In the contemporary world globalization is being studied and researched almost in every sphere of human life. Over the last several decades the process of globalization has created very serious impacts on such fields as science, communications, medicine and public health, politics and international relations, travelling, business and trades, finances and banking, criminal activities and justice, mass media, culture, migrations and lifestyles.
This massive process has multiple layers and dimensions, it is able to affect lives of billions of people all over the world and none of the modern researches are done without taking into consideration the effects and consequences of globalization. This process cannot be viewed as something absolutely positive; neither can it be characterized as a strictly negative happening. Globalization, just like other massive and complicated processes, has both advantages and disadvantages, good and bad sides and results. Various events caused by the process of globalization have triggered many different consequences and created impacts or caused lots of changes.
Globalization in one sphere of human life always leads to changes in other spheres. It is a well known fact that the process of globalization has significantly increased the speed of life on our planet; it created a great push for the development of systems of communication, trading ways, banking networks. At the same time, it led to social, political, economical and cultural clashes and caused multiple conflicts that are still being worked on and discussed internationally. The layers and dimensions of globalization are interconnected and this process in business leads to the development of globalization on cultural and ecological levels.
For thousands of years people from different areas of the world have been interacting with each other for many reasons. Territorial division, diplomacy, trades and connections have been the main ways of global relations of the humans on our planet. We can see the consequences of these interactions nowadays. For example, most of the languages have words borrowed from other cultures, lots of goods, foods and plants have travelled to other continents, religions and philosophical ideas have made their ways to various cultures and lands.
All of these processes are the consequences of global interactions of people that have been going on for a very long time, but it was not long ago when we started to recognize globalization as a happening. The concept of globalization appeared in the end of the nineteenth century when the miracles of technological progress and industrialization such as railways and steamers gave a push to a rapid development in the spheres of trade and international communications. Over time the engineering thought created airlines and vehicles, which provided the humanity with better and faster ways of transportation and communication.
Finally, by the beginning of the twenty first century the humanity has been equipped with super speedy means of connection such as World Wide Web, satellite television and mobile phones. With the appearance of these innovations the communications of all kinds became almost limitless. Today the process of globalization is maintained by all the achievements of the technical and electrical engineering and electronics. Globalization has penetrated human lives and became a significant part of them. Each and every one of us is influenced by this process politically, financially or culturally every day.
The term “globalization” has derived from the words “global” and “globalize”. This means that the processes that normally were related to local fields and covered limited areas started to grow and take over new spheres and territories. Globalization launched the new series of happenings that began to erase all kinds of boundaries. Today, we have a change to observe the way the process of globalization has travelled from its beginning to the present days.
The development of technological progress removed many barriers that separated the countries, organizations, nations, cultures and economies from one another. Globalization gradually turns our world into a homogenous place. The scholars distinguish between the archaic globalization, which happened before the 1600s, the proto-globalization, which was happening between 1600 and 1800s, and modern globalization, the most intense stage; this stage started in the end of the nineteenth century and is going on right now.
The people of our world have been moving towards collaboration from the very beginning of their existence, so, in some ways, globalization can be called a natural happening. This process became very fast and noticeable in the last several decades due to the innovations in the spheres of engineering and electronics, which brought the concept of communications of all kids to a completely new level. These innovations helped to make the standard interactions such as business and trades quicker and more successful.
The development of business and finances has attracted masses of people and caused such processes as large migrations and cultural assimilations. By means of providing new workplaces, creating powerful streams of money, stimulating productions and manufacturing, globalization became an essential part of human lives.
As any complex process, globalization consists of several layers. The scientists call them dimensions. The first person to start distinguishing between the dimensions of globalization was Manfred Steger, a Global Studies professor working at the Honolulu University. Steger named four main dimensions of globalization. They are the global spheres that this process is penetrating on the regular basis. The four categories are political, economic, cultural and ecological. Besides, professor Steger noted that all of these dimensions include an ideological aspect.
Political globalization is represented by the political interactions between the states and nations of the world. This category of globalization has always been very intense. On the earlier stages of globalization, such as archaic and proto-globalization the international relations have always been a significant part of the social life on the planet. The political interactions led to confrontations between some nations and the alliances between the others.
During armed political conflicts some countries would invade the territories of the others and grow bigger, gain more influence, form unions. Imperialist stage and colonial era are important parts of human history. These are the times when the largest and most influential countries formed and gained their political status. The United States of America driven by the imperialistic moods and willing to dominate the whole continent has absorbed all the territories and participated in several wars. Imperialism was one of the movements caused by the process of globalization.
The next dimension of globalization is economic. This aspect has been developing for centuries. The famous Silk Road was one of the evidences of the tendency for the globalization of the international trading. Some of the countries possessed and produced special and rare kinds of goods such as high quality fabrics, spices, exotic fruits and vegetables that were in high demand overseas, this is how the globalization of international markets first started. In the very beginning the transportation of goods could take months.
Besides, having the kind of business, where the bulk customer would purchase a big amount of goods, from abroad was very risky, because the ships transferring the goods could easily be lost in the ocean or destroyed during a storm. The process of globalization had to go a long way before it achieved the level of development we can witness nowadays. The economic dimension first obtained the structure we know today in the end of the Second World War. The leaders of the global North under the leadership of Great Britain and the United States decided to create a stable money exchange system.
According to the new rules, the value of each country’s currency was established by the fixed gold value in relationship with the US dollar (Steger, 37). Today’s global economy is based on the patterns of mass consumption (James, Szeman, 10). In the contemporary world we have enormous corporate giants that keep absorbing smaller companies and in order to maintain the competition and strengthen their influence on the international market. This leads to monopolization of the economy and may create a very serious negative influence on it because the absence of competition leads to the absence of development and progress.
Cultural dimension of globalization is very visible nowadays. This is the process that makes different cultures become more similar (Monnier, par. 28). Representatives of various cultures that interact with one another every day tend to assimilate and influence each other. As a result, very interesting mixes may appear or some of the cultures may adopt the values and traits of others. The concept of international language enforces the cultural globalization. In the modern world English is considered the common language of communication between the representatives of nations that do not have English as their native language.
The signs, restaurant menus and street names on the maps are translated into this language in order to make the international communication more efficient. Besides, English is considered as the common language in the internet. All around the world English is taught in schools as an obligatory subject because the knowledge of the international language is necessary for the individual that wants to stay in demand professionally and function without difficulties in the globalizing world.
Another popular sign of cultural globalization in the world is cuisine. In the planet’s most developed countries we can find all kinds of cultural food. Sushi and curry are no longer considered as exotic dishes in the countries of Europe or North America. All of these recipes that originated from all over the world are now widely used in home cooking; they are accepted as just a variety of meals available to everyone.
The issues of ecological globalization do not only include the problems of the environment. Of course, the issue of the pollution of soil, water and air is highly important today. The process of globalization has affected the ecology immensely. First of all, the mass production and technological progress caused larger emissions and bigger amount of trash. The invention of plastic itself has made a massive negative contribution to the environmental problems all around the world.
Plastic is considered the most popular kind of trash, it also is hard to recycle and when it is discharged to the nature – it takes forever to decompose. As a result, water and soil store large amounts of plastic, which influences the wildlife and causes of deaths and injuries to the animals all over the world. Besides, everyone knows what kind of dangers may come from the greenhouse effect and the global warming.
These processes are the global climate changes that were inflicted by humans and their activities. Ecological globalization is also viewed from the point of view of migrations of people. The development of business and corporations has attracted thousands of job seekers. Masses of people started to relocate to the places where it is easier to find employment. The population in the urban areas is growing rapidly. The process of globalization has changed the lifestyle of the whole planet. Before the 1800s over eighty percent of the population of the planet used to dwell in rural areas. Farming and working in the field were the main sources of employment. Over the last century the population has migrated to the cities and the whole idea about the concept of work has changed drastically.
The dimensions of globalization cannot be viewed separately. Isolating them from other another is irrational, this is why trying to study the levels of globalization as independent concepts can be compared to the attempt of several blind Buddhist monks to imagine what an elephant looked like (Steger, 13). Such approach to the exploration of globalization can only cause lots of ongoing academic arguments and never ending debates.
An attempt to describe and examine this complicated happening within only one level would be confusing, because the dimensions of globalization mutually penetrate each other and are tightly connected. For example, ecological aspect of globalization and massive migrations of people from one region to another cause globalization on cultural level making the national specific traits clash, mix and assimilate.
Besides, the massive relocations of people are caused by the process of globalization in the sphere of business and trades. Political globalization can make all of these changes easier or more complicated. For example, travelling and finding employment within the European Union is very easy for its members, but it is very difficult for a citizen of a country that does not belong to the Union to move there or find a job on its territory.
Another factor that connects all of the four dimensions of globalization is their ideological aspect. There are three main ideologies that penetrate each of the dimensions. They are market globalism, justice globalism and jihadist globalism. The first ideology works through the liberalization of trading and the establishment of free market norms. The second one is focused on global justice and social equality. The last one confronts the first two ideologies and supports the global Muslim community; it fights to maintain traditional Islamic values and norms, which are thought to be discriminated by the modern world’s tendencies.
An event that can serve as a good example of the mutual interactions of all the dimensions of globalization is the World Cup in football that is going on right now in Brazil. International sport events such as world championships, cups and Olympic Games influence multiple spheres of human life. These events have cultural, ecological, political and economic aspects. In the contemporary world sport industries are gigantic sources of income. Sport has become a business over the last several decades. The best athle
tes of the world are quite wealthy, because the most popular kinds of sports have very good financing. Every large international tournament always attracts global attention. The countries and cities of the world always create a big competition for the right to host a championship or a tournament. In some cases the host country ends up surrounded by scandalous rumors stating that the right to arrange the games was received by means of corruption. One of the most famous current scandals is the one happening around the FIFA World Cup 2022 that was supposed to be happening in Qatar.
Yet, today there is a possibility that the country will be stripped from the right to host the championship because the independent investigation has revealed multiple bribes that FIFA officials received from some of the financiers of Qatar four years ago. As a result of that scandal, there is a chance that the World Cup of 2022 will be hosted by the United States. Such dangerous and massive manipulations around big international sport events are done because the sport industry is the source of income for the country and some of the authorities involved into the organization of the events.
Economic aspect of sport is very obvious, given the fame and capitals the most well-known athletes have. The political layer of sport events is the patriotic feeling that surrounds them every time a massive competition is held and by the mass media involved into the broadcasting of the live competitions. Besides, hosting tournaments such as Olympic Games has strong philanthropic influence that improves the reputation of the sponsors and main contributors.
Sports today are closely related to culture, people’s mentality, and national self-identification. The process of globalization has significantly increased the popularity of sport tournaments. Statistically, the number of fans of the big sport events has grown by tens of thousands of people over the last fifty years.
The process of globalization is being studied and explored by many scientists and specialists all over the world. The experts of various fields have been analyzing the happenings, effects, impacts and consequences of globalization for years. The scholars are trying to predict its further development and possible negative and positive outcomes. Some of them are already known. For example, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, which is related to the ecological dimension of globalization, is predicted to bring many negative outcomes for the political and economical aspects.
One of the questions that have been bothering the researchers of globalization is its causes and moving forces. These factors are also called the actors of globalization. The mysterious invisible hand moving the whole global process has been looked for by many scientists. Today the prevailing opinion states that the process of globalization is a natural happening that is inevitable and unstoppable. This means that it is impossible to identify a specific force or actor that could be named as the initial cause of the whole process, just like it is impossible to identify a single cause of evolution. The scientists note that no one is responsible for the globalization and no one is in charge of it.
People are not the movers of it, but technologies and markets are. Certain activities practiced by groups of people may serve as the forces empowering globalization or slowing it down, although there is no specific influence that can be held responsible for the development of the process. The main actors of globalization are not people but states, their economies, political developments and cultures. The fact that the process of globalization has no single source and no definite way of development is the most confusing because this prevents the experts from forming clear forecasts (Kiss, par. 19).
Money and finances are the strongest moving forces of our globalizing world. Economic aspect of the globalization is the most intense and it gives a push to other dimensions. The circulation of money, development of industries, and appearance of new workplaces stimulate the processes that happen on cultural and ecological levels of globalization. Economic dimension creates the motion within the other aspects of human lives.
The development of business in the sport industry made it more popular all over the world and keeps attracting more and more people into it, the process of industrialization moves masses of people from one continent to the other, from rural areas to the urban territories, modern technologies and productions influence the environment and serve as the main sources of pollution and global climate change. Competition in business helps the process of globalization thrive and blossom.
In order to perform better on the global market, the companies create innovations, introduce inventions and make discounts attracting more customers and influencing more spheres of life. Historically, the process of globalization started in the sphere of business and initially the concept of globalization was only used in terms of money and trading (Sino-American Relations under Globalization:
International Engagement and China’s Adaptability, 2). Today it is a multidimensional notion. The globalization in business has influenced and stimulated cultural and ecological globalization.
James, Paul, Imre Szeman. Global-Local Consumption. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2010. Print.
Kiss, Endre. Globalization and Its Actors. 2004.
Monnier, Christine. Dimensions of Globalization. 2010.
Steger, Manfred. Globalization: Brief Insight. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2010. Print.
Steger, Manfred. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.