Globalization refers to the worldwide phenomenon of technological, economic, political and cultural exchanges. These exchanges are generally brought about by modern methods of communication, transportation, and international trade.
The political aspects of globalization are apparent when governments create international rules, and institutions to deal with issues such as trade, human rights, and the environment. Among the new institutions that have come to exist as a result of globalization are the World Trade Organization, the Euro currency, and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Characteristics and trends
Globalization has become identified with a number of trends, most of which have developed since the end of World War II. Some of these include:
- Increase in international trade at a faster rate than the growth in the world economy
- Increase in international flow of capital
- Creation of international agreements leading to organizations like the WTO and OPEC
- Increase of economic practices such as outsourcing, by multinational corporations
- Greater international cultural exchange,
- Greater international travel and tourism
- Greater rate of legal immigration
- Development of a global telecommunications infrastructure
- Formation or development of a set of universal values
Barriers to international trade have also been greatly lowered since the end World War II. Some of the trade initiatives have included:
- Promotion of free trade of goods through the reduction, or elimination, of tariffs
- Reduced transportation costs for ocean shipping.
- Reduction or elimination of subsidies for local businesses
- Supranational recognition of intellectual property restrictions
There are many kinds of anti-globalization around the world. In general, activists claim that the end results have not been what was originally intended when the attempt to increase free trade began. They also feel that many institutions involved in the system of globalization have not taken into account the interests of poorer nations, the working class, or the environment.