Due to globalization, the business world has been completely
transformed over the past thirty years. The economy is now more
international with shares being traded between citizens of different
countries on a daily basis. With the internationalization of industry
and the economy there is a need for increased regulation from the
governments of all countries involved. It is important to understand
globalization to be a good business person in the world today. First, it
is important to have a good understanding of the definition of
globalization from several different business sources. Also, it is
necessary to review the history of globalization so that it can be
understood how we got to where we are today. Furthermore, there are
several different trends that are occurring in the business world due to
increased globalization. Professionals have different perspectives on
how globalization has affected business today. Many scholars question
whether or not globalization is positive or negative, especially for
developing nations. These professionals feel that globalization brings
both pros and cons to the world as a whole. Finally, business people
should use this gained knowledge of globalization and apply it to future
situations in the business environment.
A clear definition of globalization is important before beginning.
Globalization is the increasing integration and interdependence among
countries resulting from the modern flow of people, trade, finance and
ideas from one nation to another. The World Bank, a strong supporter of
globalization, defines it as, "the growing integration of economies
and societies around the world." (Mukherjee, 2008). Globalization
became an increasingly used term with technological innovations-most
significantly the World Wide Web or Internet- that made financial
transactions and recordkeeping of international shipments quicker and
easier. As improved communication networks brought far-flung businesses
together, it also brought different cultures together expanding the
concept of globalization which now intersects the media, ideas,
politics, the arts and other social artifacts across the planet.
Globalization has expanded beyond its economic roots and has
proliferated into human rights, the environment and even national
security. Although these new initiatives do not look similar to the ones
we are used to seeing the difference is that today's agreements
come equipped with their own governance structures. This has led to an
astonishing shift of policy-making prerogatives from individual
nation-states to a host of new, higher level political institutions.
This is a cause for celebration the notion that political institutions
have come together to grow in size, importance and boldness is
today's conventional wisdom.
HISTORY OF GLOBALIZATION
Globalization began as soon as the world began to become connected
at the beginning of human history. Trading began centuries ago when
European explorers began trading on their voyages overseas. Trade opened
up and countries began trading gems, spices, silk, gold and silver.
Eventually trading companies in each country were formed and
international trade began. International trade steadily increased up
until World War 1. The beginning of World War 1 ended the first big boom
of globalization for trade and international investment. After this time
the Suez Canal opened up along with new railroads which decreased the
transportation time between Europe and Asia (Mukherjee, 2008). This
increased the amount of trade that was taking place, which increased the
competition between countries to participate in international trade.
During this time trade was centered near England and those countries
that had excess resources, land, and capital. In the 19th Century the
United States made a transition to the center of international trade
with the U.S. share of manufactured goods increasing from 30% in 1840 to
near 60% in 1913 (Mukherjee, 2008) However, the United States began to
migrate toward being the center of trade, but their progress was
hindered by the Great Depression and World War II. After World War II
the United States began to increase trade with other nations, but this
trade did not begin to rapidly increase until the1970s and 1980s. In
1947 the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created
benefitting the world trading system. Since then there have been eight
different agreements of multilateral trade liberalization, as well as
agreements that were made in individual regions of the world. From the
close of World War II to the 1970s the Bretton Woods compromise was in
full effect. This compromise restricted cross-border capital flow, it
also let countries determine their own social and economy arrangements
and how they wanted to develop their country. After the mid-70's
financial markets became liberalized and countries have become more
internationalized either on their own accord, or with some pushing from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Since the
mid-1970s all three circuits of capital (sales, finance, and production)
have been internationalized more than any other time in history (Went,
2004). This increase since the 1970s has been largely due to a rapid
increase in technology and the liberalization of governmental trade
policies. However, some economist believe that globalization is
retreating from its peak during the past thirty years and going into
reverse. Globalization is seen to be at a standstill or in decline in
the current economic crisis. A clear prediction of where globalization
will go in the future has not been fully agreed upon.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Globalization is usually presented in different perspectives. Two
perspectives most commonly used is pro-globalizationists and the other
is anti-globalization or the like, but a close examination of the
literature really reveals that people are neither true capitalist or
Pro-golablizationists or capitalist argue there is little evidence
of income inequality (Almas Heshmati says) for two reasons. First there
is no previous data to prove the hypothesis, second levels of income
inequality in the pre-globalization phase are undeterminable.
The anti-globalization side argues the lowest cost provider does
not mean more income equality for people of that country as Researcher
Kaplinsky (2001) examines the current state of China and India and
believes the increased participation has not only hurt the incomes of
the unskilled worker but also semi-skilled and skilled workers.
For current literature McNally (2006) interprets how previous
fundamental movements of laborers, peasants, and natives peoples in
different countries have changed policies, he proposes a rough outline
of revolutionary politics established on nonuniformity, internationalism
and moving beyond the idea of one market. He also offers a clear
understanding of how the movements need to make the best use of their
strengths. Literature addressing the concept of globalization was also
examined. The concept of globalization is a wide field but one of the
most common books used in this area is probably Thomas Friedmans
"The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Mr. Friedman is proglobalization and
views globalization as the utopian way of life. To understand other
global economic topics, such as agricultural reform, outsourcing and so
forth the website www.iie.com gave more of practical pro-globalization
TRENDS OF GLOBALIZATION
An Increase In Technology and Transportation
Globalization has been rising side by side with the increase in
available technology and convenience of improved transportation.
Technology has made it simpler for people to communicate across borders,
and has also lead to a decline in the cost of transportation. The
technological revolutions in the-mid 1980s lead to lowering the cost of
transportation on airplanes, cars, and ships. It is now much less
expensive and much easier to transport goods from one country to
another. Transportation is a pro-active agent of globalization and
continues to receive additional benefits as transportation itself
improves. Globalized transportation has become very profitable resulting
in additional research and improved transportation technology. During
the main growth stages of globalization between 1970 and 1993
mobilization increased nearly fifty percent throughout Europe. It was
found that the average person went from traveling 16.5 km per day per
person to 31.5 km per day per person. This travel generally takes place
by automobile with automobile ownership increasing to an estimated 810
million in 2010, up from 670 million in 2003. Since the 1970s the flow
of goods in Europe has dramatically increased. The transport of goods by
road has increased by 40%, intercontinental rail shipping has increased
by 17%, and waterway shipping has increased by 12% (Capineri and
Leinback, 2004). Transportation is the main factor that reduces barriers
to international trade and helps to market new technology globally.
Business people are able to travel more easily in order to work out
deals with business people in other nations. A decrease in
transportation costs has triggered business' to garner greater
profits by factory relocation, concentrating production in one sector,
or in one location, where country inequalities exist (Heshmati, 2003).
In addition, the digital revolution has also made globalization
increase. Companies can now transfer files digitally over the internet,
and even over handheld device. This makes it possible to have meetings
without every participant of the meeting being physically present. The
deregulation of the telecom market has lead to lower long distance
communication costs and the exchange of information easier than ever
before (Mukherjee, 2008). International businesses can now communicate
with others through the ease of the email, telephone conferences, and
videoconferences. It is now much less expensive for business people to
pick of the telephone and ask their colleagues a quick question about a
transaction that they are currently working on. The increase in
telecommunications development had to do with a cause-effect
relationship between technological development and the deregulation of
financial market policies. New technology revealed how inefficient the
financial market regulations were to begin with, and the deregulations
of the financial market regulations lead to an increased investment in
telecommunications, which then lead to increase technological advances
(Czaputowicz, 2007). This increase in communication technology even
further decreases the cost of doing business internationally.
The Liberalization of Governmental Trade Policies
Globalization is both inescapable and illogical. We cannot
completely isolate ourselves nor can we have a completely unregulated
commerce. Either way or idea would probably be catastrophic and almost
out of the question. The question is how much regulation do we need and
what type. The government has a big place in globalization by setting
standards for international trade and monitoring the structure for
international trade and determining which sectors should become
privatized. In fact International Monetary Fund loan terms require
certain sectors to become privatized.
If the government is active in facilitating investment, then that
country is most likely globalized. The marketplace should be an
efficient place to allocate resources. Therefore, the main role of the
government should be to create an effective marketplace by providing a
superior structure of corporate governance and business law, providing a
stable economic framework, and provide supply-side flexibility at a
micro level (Alexander and Warwick, 2007). Kagan, 2007 stated that
"there is little doubt that globalization has impinged on the
autonomy of national governments, pushing the legal systems of
economically advanced democracies toward convergence in significant
ways." Convergence between governments is needed so that trade can
be regulated the same in all participating countries. Recently, trade
laws are getting more liberal and opening up trade in parts of the world
where international trade was previously not taking place. These trade
liberalization policies are needed to open trade throughout the world
and increase economic growth. In recent years, the United States has
increased membership in intergovernmental organizations and increased
the amount of legislation passed that was intended to regulate numerous
aspects of trade and finance (Pryor, 2000). With this new
standardization the United States is now able to trade more easily with
foreign nations. The new nations that are now available for trade are
able to make products much more affordable for United States citizens.
It is important for developing nations to participate in trade
agreements in order to gain a competitive advantage in a globalized
world. Research suggests that even further liberalization in both
advanced and developing countries is needed for all countries to receive
full benefits of globalization.
Next, financial capital has become more dominant, making it
important for corporations to maximize shareholder value, which affects
the companies' way of functioning, and how income and wealth are
distributed. The removal of the Bretton Woods accord led to financial
deregulation and exchange markets are now speculative, and rely on the
amount of money flowing through the system rather than trade flows
(Went, 2004). With the free flow of capital throughout the world
financial markets, trading and technology have all exploded at a rapid
pace. An investor may borrow money from a bank in London to build a
skyscraper in China, and even have financial backers from Australia,
Sweden, and Dubai.
An Increase In The Inequalities Among Nations
Also, globalization has lead to an increase in the inequalities of
nations. Literature has many contradicting viewpoints on exactly how
unequal nations are currently, and how big a factor globalization is
playing in the inequalities. The richest of nations are continuing to
increase in wealth while the poorest nations are continuing to get
poorer . It has been found that 20% of the world's richest
population control 86% of world gross domestic product and 82% of world
exports, while the world's poorest 20% consume, 1.3% (Herriott and
Scott-Jackson, 2002). However, (Crafts ,2003) predicts that growth rates
for countries just beginning to actively participate in international
commerce will grow steadily for those countries. He believes that
low-income countries will not be left out of globalization due to the
increased reduction of trade borders throughout the world. These types
of reforms include creating macroeconomic and fiscal stability and
easing trade regimes (Graham, 2001). These reforms help nations
integrate into the global world more easily and help reduce the
inequality between the U.S. and nations that are already integrated into
the global marketplace. Emerging countries such as India and China have
reduced poverty and has shown an increase in economic growth since they
adopted open economic policies in the 1990's (Cheng and
Mittlehammer, 2008). This proves that with the right policies developing
nations do not have to suffer due to globalization. It is important to
put these policies in place so that more countries will want to
participate in globalization. If developing countries know that they
will not have to suffer from inequalities they will want join
globalization. In 1995 The United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) conducted an empirical study in developing
countries in Asia. The study found that foreign investment has had a
positive impact on economic growth when country-specific factors are
taken into account (Carkovic and Levine, 2002). These factors include;
domestic financial development, school attainment, and national income.
Even though the numbers say that globalization is not imposing
negativity on developing nations, many researchers still believe that it
is. This study might have been slightly skewed due to the
country-specific factors that were taken into consideration. When
researchers use the information from the countries previous condition it
could have mixed data. Some of the countries may have been so bad off in
the first place that it actually seems as though there is a positive
income on that countries economy.
Each country wanting to integrate toward globalization should
create local conditions to complement its integrating. These conditions
include, creating an efficient and stable financial market, developing
human capital, and creating quality institutions. The government needs
to be effective in utilizing these institutions to make policy and
deliver public services. There is no current research that directly
defines whether economic performance is actually better due to
institutions. However, literature states that the quality of
institutions affects both the quality and quantity of input
productivity. Research found the quality of institutions affects both
stocks and investment rate of capital (Gwartney et al., 2004).
On the other hand, some researcher's say that although
globalization has the potential to benefit all of the nations involved
it has not done so. Basu (2003) stated that "those who are at the
helm of global politics and economics have made sure that their wealth
gets amassed and their power is protected." This being said, the
regions that are just beginning to participate in international trade
are suffering greatly.
An Increase In the Inequalities of Incomes Between Citizens of A
Finally, along with the increase in the inequalities of nations
there was an increase in labor inequalities between the citizens of a
single nation. Kaplinsky (2001) discusses this inequality and poverty
due to globalization. He stated that as China chooses to increasingly
participate in the global economy it will hurt the income of many of
China's citizens. The same thing was said for India and other low
wage emerging economies. This researcher believed that participating in
globalization would hurt the incomes of not just the unskilled workers
but also the incomes of the semi-skilled and skilled workers Kaplinsky
(2001). Research documents indicate that since the 1970s developing
countries have exhibited economic growth and growing inequalities
(Tisdell, 2004). Prior research presents two facts on income inequality
prior to globalization. First, there is no proven correlation linking
growth and inequality. Second, the levels of income inequality in the
pre-globalization phase are undeterminable (Heshmati, 2003). However,
the division between the upper and lower classes is getting wider and
wider as time goes by. Literature suggests that trade has played a minor
role in labor inequality, but rapid technological changes are the main
source for income inequality. The conditions of work for unskilled
workers and skilled workers are rapidly changing with technology. The
unskilled workers are unable to operate new technology and therefore are
beginning to get paid less and less. New technology is creating
diverging wage and salary levels, increasing job insecurity for
unskilled workers, and increasing unemployment rates for low skilled
employees. In the previously mentioned article Kaplinsky discussed
unequal incomes in China during the 1980s and 90s. He found that when
global income inequality is "measured in relation to individual
incomes, rather than inter-country average incomes the share of global
income going to individuals has become more unequal. The average income
in China did rise but large numbers of the Chinese population were
excluded from gains, and are worse off than before" (Kaplinsky,
2001). Currently, many reforms are taking place to bridge the gap
between incomes in countries throughout the world. Often times reforms
on developing nations are looked at in a negative light. However, the
effect of these reforms on the poor can actually be very positive. The
poor have the most difficult time protecting themselves from high rates
of inflation. In the past market reforms have reoriented public spending
towards benefits for the less fortunante or poor (Graham, 2001). These
reforms have lead to globalization actually becoming positive for lower
class society. Local socioeconomic conditions play a big part on how
globalization impacts certain areas of society. Individuals no longer
see themselves as part of society as a whole and continue to separate
themselves from society. This leads to an "every man for
himself" type culture and even furthers the gap between individuals
in society. These individuals are motivated by their own needs,
preferences, and rights, and begin to lose high regard for other members
PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBALIZATION
There are three main perspectives on globalization, each discussing
different positives and negatives that are associated with
globalization. The three different perspectives are the hyperglobalist
perspective, the skeptical perspective, and the transformationalist
The Hyperglobalist Perspective
The first perspective is the Hyperglobalist perspective. This
perspective argues that past history and current economics have joined
together to create a new relationship where nations are uniting both
economically and politically. It is necessary for countries to band
together in both of these aspects in order to be successful in the
globalized world. Countries that are not uniting are being left behind
in the new globalized world that we live in today. This perspective
views that the world economy is controlled more by the current
marketplace than by governments. It is believed that industry, trading,
and the global financial marketplace drives the economy, with governance
having little to no control over the marketplace. Hyperglobalist believe
that the power of individual governments is weakening as a whole, and
that globalization has weakened the ability of individual governments to
regulate the economy. Noting this, transnational governance
organizations are becoming increasingly important. Many governments will
have to merge together, and some may have to obey rules that they do not
establish. Some scholars say that the democratic social models
implemented and protected by nation-states will become increasingly
insupportable. With the amount of trading going on in the national
marketplace it is almost inevitable to have some sort of global
governance system. Each country and its citizens have different beliefs
on how a government should be developed and how much control it may
have. It will most likely be a long time in the future before
governments can come together and create any type of global system.
However, other scholars say that the dissemination of a
"consumerist ideology" is the first step in breaking down
traditional modes of identification. As liberal democracy spreads the
world will develop more universal principles of economic and political
organization. After these things take place a truly global civilization
will become possible (Held. Et al.,1999). Increased communication due to
technological advances has created more of a mass culture, than existed
in the past. The Hyperglobalist perspective sees the world economy as
one single unit, more so than any other perspective does.
The Skeptical Perspective
The second perspective is the Skeptical perspective. The skeptical
perspective views the globalization process as more separated and
regionalized than as a truly global world. Scholars who view
globalization with a skeptical perspective dismiss the fact that there
is the development of a global culture of global development structure.
These people believe that the world is globalizing but different regions
are globalizing together. This perspective suggests that the past
provides evidence that the world is not becoming a single market but
that it is the expansion of regional economic sectors and the
cooperation of trade between countries (Robinson 2006.) For example,
industrialized nations have been trading together and building a trading
block between each other. Then they slowly start purchasing products
from developing countries and adding these countries to their block. The
skeptical perspective believes that a strong-nation state is needed to
facilitate trade between countries and regulate the running of the
global economy. These "power countries" will regulate the
trading between developing nations who do not have a strong government
system. Many scholars view this perspective as more believable because
those countries with a strong nation-state are more active in
international commerce. The skeptical perspective believes in a
globalized world but believes that globalization begins regionally then
migrates toward a globalized economy.
The Transformationalist Perspective
The final perspective is the Transformationalist perspective. This
perspective differs from the other two perspectives in two ways. First,
it is believed that there is no individual cause (that is, the market or
economic logic) behind globalization. Globalization is considered a
phenomenon that just slowly progressed over the years. Second, scholars
believe that the outcome of processes of globalization is not determined
(Held et al. 1999). These scholars say that globalization is an unknown
phenomenon and its outcome will not be known for many years down the
road. Transformationalist authors believe that the same general changes
have occurred from globalization but there is no direct belief in the
exact direction that these changes came about. Also, this perspective
does not define any historical events or factors that define
globalization. Globalization is just something that has been happening
with no defined past or future. Transformationalist say the power of
national governments is increasing but the nature of these national
governments is changing. This perspective believes that the range of
factors influencing processes of globalization is much greater, and the
outcomes of globalization are very uncertain.
The Perspective That Globalization Is Not Occurring
In addition to these three perspectives there are those who believe
that globalization is not occurring. In the article Globalization in
Question authors Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson (1996) believe that our
world today is not experiencing globalization but rather an increase in
growth in the international economy. These theorists believe that in
fact the international economy is becoming more globalized but full
globalization is not taking place. The international economy is
experiencing the growth that it previously had before the Great
Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. These authors believe that
if we truly lived in a globalized world, society, as a whole would be
very similar socially. Currently this is not true. Societies of
different countries are different in so many different wants. They think
that if our society were truly globalized then market forces would be
uncontrollable and automatic. Right now the market forces are somewhat
controllable by government intervention. Those who do not believe in
globalization also think that there is not enough political backing for
this type of globalized movement to be taking place. Although, many
countries support globalization no government supports the world being
fully globalized. These are the reasons that some believe that
globalization is not occurring.
THEORIES OF GLOBALIZATION
There are many different theories on globalization that are
circulating literature. Researcher Almas Heshmati (2003) found that
there are three basic theories on globalization and world-wide
inequality. First, is the neoclassical growth theory that forecasts the
coming together of nations because of increased flow of capital
throughout the world. Next, is the endogenous growth theory, which
forecasts a smaller amount of convergence or divergence because there is
a larger return on technological advances in countries that are already
fully globalized. Finally, the dependency approach forecasts that
divergence occurs because of the different amount of benefits that each
country will receive from economic integration depending on how wealthy
that country is. For example if a country is trying to become more
democratic the dependency approach will hurt the process because the
dependency perspective relies on foreign capital. (Heckelman and Knack
Is Globalization Reversible
When asking whether or not globalization is reversible does not
mean it needs to be altered to the degree of disbandment but rather can
it to a certain extent be changed to advance all societies, rather than
a few nations. Examining this possibility requires a sincere look into
the unfair nature of globalization of today and then evaluate the needed
steps to adjust it ongoing development in all countries. The World
Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization says to be aware of
the clear warnings of what is going to occur if globalization is allowed
its continued path, while advancements are "too distant for too
many". (The Assoc. for Women's Right in Development, 2008).
Great wealth is being accumulated, but developmental problems of
exclusion, poverty, an inequality persist. Bribery is generally
accepted, free and open cultures and societies are endangered by
violence and the ideas of an open market are in question. World-Wide
sovereignty is in a predicament. The world is at a perilous juncture and
we all need to revise or rethink our present policy and organizations
(The Association for Women's Rights in Development, 2008).
Societal change has always existed. The amount societies have
changed has allowed mankind to achieve great and wondrous things.
Without the progress of social change (examples include technological
and medical discoveries) mankind would fight to survive. However social
change is not always done for the benefit of all. It is undeniable that
the power of globalization is both advantageous and disadvantageous at
the same time. Countries such as the United States celebrate its good
fortunes while Africa struggles. With inherent challenges making the
concept of globalization unforeseeable. Africa's economy depends
heavily on exports and farming, globalization will make such customary
The belief among financial experts, "Globalization and the
progress to an informational market which relies on knowledge-based
products threatens Africa's already shaky position in the global
market" (IPS 2004). Africa's economy relies on regionally
grown commodities such as palm oil, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla, speaks to
the aspect of efficient techniques which are created faster, cheaper and
within "research facilities or in a non-traditional
environment" (IPS 2004). Indeed, while much of the rest of the
world looks longingly toward the prospect of globalization, African
farmers and the rest of the population are seeing nothing short of
economic destruction. Primary to the challenges facing Africa due to
globalization is that it is destroying the very nature of equitable
Changing this approach to globalization will require a number of
modifications to the present methodology, a multifaceted task clearly
laid out by the Commission in its document entitled; A Fair
Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All that includes the
following criteria: 1) A focus on people that addresses such global
characteristics as gender equality, cultural autonomy/identity,
community empowerment and decent work opportunities; 2) a democratic and
effective State whereby the capacity exists to offer economic/social
opportunity as well as assimilate into the global economy; 3)
sustainable development in all forms of social, economic and
environmental application; 4) productive and equitable markets; 5) fair
rules; 6) globalization with solidarity; 7) greater responsibility to
citizens, both public and private; 8) deeper partnerships in all
organizational levels; and 9) an effective United Nations that creates
and enforces an appropriate system of governance. In short, these
proposals call for "a wider and more democratic participation of
people and countries in the making of policies that affect them. They
also require those with the capacity and power to decide-governments,
parliaments, business, labour, civil society and international
organizations--to assume their common responsibility to promote a free,
equitable and productive global community" (The World Commission on
the Social Dimension of Globalization, 2004).
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
In conclusion, over the past thirty years globalization has
completely transformed how nations are conducting business in the world.
The increases in technology and the liberalization or governmental
policies have lead to globalization skyrocketing over the past three
decades. This drastic increase in globalization has lead to an increase
in inequality amongst nations, as well as an increase in the
inequalities between social classes of individual countries. There are
three main perspectives on globalization within literature today. Each
individual perspective has different viewpoints on what causes
globalization, how globalization impacts society, and the future of
globalization. There are also several theories of globalization that
need to be understood. It is imperative to have a clear understanding of
the trends and perspectives of globalization to be able to understand
how it affects the business world and society.
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Tiffany Bishop, Sam Houston State University
John Reinke, Sam Houston State University
Tommy Adams, Sam Houston State University