 to 1973 the number of revenue ton miles for air cargo on scheduled international flights rose 866 percent from 128.2 billion tons in 1957 to 1.2 trillion ton in 1973. It would be a decade before the full impact of these improvements worked their way through the marketplace. Air service continued to expand rapidly and airfares fell. Charter service grew rapidly on the transatlantic route and fares on scheduled airliners fell below $200 (New York to London) by 1970. Millions of college students read Arthur Frommer's best-seller, Europe on $5 a Day (first published in 1957), put on their backpacks, and set out to see Europe and learn about "foreign affairs." Meanwhile, improved engine design and weight reduction led to longer-range planes. In 1976 Boeing launched the 747 SP, which had the capacity to carry 233 passengers nonstop with full payload between New York and Tokyo. By 1989 Boeing was producing the 747-400; it could carry 412 passengers for up to twenty hours at subsonic speeds.

Along with the arrival of reliable, efficient jet freight in the late 1960s, other important cost-saving developments occurred in maritime shipping, including containerization. In the 1950s longshoremen could typically handle from ten to fifteen tons of cargo per hour. The use of truck-trailer, standard-size containers, brought productivity up to from six hundred to seven hundred tons per hour. This meant faster ship turnaround, better coordination, and lower transportation costs. Beginning in April 1956, when the trucking executive Malcolm McLean first moved loaded trailers between two U.S. port cities on an old World War II tanker, containerization took off. Grace and Matson lines adopted it in 1960 and the rush to containerization peaked in 1969, during the Vietnam War. In addition, the international shipping industry developed specially designed ships for automobiles (the first auto carriers could handle from one thousand to two thousand cars) and LNG (liquified natural gas) tankers after the 1973 war in the Middle East..

Improvements in communications also boosted the globalization process. Until the mid-1950s individuals could not communicate quickly and easily across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. In 1927 commercial telephone service using high-frequency radio opened between New York and London. But this interactive advance was not designed for mass communications. Radio telephones were noisy, unreliable, and costlyforty-five dollars for the first three minutes. September 1956 brought the most significant improvement in communications in over a century when American Telephone and Telegraph opened the first transatlantic telephone cable (TAT-1) by using microwave amplification techniques. The number of transatlantic telephone calls soaredclimbing slowly from 10,000 in 1927 to 250,000 in 1957, and then jumping to 4.3 million in 1961. Soon large corporations such as Ford began using the telephone cable to exchange information and coordinate their over-seas operations from their U.S. headquarters. While telephone cables improved business communications among metropolitan centers, large areas of the world could not take advantage of telephone communications. Starting in the 1980s, satellite communications ended this isolation and made the emerging global village truly interactive.

The arrival of jet planes and transoceanic telephones facilitated business expansion, but so did American scientific leadership. World War II and the early Cold War saw many technological advances, and U.S. firms moved quickly to commercialize products from military research. Between 1945 and 1965 the number of patents granted in America more than doubled, rising from 25,695 to 62,857. Five times as many patents went to U.S. firms as to foreign corporations. As late as 1967 the United States accounted for 69 percent of research and development in major countries. A good illustration was the transformation of IBM, which took its domination into the global marketplace.

The Cold War generated momentum for globalization in other ways, too. National Science Foundation, National Space and Aeronautics Administration, and Defense Department contracts spurred basic research throughout the 1960s, and space research particularly spun off growth in intelligence gathering, electronics and engineering, and weaponry. Laboratories hired thousands of corporate engineers to work on missile and aerospace projects, and clusters of companies and laboratories sprouted up near major academic institutions. The space program's budget steadily increased to $1.2 billion by 1962, and steps were taken to orbit a man around the earth (via the Mercury Project from 1959 to 1962), and eventually to send him to the moon (through the Apollo Project in 1969). These were the precursors to the space shuttle and satellite communications of the 1980s and beyond, which fueled the globalization of information.


From the mid-1970s onward the process of world political and economic decentralization, so essential to globalization, picked up momentum. The technological transformations allowed American and other multinational firms to escape national regulations, and also helped free ordinary people from the boundaries of the nation-state. In addition, the rise of the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil cartel shifted global economic power away from the West. Free exchange rates, unfixed from the gold-dollar standard, gave great flexibility to international investors. American businesses would weather the energy crises and the final phase of the Cold War in different ways. With U.S. tariff barriers continuing to fall and foreign competition surging into the American market, high-cost domestic industries such as steel, autos, and machine tools lost market share to new entrants from abroad. But many bigand medium-sized firms did well in a changing, competitive environment. Firms with leading-edge technologies took advantage of market-opening opportunities to expand abroad. In the era of jet travel and networked business communications, the battle for market share was increasingly fought on a global playing field, involving all of the world's major high-income marketsJapan, Europe, and North America. Companies and nations converged as global markets for standardized consumer products appeared; transnational companies now sold the same reliable, low-priced goods in Brazil as they did in Biafra.

Even as the economic changes occurred, however, and despite the re-ignition of Cold War tensions during the late Carter and early Reagan administrations, ideological shifts occurred that reflected the emerging age of globalization. One was a new international outlook encouraged by better communications, transportation, open borders, deregulation, and the revival of nineteenth-century, laissez-faire liberalism. Business leaders began to think globally and to develop global networks that could exert influence over national political leaders through money and ideas. During the energy crisis of 1973, America's corporate elite reached out to foreign business leaders. Led by Chase Manhattan's David Rockefeller, they formed the multinational Trilateral Commission in 1973, with members from business, politics, law, and academia in America, Western Europe, and Japan. The idea was to facilitate cooperation among resource-rich nations, but outside of government supervision. Similarly, European business leaders began to meet in Davos, Switzerland, in 1982 to develop a common international strategy for European business. This network expanded in the 1980s to include world business and political leaders. In those years it launched the annual World Economic Forum, held every January and bringing together the world's movers and shakers to network, deal, and discuss public policy issues. Similarly in America during the Carter and Reagan years, business lobbying expanded from initial efforts to contain unions to the pursuit of an active agenda of deregulating markets, cutting taxes, and promoting free trade.

The deregulatory business agenda reflected another important paradigm shift that encouraged globalization. The Washington consensus had stressed an active and expansive role for the federal government, but in the 1970s economic thought turned toward a less-regulated marketplace. Under the influence of academic economists Murray Weidenbaum and Milton Friedman, a neoclassical attack on Keynesian interventionism was launched during the Reagan years. It emphasized entrepreneurship, reliance on the Federal Reserve System and monetary policy to manage the economy, tax relief, labor-market competition, deregulation, fluctuating exchange rates, and free trade in goods. In time, this consensus came to include free trade in money, or capital account convertibility.

President Ronald Reagan can be credited with fostering the second era of techno-economic globalization by expounding on the possibilities for freedom, political and economic, under U.S. leadership. He was the first president to push openly for free trade and privatization of government services, and one of the first to appreciate how new technologies of communication were transforming the marketplace and weakening the authority of totalitarian regimes. As he left office the technoglobal revolution was accelerating, bringing major changes to economics and politics, and to culture and society as well. His successors wrestled with the implications of globalization at home and abroad. They initiated new integrative bodies that restructured the global economy, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), institutions that emphasized a rules-based economic system and liberalization of international commerce and that further integrated business processes worldwide. The freer exchanges of goods, capital, and culture inherent in globalization arose from the Cold War's ashes and took America into a new era in which transnational contacts rivaled state power.


The Clinton administration perceived that globalization had the potential to harmonize behavior, customs, and politics and usher in prosperity, development, and democracy. As the world's only superpower, the United States would lead the way toward openness, free access, and political stability. Also, President William Jefferson Clinton's enthusiasm for globalization was not shared by all Americans; many wondered if globalization was both inevitable and desirable. As the new millennium began, the business community seemed united in support of globalization, but among ordinary people there were concerns about jobs, food safety, harm to the environment, sovereignty, cultural homogenization, and the like. Americans were as unsure about the costs and benefits of this second era of globalization as they had been during the first one before World War I.

The Clinton administration veered from postwar history and adopted the universalist, integrative, and democratic posture of globalization. Economics replaced security on the U.S. policy agenda; globalization was the focus. The administration tied free markets to democracy. After the Mexican peso crisis of 1994, the president placed economic diplomacy at the center of foreign policy, supporting the consolidation of market democracy throughout the world, an ideology that put him in stride with global business but at odds with many in his own party who were tied to the traditional big government, workerprotection liberalism of the past.

The outpouring of analyses of globalization grew during the mid-1990s. Scholars, journalists, and politicians focused on the concept and process, but above all, on its influence. The widespread use of the Internet (304 million people in 2000) brought the issue into homes throughout the world. When added to the Clinton administration's oftentimes single-minded purpose of expanding American trade and investments over-seas, the establishment of NAFTA and the WTO, and the soaring rebound of the U.S. economy from a recession early in the 1990s, globalization had a certain cachet among Americans of all political stripes and economic status.

Americans were not the only ones anxious over globalization. In western Europe and many developing countries, globalization was a dirty word, associated in the public mind with American sneakers, blue jeans, burgers, and videos. The French were most skeptical. In one poll, 65 percent said globalization increased the gap between rich and poor; 56 percent thought it threatened national identity. The French Ministry of Culture sought to rally Europeans and to restrict access for Hollywood films and American television programs.

Around the world, defenders of traditional values sought to block the spread of American-style pop culture, but globalization proved a worthy foe. Iranian religious fundamentalists raided homes to confiscate videos and satellite dishes, and in neighboring Afghanistan the Taliban closed movie theaters, burned films, and denied schooling to women. Try as they might, the fundamentalists could not eradicate this powerfully projected alien culture. Their efforts merely benefited smugglers and the flow of contraband. Many discreetly hid satellite dishes to access Western television. The failure of Islamic fundamentalists to stamp out Western influences, like the inability of state-controlled societies in Eastern Europe to block the appeal of Western democracy and consumerism, demonstrated the power of mass communications in the era of satellites and videocassettes. It also underscored the global appeal of American values to the young, the well-educated, and the affluent, an amorphous yet tangible element of U.S. power in the world.

Yet the argument that globalization led to American cultural dominance ignored the appeal of the competition. At the time anti-globalization demonstrators were protesting in Seattle against the WTO in December 1999, children throughout America were gripped by the Japanese fad game Pokemon. Film industries in India and Hong Kong presented competition to Hollywood, and MTV discovered the need to vary its formula in the world's various regional marketsproviding, for example, Chinese music in China and Hindi pop in India. True cultural globalization, not just Americanization, was in effect.

Among the world's cosmopolitan elitebusiness leaders, government officials, academics, and media typesthe requirements of globalization produced a convergence. English became the predominant language of commerce and transnational communications, and business and government leaders wore Western business suits, flew in the same airplanes, stayed in the same hotels, read the same newspapers (the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times ), and communicated with cellular phones and e-mail. The acceptance of American-style globalization reflected the success of U.S. business, the need to play by the rules of the world's largest open market, U.S. leadership in technological innovation and the information revolution, and the attraction of America's universal values. It also reflected the victories over fascism, militarism, and communism during the twentieth century that allowed the Anglo-American powers to establish the United Nations system, design the institutions of international economic and financial collaboration, and press for acceptance of common standards and the rule of law that were so crucial to globalization.

The postCold War era of economic globalization, however, also represented a synergistic dimension in which changes in technology, business strategy, and government policies combined to produce effects far more profound than the sum of incremental steps. The changes hinged on the integration of capital markets, the growing irrelevance of national borders, and the technological leveraging of knowledge and talent worldwide. As the Internet was empowering ordinary people with information, governance of the global system became more segmented in functional supranational institutions run by specialized elites. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the WTO, and the Bank for International Settlements set the rules and handed out sanctions.

Integration and mobility were keys. Production, capital flows, and workers were increasingly integrated into a global marketplace dictated by transnational corporations. In 1970 there were 7,000 transnational corporations; in 2000 the numbers were some 63,000 parents and 690,000 foreign affiliates as well as a large number of interfirm arrangements. Gross product affiliated with the production of transnationals increased faster than global GDP and global exports. The foreign affiliates of transnational corporations employed six million persons and had foreign sales of $2 trillion. Their reach in every aspect of the world economyfrom production to distributiongrew exponentially. In the last half of the twentieth century, international trade accelerated. The world economy grew sixfold in that time, climbing from $6.7 trillion in constant prices to $41.6 trillion in 1998, while global exports of goods rose seventeenfold, from $311 billion to $5.4 trillion. Much of the growth occurred among units of transnational corporations and involved services, which represented one-fifth of total world trade at the end of the century. From 1970 to 2000, the volume of foreign direct investment rose almost fifteenfold; in the latter year it was twice that of 1990. By then, dozens of nations had enacted special laws to attract foreign capital.

Financial globalization, reflecting the integration of equity and bond markets, was another powerful factor driving world economic integration and growth. As in late-nineteenth-century Britain, the upper and middle classes increasingly invested their savings overseas. The assets of U.S.-based international and global mutual funds climbed from $16 billion in 1986 to $321 billion in late 1996. Forty-four million American households held mutual funds, compared to 4.6 million in 1980. Moreover, the velocity of foreign exchange transactions spiraled. In 1973 average daily turnover in foreign exchange markets was $15 billion compared to $60 billion in 1983, $880 billion in 1993; and an estimated $1.5 trillion in 1998. Moreover, in a world of electronically integrated financial markets, money flowed into and out of countries in response to changing market conditions. In 1996 foreign investors put $100 billion into Asia; the next year they withdrew $100 billion.

Technology abetted globalization. World production of technology multiplied six times between 1975 and 1986; international trade in technology soared nine times. Improvements in communications and transportation abetted the process. In 1956, eighty-nine telephone conversations took place simultaneously through the transatlantic telephone cable. By the end of the millennium, about one million conversations occurred simultaneously by satellite and fiber optics. Add in e-mail and faxes and the ease, speed, and volume of communications have been magnified. Between 1955 and 1998, ship tonnage rose sixfold; the unit cost of carrying freight by sea fell 70 percent between 1920 and 1990. The volume of air freight soared from 730 million to 99 billion ton-kilometers. As with shipping, costs fell sharply. Between 1930 and 1990 the average revenue per mile for air transportation dropped from 68 cents to 11 cents (in constant dollars).

Cheaper airfares also enhanced individual mobility. Between 1950 and 1998 international tourist arrivals rose twenty-five-foldfrom 25 million to 635 million. By 2000, two million people crossed a border somewhere in the world every single day. Some of them were political refugees; others simply seeking economic opportunities. At the end of the twentieth century, some 150 million people lived outside the country of their birth. This amounted to 2.5 percent of the world's population, or one in every forty people. Many of them remitted earnings to families and relatives in native countries. From 1970 to 1998, the number of immigrants living in America tripled from 9.6 million to 26.3 million. It is estimated that immigrants from Central America remitted $8 billion a year to their home countries during the last years of the twentieth century. Many of the foreign students who entered the United States for graduate education remain, contributing to the brain drain from developing lands but augmenting the supply of highly trained professionals in America. In 1990 one-third of Silicon Valley's scientists and engineers were foreign born.

Many of the less educated who remained in their homelands, moving from countryside to city, have joined the global economy. Labor became part of a global assembly line; transnationals working for the Nike Company and other multinational firms assembled products from components manufactured in factories throughout the world, while management, administration, and research and development were done at the headquarters. Service jobs in law firms, insurance, and data entry focused on electronic production, which meant that jobs flowed in and out of countries at great speed. Globalization had, simply, changed the world and its business, including the projection of national power and diplomacy.

Along with the globalization of brands like Nike, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Marlboro, the process also benefited sports teams. Michael Jordan's star qualities, as well as the global reach of satellite television, established a worldwide following for the Chicago Bulls. Soccer's Manchester United and baseball's New York Yankees also appealed to extensive audiences. An influx of eastern European players strengthened the international appeal of the National Hockey League. The National Basketball Association's open-door policy to talent attracted forty-five foreign players from twenty-nine countries, and as a result the NBA broadcast in 210 countries and forty-two languages. Major League Baseball, which began opening its season in foreign locations, inaugurated the 2001 season with 854 players, 25 percent of them born outside the United States. As a result of Ichiro Suzuki's success with the Seattle Mariners, the team's home games were televised live in Japan. Thousands of Japanese baseball fans even flew to Seattle to attend home games of a club owned by Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Along with rapid growth and increasing integration of markets, however, the age of globalization produced greater volatility. The Mexican peso crisis of 1994 and the Asian economic crisis of 19971998 underscored the vulnerability of the market-driven globalization system and how quickly strife could spread in a world linked by high-velocity communication, financial, and transportation networks. The Asian economic crisis also showed globalization's impact in the political arena. It aroused concerns about the merits of Western-style, free-market globalization to an extent that street protests, stimulated by the economic downturn, forced Indonesia's dictator of thirty-two years from power while politicians jockeyed for control in Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Malaysia.

Over the preceding decade Wall Street, Washington, and international financial institutions had encouraged emerging economies to deregulate capital markets and open to foreign banks and financial institutions, but countries in Latin America and Asia paid for the deregulatory bonanza. By opening their markets, they made themselves susceptible to pressures from abroad and the international economy, and also lost independence over their fiscal policies. Abrupt changes in one country, region, or the world economy reverberated throughout these poorer nations, causing crises. Yet the bankers and U.S. financial officials blamed the catastrophic consequences on crony capitalism, the lack of transparency and inadequate disclosure of financial data, the absence of independent regulatory authorities, and the inadequacy of accounting standards. They stressed the benefits of liberalization under the process of globalization.

Opposition to the pro-globalization agenda emerged among a disparate alliance of activists concerned about the environment, labor standards, and national sovereignty. In 1992 the first Bush administration had refused to accept the entire Rio de Janeiro Treaty that protected biodiversity of plant and animal species. An argument also erupted over the existence of global warming, which many scientists and environmental groups blamed on the emission of carbon-based gases into the atmosphere. A total of 150 nations, including the United States, signed the Kyoto accord of 1997 that pledged to reduce such global emissions to 5.2 percent below the 1990 level. America would cut its release of carbon-based gases by 7 percent. But President Bill Clinton faced staunch opposition from powerful business interests such as the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers who thought the agreement flawed. The Senate voted 95 to 0 to oppose the protocol if developing countries like China and India were not also required to cut their emissions. As a result, the administration never sent the agreement to Capitol Hill for ratification. The debate over global warming continued into the 2000 election when Democratic candidate Al Gore insisted that America join the Kyoto pact nations and GOP candidate George W. Bush countered that additional studies were needed to better understand the problem. It was clear that, just as with the economy, globalization of environmental concerns might require international intervention. Environmental concerns indicated that there was not a consensus on globalization.

Many people, especially in the labor and environmental movements and within academia, shunned this new globalization system, and argued that globalization undermined stability and prosperity and was leading to the disintegration of national economies and cultures. According to this view, workers had become pawns in transnational corporate agendas, the environment had been deregulated by the free-market rules of the WTO, and financial markets had been so decontrolled that the joint efforts of a handful of individuals could destabilize entire nations (as in Indonesia in 1997). The anti-globalization protesters took to the streets to voice their objections. The WTO ministerial meetings convened in Seattle in December 1999 to plan a new set of world trade negotiations called the Millennium Round, but huge demonstrations shut down the meetings. Seattle turned out not to be an isolated event; there were later demonstrations at gatherings sponsored by the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank, and Davo's World Economic Forum.

There were also optimists who saw the free market and meteoric advances in technology as a great boon or as an irreversible phenomenon that could not be halted. They announced that the world had entered a period of unity (unlike the divisive forty-five-year Cold War) that rewarded flexibility, high technology, and individualism.

Public opinion polls showed Americans divided on such issues as globalization and free trade. In general, those in the middle class and below voiced protectionist sentiments or questioned the fairness of NAFTA and the WTO. Among those warning of the perils of globalization were Pope John Paul II, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and former South African president Nelson Mandela.

As the twenty-first century opened, the globalization revolution continued to roll forward. While the global spread of information, the integration of markets, and the erasure of borders had the potential to promote global peace, prosperity, and the convergence of basic values, there was a dark dimension often ignored by corporate boosters. For one, globalization benefited organized criminals as well as corporations. The turnover of the criminal economy was estimated at about $1 trillion annually. Narcotics accounted for about half, but a trade in people was also lucrative. Gangs moved from four to five million people annually and earned some $7 billion in profits. In the health area, globalization presented a number of challenges. Public health officials worried that increased human mobility enhanced opportunities for microbes. The risks ranged from trade in illegal products and contaminated foodstuffs, divergent safety standards, indiscriminate spread of medical technologies and experimentation, and the sale of prescription drugs without approval of national authorities. With some two million people crossing borders daily, industrialized nations faced threats from emerging infectious diseases, exposure to dangerous substances, and violence such as chemical and bioterrorist attack. Furthermore, the spread of information on the Internet empowered individual terrorists like the Unabomber to exact their own revenge on global society.

Globalization was a phenomenon of the twentieth century, although it was often hidden from view. Its effects on diplomacy were enormous. In the age of instantaneous communication, rapid transport, and volatile markets, it was apparent that complexities of international relationships had moved far beyond the expertise of professional diplomats and foreign ministries. Diplomats and governments no longer served as gatekeepers. In the networked world, individuals, nongovernmental organizations, and officials communicated rapidly and regularly. But while technological innovation and information had networked millions of individuals into a system without central control, it is worth emphasizing that governments helped fund the networking revolution. The U.S. government had supported basic research in high-speed computers, telecommunications, networking, and aviation, all essential to the interconnected world of globalization. Moreover, Washington's commitment to market opening, deregulation, and liberalization of trade and finance provided the policy impetus that led to a variety of international agreements and arrangements promoting an open world order. Thus have diplomacy and techno-economic globalization been linked since the postCivil War era.


Aaronson, Susan Ariel. Taking Trade to the Streets: The Lost History of Public Efforts to Shape Globalization. Ann Arbor, Mich., 2001.

Adler, William M. Mollie's Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line. New York, 2000. By one of the growing number of critics from the labor side.

Anderson, Sarah, and John Kavanagh. Field Guide to the Global Economy. New York, 1999.

Barber, Benjamin R. Jihad vs. MacWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World. New York, 1996. A classic account of the cultural debate over globalization.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalization: The Human Consequences. New York, 1998. Covers the dark side of globalization.

Beck, Ulrich. What Is Globalization? Cambridge, U.K., and Malden, Mass., 2000.

Boli, John, and George M. Thomas. Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations Since 1875. Stanford, Calif., 1999. Explains one of the institutional elements of globalization.

Center for Strategic and International Studies. Reinventing Diplomacy in the Information Age: A Report of the CSIS Advisory Panel on Diplomacy in the Information Age. Washington, D.C., October 9, 1998. Discusses how globalization has changed diplomacy.

Chandler, Alfred D., Jr., and James W. Cortada, eds. A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present. New York, 2000.

Dragsback Schmidt, Johannes, and Jacques Hersh, eds. Globalization and Social Change. London, New York, 2000.

Eckes, Alfred E., Jr., "Backlash Against Globalization?" Global Economic Quarterly 1 (June 2000): 117122.

Everard, Jerry. Virtual States: The Internet and the Boundaries of the Nation State. London and New York, 2000.

Fraser, Jane, and Jeremy Oppenheim. "What's New About Globalization?" The McKinsey Quarterly 2 (1997): 168179. Accessible and informative account of the velocity and scope of late-twentieth-century globalization compared to other eras.

Friedman, Thomas. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York, 1999. A spritely, optimistic analysis.

Giddens, Anthony. Runaway World: How Globalization Is Reshaping Our Lives. New York, 2000.

Gray, John. False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism. New York, 1998. A leading British conservative intellectual criticizes globalization.

Greider, William. One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism. New York, 1997. Anecdotal but in-depth criticism of the business globalization process by a leading progressive.

Held, David, et al. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture. Cambridge, 1999.

Holton, Robert J. Globalization and the Nation-State. London, 1998. For the role of the state and politics.

Jameson, Fredrick, and Masao Miyashi, eds. The Cultures of Globalization. Durham, N.C., 1998. Excellent starting point for understanding the cultural aspects.

LaFeber, Walter. Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism. New York, 1999. A leading diplomatic history revisionist analyzes globalization through the career of a famous sports star.

Lechner, Frank J., and John Boli, eds. The Globalization Reader. Malden, Mass., 2000. Extensive coverage of all aspects of the phenomenon.

Levitt, Theodore. "The Globalization of Markets." Harvard Business Review 61 (MayJune 1983): 111. The article in which the term "globalization" was coined.

Luttwak, Edward. Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy. New York, 1999.

Micklethwait, John, and Adrian Wooldridge. A Future Perfect: The Challenge and the Hidden Promise of Globalization. New York, 2000.

Mittelman, James H. The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance. Princeton, N.J., 2000.

Oloka-Onyango, J., and Deepika Udagama. The Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Globalization and Its Impact on the Full Enjoyment of Human Rights. New York, 2000. A useful United Nationsbased summary, including globalization's noneconomic impact.

O'Rourke, Kevin H., and Jeffrey G. Williamson. Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy. Cambridge, Mass., 1999. One of a handful of historical treatments.

Prakash, Aseem, and Jeffrey A. Hart, ed. Responding to Globalization. London, New York, 2000.

Rodrik, Dani. Has Globalization Gone Too Far? Washington, D.C., 1997. Articulate and thought-provoking early warning about the negative effects of globalization.

Rupert, Mark. Ideologies of Globalization: Contending Visions of a New World Order. London and New York, 2000.

Sassen, Saskia. Globalization and Its Discontents: Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money. New York, 1998.

Soros, George. The Open Society: Reforming of Global Capitalism. New York, 2000. Warnings of impending collapse from a giant of global finance capital.

Tomlinson, John. Globalization and Culture. Chicago, 1999. Highly theoretical treatment of the complex interaction of culture in international society.

Wallach, Lori, and Michell Sforza. The WTO: Five Years of Reasons to Resist Corporate Globalization. New York, 2000. Criticism of the globalization phenomenon from Wallach, one of the protest organizers.

Went, Robert. Globalization: Neoliberal Challenge, Radical Responses. London, 2000. Concise but balanced assessment.

Zachary, G. Pascal. The Global Me: New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive EdgePicking Globalism's Winners and Losers. New York, 2000.

Zeiler, Thomas W., and Alfred E. Eckes, Jr. Globalization and the American Century: A New Historical Paradigm. New York, 2002. First history that addresses the synergistic relationship of globalization and U.S. diplomacy since the late nineteenth century.

See also Cold War Termination; Cultural Imperialism; Cultural Relations and Policies; Economic Policy and Theory; Internationalism; PostCold War Policy .


Defying the label Americanization, the Beatles epitomized globalization. They emerged in the new era of rapid travel and electronic communications, influenced by black rock 'n' roll brought to Liverpool by American sailors and spurred by their initial fan base from nightclubs in Hamburg, West Germany. Beatlemania seized England in 1962, grew in popularity in Australia, and emerged on the Continent. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" broke the Beatles into the lucrative U.S. market in January 1964, the first song by a British artist to top the American charts. The hit spread to the non-English-speaking world. The Fab Four then debuted in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show, playing to a television audience of 73 million people, about 60 percent of total U.S. viewers. Mass global hysteria set in. Between 1963 and 1968, they sold $154 million worth of records and became the first band to sell out sports stadiums worldwide. In 1965 the queen honored them for their contribution to the British foreign trade balance. Two years later, they took part in the first live global satellite broadcast, representing Britain on "Our World," a special originating in eighteen countries on five continents. Wit, cleverness, and aggressive marketing catapulted the Beatles to fame, but they also tapped into the growing cohesion of youth worldwide that attested to the cultural and economic pressures of globalization. Timing the release of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, for maximum exposure, they caused a mini-explosion within the Beatles craze itself, as youth across the planet apparently bought the record and played it in unison. It was a moment of unified pop culture. The Beatles flowed across borders, commercially and culturally, exploiting communications technology and open marketselements of the globalization process.


views updated May 29 2018



Globalization refers to the process of integration across societies and economies. The phenomenon encompasses the flow of products, services, labor, finance, information, and ideas moving across national borders. The frequency and intensity of the flows relate to the upward or downward direction of globalization as a trend.

There is a popular notion that there has been an increase of globalization since the early 1980s. However, a comparison of the period between 1870 and 1914 to the post-World War II era indicates a greater degree of globalization in the earlier part of the century than the latter half. This is true in regards to international trade growth and capital flows, as well as migration of people to America.

If a perspective starts after 1945, globalization is a growing trend with a predominance of global economic

integration that leads to greater interdependence among nations. Between 1990 and 2001, total output of export and import of goods as a proportion of GDP rose from 32.3 percent to 37.9 percent in developed countries and 33.8 percent to 48.9 percent for low- to middle-income countries. From 1990 to 2003, international trade export rose by $3.4 to $7.3 trillion (see Figure 1). This amount continues to grow throughout the 2000s. Hence, the general direction of globalization is growth, but it is often unevenly distributed between wealthier and poorer countries.


A primary economic rationale for globalization is reducing barriers to trade for the enrichment of all societies. The greater good would be served by leveraging comparative advantages for production and trade that are impeded by regulatory barriers between sovereignty entities. In other words, the betterment of societies through free trade for everyone is possible as long as each one has the freedom to produce with a comparative advantage and engage in exchanges with others.

This economic rationale for global integration depends on supporting factors to facilitate the process. The factors include advances in transportation, communication, and technology to provide the necessary conduits for global economic integration. While these factors are necessary, they are not sufficient. Collaboration with political will through international relations is required to leverage the potential of the supporting factors.


Globalization from 1870 to 1914 came to an end with World War I, as various countries pursued isolationism and protectionism agendas through various treatiesthe Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918), the Treaty of Versailles (1918), the Treaty of St. Germain (1919), and the Treaty of Trianon (1920). U.S. trade policiesthe Tariff acts of 1921, 1922, 1924, 1926, and the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs of 1930raised barriers to trade. These events contributed to the implosion of globalization for more than forty years.

Toward the end of World War II, forty-four countries met in an effort to re-establish international trade. The milestone is referred to as Bretton Woods, named after the New Hampshire country inn where the meeting was held. Results of Bretton Woods included the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and subsequently, the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

In 1948, the International Trade Organization (ITO) was established as an agency of the United Nations, with fifty member countries and the Havana Charter to facilitate international trade, but it failed. As a result, GATT rose to fill the void as a channel for multilateral trade negotiations and recognition of Most Favored Nation status that applied the same trading conditions between members that applied to other trading partners with most favored partner standing.

GATT involved a number of different multilateral rounds of trade negotiations to reduce trade barriers and facilitate international trade. In the first round, the twenty-three founding members of GATT agreed to 45,000 tariff concessions affecting 20 percent of international trade worth $10 billion. Many of GATT's trade rules were drawn from the ITO charter. Subsequent trade rounds involved more members and additional issues, but the basic foundation of GATT remained the same.

In the second round, the Kennedy Round of the mid-1960s, the focus continued with tariff reductions.

In the third round, the Tokyo Round (1973 to 1979), 102 countries participated to reform the trading system, resulting in tariffs on manufactured products which were reduced to 4.7 percent from a high of 40 percent at the inception of GATT. Important issues revolved around anti-dumping measures, and subsidies and countervailing measures. The reduction of trade barriers enabled about an average of 8 percent growth of world trade per year in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the fourth round, the Uruguay Round (1986 to 1993), 125 countries participated to develop a more comprehensive system. An increasing importance was placed on globalization and on new, uncharted territories such as intellectual property. Additionally, other areas were discussed for coverage under new regulations, including agricultural and other old world industries (including textiles).

On April 15, 1995, in Marrakesh, Morocco, a deal was signed to create the World Trade Organization (WTO), which replaced GATT with a permanent institution that required a full and enduring commitment. The WTO encompasses trade in goods, services, and intellectual property related to trade with a more efficient dispute settlement system.

The most recent round, formally titled the Doha Development Agenda, began in 2001 in Doha, Qatar. The mission of this round was to give a hand up to impoverished peoples and nations of the world by lowering more trade barriers and strengthening local workers, farmers, and other members of agricultural communities by creating new rules for assisting underdeveloped nations. The overall goal is to create a truly global economy by stimulating all economies everywhere, rather than favoring those that are already thriving in well-developed nations. However, the Doha round has been plagued by deadlock and contention; less-developed nations have accused wealthier nations of protectionist policies, especially regarding national agricultural subsidies and tariffs. Talks to reach an agreement collapsed in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.


The increase of globalization surfaced many complex and controversial issues as economies and societies became more interdependent with greater frequency of interactions between one another. A number of important trends make up globalization, including: (1) location of integration activities; (2) impact upon poorer societies; (3) flow of capital; (4) migration of laborers and labor; (5) diffusion of technology; (6) sustainability of the natural environment; (7) reconfiguration of cultural dynamics; and (8) development of organizational strategies for global competition.

Many authors specialize in exploring each issue with much greater depth. The purpose of reviewing the different trends in this essay is to provide some highlights concerning the interrelated complexities underlying globalization.

Location of integration activities. The extent of globalization unfolds in an uneven fashion to the degree that the question is raised whether international trade is more focused on regional rather than global integration. Trading blocs, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the European Union (EU), the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), Mercosur (South American trading bloc), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), and the East Africa Community (EAC), support regional cooperation between geographical neighbors. According to global economists' forecasts, most of these agreements will eventually work in unison as parts of a larger, more global agreement.

Georgios Chortareas's and Theodore Pelagidis's 2004 research findings on openness and convergence in international trade indicate that intraregional trade increased more than global trade in most situations. They stated that despite the positive international climate resulting from important reductions in transportation costs, the development of new technologies and trade liberalization markets continue to be determined, to a large extent, regionally and nationally

Within NAFTA, intraregional exports rose from 34 percent in the 1980s to more than 56 percent in 2000; exports between Asian country members amounted to 48 percent in 2000; and exports within the EU were sustained at about 62 percent. By 2005, exports from the United States to Mexico had quadrupled, and exports from the United States to Canada doubled. The trend of rapid exports growth continued into 2008.

An example of limitations to fair market access for developing countries is that developed countries subsidize agricultural producers with about $330 billion per year, which creates a significant disadvantage for poorer economies without such subsidies. The impact is exacerbated because 70 percent of the world's poorest population lives in rural communities and depends heavily on agriculture as a staple of survival and economy. Hence, one of the concerns with uneven distribution of globalization is its impact on poorer economies by perpetuating systems of inequality. Opponents of free-trade agreements suggest that in many cases, especially the case of DR-CAFTA, trade agreements can further hinder the progress of the

poor and keep the wealthiest class well moneyed, perpetuating a centuries-old cycle of impoverishment for many.

Impact on poorer societies. A challenge to globalization is that inequality arises from imbalances in trade liberalization, where the rich gain disproportionately more than the poor. Ajit K. Ghose examined the impact of international trade on income inequality and found that inter-country inequality increased from 1981 to 1997, in a sample of 96 national economies, but international inequality measured by per capita GDP declined. The ratio of average income for the wealthiest 20 percent compared to the poorest 20 percent rose from 30 to 74 from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. According to a GDP listing of nations released by the CIA World Factbook from 2008, the per capita difference between the top 10 percent of countries and the remaining 90 percent shows an overall decline in international inequality, but a disparity remains nonetheless.

In 2004 one billion people owned 80 percent of the world's GDP, while another billion survived on one dollar. However, during the same period, when factoring average income that is weighted by population, income inequality dropped by 10 percent. Global income distribution became more equal with other measures such as purchasing power parity or the number of people living in poverty.

The World Development Indicators for 2004 showed a drop in the absolute number of people living on one dollar per day from 1.5 billion in 1981 to 1.1 billion in 2001 with most of the achievements taking place in the East Asia region. Thus, the impact of globalization on inequality is a complex issue depending on the particular measures. More specific examination needs to account for other contributing factors, such as how regionalism increases concentration of trade between countries that are wealthier and leaving poorer countries at or below the margin.

Flow of capital. The flow of capital relates to both regionalism and inequality issues. Two forms of capital flow are foreign direct investments (FDI) made by business firms and investment portfolios, diversified with foreign assets or borrowers seeking foreign funding. Data from the World Bank indicated that FDI grew from an average of $100 billion per year in the 1980s to $370 billion in 1997. Net private capital flow amounts to about $200 billion in 2004. According to OCO Global, the FDI increased by another 5.1 percent in 2007, bringing the global total to $947 billion.

Also, some economies have significant remittance flows from labor migration, which were approximately $100 billion in 2003 and $126 billion in 2004 for 90 developing countries. Some Caribbean countries receive more than 10 percent of their GDP from remittances. While developing countries are the primary recipients of remittances, transaction costs can amount to 10 to 15 percent per transaction. Reducing such obstacles would benefit poorer countries with heavy dependencies on remittances. The flow of money across national borders relates to the migration of both labor and work.

Migration of labor and work. An important dimension of globalization is the migration of people. While the proportion of migration was greater during the earlier mercantilism period, sovereign border controls to a large extent create a filtration process for migration. About 175 million people lived in a different country than their birth country in 2000. They can be separated into three categories: 158 million international migrants, 16 million refugees, and 900,000 asylum seekers.

An important global trend in the future is the movement of labor from developing to developed countries because of the latter's need for labor with an aging population. Family-sponsored migration makes up 45 to 75 percent of international migrants who mainly originate from developing countries to countries in Europe and North America.

Even before 9/11, legal migration of labor needed to overcome substantial bureaucracy in the border control process. The number applying for entry into developed countries often far exceeds the number permitted. Due to extensive legal processes, some migrants enter illegally, while others become illegal with expiration of legal status.

Anti-terrorism measures imposed shortly after the 9/11 attacks resulted in a minor shift in the flow of migrants away from the United States toward other developed countries. With the aging of baby boomers in many developed countries, future globalization of migrant labor flow is receiving more attention, especially in education, health care, retirement funding, and housing.

Although migrant labor often entails the movement of people in search of work, a related globalization trend is the migration of work to different geographical locations. While multinational corporations (MNCs) often seek low-cost labor, innovation advances in computer technology, satellite communication infrastructures, Internet developments, and efficient transportation networks enable companies to distribute work in ways not possible before.

Compression of time and space with Internet technology allows for the distribution of work to take place around the world with global virtual teams. The phenomena of outsourcing and offshoring expand on the earlier sourcing of low-cost manufacturing. During the 1960s

and 1970s MNCs switched to low-wage labor to manufacture products that entailed significant labor costs.

Expansion of MNCs in the 1990s encompassed highly skilled workers, service work, and global virtual teams. Firms started to outsource information technology (IT) functions as early as the 1970s, but a major wave of outsourcing started in 1989 with the shortage of skilled IT workers in developed countries. At the same time, the trend of shifting work around the globe to leverage the different time zones began with the financial industry's ability to shift trading between the various stock exchanges in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and London.

Technological innovations in computers and the Internet enabled other industries, such as software engineering, data transcription, and customer service centers to also shift work around the globe. Higher education and high-skill health care jobs are also embarking on global outsourcing.

In 2001 outsourcing expenditures amounted to $3.7 trillion and approximately $5.1 trillion in 2003. Global outsourcing of just IT services cost nearly $830 billion in 2008 alone. The impact of global outsourcing is not just a relocation of jobs, but also a dampening of employee compensation levels in more developed economies. For example, in 2000, salaries for senior software engineers were as high as $130K, but dropped to about $100K at the end of 2002; and entry-level computer help-desk staff salaries dropped from about $55K to $35K. For IT vendor firms in India, IT engineering jobs offer a salary considered outstanding in India, that is a fraction of the going U.S. rate. The migration of labor and work create complex globalization dynamics in management of people and finances for most firms.

Diffusion of technology. Innovations in telecommunication, information technology, and computing advances all support progression of globalization. In 1995 the World Wide Web had 20 million users, exploded to 400 million by late 2000, and had over 1.4 billion users in 2008. However, the rapid growth and adoption of information technology is not evenly diffused around the world.

The gap between high versus low adoption rates is often referred to as the digital divide. In 2004, over 30 percent of Americans and Europeans had Internet access, while the number for Africa was 1.8 percent. The digital divide reflects other disparities of globalization. Globalization of computer technology also entails a growing trend of computer crimes on an international basis, which requires cross-border collaboration to address. Additional globalization trends related to computer technology include developments in artificial intelligence, high-speed connections such as wireless applications, the use of handheld and mobile devices to access the Internet and e-mail, and integration with biotechnology.

Sustainability of the natural environment. The impacts of globalization on environment sustainability are hotly contested, with major environmental protests held at international economic meetings or prominent multilateral trade forums. In the United Nations 1987 publication Brundtland Report (named for Gro Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway), galvanized international attention on sustainable development was a major concentration. The assumption was that the degradation of the environment in developing countries was due primarily to poverty.

Some advocates of globalization consider free trade to be a solution to alleviate poverty and subsequently, reduce pollution. However, the arguments depend upon corporate social responsibility, managerial knowledge of environmental sustainability, and the level of ignorance in the developing community.

Critics find that often large MNCs have greater financial resources than some developing countries, which can be used to compromise and derail regulatory regimes from protecting the environment. For example, while an MNC may not produce or sell certain environmentally damaging products in a country with tight regulatory controls, they may find their way to markets with fewer environmental regulatory constraintspollution havens. This line of logic leads to the notion of globalization becoming a race to the bottom as countries compete with lowering of environmental standards to attract foreign capital for economic development.

One of the landmarks on environmental globalization is the Kyoto Accord, an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on exchanging limited pollution credits between countries. After lengthy, multilateral, and complex negotiations, the Kyoto Accord was concluded in December 1997, for ratification by national governments. On February 16, 2005, the date for the Kyoto Protocol to take effect, 141 nations ratified the agreement. Even though the United States is the world's largest polluter in volume and per capita output of greenhouse gases, the Bush administration refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord.

Reconfiguration of cultural dynamics. Culture is another area of complex controversies with globalization. Competing perspectives about how globalization affects cultures revolve around the debates of cultural homogenization versus cultural diversification. The optimistic view of cultural globalization is that cultural diversity focuses on freer cultural exchanges with broader choices and enrichment of learning from different traditions. People have greater

choices of globally produced goods, in addition to local offerings, without being bound by their geographic location. Alternatively, critics of cultural globalization present evidence demonstrating the depletion of cultural diversity through processes referred to as Disneyfication or McDonaldization.

Cultural diversity and quality are diminished with mass produced goods being directed toward a common denominator. The criticisms are related to a sense of Americanization of the world, rather than globalization. The process involves a sense of far-reaching, anonymous cultural imperialism. Debates from each perspective are intense with substantial evidence that also reveals complex ties to social and political dynamics within and between national borders.

Cultural globalization continues into the foreseeable future with many more controversial dynamics related to three important issues: 1) the impact of extractive industries on the socio-economic, cultural exclusion and dislocation of indigenous peoples and their traditional knowledge; 2) international trading of cultural goods and knowledge; and 3) inflow of immigration impacts on national culture, which creates a tension between a sense of threat to the national culture and migrant demands for respect to their traditions in a multicultural society.

Development of organizational strategies for global competition. The multiple dynamics of globalizationregionalism, inequality, financial flow, migration of labor and work, technological innovations, environmental sustainability, and cultural dynamicsform a turbulent and complex environment for managing business operations. While seven trends were highlighted to provide a brief sketch of interrelated complexities and controversies globalization, it also surfaced other significant issues.

Global concerns revolve around terrorism, rapid transmission of pandemic diseases and viruses, the rise of China's and India's economies, an aging population in wealthier northern countries versus younger growing populations in the southern hemisphere, and advances in bio-technology. These issues are intricately embedded in the globalization processes.


Globalization entails both opportunities and threats for creating and sustaining competitive strategies. Emerging economies offer resources in terms of labor, as well as expanding market opportunities. However, geopolitical relationships and backlashes from perceptions of cultural imperialism, such as the tensions between the United States and the European Union during the Iraq war create challenges for business operations.

Global managers have a wide range of options to deal with globalization. Organizational strategies for international operations involve two related demandsthe need for local orientation and the need for integration (as shown in Figure 2). Firms with low need for local orientation, but high need for integration require a global strategy that centralizes core operations with minor modifications for local adaptation. However, firms with a need for high local orientation, but low need for integration, require a multinational strategy that decentralizes significant operations to respond to local market conditions. Firms integrating a high need for both local orientation and organizational integration should strive for a transnational strategy.

In addition to selecting a strategy for global competition, managers also need to make decisions regarding the internationalization process. Two processes are important.

First, the development of innovations in a home market as products move along the product life cycle stages. Firms can take products entering into the plateau of a mature stage to new international markets. Often the flow moves from developed to developing countries.

Second, stages of internationalization with foreign entry modes that involve increasing resource commitment and risks. The stage approach to internationalization takes time because it involves licensing and exportation, which can be mired with national and international bureaucracy.

Kenichi Ohmae argued that the speed and complexities of globalization require firms to rethink their internationalization processes because incremental stage models are often too slow. Given the rate and quantity of knowledge within the global business community, firms are likely to face competition in their home markets, with comparable innovations before they are able to establish a foothold in the international marketplace.

The incremental stage models are too slow for competing in an increasingly integrated global economy. Ohmae suggested that firms form global strategic alliances with partners established in three major marketsNorth America, Europe, and Asia, particularly Japan. Development of global competitive intelligence and innovation among partners provides for rapid market development and the establishment of strategic positions in multiple locations.

Basically, globalization into the twenty-first century creates a fundamentally different competitive environment that shifted from incremental internationalization processes to almost simultaneous deployment of innovations. This internationalization process also shifts the work of global managers from managing a field of expatriates to collaborating with strategic partners across national borders, managing global offshore outsourcing vendors in multiple geographical locations and working remotely with telecommuting staff in regions of import and export.

Figure 2 Skill Profile of the Effective Global Manager

  • The ability to envision and implement the strategy of thinking globally while acting locally
  • Being able to manage change and transition
  • Being able to manage cultural diversity
  • The ability to design and function in flexible organizational structures
  • Being able to deal with stress and ambiguity
  • Having the skills required to work with others-especially in team setting
  • Being able to communicate well, and having a command of more than one language
  • Having the ability to learn and transfer knowledge in a organization
  • Entering into trusting alliances and operating with personal integrity and honesty
  • Being able to turn ideas into action
  • Having a stateless perception of the world
  • Being willing to take risks and to experiment

Globalization is the culmination of complex and controversial trends that include a degree of geographical integration, inequalities, financial flows, labor and laborers, technological innovations, environmental sustainability, cultural dynamics, and organizational strategies for global competition. Given a historical perspective, globalization has fluctuated over time and many indicators support a trend of increasing globalization since the 1980s.

The United States is no longer the dominant super-power in the global economy; the rise of both China and India are the most important developments in globalization of the economy since the onset of the twenty-first century. Asia is proving to be a powerful competitor and excellent partner in commerce as economic trends move toward a universal system. The United States and China should not be considered foestheir mutual respect is a major consideration for international business in the future. Global managers have options for strategies and structures, as well as different internationalization processes. In summary, globalization creates a competitive arena as well as a platform for unlikely partnerships where MNCs evolve into global networks, the business model of the modern world.

SEE ALSO International Business; International Management


Agenor, Pierre-Richard. Does Globalization Hurt the Poor? International Economics and Economic Policy 1, no. 1 (2004): 2151.

Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA World Factbook 2008. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2007.

Chortareas, Georgios E., and Theodore Pelagidis. Trade Flows: A Facet of Regionalism or Globalisation? Cambridge Journal of Economics 28, no. 2 (March 2004): 353271.

Clott, Christopher B. Perspectives on Global Outsourcing and the Changing Nature of Work. Business and Society Review 109, no. 2 (2004): 153170.

Corbett, M. Outsourcing's Next Wave. Fortune, 14 June 2002.

Cowan, Tyler. Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World's Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Doyle, Michael W. The Challenge of Worldwide Migration. Journal of International Affairs 57, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 15.

Ghose, Ajit K. Global Inequality and International Trade. Cambridge Journal of Economics 28, no. 2 (March 2004): 229 252.

Global Foreign Direct Investment Grows to Almost $1 Trillion in 2007, 20% Increase in FDI Capital Expenditure in US. Thomson Rueters. (March 2008) Available from:

Johanson, J. and J.E. Vahlne. The Internationalization Process of the Firm: A Model of Knowledge Development and Increasing Foreign Market Commitment. Journal of International Business 8 (1977): 2332.

Keohane, Robert O., and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Globalization: What's New? Foreign Policy, Spring, 104119.

Minyard, Alan D. The World Trade Organization: History, Structure, and Analysis. 1996. Available from:

Neal, Christopher. Global Poverty Down by Half Since 1981 but Progress Uneven as Economic Growth Eludes Many Countries. The World Bank Group, 2004. Available from:

Ohmae, Kenichi. The Borderless World. New York: Harper Business, 1990.

O'Neil, Tim. Globalization: Fads, Fictions, and Facts. Business Economics 39 (January 2004): 1627.

Palvia, Shallendra. Global Outsourcing of IT and IT Enabled Services: Impact on U.S. and Global Economy. Journal of Information Technology Cases and Applications 5, no. 3 (2003): 111.

Pastor, Robert A. Beyond NAFTA: The Emergence and Future of North America North American Politics: Globalization and Culture. Toronto: Broadview Press, forthcoming, 2007.

Simon, David. Dilemmas of Development and the Environment in a Globalizing World: Theory, Policy and Praxis. Progress in Development Studies 3, no. 1 (2003): 541.

United Nations Development Program. Human Development Report, 2004: Cultural Liberties in Today's Diverse World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

United Nations Development Program. Human Development Report, 2001: Making New Technologies Work for Human Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Wolf, Martin. Why Globalization Works. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

World Bank. World Development Report, 2003: Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Brundtland Report: Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.


views updated May 23 2018


Viewed narrowly, globalization is a governmental policy favoring free trade, open borders, the free movement of capital and goods (but not always of people), elimination of tariffs and price controls (including artificial control of currency values), and the privatization of publicly-owned or controlled enterprises. Globalization is also a word used to describe all manner of phenomena associated with such a policyboth positive and negative. In the U.S., the positive consequences of globalization so far have been inexpensive imports and the ability of companies to more easily invest abroad; the negative consequences have been the loss of jobs to off-shored operations and outsourced functions, large trade deficits, and foreign ownership of domestic assets. Globalization is a polarizing issue generally favored by the right in the name of free markets and opposed by the left as a policy that favors "Big Capital" and hence a small corporate elite.


The International Monetary Fund, an organization of 184 countries, suggests in its definition that globalization is something of a natural process. Globalization, according to the IMF, is "a historical process, the result of human innovation and technological progress. It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through trade and financial flows. The term sometimes also refers to the movement of people (labor) and knowledge (technology) across international borders. There are also broader cultural, political and environmental dimensions of globalization."

Trade, of course, is as old as humanity. Anthropologists have traced enormous trade routes that Cro-Magnon man used all across Europe before the dawn of history. Trade over land and by ship became common, the principal trade goods being agricultural products like olives and grains. In pre-industrial times high dependence either on exports or imports tended to lead to war as countries tried either to secure their supplies or their markets. Rome became seriously dependent on grain imports from Egypt and eventually conquered its supplier. The British Empire evolved as a series of steps attempting to protect its far flung trading centers. In modern times oil and gas are the "must have" commodities and are producing wars and tensions. The relevant phrase in the IMF's definition therefore is "increasing integration." Integration implies mutual dependency and therefore the danger of being cut off in times of trouble.

Underlying trade is the uneven distribution of the world's resources. Some people have grain, others have timber. Some can raise animals on plains others can mine metal in mountains. We encounter a formulation of this argument in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (18th century): "If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage." In the 19th century David Ricardo refined this concept and called it "comparative advantage." Ricardo factored in opportunity costs as well as direct costs. In any event, the value underlying free trade is that both sides benefit because of differential advantages.

Trade is the expression of economic power, but a more basic power underlies it: political power expressed as force. Trade-based policies in the past have been balanced by policies of autarky, a word Merriam-Webster defines to mean "national economic self-sufficiency; a policy of establishing independence of imports from other countries." No country is genuinely self-sufficient, but attempts to gain the optimum advantage by a mixture of trade and force tends to be practiced at all times. Thus the U.S. government, for instance, despite a broadly favorable view on globalization, still imposed a tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports in the mid-2000s. The relative power of a country, the relative importance of a commodity, and the relative influence of vital constituencies within that country combine to determine how much a country will rely on trade, how much on force, and in which categories particularly.

A fundamental reason for opposition to globalization arises from its chief feature, integration and therefore mutual dependence. In democratically organized countries political blocks can only hope to influence their own governmentnot that of scores of others. But unreachable foreign governments will influence the local economy. And narrow constituencies that benefit disproportionately from free trade may be able to control the government. The free trade philosophy, based on the vitality of competition, is also opposed by a socialist philosophy, based on the virtue of cooperation.


Globalization is taking place under international treaties to which a majorities of countries are signatories. Traditionally these treaties have been negotiated in so-called "rounds" and have resulted in "agreements." The last "round" was the Uruguay Round in which agreements were signed on April 24, 1994; they went into effect on January 1, 1995, and established the World Trade Organization (WTO). Several other agreements were annexed to the "WTO Agreement;" these include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The first GATT was negotiated and signed in 1947. WTO is now the successor to all of these agreements.

The WTO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and had a membership (as of December 2005) of 145 countries. The organization describes itself as "the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business."

In the mid-2000s the WTO was engaged in the Doha Round of negotiations (based in Doha, Qatar and begun in 2001). The chief aims of the round, strongly backed by the U.S. government, were further liberalization of trade in agricultural goods and services. The future of this round, and thus indirectly of the WTO, was murky at the time of writing (2006) because ratification of the new agreements was widely opposed and not certain to be ratified even by the U.S. Congress.


Within the U.S. government, the institutional body managing trade activities is the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), a 200-person organization that takes the lead in negotiating trade agreements. The legal basis of this governmental element was the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, modified by subsequent trade acts, most recently by the Trade and Development Act of 2000. Official U.S. participation in the globalization movement takes the form of participation in the global agreements that formed the WTO. In addition, the U.S. is a party to three regional agreements and is a promoter of three regional initiatives.

The agreements include APEC (for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, signed in 1989), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement, which became effective in 1994), and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement, which became effective in 2005). CAFTA includes the Dominican Republic and all Central American States except Costa Rica which has thus far not ratified the treaty. The USTR lists CAFTA as a bilateral agreement although it includes a group of nations.

The U.S. is also active in pursuing several free trade initiatives. These include the FTAA Initiative (for Free Trade Area of the Americas, begun 1994), the ASEAN Initiative (for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, begun 2002), and the MEFTA Initiative (for Middle East Free Trade Area, begun 2003). The treatment of CAFTA as a bilateral agreement may be the consequence of difficulties in bringing the FTAA Initiative to an agreement in more than a decade of ministerial meetings.

With CAFTA removed, the U.S. also has 13 bilateral agreements with Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Columbia, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, and the South African Customs Union.

Most Favored Nations

Just to keep things straight, special trade agreements are not the same as the often-mentioned "most-favored-nation" designations. The Library of Congress Research Service provides the following definition for the phrase: "Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), when one country accords another most-favored-nation status, it agrees to extend to that country the same trade concessions, such as lower tariffs or reduced nontariff barriers, that it grants to any other recipient having most-favored-nation status." Each country, therefore, has its own definition of "most favored nation." All those so designated are treated alike. But some countries may be treated more favorably still. In that case they will not bear the "most favored" label. NAFTA members are an example. The phrasing is unfortunate because one is reminded of George Orvell's Animal Farm. Many nations may be "most favored," but some are more favored than others.


The costs and benefits of globalization depend on who you are, where you are, and even on what you are doing at any one point in time. Are you shopping? Working? Looking for work? Do you work for a multinational? For a small business? From the U.S. perspective, globalization has resulted in massive imports of goods available at very attractive prices in major outlets like Wal-Mart. This has helped consumers but has brought hardship on many small-business retailers unable to purchase goods in high quantity in foreign markets at rock-bottom prices. Globalization has not only made it possible to import low-priced goods but also to export well-paid jobs to low-wage regions of the world, thus causing job-losses domestically. Lost jobs may be replaced, but the general consequences of intense competition with lower-paid labor elsewhere is to depress income domestically.

The benefits of lower prices have sent U.S. consumers on a shopping spree. Robert Samuelson reported in Newsweek on this phenomenon, citing Sara Johnson of Global Insight: "From 1996 to 2005," Samuelson wrote, "the United States generated almost 45 percent of global growth in consumer spending That dwarfs the U.S. share of the world economy, [which is] about 20 percent." A consequence of this has been an increase in the U.S. trade deficit from $191 billion in 1996 to $784 billion in 2005. But trade deficits extend unbroken many decades back (to 1971when it was only $4.9 billion), indicating that the U.S. consistently sells less abroad than it buys from others. This, in effect, represents a net loss of U.S. assets to foreign owners. In the case of the U.S., "increased integration" has produced rapidly growing "dependence"which, unless righted by energetic corrective measures, can only be paid for, ultimately, by a decline in the standard of living.

The near term beneficiaries of globalization are consumers. And they need help because their incomes are stagnant or declining. The clearest beneficiaries are the stockholders of big multinational corporations that reap the rewards of greatly increased flexibilities in sourcing labor and raw materials while still retaining the large U.S. market. The somewhat conflicting outcomes of globalization are typically justified by appeals to technological progress: The U.S. can afford to shed jobs and enjoy the benefits of lower prices because the country's prowess in technology and innovation will generate whole new waves of much better employment. Thus goes the argument. But the argument is, to some extent, a "bird-in-the-bush" rather than a "bird-in-the-hand" argument. For this reason energetic public opposition to globalization has emerged. If it finds political resonance, globalization may in time be slowed or curbed.

see also Global Business; Tariffs


"Globalization: Threat or Opportunity?" International Monetary Fund. January 2002. Available from Retrieved on 6 May 2006.

Levine, Robert A. "Globalization's Grave Challenges for the West." International Herald Tribune. 9 May 2006.

Mathema, Cain. "Globalization as Defined in the West." Chronicle (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe). 16 May 2006.

Office of the United States Trade Representative. Official Web Site. Available from Retrieved on 16 May 2006.

Samuelson, Robert. "Will America Pass the Baton? The world is addicted to America's shopping spree. But some experts see emerging markets increasingly driving the world economy." Newsweek. 6 March 2006.

Suranovic, Steven M. "International Trade Theory and Policy Lecture Notes." 20 August 2003. Available from Retrieved on 7 May 2006.

U.S. Library of Congress/Federal Research Division/Country Studies. "Glossary." Available from Retrieved on 16 May 2006.

"US Not Ready to Scale Back WTO Hopes: USTR Nominee." Reuters. 16 May 2006.

World Trade Organization. Official Web Site. Available from Retrieved on 16 May 2006.

                                            Darnay, ECDI


views updated May 21 2018


Globalization refers to the growing interconnectedness in economic, cultural, and political life. The use of the term has increased since the 1980s to reflect the greater ease with which people, products, information, and images move across space and, consequently, the ability of events in one part of the world to more easily affect circumstances in others. Globalization is also linked to the remarkable ascendancy of free-market philosophy and practice worldwide. The nature and extent of these changes is the subject of extensive debate. Central questions surrounding globalization are whether the nation-state can maintain its position as the principal institution of economic and political governance in the face of rapid transnational flows, and the degree to which cultures can remain relatively autonomous.

The Expansion of Global Markets

In uneven but persistent ways, technological developments have tended to reduce the "friction of space" and to link markets in labor, finance, and commodities more closely. Children, as consumers of commodity goods, health-care, and education, and in some cases as producers of commodities, have been acutely affected by what some people term the "shrinking" of the globe.

It is important to note that deepening economic and social integration, captured by the term globalization, is not unprecedented. Mercantilism and the Atlantic slave trade from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century and European colonialism, peaking at the end of the nineteenth, connected vast numbers of people across the globe; by the end of the nineteenth century, for instance, Britain's territory had been enlarged by a factor of forty through colonial plunder. From the mid-1970s, however, there occurred what David Harvey, in The Condition of Postmodernity, describes as a new round of "timespace compression." Intense economic restructuring signaled the collapse of the postWorld War II development model consisting of Keynesian state-intervention and mass-production work methods. Responding to economic crisis, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom in 1979 and President Ronald Reagan in the United States in 1980 began reforms aimed at freeing the power of the market to restore prosperity. Policies emphasized were privatization, cuts to government expenditures, and tax breaks to businesses. At the same time, new forms of communication, especially the personal computer and the Internet, made contact everywhere faster.

In the 1980s some regions in the Third World, under pressure through structural adjustment policies to earn foreign exchange to pay heavy debt, moved from exporting primary commodities, a pattern set by colonialism, towards manufacturing labor-intensive industrial goods for a global production system. Multinationals were central to this process. They became closely linked to globalization not only through aggressive advertisingpromoting global icons such as Nike or Cokebut by relocating labor-intensive industries into the Third World to reduce costs. The other important international institution driving these changes was the World Trade Organization (WTO), which succeeded, with a larger scope, the General Agreement in Trade and Tariffs (GATT) in 1995. The WTO encouraged international trade by promoting reductions in trade tariffs.

The seemingly inexorable expansion of the market, reinforced by the collapse of communism at the end of the 1980s, made alternatives to capitalism appear increasingly unfeasible. Nevertheless, the perceived negative social effects of deregulation elicited a wave of criticism against globalization at the turn of the century. The 1997 East Asian financial crisis, fueled by massive currency speculation, suggested that markets could create not simply prosperity but great vulnerabilities. Moreover, antiglobalization protests at the 1999 Seattle summit of the World Trade Organization and subsequent international meetings focused further attention on the detrimental social effects of globalization.

Child Labor

The growing volume of industrial production in the Third World gave the issue of child labor a high profile from the 1980s. In contrast to similar concerns in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, however, child labor was framed primarily as a global and not simply a national problem. Despite the attention given to children working in export industries such as garments and rugs, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that most child labor in fact takes place in agriculture, domestic service, and the informal sector. Child workers in export industries probably amount to no more than 5 percent of total child labor, although the trend has been toward an increase in this figure. Another, less reported, link between globalization and child labor is through structural adjustment, which often results in cuts to social expenditure and reductions in formal work opportunities. In these circumstances, children's earnings can be used to supplement household incomes, particularly when education becomes unaffordable because of increased fees that result from cuts in education budgets.

These broad trends, however, need to be differentiated regionally and by the type of work that children undertake. Massive debt crisis and political instability largely excluded sub-Saharan Africa from investment in industrial production. China, although exporting large quantities of labor-intensive goods, does not have a significant reported history of child labor. In fact, at least half of all child laborers work in southern Asia and Southeast Asia, with a large amount of bonded labor (labor to pay off debts) reported in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Thailand. Child labor can also encompass child soldiers as well as the survival activities of street children. The term street children refers to children whose usual home is the street even if they may still have relatives. According to Human Rights Watch, they are frequently subjected to physical abuse by police or criminally charged with offenses such as loitering, vagrancy, or petty theft. In some countries, participation in wars can offer children respect and material benefits. An estimated 300,000 children under the age of eighteen are involved in conflicts worldwide.

A related set of literature suggests that children's bodies have themselves increasingly become global commodities. According to Michelle Kuo, approximately 60 percent of Thailand's tourists visit solely to engage in sexual activities, including those with children. To keep the Thai sex trade "respectable" for international participants, those prostitutes found to be HIV positive are evicted to lower-class brothels, and younger children are recruited from Burma and China to replace them: the younger they are, the less likely they are thought to be infected with HIV. Similarly, Nancy Scheper-Hughes links economic globalism to an expanding trade in body organs, including those from children. Desperately poor individuals in Brazil, China, India, and other countries are forced to sell body parts in order to survive. Like sexual services, these organs follow a path from poor to rich, often from the Third World to the First World.

Global Child Standards

Clearly globalization, despite suggesting a process of homogenization, produces highly uneven patterns of development. A countervailing force against growing divergences is the institutionalization of global human rights standards for children. This is evidenced by the 1989 UN Conventionon the Rights of the Child (ratified by all but two countries: Somalia and the United States), and the ILO's 1999 Convention 182 that seeks to end the "worst forms" of child labor, such as debt bondage, the trafficking or sale of children, child prostitution, or work harmful to the health of children. Efforts to promote children's rights are also assisted by campaigns that stretch across nations. In 1996, for instance, trade unions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launched the "foul-ball" campaign that successfully forced the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) to refuse to endorse soccer balls sewn by children. Particularly in the wake of antiglobalization protests in Seattle, transnational NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have become key sources of information on issues such as child labor and child soldiers. They have been among the quickest organizations to embrace the Internet which, through listservs (forums for quickly exchanging information by e-mail among a large group of people), is used to coordinate global campaigning strategies regardless of the physical location of members. At the touch of a button, global activists can now be in almost continuous contact.

Global Identities

Whereas classic anthropology represented culture as being static and bounded, the framework of cultural globalization stresses how culture is produced through widening and deepening interconnections. Between 1980 and 1991, the global trade in goods with cultural contentsuch as printed matter, literature, music, visual arts, cinema, and photographyalmost tripled. Worldwide, parents face intense pressure from their children to buy goods with global brand names. Although global icons are, in fact, typically produced in the United States, new global styles such as world music also celebrate cultures from outside of the dominant regions. With dramatic telecommunication advances, images are projected almost instantly around the world, expanding the geography through which childhood is constructed and experienced. In recognizing that identity is formed through more widely stretched interconnections, work on youth has moved away from long-established frameworks of subculture or deviance to show how the local, national, and global are intermeshed to produce children's identities. Icons such as Madonna, Britney Spears, and the Spice Girls, and technologies such as the Internet are the most potent symbols of these processes. Concerned about this globalization of consumption, however, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are among groups actively engaged in research and interventions that promote more sustainable consumption behavior among youth.

See also: Child Labor in Developing Countries; Consumer Culture; International Organizations; Juvenile Justice: International; Soldier Children: Global Human Rights Issues.


Gereffi, Gary. 1995. "Global Production Systems and Third World Development." In Global Change, Regional Response: The New International Context of Development, ed. Barbara Stallings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Griffin, Christine. 2001. "Imagining New Narratives of Youth: Youth Research, the 'New Europe' and Global Culture." Childhood 8, no. 2: 147166.

Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Held, David, Anthony Mcgrew, David Goldblatt, et al. 1999. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.

Hirst, Paul, and Grahame Thompson. 1996. Globalization in Question: The International Economy and the Possibilities of Governance. Oxford: Blackwell.

Kuo, Michelle. 2000. "Asia's Dirty Secret." Harvard International Review 22, no. 2: 4245.

Myers, William E. 1999. "Considering Child Labour: Changing Terms, Issues, and Actors at the International Level." Childhood 6, no. 1: 1326.

Ohmae, Kenichi. 1990. The Borderless World: Power and Strategy in the Interlinked Economy. London: Collins.

Polanyi, Karl. 2001 [1944]. The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2000. "The Global Traffic in Human Organs." Current Anthropology 41, no. 2: 191224.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Carolyn Sargent. 1998. Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Seabrook, Jeremy. 1998. "Children of the Market: Effect of Globalization on Lives of Children." Race and Class 39, no. 4: 3749.

Skelton, Tracey, and Gill Valentine. 1998. Cool Places: Geographies of Youth Culture. London: Routledge.

United National Development Program. 1999. Human Development Report. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weissman, Robert. 1997. "Stolen Youth: Brutalized Children, Globalization, and the Campaign to End Child Labor." Multinational Monitor 18, nos. 12: 1017.

internet resources

Global March. 2002. Available from <>.

Human Rights Watch. 2001. Available from <>.

International Labour Organization. 2002. Available from <>.

UNICEF. 2003. Available from <>.

Mark Hunter


views updated May 29 2018


Globalization has been used to explain the increasing degree of international economic integration that emerged as a feature of many industries during the late twentieth century. In the tobacco industry, however, the origins of globalization can be found unusually early. Indeed, by the closing years of the nineteenth century, tobacco goods were already being manufactured and marketed by firms whose operations spanned a variety of countries. One tobacco product in particular was responsible for this early example of successful international economic integration: the machine-made cigarette. By the year 2000, over 80 percent of all tobacco grown in the world was destined to be consumed in cigarettes, the majority of which were produced by just three leading multinational corporations: Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco.

A Product with Global Potential

Mass-produced hand-rolled cigarettes first began to emerge as a significant form of tobacco consumption in the United States after the American Civil War (1861–1865). Using the flue-cured Bright tobacco leaf grown in Virginia, tobacco firms experimented with different blends of leaf that could be smoked in the form of a cigarette. Targeting the more affluent and sophisticated urban consumers, these relatively expensive hand-produced items became an important aspect of the development of branded products that symbolized the beginning of the era of mass-produced consumer goods. What might be considered as the first modern American cigarette was launched by the New York firm of F. S. Kinney in 1872 when it marketed the brand Sweet Caporal using a blend of flue-cured Virginian and Turkish leaf. Following Kinney's lead, other firms, such as the Virginia-based enterprise of Allen & Ginter, developed brands that replaced the costly imported Turkish leaf with flavored Burley tobacco grown in Kentucky to produce an all-American blend. To promote its brands, Allen & Ginter packaged its products with picture cards as an innovative marketing technique.

By 1880 sales of cigarettes in the United States had reached 500 million per year, and both Kinney and Allen & Ginter had begun to seek out export markets for their products. In Britain, where a small trade in the hand-rolled items had been developed by firms such as W. D. & H. O. Wills of Bristol, imported American cigarettes became a fashionable item of consumption, although the Customs authorities frowned on the adulterated products that contained flavored tobacco and, as a result, British consumers developed a taste for pure Virginia leaf cigarettes rather than the American blended version. In many other countries of Europe, the production of tobacco goods was controlled by a state monopoly, and this situation meant that in France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, for example, consumers were offered little choice of manufacturers' brands.

Although hand-rolled cigarettes grew in popularity, the continued expansion of output required the employment and supervision of an increasingly large female workforce and allowed few gains in productivity because the cost of labor accounted for around 90 percent of the total. The globalization of the cigarette industry thus only began in earnest following the mechanization of the production process. Of the various attempts that were made to produce a machine to manufacture cigarettes, the most reliable was developed by an American engineer named James A. Bonsack. His invention was capable of producing 200 cigarettes per minute, equivalent to the combined output of around forty to fifty hand-rollers. In England, Bonsack granted an exclusive license for his machine to the Wills firm, whose Woodbine cigarette brand became a marketing sensation following its launch in 1888. In the United States, meanwhile, Bonsack's invention was exploited most successfully by the North Carolina–based firm of W. Duke & Sons. Led by the astute and ruthless business tycoon James B. Duke, the company used the cost advantages it derived from mechanization to expand its cigarette sales rapidly across the United States. Using a mixture of price-cutting, advertising, and corporate acquisition, Duke's firm was strong enough by 1890 to browbeat its four main domestic cigarette manufacturing rivals into a joint venture named the American Tobacco Company, which then accounted for over 90 percent of all cigarettes manufactured in the United States.

From Exports to Foreign Investment

Immediately following its formation, Duke's American Tobacco Company used its monopoly power in cigarettes to continue the strategy of market expansion. In domestic terms, this involved further infiltrating and gaining control wherever possible in the markets for other tobacco products. In the cigarette business, Duke's earlier campaign of domestic expansion was now transferred into foreign markets. Initially, this international growth was founded on developing an export trade in cigarettes manufactured in America. Duke sent experienced tobacco men such as Richard H. Wright and James A. Thomas on tours of duty into Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim to gather orders for the company's products. During the 1890s, leading cigarette brands of American Tobacco such as Cameo, Old Gold, and Pin Head found new consumers in Britain, Germany, the West Indies, India, South Africa, Australia, and, particularly, Japan and China. Such was the extensiveness of the company's bill poster advertising that, in many parts of China, the characters "Pin" and "Head" were taken to be the generic name for cigarettes.

British firms, such as Wills, John Player & Sons, and Lambert & Butler, followed Duke's example and began to set up branches outside the United Kingdom to promote their products. Wills in particular scored considerable success with brands such as Pirate, Scissors, and Diamond Queen. By the beginning of the twentieth century, one-third of American Tobacco's cigarette output was being produced for export, and around 20 percent of Wills's tobacco products were being shipped abroad. To consolidate this trade, in the face of local competition and rising tobacco tariffs, Duke's firm began to make strategic investments in foreign markets. In 1894 American Tobacco formed three subsidiary companies in prefederation Australia, in each case operating in conjunction with other manufacturers. The following year the American Tobacco Company of Canada was founded by Duke's firm in order to acquire control of the two leading Montreal-based tobacco businesses. The pattern was now set for a process of international corporate expansion in the tobacco business.

An International Cigarette Cartel

Duke's foreign investments were by no means always welcomed by firms or governments in the host country. A campaign of political resistance developed in Japan, for example, following the acquisition by American Tobacco in 1899 of the controlling interest in the Kyoto-based Murai Brothers firm, culminating in the nationalization of the entire tobacco manufacturing industry in 1904. Opposition was frequently also encountered from within the trade. Thus when, in September 1901, Duke's firm purchased control of the Liverpool-based Ogden Tobacco Company, a concerted campaign of commercial warfare was waged by the leading British tobacco companies, spearheaded by Wills, who banded together to form the Imperial Tobacco Company. This federated concern encompassed more than a dozen firms and ultimately negotiated American Tobacco's withdrawal from the British market in 1902, following a period of desperate competition that spilled into international markets and became known as the Tobacco War.

The terms that were negotiated between Imperial and American Tobacco in 1902 ushered in a new phase of international expansion in the embryonic global tobacco industry. An agreement signed in September 1902 gave Imperial and American Tobacco exclusive rights to one another's brands in Britain and the United States respectively. Outside these two markets, this vast portfolio of brands was allocated to a newly formed joint venture called the British-American Tobacco Company (now British American Tobacco), in which Duke's firm was allocated a two-thirds interest. British American was therefore created as a multinational company. As well as owning brand rights in international markets, the new firm inherited all the export trade and foreign assets that its two parent companies had built up in the preceding decade.

A Pioneering Multinational Company

Between its formation in 1902 and the end of World War II, British American was virtually unchallenged as the leading international firm in the global tobacco industry. During this time the company continued to expand the export trade from its factories in Britain and the United States. More significantly for the future shape of the industry, however, the company made significant investments in cigarette factories and distribution systems in other parts of the world. The company's main area of success was in China, where it built a huge production capacity and a distribution system that utilized local tobacco merchants whilst retaining control and accountability to the company's regional head offices. Unmarried young men, mainly American, aged under twenty-five were recruited and posted to China on tours of duty that normally lasted four years. Expatriate employees of this kind formed the vanguard through which western business methods were transferred into other economic and social systems.

Methods of market entry varied from country to country. In India, no domestic cigarette producers existed and hence British American set up its own factories and distribution system into which it gradually assimilated local employees. In Latin America entry more often took the form of corporate acquisition. In 1914 in Brazil, for example, British American bought control of Souza Cruz, a company that had been set up ten years earlier by a Portuguese immigrant and which already operated its own factories in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Santa Cruz. Over time therefore, as it developed local production capacity, the balance of activity undertaken by British American in foreign markets shifted from an export business to local production and distribution. As the company gained control over foreign firms as its subsidiaries, it also acquired and developed many new cigarette brands for these markets that reflected local tastes and cultures. Ruby Queen was a derivative brand of Wills's Diamond Queen that traded outstandingly well in China where red is considered auspicious Elephant brand succeeded in India, and the brand Bicycle was aimed at upwardly mobile consumers in West Africa.

For a period during the 1920s a few other tobacco companies did begin to expand their operations into foreign markets in order to challenge British American's domination. Following the dissolution of the American Tobacco Company in 1911, some of the successor companies did make foreign investments, and a group of financiers also used the opportunity to set up the Tobacco Products Export Corporation, which briefly offered a threat to British American in China and elsewhere. Competition from the British firm Ardath was ended when British American jointly acquired this firm with Imperial, and thereby gained control of the successful international brand State Express 555. With the onset of the Great Depression after 1929 much of this international rivalry came to a halt, although the Japanese Toa Tobacco monopoly began a concerted and ultimately successful attempt to capture much of the cigarette market in Manchuria and northern China. The surge in nationalist sentiments that characterized the 1930s led British American to adopt a lower international profile in many markets, where earlier boycotts of their products (notably in China, Germany, and India) had already encouraged the company to downplay its international identity. In 1934 in China, for example, the company adopted the Chinese pseudonym Yee Tsoong to replace British American and tried to encourage more investment from local sources.

The Spread of Flue-Cured Leaf Tobacco

British American's strategy of developing local production in the majority of its markets was further supported by encouraging local cultivation of Virginian tobacco leaf. To do this the company formed the Export Leaf Tobacco Company, which handled leaf procurement and provided expertise to support local cultivation. Seedlings were developed for the varying climatic and soil conditions, and the company established extension services and leaf-handling facilities at which local cultivators could sell their crop of flue-cured Bright tobacco leaf. Important regions of tobacco growing designed to support cigarette manufacturing were established in China, India, and Brazil. In India, for example, a British American subsidiary—the Indian Leaf Tobacco Development Company—was set up to promote tobacco growing and given further encouragement by the adoption by the British government of favorable tariffs on Empire products under the Imperial Preference scheme. Thus, between the wars a substantial increase occurred in the amount of land devoted to growing tobacco leaf for cigarettes, particularly in the nonindustrialized regions.

In the period since World War II the trade in tobacco leaf has become an important aspect of the global tobacco industry. The formation in 1918 of the Universal Leaf Tobacco Company in the United States created a leaf-handling organization that exploited the cultivation of tobacco leaf in China to set up a tobacco-trading subsidiary there in 1925. Since this time, Universal has grown into a major transnational tobacco processing and trading company whose operations make up an aspect of the global commodities trade linking the producers of raw materials with the manufacturers of final products.

A Global Tobacco Oligopoly

The outbreak of World War II had a dramatic impact on the competitive conditions of the global tobacco industry. After 1945 British American found their position under threat in many of the strongest markets. The communist revolution in China in 1949 was a particularly devastating blow, ending hopes of a revival in their sales there, and significant reversals were also experienced to their position in Egypt, Indonesia, and India. American firms, conscious of the adverse publicity arising from the health consequences of smoking, began to make a more concerted effort to challenge for a share of international markets. Liggett & Myers, R.J. Reynolds, and Philip Morris all began to engage in overseas expansion during the 1950s, particularly into the markets of Latin America, using a combination of direct investment and licensing. The German Reemtsma and the South African–based Rothman's International also made inroads during this period as the competitive structure of the international cigarette industry adopted a strongly oligopolistic dimension.

After the mid-1960s all the world's leading privately owned tobacco manufacturers were growing concerned about the accumulating evidence linking tobacco smoking to lung cancer and other debilitating conditions. The industry-wide response was to adopt a strategy of growth through diversification, and by the end of the 1970s the leading group of international tobacco firms had each developed a nontobacco arm: British American evolved into BAT Industries, R.J. Reynolds became RJR Nabisco, Philip Morris merged with the food manufacturer Kraft, American Tobacco transmuted into American Brands. Diversification had in most cases involved international investments and thus, as a strategy, had created a group of global industrial conglomerates.

The Modern Global Industry

Despite this loss of focus, certain international features of the tobacco industry continued to emerge. Cigarettes and light tobacco became increasingly important across international markets, filter-tipped cigarettes grew in popularity and led to increased emphasis on image over taste in the marketing mix, American blend cigarettes attained increased popularity over the pure Virginia article, and international brands moved back into the ascendancy. Riding on the back of these trends, Philip Morris successfully developed its Marlboro brand as the world's leading cigarette and wrested away from BAT the leading position in the international industry.

Although the tobacco industry had in many senses undergone a process of globalization before World War II—when British American operated plants in over fifty countries—it was only in the 1990s that the industry could be said truly to have adopted a global form. Trade liberalization demanded the dismantling of the system of state monopoly producers, of which Japan Tobacco emerged as a genuine multinational firm when it purchased the R.J. Reynolds brands, while the collapse of communism meant that the huge markets of Eastern Europe and China opened to foreign manufacturers' products. This growth was coupled with consolidation. Pressured by corporate raiders, the leading tobacco companies unwound their earlier diversification strategy and used the capital to fund growth via acquisition. Philip Morris and British American Tobacco both successfully expanded into Eastern Europe, and the latter firm acquired Rothman's International in 1998.

See Also American Tobacco Company; British American Tobacco; Industrialization and Technology; Philip Morris.



Alford, B. W. E. W. D. & H. O. Wills and the Development of the U.K. Tobacco Industry, 1786–1965. London: Methuen, 1973.

Basu, Champaka. Challenge and Change: The ITC Story, 1910–1985. Calcutta: Orient Longman, 1988.

Cochran, Sherman. Big Business in China: Sino-Foreign Rivalry in the Cigarette Industry, 1890–1930. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980.

Corina, Maurice. Trust in Tobacco: The Anglo-American Struggle for Power. London: Michael Joseph, 1975.

Cox, Howard. The Global Cigarette: Origins and Evolution of British American Tobacco, 1880–1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Cox, Reavis. Competition in the American Tobacco Industry, 1911–1932. New York: Columbia University Press, 1933.

Duke, Maurice, and Daniel P. Jordan. Tobacco Merchant: The Story of Universal Leaf Tobacco Company. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995.

Durden, Robert Franklin. The Dukes of Durham, 1865–1929. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975.

Kluger, Richard. Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

Tennant, Richard B. The American Cigarette Industry: A Study in Economic Analysis and Public Policy. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1950.

Tilley, Nannie May. The Bright-Tobacco Industry, 1860–1929. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1948. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1972.

——. The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

flue-cured tobacco also called Bright Leaf, a variety of leaf tobacco dried (or cured) in air-tight barns using artificial heat. Heat is distributed through a network of pipes, or flues, near the barn floor.

acquisition the purchase—sometimes called a merger—of a smaller company by a larger one. During the late twentieth century, major tobacco companies diversified their holdings through acquisition of nontobacco products.

tariff a tax on imported goods imposed by the importing country to protect native industry from foreign competition, protect jobs and profits, and raise revenue. Tariffs typically raise consumer prices of effected products.

subsidiary in commerce, a branch or affiliate of a larger unit that provides components or support services.

embryonic in the early stages; undeveloped; nascent.

auspicious showing promise for success; favorable.

nationalism the belief that the narrow, selfish interests of one's country should supersede international standards of behavior.

boycott an economic sanction imposed by an interest group to influence policy. In the 1900s, tobacco growers in Tennessee and Kentucky refused to sell leaf to the American Tobacco Company until prices were raised.

oligopoly control of a commodity or service by a small number of companies. A marketing environment in which a few vendors have control of a product. Oligopolies tend to suppress competition and fix prices.

diversification in agriculture, to avoid overdependence upon one crop by producing several different crops.

conglomerate a large business enterprise usually composed of several smaller companies or branches.

consolidation when numerous smaller units are combined into a larger one. In agriculture, consolidating small farms into one large farm usually makes operations more efficient and profitable.


views updated Jun 08 2018


GLOBALIZATION India embraced economic globalization in the wake of its severe balance of payments crisis in 1991. Today, India's economy is largely integrated into the global economy. Overall, the achievements have been positive. The country has been able to move beyond the specter haunting it since independence: the stagnant 3 percent per annum growth, known pejoratively as the "Hindu growth rate." India's economic growth in the ten-year period from 1992–1993 to 2001–2002 averaged slightly over 6 percent a year, making India one of the fastest-growing developing economies in the world.

Over four decades of statism and "export pessimism"—characterized by pervasive government planning and regulation, earning India its once dubious distinction as the most controlled economy in the noncommunist world—have given way to significant industrial and trade liberalization, financial deregulation, improvements to supervisory and regulatory systems, cuts in tariffs, the removal of quantitative restrictions, and policies more conducive to privatization and foreign direct investment. India's traditionally high custom duties were systematically lowered in its budgets from 1991. Maximum tariff rates, which exceeded 300 percent, and the average (import-weighted) tariff rate, which stood at 87 percent in 1990–1991 (the highest in the world), have been lowered.

During the prereform period, with import-substituting industrialization the cornerstone of economic development, the principal instrument of industrial policy was an elaborate industrial licensing framework under the Industries Development and Regulations Act of 1951. The act required a government license for either establishing a new production unit (above a certain defined size), or making substantial expansion to an existing unit. A long (and growing) list of industries, including iron and steel, heavy machinery, oil and petroleum, air transport, mining, and telecommunications, were reserved solely for the public sector, under the intrusive eye of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act of 1970. This heavily protected industrial sector has witnessed the virtual abolition of the industrial licensing system as well as other regulatory impediments. Industrial licensing has been abolished for all but fifteen industries. Similarly, in an attempt to encourage greater private sector participation in the economy, many sectors that had previously been reserved for the public sector have been opened for private investment, including power, telecommunications, mining, ports, transportation, and banking.

Prior to 1991, restrictions on foreign direct investment were so strict that it was reduced to a trickle. After 1991, Indian companies with sound financial positions were permitted to raise capital from abroad by issuing equity in the form of global depository receipts, foreign currency convertible bonds, and other debt instruments. The government also created the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to facilitate one-stop, "fast-track" shopping for foreign investors. Automatic approval has been granted for joint ventures with up to 74 percent foreign equity participation, and 100 percent foreign equity and ownership are permitted in export processing zones and units that are export oriented. These reforms have not only forced Indian companies to improve the quality of their products, but have also enabled many to restructure their activities through mergers and acquisitions.

Similarly, in the financial sector (especially banking), the Reserve Bank of India has strengthened prudential requirements and introduced a capital risk-asset ratio system as a measure of capital adequacy, thereby raising minimum capital and capital adequacy ratios to conform to international standards. By 1995 the government set the minimum capital adequacy requirements at 8 percent of risk-weighted assets for Indian banks with foreign branches. In 1998 the standard was raised to 9 percent (effective March 2000), with government securities given a 2.5 percent risk weight, to begin reflecting interest-rate risk. By the end of 2000, only about two dozen public sector banks fell short of this standard. Greater competition in the banking sector and improvements in the capital and debt markets have reduced reliance on central bank financing. Banks and financial institutions are now permitted access to capital markets to expand their equity base, and the passage of the Foreign Exchange and Management Act in 1999 has greatly streamlined foreign exchange regulations.

Cumulatively, these reforms reawakened what John Maynard Keynes called the "latent animal spirits" of India's entrepreneurs, thereby giving a sharp boost to growth. Nowhere has this dynamism been more evident than in the information technology (IT) industry and the service sector. Ten years ago, India's computer industry had sales of U.S.$150 million. In 2001 its exports were over $9.6 billion, 2 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP). Similarly, the share of IT (mainly software) in total exports increased from 1 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2001. IT-enabled services such as back-office operations, remote maintenance, accounting, public call centers, medical transcription, insurance claims, and other bulk processing are rapidly expanding. The city of Hyderabad is now known as Cyberabad, and Indian companies such as Infosys, Wipro, and Satyam may yet become household names around the world. Robust exports of food and capital goods, garments, engineering tools, and refined petroleum products have also contributed much to India's growth in recent years. However, it is India's rapidly expanding services sector (which currently accounts for about 40 percent of India's GDP, 25 percent of employment, and 30 percent of export earnings) that has provided recent growth and stability.

India's foreign exchange reserves have risen steadily, from U.S.$42.3 billion in March 2001, to $54.1 billion at the end of March 2002, to a record level of nearly $72.4 billion in January 2003. In the foreign exchange market, dealers are now allowed to buy and sell foreign exchange for current as well as capital account transactions, and firms earning foreign exchange through exports are allowed to retain a certain proportion of the proceeds to avoid costs of conversion and reconversion. Since the rupee was floated in March 1992, its significant nominal and real devaluation relative to its value prior to 1991 provided a much-needed impetus to trade. The exchange rate of the rupee in terms of the major currencies of the world has remained reasonably stable, notwithstanding occasional fluctuations caused by normal market forces of supply and demand. It is particularly noteworthy that, for the first time, the World Bank has classified India as a "less-indebted country."

Like the proverbial rising tide that eventually lifts all boats, the fruits of economic liberalization have benefited (albeit unevenly) most sectors of society, making a significant dent in the country's stubborn poverty problem. The latest official surveys indicate that poverty levels fell from about 40 percent of the population to roughly 28 percent during the second half of the 1990s. This translates into a net reduction in rural poverty of some 60 million people between 1993–1994 and 1999–2000. In rural India, poverty was down to 27 percent, while urban poverty fell by around 8 percent, from 32 to 24 percent.

The accomplishments of the 1990s are dwarfed only by what remains to be done. One urgent task is to correct the growing regional and state-level economic imbalances, as growth continues to vary sharply among the twenty-eight states and seven union territories that make up the Indian union. Second, constraints associated with infrastructure and regulatory bottlenecks have become increasingly evident. Reforms are badly needed in the area of infrastructure: roads, railways, telecommunications, electric power, air transport, and ports all need radical expansion as well as improvement in the quality of services. Third, economic reforms have generally bypassed the agricultural sector, which accounts for about one-quarter of GDP and provides the livelihood of roughly 70 percent of the population. Initially, agricultural growth resulted from the expansion of cropped areas; then, since the 1970s, the "Green Revolution," which increased the use of high-yielding varieties of seeds, commercial fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, spurred further growth. However, even as the Green Revolution contributed to sharp increases in agricultural production and productivity, its strategy also led to increasing reliance on explicit subsidization of inputs such as nonorganic fertilizer, and implicit subsidization of inputs such as irrigation and power through deliberate underpricing. The central government's fertilizer subsidies amounted to 110 billion rupees (U.S.$2.3 billion), or 0.4 percent of GDP in 2002–2003. The major beneficiaries of this subsidy were the inefficient domestic fertilizer industry and high-income farmers. Fertilizer use, moreover, must be complemented with a regular supply of water. The heavily subsidized electric power enables farmers to draw water from irrigation canals or to pump it from deep wells at relatively little cost. The overuse of urea (nitrogenous fertilizers) and water has greatly aggravated the problem of waterlogging, topsoil depletion, pollution of ground water, and a host of related environmental problems. While it is generally agreed that a phased increase in fertilizer prices and the imposition of user charges for irrigation and electricity would prevent abuse and raise resources to finance investment in rural infrastructure, the powerful rural interests, given their influence and control over large electoral constituencies, have made this task politically difficult. In fact, successive governments have generally skirted the issue, threatening to raise prices and cut subsidies in their budget speeches, only to back down later under political pressure.

Further exacerbating agricultural diversification and productivity are outdated laws and regulations. For example, the government's guaranteed price supports for food grains—crucial in the 1960s and 1970s to give farmers the incentives to produce more food grains—have long outlived their usefulness. Today, price controls are maintained for staples to ensure remunerative prices for farmers. In fact, support prices have long been fixed higher than market prices, encouraging overproduction. The result has been a substantial increase in stocks to unsustainable levels—over 60 million tons in mid-2002, against a norm of around 17 million tons—considered necessary to avert famine and ensure food security. In recent years, the costs of maintaining these stocks have been so prohibitive that it is not uncommon to allow food grains and other commodities to rot in poorly maintained, rat-infested storage facilities. While short-term measures, such as selling excess grain below cost, are usually undertaken, this is not a viable long-term solution. Both the central and state governments have tried to justify the maintenance of high support prices on the grounds that it allows them to subsidize the sale of certain commodities to low-income families through the public distribution system, but it is well known that such distributed grain rarely reaches the needy. The agricultural sector is also shielded through import and export controls, including tariffs and export restrictions. Perhaps the most pernicious are the interstate sales tax, and restrictions on interstate and even interdistrict movement of agricultural commodities. The price support system clearly needs to be better aligned to market demand if farmers are to be encouraged to shift from food grains like wheat and rice to other staples.

Though the financial sector reforms have liberalized Indian firms' ability to raise and hold money offshore as well as foreign investors' ability to invest in India and to repatriate their investments, the government still maintains controls on international capital movements. The 1997 Committee on Capital Account Convertibility (the Tarapore Committee) recognized the gains to capital account convertibility in terms of increased funding for investment and risk diversification, and recommended that India move toward capital convertibility over a three-year period. However, the committee's report, issued just three weeks before the floating of the Thai baht in July 1997 and the onset of the Asian financial crisis, halted the move toward capital account liberalization. India's cautious approach to capital account liberalization helped limit contagion during the Asian crisis by containing short-term debt. The authorities must nevertheless ease capital account liberalization as India's financial system and fiscal policy are strengthened. Compared to China, India's ability to attract foreign investment remains disappointing. During the 1990s, foreign direct investment in India averaged 0.5 percent of GDP, while in China it was 5 percent of GDP.

Although the number of activities reserved for the public sector has been reduced from six to three and the number of sectors reserved for small-scale industry (units whose investment in plant and machinery cannot exceed $250,000) has been reduced from 821 to 799, those numbers are still too high. This "reservation" policy has created protective enclaves within the industrial sector, with an adverse effect on industrial competitiveness and job creation. Accelerating the pace of divestment and privatization of public sector enterprises will help reduce the public sector deficit by raising revenues, increasing the efficiency of resource use, and helping to realign government policy in a way that contributes to faster economic growth.

As the Asian financial crisis clearly demonstrated, a strong and well-regulated financial sector can serve as a critical bulwark against global market turmoil. This not only means having in place prudential and supervisory systems to ensure financial stability; authorities must also take swift corrective actions to deal with weak or insolvent institutions. Despite India's achievements in strengthening prudential and supervisory systems, considerable weaknesses remain. At the core of the problem is the fact that a few government-owned banks (particularly the State Bank of India, the country's largest commercial bank) still account for roughly 80 percent of the banking sector. The vast majority of these banks are chronically undercapitalized and burdened with huge nonperforming loans. Weak banks can put the entire economy under risk during a crisis. While public ownership of banks has created an aura of invulnerability to shocks, it is urgent that the authorities move expeditiously to reduce the high level of nonperforming loans, restructure weak banks, and close insolvent public-sector banks.

Economic globalization demands constant innovation. While India's software industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy, it is important to note that India may not realize its vast potential unless some important policy changes are made. The software industry's focus is currently on mostly proprietary work for foreign multinationals, which is only a small part of the world's software market. India's cost advantage, because its software professionals are inexpensive, will be eroded as other players (such as China) with similar or lower costs enter the market. Finally, although India has been able to exploit the opportunities economic globalization has provided, the process continues to draw fierce domestic opposition. Thus, making the benefits of economic globalization meaningful to all of its more than 1 billion citizens remains India's major challenge.

Shalendra D. Sharma

See alsoAgricultural Growth and Diversification since 1991 ; Economic Reforms of 1991 ; Economy since the 1991 Economic Reforms ; Foreign Resources Inflow since 1991 ; Industrial Growth and Diversification ; Information and Other Technology Development ; Trade Liberalization since 1991


Bhagwati, Jagdish. In Defense of Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Brecher, Jeremy, and Tim Costello. Global Village or Global Pillage. Boston: South End Press, 1994.

Chua, Amy. World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. New York: Doubleday, 2003.

Friedman, Thomas. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.

Gray, John. False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism. New York: New Press, 1999.

Greider, William. One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism. New York: Touchstone Press, 1997.

Ohmae, Kenichi. The End of the Nation State. New York: Touchstone Press, 1995.

Toussaint, Eric. Your Money or Your Life: The Tyranny of Global Finance. London: Pluto Press, 1999.


views updated May 18 2018




Globalization is an attractive analytic frame that frequently lacks empirical and historical specificity. In a review article on the concept, Mauro F. Guillen lists five questions that dominate the globalization literature and that typically yield competing and contradictory answers. First, is globalization happening? Second, does globalization produce convergence? Third, does globalization undermine the authority of the nation-state? Fourth, are globalization and modernity the same entity? And fifth, is there such a thing as a global culture? Each one of these questions addresses the situation in the early twenty-first century. In a 2005 article, Peer C. Fiss and Paul M. Hirsch map the emergence of the term globalization in the mass media and books in print. They demonstrate that a "discourse" around globalization began to appear in the mid-1980s and accelerated in the late 1990s as evidenced by an increase in the number of media mentions of the term.


The discourse on globalization may be relatively new, but the process that the term describes began the first moment traders set sail in the 1300s in search of tea and spices. If we conceptualize globalization as the trans-border flow of capital, goods, persons, and, at a later stage, information, then we can properly date the beginning of a modern global universe in what Eric Hobsbawm calls the "Age of Capital"—the period between 1848 and 1875 when improvements in transportation and communications made global exchange possible and relatively efficient.

Historians generally date the first wave of global capitalism from around 1880 to World War I and the second wave during the years following World War II. (The interwar period does not figure prominently in discussions of globalization because these years were dominated by economic depression and protectionism.) Much of the discussion of the first period is focused upon Europe; the second period focuses on the United States. Only since the 1980s has the discussion of globalization incorporated what is in fact the globe.


Most historical accounts identify the period between 1880 and 1914 as the takeoff years of globalization—years during which capital and people crossed borders at ever-accelerating rates. Sidney Pollard provides statistics that demonstrate an almost tenfold increase in exports between 1830 and 1910. As trade was increasing, information and standardization of temporal and spatial processes were evolving. Mass media, in the form of newspapers, became more salient as sources of information as literacy rates were inching up in Europe and America. Europe did not achieve universal literacy until after World War II, but language standardization and compulsory education were beginning to have their effects in the years before World War I. The early 1900s also saw the beginnings of radio and the cinema, both of which would play significant roles in the national and international politics of the 1920s and 1930s and come to full development after World War II. Standardization practices from passports to national currencies and international exchange rates flourished during this period; for example, in 1884 twenty-five nation-states agreed to divide the world into time zones.

The years between 1880 and 1914 were a breakthrough period in the realm of transportation. Shipping was modernized, national railway systems were developed, and the airplane emerged on the scene. Charles Lindbergh did not land at Le Bourget, France, until 1927, and it was not until 1958 that the first commercial jet crossed the Atlantic; however, the development in the late nineteenth century of a transportation infrastructure capable of taking people across oceans and continents with relative efficiency helped spur a wave of migration from Europe to the United States. Jeffrey G. Williamson accounts for some of the economic consequences of this migration. He marshals an array of economic data to show that immigration from the poorer countries of Europe—Italy, Sweden, and Ireland—depressed wages in the United States while it raised wages in the countries of out-migration. The combination of capital flows and immigration in the period leading up to World War I created a convergence that paradoxically disadvantaged the United States while advantaging the poorer countries of Europe. Given this fact, it is not surprising that U.S. immigration policy in the 1920s introduced quotas and that Americans were wary of such ventures as the League of Nations.

The first period of globalization, in which Britain and its colonies were the driving force, began with empire and ended with war. In the aftermath of the war, two events would have long-term consequences. First, the Treaty of Versailles and the carving up of what had been the Ottoman Empire set up a pattern of colonialism and resentment that dominates Middle Eastern politics to the present day. An innocuous development at the time, Britain seemed to be getting its due as a major imperial power as it carved up territories and displaced groups such as the Kurds and the Palestinians. The second outcome of the first period of globalization was the world depression that not only brought in Nazism and fascism but also ushered in a period of protectionism or autarky in all the major nation-states of Europe and in the United States.


Whereas Britain had been the leader in globalization in the pre-1914 period, the United States became the leader after the Second World War. Henry Luce, founder of the Time magazine conglomerate, famously predicted that the post–World War II period would be the "American century." Despite the apparent national hubris of Luce's claim, the United States was the undisputed world leader arguably through the 1970s. The nation saw itself as a protector of democracy and freedom and an international bulwark against communism during the Cold War. But despite Korea and Vietnam and the presence of U.S. missiles on European soil, the United States was an empire of goods, not of guns.

Victoria De Grazia makes this point elegantly, arguing that the battle against communism would be won by socializing Europeans into the American "standard of living." Consumption was the linchpin of Americanization. As De Grazia reports, Woodrow Wilson had realized the connection between democracy and consumption in 1916 when he attempted to persuade a convention of salesmen that statecraft and salesmanship were linked. Wilson's success on this particular issue is unknown; however, the groundwork for the "Americanization" of Europe was laid in the 1920s and 1930s when U.S. advertising agencies and firms set up shop in Europe. The political turmoil in interwar Europe militated against a large-scale embrace of U.S. products and consumption regimes. It was during the post–World War II recovery, particularly with some of the cultural propaganda of the Marshall Plan, that the link between democracy and goods began to take hold on European soil, however tenuously. The idea was that American goods and American-style production practices would produce the standard of living that would fight off the advance of European communism.

Cultural globalization began to take hold as American movies that had been popular in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s asserted their presence in the 1950s and 1960s. American film was in the avant-garde of such global phenomena as rock music, which leveled cultural distinctions. Ironically, the big American success story was in the world of material consumption—food and drink. Coca-Cola reached its peak in the 1960s, with McDonald's superseding it beginning in the 1970s. McDonald's became such a symbol of Americanization and globalization that the French activist farmer José Bové could burn a McDonald's under construction in the north of France in 1999 and the media and the public would understand the significance of his target.

With viable communist parties in France and Italy, the threat of communism was not an American fantasy. However, there were several other forces at work that mitigated the effects of an American Empire of goods on European soil. Europe developed its own solutions to the problem of communism and markets. One solution was the Treaty of Rome in 1957 which ushered in the European Common Market. And when the French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950, he had peace as well as economics on his mind. Containing Germany, as well as the spread of communism, was a postwar priority. In contrast to U.S. citizens who experienced the Cold War through media propaganda, the Iron Curtain was real to those who lived in close proximity to Eastern Europe.

U.S. goods and free markets competed with European planned economies from the 1950s through the 1970s. The European postwar settlement aimed at growth, but it also aimed at containment of communism within Western Europe. Corporatist policies that brought business and labor together produced European welfare states as well as "thirty glorious years" of European prosperity. Europe and the United States were trading partners and the driving forces behind globalization, and with decolonization and the opening of markets in Latin America and Africa the character of trade gradually began to change.

The major continuity between early globalization and midcentury globalization was that Europe and the United States remained the key players. But a series of events beginning in the 1980s radically altered the economic landscape. First, a change in the character of immigration in both Europe and the United States altered the structure of labor markets and strategies of social and political incorporation. In postwar Europe migrants were guest workers from the poorer south—Italy, Spain, and Portugal—who migrated to the rich European core to fill temporary jobs in industry. This changed as the southern tier became richer and more immigrants flooded into France from former colonies and into Germany from Turkey. Suddenly there were migrants who would not return to their native lands and who by virtue of being Muslim were not considered properly European. The United States saw a parallel migration of persons from Mexico and Central America, many of whom entered the country illegally.

The second major change was that in 1989 the Iron Curtain fell, and suddenly Eastern Europe and Russia had to be factored into European and global markets. The third major change was the advance of technology. Until the early 1980s building a bigger and faster jet plane was considered the cutting edge of transportation and communications technology. Beginning in the 1980s a virtual revolution took place, bringing computers, the Internet, cell phones. The Internet made cyber-marketing possible and detached markets from both time and space. Lastly, Asia became a major player in global capital markets beginning in the 1980s. The acceleration of what Europeans call neoliberalism and what Americans view as free-market capitalism is a response to these accumulated structural and political changes as well as an attempt to retain a position of dominance in the new global economy.


The accelerated pace of European integration, known in Europe as Europeanization, is one sign that Europe and America no longer dominate global markets. Peter J. Katzenstein has argued that the locus of economic power has shifted to permeable regional alliances. Most social scientists agree that the world has entered a transterritorial or global age, although they are sometimes at a loss as to how to specify it. The lesson that might be taken from both early and post–World War II globalization is that expansion brings political costs. Nation-states do not give up economic dominance easily. In spring 2005 both France and the Netherlands rejected the proposed European Constitution—albeit for different reasons. In France the public widely viewed it as a blueprint for globalization; the French prime minister spoke of "economic patriotism." In the United States, immigration rules were being tightened and vigilantes patrolled the country's southern borders. A new age of protectionism and economic nationalism in a world of cybermarkets and Chinese advance was worrisome. The 1920s and 1930s, the period between the first and second waves of globalization, were not good years for economic growth and human rights—perhaps a lesson that twenty-first-century elites and citizens should heed.

See alsoAmericanization; Anti-Americanism; European Constitution 2004–2005; European Union.


De Grazia, Victoria. Irresistible Empire: America's Advance through Twentieth-Century Europe. Cambridge, Mass., 2005.

Fiss, Peer C., and Paul M. Hirsch. "The Discourse of Globalization: Framing and Sensemaking of an Emerging Concept." American Sociological Review 70, no. 1 (2005): 29–52.

Geyer, Martin H., and Johannes Paulmann, eds. The Mechanics of Internationalism. London, 2001.

Guillen, Mauro F. "Is Globalization Civilizing, Destructive or Feeble? A Critique of Five Key Debates in the Social Science Literature." Annual Review of Sociology 27 (2001): 235–260.

Hobsbawm, Eric J. The Age of Capital 1848–1875. London, 1975.

Katzenstein, Peter J. A World of Regions: Asia and Europe in the American Imperium. Ithaca, N.Y., 2005.

Maier, Charles S. In Search of Stability. New York, 1987.

Milward, Alan S. The European Rescue of the Nation-State. 2nd ed. London, 2000.

Moch, Leslie Page. Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650. 2nd ed. Bloomington, Ind., 2003.

Osterhammel, Jürgen, and Niels P. Petersson. Globalization: A Short History. Translated by Dona Geyer. Princeton, N.J., 2005.

Pollard, Sidney. "Free Trade, Protectionism, and the World Economy." In The Mechanics of Internationalism, edited by Martin H. Geyer and Johannes Paulmann. London, 2001.

Trumpbour, John. Selling Hollywood to the World: U.S. and European Struggles for Mastery of the Global Film Industry, 1920–1950. Cambridge, U.K., 2002.

Williamson, Jeffrey G. "Globalization, Convergence, and History." Journal of Economic History 56, no. 2 (1996): 1–30.

Mabel Berezin


views updated May 14 2018


The term globalization is used in various related senses to refer to the intensified integration of the world economy, declining autonomy and separation of the nation-states, the growth of international and transnational forms of governance, and the rapidly expanding communication networks across national, regional, and religious boundaries, especially with the advent of the Internet. With the exception of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey, the impact of economic and financial globalization on the Muslim world has been smaller than in other parts of the world. The integration of Middle Eastern and North African countries into the global economy has been particularly slow, except for the case of Turkey, and the attempts at the privatization of the economy have been largely unsuccessful in the region.

By contrast, the Internet and e-mail have created rapid forms of communication linking different parts of the Muslim world, from Morocco to Indonesia, to each other and to the rest of the world, even though the spread of these electronic media has been slower than in many other parts of the world. This has sometimes been called "globalization from below," to distinguish it from economic globalization through multinational corporations and international financial institutions. The globalization of communication through the Internet, as well as somewhat older media, such as telecommunications and broadcasting, has had a significant and ongoing impact on Islam as a religion. There has also been unprecedented migration, both from the Muslim world into North America and Western Europe, and within the Muslim world into the Gulf countries. Last but not least, transnational political trends and international organization have also had a notable impact on the Islamic world.

The Push toward Universalism

The missionary expansion of the world religions among nations and across the frontiers of empires can itself be considered the prototype of the process of globalization. These religions have a tendency toward missionary expansion because they are in principle universalistic, which gives them a built-in tendency to overcome many forms of particularism and to expand their influence beyond familial, ethnic, and national boundaries. In practice, the ideal commitment to universalism is tempered by all sorts of compromises with the forces of particularism. As a result of globalization, however, these very compromises transform the character and terms of reference of particularism from local to what sociologists have called "glocal" (from the combination of "global" and "local"). Furthermore, globalization is an important factor in the contemporary resurgence of Islam and the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.

The Internet and satellite communication have weakened the very tight control of the states over national radio and television networks that had once compartmentalized the Muslim world into differently oriented nation-states, and have stimulated the growth of a new, transnational Muslim public space within the global context. These effects of globalization on Islam are interpreted very differently by different observers. Some see the combined effect of globalization as it impacts upon the world's one billion Muslims. They point to the growth of education and vigorous discussion of Islam in books and in public debates in the press, the audio-visual, and the electronic media as contributing to an Islamic Reformation. In this view, the current Islamicization of social life has been both far-reaching and dispersed, lacking any focus or single thrust. Whether or not one concurs with the value-judgment that it constitutes Reformation, it is undeniable that there is an unmistakable dispersion of the current trends in Islamization. The opposite view holds that globalization has put Islam on the front lines of a "Jihad versus McWorld" confrontation, creating a sharply focused and vehement anti-Western as well as anti-universalist struggle. This latter view tends to obliterate the distinction between Islam and Islamic fundamentalism.

The negative view on Islam and globalization, though widely shared by journalists and commentators, seems essentially mistaken. Not only is there variety in Islamic fundamentalism, but Islamic fundamentalism is by no means identical with all the contemporary manifestations of Islam as a universalist religion. Urbanization, development of roads and transportation, the printing revolution, and other contemporary processes of social change, including globalization, simply reinforce trends toward expansion and intensive penetration of society that are typical of Islam as a universalist religion. These trends remain distinct and are not swamped by fundamentalism.

The twentieth century also gave rise to a combination of internal subglobalization processes typical of the early modern period and externally stimulated globalization. On the one hand, the continuous improvement and declining cost of transportation since the Second World War has greatly increased the number of pilgrims to Mecca, and of missionaries from Africa and Asia to the main centers of Islamic learning in the Middle East. It should be noted that this aspect of globalization reinforces Islam's old universalism, which was institutionalized around the hajj. On the other hand, the postcolonial era has also witnessed the massive immigration of Muslims into Western Europe and North America, where sizable Muslim communities have formed. Meanwhile, there has been unprecedented global integration of Muslims through the mass and electronic media.

The international repercussions of the Salman Rushdie case are the best illustration of the impact of the media on a globally integrated Muslim world. The protests and burning of his Satanic Verses by indignant Muslims began in Bradford, England. Images of these protests were broadcast throughout the world, and stimulated more violent protests in Pakistan and India. In a particularly low point of Iranian post-revolutionary politics, after the book had been banned in India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini broadcast his famous fatwa condemning Rushdie, a non-Iranian writer who lived in England, to death for apostasy on 14 February 1989.

Particularism within Globalization

An interesting feature of globalization is the unfolding of antiglobal sentiments in particularistic, variety-producing movements, which seek local legitimacy but, nevertheless, have a global frame of self-reference. The flexibility of signing international conventions with reservations has allowed a large number of Muslim states to confirm their membership in the international communities by signing such agreements while retaining their own particularity of identity and interests. For instance, Muslim nations could sign onto the United Nations' human rights instruments, such as the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but insist upon significant reservations that affirmed the priority of the shari˓a rules.

More typically, however, global integration induces many Muslims to emphasize their unique identity within the frame of reference of their own culture, which can be said to be at once universal and local or subglobal. There can be no doubt that global integration has made many Muslims seek to appropriate universalist institutions by what might be called Islamic cloning. We thus hear more and more about "Islamic science," "Islamic Human Rights," an "Islamic international system" and a variety of organizations modeled after the United Nations and its offshoots, most notably the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which was founded in 1969 and has fifty-seven countries as its members.

The cloning here is unmistakable. Not only is the charter of the Organization of the Islamic Conference derived from the UN charter, but it has an Islamic Development Bank (modeled after the World Bank), a Commission of the International Crescent (corresponding to the Red Cross), and an Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (corresponding to the UNESCO). In 1980, the OIC voted to establish an International Islamic Law Commission to secure representation of the Islamic viewpoint before the International Court of Justice. The OIC has also set up the International Islamic University of Malaysia as a modern university for the study of Islamic subjects in accordance with global standards. This phenomenon is a direct result of globalization, not an outcrop of fundamentalism. It is a reactive tendency, however, and can be viewed as a form of defensive counteruniversalism. This defensive counter-universalism diverges from the old universalism of Islam as a world religion in its reactive character and "glocal" self-consciousness.

Despite its intent, however, the assimilative character of defensive counter-universalism is quite pronounced. It has already resulted in the assimilation of universal organizational forms, and albeit restrictively, of universal ideas such as human rights and the rights of women. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that, despite its intent, defensive counteruniversalism is inevitably a step toward the modernization of the Islamic tradition.

A Changing Islam in the Global Context

The increasing integration of the Middle Eastern states into the international system has exposed them to the global wave of democratization and the promotion of the rule of law. This exposure has introduced a new element of legal pluralism and generated ambivalent reactions throughout the Middle East. The impact of the human rights revolution on the legal culture of Middle Eastern societies has been significant, and constitutional and supreme courts of a few Muslim countries, such as Egypt and Malaysia, have insinuated international rights provisions into their national legal systems.

Among the human rights, the ones with the strongest social backing that results from structural and occupational changes in contemporary Middle Eastern societies are those concerned with women's rights. Women's rights are represented by official organs of the states, and by a growing number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are increasingly linked with international NGOs and the United Nations agencies. According to some reports, the women's NGOs stole the show from the state delegates at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (1994), and delegates from the Muslim countries were conspicuous in the Fourth World Conference on the Status of Women in Beijing (1995). In Iran, women constituted the largest group of President Mohammad Khatami's supporters, and the reformists in the Majles include a few prominent women. The Iranian women's movement has made significant gains since 1997, and is acting as a channel for the slow but continuous influence of international conventions on women's rights on Iran's administrative and civil law.

In contrast, the transnational Islamic resurgence has caused the rejection of the assertion of the universality of human rights, and has generated an official "Islamic alternative." This Islamic alternative is embodied in the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. As is to be expected in an imitative document, much of the legal terminology of the international human rights conventions is swallowed, even as quite a number of rights are in substance nullified. For instance, the Cairo Declaration offers no guarantee of religious freedom. It prohibits the use of any form of compulsion or exploitation of poverty and ignorance to convert anyone to atheism or a religion other than Islam (Article 10). Article 22 of the Declaration bars "the exploitation or misuse of information in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values, or disintegrate, corrupt, or harm society or weaken its faith." It is interesting to note that, in flat contradiction to the historical experience and the public law of virtually all the signatory countries, Article 19 of the Cairo Declaration provides that "There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shari˓ah." Article 25 further declares the shari˓a the only source for the explanation and clarification of the articles of the Declaration. While endorsing the Cairo Declaration, the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in April 1993 also confirmed "the existence of different constitutional and legal systems among [the] Member States and various international or regional human rights instruments to which they are parties." This amounts to a very significant qualification of the categorical recognition of the shari˓a in the Cairo Declaration, as most Middle Eastern countries are signatories to several such international instruments. Iran, for instance, is among the signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The acknowledgment, therefore, leaves open the kind of insinuation of the international law on human rights into national laws of the kind undertaken by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt.

An increasing number of Muslim intellectuals are defending the right to the freedom of expression by insisting that religious liberty and freedom of conscience are clearly deducible from the text of the Qur˒an. A number of Qur˒anic verses strongly imply a form of "natural religion" among mankind, which entails religious liberty, and make explicit the concepts of freedom of conscience and religion, most notably, "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Proliferation of the communications media beyond government control has made the freedom of interpretation of Islam itself a prominent feature of the emerging Muslim public sphere. In Iran, ˓Abd al-Karim Sorush has gone so far as putting all the world religions on an equal footing in the 1998 essay, Saratha-ye mostaqim (Straight paths), the very title being a sacrilegious pluralization of a fundamental Qur˒anic concept. In Syria, Muhammad Shahruhr has offered a similarly radically modernist interpretation of Islam.

See alsoInternet ; Networks, Muslim .


Arjomand, Saïd Amir "Islam." In Global Religions: An Introduction. Edited by M. Juergensmeyer. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Eickelman, Dale F., and Anderson, Jon W., eds. New Media in the Muslim World. The Emerging Public Sphere. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Therborn, G. "Globalizations: Dimensions, Historical Waves, Regional Effects, Normative Governance." International Sociology 15, no. 2 (2000): 151–179.

Saïd Amir Arjomand


views updated May 14 2018


In a certain sense, the Western economy has been "global" since the sixteenth century. After all, the African slave trade, colonialism, and the intercontinental trade in sugar and coffee made capitalism possible. But since the early 1980s, transnational corporations, cyber technology, and electronic mass media have spawned a web of tightly linked networks that cover the globe. Taken together, these forces have profoundly restructured the world economy, global culture, and individual daily lives. Nowhere are these changes more dramatic than in the ways dress and fashion are produced, marketed, sold, bought, worn, and thrown away.

For consumers in dominant Western countries, globalization means an abundance of fashions sold by giant retailers who can update inventory, make transnational trade deals, and coordinate worldwide distribution of goods at the click of a computer. It means that what people are consuming is less the clothing itself than the corporate brand or logo such as Nike, Victoria's Secret, or Abercrombie & Fitch. Consumers are purchasing the fantasy images of sexual power, athleticism, cool attitude, or carefree joy these brands disseminate in lavish, ubiquitous, hyper-visible marketing on high-tech electronic media. But much less visible is the effect of globalization on the production of fashion.

As fashion images in magazines, music videos, films, the Internet and television speed their way around the world, they create a "global style" (Kaiser 1999) across borders and cultures. Blue jeans, T-shirts, athletic shoes and base ball caps adorn bodies everywhere from Manhattan to villages in Africa. Asian, African and Western fashion systems borrow style and textile elements from each other. Large shopping malls in wealthy countries house all these styles under one roof. Like high-tech global bazaars, they cater to consumers of every age, gender, ethnicity, profession, and subculture.

According to Susan Kaiser, "This tendency toward both increased variety within geographic locations and a homogenizing effect across locations represents a global paradox" (Kaiser 1999, p. 110). On the one hand, shopping malls in every city have the same stores, and sell the same fashion items. Yet if we take the example of jeans, we find a seemingly infinite and often baffling array of cuts and fits: from stretched tight to billowing baggy, from at-the-waist to almost-below-the-hip; from bell-bottom to tapered at the ankle; from long enough to wear with stiletto heels to cropped below the calf. While a somewhat baggy, "relaxed" cut can signify dignified middle-aged femininity, a baggy cut taken to excess can signify hyper-masculine ghetto street smarts. Each variation takes its turn as an ephemeral and arbitrary signifier of shifting identities based on age, gender, ethnicity, or subculture.

While marketing campaigns encourage us to associate fashion consumption with pleasure, power, personal creativity, and individual fulfillment, business economists and corporate finance officers have a different view. Contrary to fashion magazines, business organs like The Wall Street Journal anxiously watch over consumer behavior as minutely measured by the Consumer Confidence Index managed at the University of Michigan (Weiss 2003). In this view, consumption is neither personal nor individual, but necessary for upholding a vast, intricate global capitalist economy. Dependent on massive fashion consumption in the wealthier countries, this economy depends equally on massive amounts of cheap labor in poorer countries.

The Global Assembly Line

No longer manufactured by the company whose label it bears, clothing from large retailers is manufactured through a network of contractors and subcontractors. Pioneered by Nike, the largest retailer of athletic shoes and fashions, the outsourcing or subcontracting system was quickly taken up by giant retail chains like Express and The Gap, and big-box stores such as Wal-Mart. These companies do not manufacture their own goods, but rather source and marketing goods produced on contract in low-wage environments. Because they make large profits, they can force manufacturers to contract with them at lower and lower prices. To reduce their costs, manufacturers subcontract much of the sewing, and even the cutting, to sweatshops in countries such as Mexico, China, Thailand, Romania, and Vietnam, where poverty is high and wages can be as low as 23 cents per hour. Manufacturers can also subcontract to sweatshops in the vast underground economies of immigrant communities in cities like Los Angeles, New York, or London. There is a huge contrast, but a tight relation, between production in sweatshops, where

young women workers are often subjected to physical and sexual abuse, and consumption in retail chains filled with glamorous images. Jobs come without even the most basic worker safeguards and benefits.

Since retailers can lower their prices to consumers by lowering their labor costs, consumers have unwittingly participated in intensifying a system of competition among manufacturers that drives wages and working conditions downward. According to the World Bank, one of the most powerful institutions of globalization, "the competitive intensity of the U.S. retailing industry has increased significantly" (Biggs et al., p. 1). As a consequence, it says, "new emerging retail strategies" include "the drive to offer more value-oriented, low-priced goods to their customers, utilizing a global sourcing network that increasingly favors low wage, quota free countries," and the "liberalization of labor regulations" (Biggs, p. 2). This "liberalization" means relaxing worker protections for health and safety, lowering and also enforcing less stringently the minimum wage, and prohibiting workers from organizing for better wages and working conditions.

Immigrant Labor

By contrast to the World Bank's optimism about globalization, in 1998, the California Labor Commissioner said: "Global competition results in a feeding frenzy in which local producers compete against one another and against foreign factories in a brutal race to the bottom" (Rabine, p. 118). Referring to one among countless examples of production on the global assembly line, he was speaking on the occasion of the closure of a garment factory in Los Angeles that owed its workers $200,000 in unpaid wages. To meet a contract for T-shirts from the Disney Corporation, it had to reduce its profit margin and keep accelerating its production schedule in a downward spiral to closure.

One effect of globalization is increased immigration from third-world countries to all the countries of the world. Immigrants to the United States provide a labor pool for local versions of third-world sweatshops. In 1997, Southern California came to lead the nation in garment production. By 1999, hourly wages for garment workers in Los Angeles had dropped below minimum wage of $5.75 to as little as $3.00. Often workers were not paid at all. The California Labor Commissioner estimated in 1999, right before a new anti-sweat-shop law was passed, that the industry accumulated $72,620,000 in unpaid wages to mostly immigrant garment workers.

Responses to the Global Assembly Line

Until 1997, CEOs of the giant retailers, such as Philip Knight of Nike, claimed that they had no responsibility for the working conditions in the sweatshops because the owners were independent contractors. But by this time consumer groups, religious groups, and student groups, including the National Labor Committee in New York, Global Exchange in San Francisco, the Los Angeles Jewish Commission on Sweatshops, the national organizations of United Students Against Sweatshops and Sweatshop Watch, as well as garment workers' unions like Unite, began campaigning for reforms. By bringing publicity to the practices of the giant retailers, these groups persuaded corporations to pledge themselves to accept fair labor standards and to have independent monitors in the factories that supply their fashions. These groups have also promoted legislation in California and New York that aims to hold the retailers responsible for the wages and working conditions of the workers who produce the products they sell.

Informal Global Networks

While the global assembly line and mass consumption form the dominant circuits of globalized fashion, other, less visible circuits span the globe. These shadow networks concern fashion production and consumption in third-world countries. The global economy of high-tech, large-scale networks also works by exclusion. In third-world countries, globalization has resulted in the destabilizing and dismantling of official economies, massive unemployment, and the rise of informal or underground economies. As part of the restructuring and deregulation of global capital, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have imposed on debtor nations in the third world Structural Adjustment Programs. These programs dismantled state economic controls on basic necessities and social programs for health, education, housing, and sanitation, in favor of free-market strategies, austerity programs, and privatization of basic utilities like electricity and water. These measures have resulted in a disintegration of formal institutions of the government and economy. Out of desperation, people have devised means of surviving in informal economic networks. In Africa and Latin America, this has had two effects on fashion.

One is that the numbers of artisanal producers, especially tailors, dyers, weavers, and jewelry makers, have increased dramatically. In an alternative global network, suitcase vendors sell to tourists, or they travel to diasporic communities in Europe and the United States, where they sell their fashions in people's homes, at ethnic festivals, or on the street. They also sell in the boutiques and on the Web sites of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping third-word artisans.

A second effect concerns global networks of usedclothing dealers and consumers. Large wholesalers buy masses of used clothing from charity thrift shops such as Goodwill in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In giant warehouses, dealers sort the clothes, bale them, and send them by container to smaller wholesalers in countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Small retailers then sell the clothes for affordable prices at open-air stalls in cities and tiny rural towns. Jeans, T-shirts, and athletic shoes thus become the most visible symbol of globalization in virtually every corner of the world.

See alsoSweatshops; Textiles and International Trade .


Anderson, Sarah, John Cavanagh, and Thea Lee. Field Guide to the Global Economy. New York: New Press and the Institute for Policy Studies, 2000.

Biggs, Tyler, Gail R. Moody, Jan-Henfrik van Leeuwen, and E. Diane White. Africa Can Compete!: Export Opportunities and Challenges for Garments and Home Products in the U.S. Market. World Bank Discussion Papers, no. 242. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1994.

Bonacich, Edna, and Richard Appelbaum. Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Brydon, Anne, and Sandra Niessen, eds. Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body. Oxford: Berg, 1998.

Hansen, Karen Tranberg. Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Kaiser, Susan. "Identity, Postmodernity, and the Global Apparel Marketplace." In Meanings of Dress, edited by M. L. Damhorst, K. Miller, and S. Michelman. New York: Fairchild, 1999.

Rabine, Leslie W. The Global Circulation of African Fashion. Oxford: Berg, 2002.

Ross, Andrew, ed. No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers. New York: Verso, 1997.

Stiglitz, Joseph E. Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2002.

Internet Resources

Global Exchange. Available from <>.

Los Angeles Jewish Commission on Sweatshops. Available from <>.

National Labor Committee. Available from <>.

Sweatshop Watch. Available from <>.

United Students Against Sweatshops. Available from <>.

Leslie W. Rabine


views updated Jun 11 2018


What It Means

Globalization is a term used to describe a general economic trend in which distinct national economic markets become so integrated with each other that they function more as one large global market than as separate economies. Separate economic systems have increasingly become less isolated from each other by barriers to cross-border trade and investment; by distance, time zones, and language; and by differences in government regulations, culture, and business systems. Less isolation means that countries share goods, services, labor, and capital (resources used to generate wealth). Increased trade between nations and investments of resources across borders have also stimulated global activity.

Coca-Cola beverages, Levi’s jeans, Nintendo video-game consoles, iPods, and McDonald’s hamburgers are examples of goods that have come to be recognized and purchased by consumers all around the world. Their brand-name recognition is one outcome of the phenomenon of globalization. Coca-Cola drinks, like thousands of other products, are not just marketed, sold, and consumed in almost every country; they are also produced in many different locations around the world.

Globalization has two main components: the globalization of markets and the globalization of production. The globalization of markets (in this context the term market means a geographic region where goods and services are bought and sold) refers to the way that national markets, which at one time may have been distinct from one another, merge to form one huge global marketplace. The primary force in the development of a globalized market has been the way in which consumers’ tastes and preferences have grown similar, even though the consumers may live in different countries. Products such as Nike running shoes and Starbucks coffee have been accepted by consumers globally. The companies that embrace this trend and benefit from it are offering a standardized product worldwide, one that does not vary depending on the location. With the aid of advertising and technology, these products promote a uniform set of consumer tastes and demands.

The globalization of production refers to the tendency among many businesses to use locations all around the world to produce their goods and services. This means that many businesses choose to make goods in foreign locations in order to take advantage of differences in the cost and quality of such things as labor, energy, and land. For example, many U.S.-based manufacturers of retail clothing have determined that they can produce clothing more efficiently by manufacturing it in countries in Southeast Asia, where labor is much cheaper than it is in the United States. By investing resources in locations where production or labor costs are lower, companies can lower their overall costs and, at times, improve the quality of their products.

When Did It Begin

The first time that the world economy showed signs of globalizing was during the period of economic expansion that occurred from 1850 to 1914. Open trade practices, advances in manufacturing, and government-supported communication and transportation allowed the United States, Great Britain, and economically advanced European countries to develop their resources in remote locations and to build consumer interest in goods from other nations. For instance, U.S. companies sold agricultural machinery to farmers in Russia, Australia, and Argentina, boosting the worldwide supply of grain. Transportation of goods and manufactured products was improved by the invention of the steamship and the openings of the Suez and Panama canals. The globalization trend in this period did not affect millions of people worldwide, as it does today, but it did establish interrelationships between separate, nationalized economies.

An expansion in international trade after World War II (1939–45) built further economic connections among countries. In 1948 the United States and 22 other nations signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Its purpose was to encourage trade agreements supporting the fair treatment of resources (such as labor and the environment), and it officially laid out the terms and conditions for open trade. By 1995 some 125 countries had signed onto GATT, and 90 percent of world trade was being conducted according to the agreement’s rules. That year GATT was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO); the countries that had signed the agreement became the first members of the WTO. At the start of the twenty-first century there were more than 140 WTO member nations.

More Detailed Information

When a company exports goods or services to consumers in another country, it participates in international trade. Since the end of World War II (1939–45) barriers to international trade (such as high taxes on imports of manufactured goods) have declined. This has increasingly enabled businesses to view the world, rather than a single country, as their market.

In addition to reducing trade barriers, many countries have steadily removed restrictions on foreign direct investment (which is when a firm invests money or other resources in business activities outside its home country). The lowering of trade and investment barriers allows firms to base production at the optimal location for that activity and serve the world market from that location. Thus, a company may design a product in one country, produce component parts in three other countries, assemble the product in a fifth country, and then export the product worldwide. Foreign direct investment increased dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s. The major investors have been American, Japanese, and Western European companies investing in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Lowering trade barriers has not been the only motivating force behind economic globalization; developments in technology have also contributed to the trend. For instance, the rise of the Internet has increased the global consumer awareness of products and trends. Improvements in communications, information processing, and transportation technology have also contributed to the creation of a global community of consumers and businesses.

One of the most significant technological innovations of the last century was the development of the microprocessor, which enabled the growth of fast, cheap computers. The microprocessor has also supported the development of satellite, optical fiber, and wireless technologies, as well as the Internet and the World Wide Web. As the cost of microprocessors has fallen, so have the costs of global communications; this, in turn, has lowered the costs of controlling and coordinating large, global organizations. The World Wide Web has made it much easier for buyers and sellers to find one another, regardless of their location.

Communication networks and media have both contributed to the creation of a worldwide culture. U.S. television networks such as CNN, MTV, and HBO are now viewed in many countries around the world. The media has also become a prime transmitter of culture, resulting in the global marketing of such products as Levi’s jeans, which consumers can now purchase as easily in Tokyo or Paris as in San Francisco.

Although economic developments play the largest role in the globalization trend, developments in travel, immigration, technology, communications, and transportation have all contributed significantly to the trend. For example, advances in air transportation since World War I (1914–18) have transformed the movement of freight and passengers around the globe. The world’s containership fleet has expanded four times over since 1980, reflecting the growing volume of international trade and the relative ease of moving goods by container (truck-size boxes that are moved between ships, trains, and trucks without needing to be repacked). The transportation costs associated with production have also declined as a result of the use of container shipping.

International businesses are organized in various ways. Some businesses have separate operations in different countries with no centralized headquarters, and others keep a headquarters in one country and have branches in other countries. A transnational or multinational company has separate business units in different countries, and each unit is managed as a business in and of itself, responding to local needs. All companies that work internationally stand to grow, expand their operations, improve their profits, and positively impact the countries in which they work.

Recent Trends

The benefits of globalization for business and economic markets are many, but there are also drawbacks. With higher levels of interdependence between markets, the fact that some countries have had more rapid economic growth than others has at times led to economic and political volatility (unexpected instability). For example, in the 1990s the developing countries in Asia attracted large amounts of investment from developed nations, and the region’s economy was growing at an unprecedented rate. For many reasons, an economic crisis started in 1997, many Western investors pulled their money out of the region, and in 1998 the Indonesian dictator Suharto (b. 1921) was forced from power. These events caused business and political leaders to question the expansion of free-market practices and the influences of globalization. In another example, when certain Latin American countries opened their markets to foreign trade and investment, they became so vulnerable to pressures from the global economy that they lost control of their financial policies. Abrupt changes caused by politics, natural disasters, social unrest, and conflicts such as war can have major repercussions for poorer countries.

In general, those who argue against globalization claim that its trends have not resulted in a real increase in open and free trade, and that powerful, multinational corporations do not take the interests of poorer nations, the working class, and the natural environment into account. Globalization, they argue, focuses too much on corporate profit and not enough on the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Those who support open trade and greater economic integration among nations emphasize that free trade leads to lower prices for goods and services, higher employment levels, and more efficient production of goods, because production units (such as factories and manufacturing plants) are located where they are the least expensive to operate. Supporters view globalization as a positive spread of free will and capitalism and therefore of economic freedom.

About this article


All Sources -
Updated Aug 13 2018 About content Print Topic