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22 April 2006 

Is Globalisation a New? (part 1)

The phenomenon of globalisation

Santo Dewatmoko, Sheffield

The occurrence of globalization is surely unavoidable by human kind all over the world. Due to modern technology in transport and communication, the politics and economy of these countries are subject to more and more influences from exterior boundaries. This aspect of globalisation almost appears to dwindle traditional power and sovereignty of states and countries.

People have different view on the term of ‘globalisation’. Firstly, it is said that globalisation is a process, not a state. Nowadays, it is generally perceived as a process in which the border of the countries collapse and all of the ‘globe’ and the world becomes a unity (Ali, 1998). In this way, globalisation describes the changes in societies and the world economy that result from dramatically communication, contacts between people in different parts of the world have become much easier. The trend of national and trans-national trading is now a world wide aspect of life. As technology makes it easier for interaction between far off countries, increasing international trade and cultural exchange. It describes the increase of trade and investing due to the falling of barriers and the interdependence of countries.

In specifically economic contexts, ‘globalisation’ refers almost exclusively to the effects of trade, particularly trade liberalization or free trade. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization). Many authors argue that globalising forces will eventually lead to the destruction of the nation-state system in international politics. Many of those refuse this argument contend that nation-states will hold their traditional powers and sovereignty. The process of this globalisation itself can be seen from the link and interaction of economics of all nations. The expansion of multinational corporation (MNC), from superpower countries, especially from capitalists, to the third-world countries, is notably claimed as “unfair” expansion in the name of globalisation. This economic domination of superpower countries lead to a significant influence on political domain. Consequently, economic and political structures at the interstate-level play a more important role than the state-level. Nevertheless, it is said that when communism fell in the Soviet Union, the Mongolian economy and society in general received a tremendous shock, therefore “such a view implicitly views globalization not as a process but as a state” (Findlay and Lundahl, 2001)

Secondly, globalisation can be viewed from aspect of time. Most authors perceived that globalisation is a new phenomenon that has been started and developed since 1980s after the collapse of socialist regimes, especially in former Soviet Union (Ali, 1998). The elements of globalization include transborder capital, labour, management, news, images, and data flows. The main engines of globalisation since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 are the transnational corporations (TNCs), transnational media organizations (TMCs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and alternative government organizations (AGOs) (Tehranian, 1998). Still most authors identify that the idea that globalization is a post Second World War phenomenon, still less a process of change that followed the collapse of the Cold War (Robertson, 2003, p.3). Further, globalisation can be traced from well-known 'voyages of discovery', in which Vasco da Gama and Columbus travelled around the new world, looking for gold and glory. It means that globalisation has emerged since 1500 as capitalism and colonialism in Europe began. Nevertheless, it can be argued that globalisation as a historical process has been going on for the past 5000 years, even more (Riggs, 1998).

This is why the topic of globalization is widely discussed, especially in current political economics. This article is intended to discuss the globalisation form in the historical standpoint and how it affects human life in general and in specified aspects. In doing so, it will present different views on the globalisation, identify several the aspects of globalisation, and explain the phenomena of globalisation. The main question here is whether the globalisation is a new phenomenon or not. It implies that if it has existed for many centuries, has globalisation always been the same phenomenon?

(to be continued: Globalisation: concept and definition)

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