Skip to content

Concepts of Globalization


It is not static, but a dynamic on-going process: globalization involves the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states, and technologies to a degree never witnessed before – in a way that it is enabling individuals, corporations, and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before, and in a way that it is also producing a powerful backlash from those brutalized or left behind by this new system.

Theodore Levitt: Refers to the existence of free change og goods, services, culture, and even people, between and among countries.

Through this, countries have discarded taxes on imported goods and opened their doors to highly skilled workers and professionals.

Globalization leads ppl to become more interested to travel, learn new languages and immerse themselves to the new culture and lifestyles.

Globalization is not static but an ongoing process. It involves the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before. (Thomas Friedman)

“ It is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange has increased the production of goods and services has been taking place for hundred of years, but has speeded up enormously over the half-century (- British Broadcasting Corporation)


Refers to the process and systems that pertains to relationships between nation-states.


It encompasses process and systems to global-social relations or interactions between international and/or transnational entities.


6 Core Claims of Globalization

1. Globalization is about the liberalization and global integration of markets 

2. Globalization is inevitable and irreversible

3. Nobody is in charge of globalization 

4. Globalization benefits everyone

5. Globalization furthers the spread of democracy in the world 

6. Globalization requires war on terror


The most dominant economic framework and system in many parts of the world.It is premised on the profit motive.


It partly explains why people tend to buy stocks of profitable companies. 

Why government of the third world countries allowing mining corporations to operate even in places where ecosystem is vulnerable

Profit motive (people tend to buy stocks of profitable companies, why Government of Third world countries allow mining corporations to operate even in places where the ecosystem is vulnerable).


Another philosophy, which adherents that free markets free trade will set free the creative potential and the entrepreneurial spirit which is built into spontaneous order of any human society, and thereby lead to more individual liberty and well-being, and more efficient allocation of resources.


 freeing corporations from much government regulation will encourage capitalists to invest more on existing industries, even on experimental and innovative ones. Privatizing industries and services will create opportunities for corporations to create more wealth from almost sure profits and possibly reduce the price of commodities as competition between enterprises becomes stiffer.



It considered highly imbalanced system of globalization that favors the First-world over the third-world corporations over citizens and communities, and profit seeking over environmental sustainability.

wants to end to what is considers as a highly imbalanced system of globalization that favors the first world countries over developing countries, corporations over citizens and communities, and profit-seeking over environmental sustainability.

Alter-globalization– changing the current system to make it more humane, more pro-environment, and more grass-roots driven.


Altering or changing the current system of globalization to make it more humane, more pro-environment and more grassroots- driven rather than staying to top-down imposition.


1. Multiculturalism and Multiligualism 

2.Free trade 

3.Cultural and Educational Exchanges 


5.Global Cooperation


1. Linguistic Hegemony of English 

2. Cultural Homogenization 

3. Third World Dependence on the First World 

4. Global income and wealth inequality 

5. Racism and Anti-Migrant Sentiment


Manfred Steger (1960’s)

Globalization as a process, a condition, a system, a force, and age.

globalization is a closer integration of national economies through trade and financial flows as well as cross-border migration of people.

– globalization brings three freedoms (Free movement of goods or products, services, capital or investment, and persons.

1. free movement of goods because of abolition of tariff – tax on imported goods.

2. free movement of capital or investment because of lifting of strict banking and financial regulations that encourage investors

3. free movement of persons because of abolition of visa restrictions

a. wages hikes

b. privatization

c. migration and outsourcing of jobs

Liberalization – economic process that require laws or policies which are products of confrontation between conflicting interests.

– globalization as the process of world shrinkage, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer. Increasing ease with which somebody on one side of the world can interact to mutual benefits with somebody on the other side of the world.

Thomas Larsson (2001): Globalization is the modern term for colonization.

Martin Khor: globalization is the onset of the borderless world.


Globalization’s definition is complex, multifaceted because it deals with either economic, political and social dimensions. It is not easy to define because it has a shifting nature. It can be influenced by people who define it.

Metaphors of Globalization


SOLIDITY– refers to the barriers that prevent or make difficult movement of things; can be natural or man-made.

Natural solids: bodies of water

Man-made solids: The Great Wall of China and Berlin Wall, imaginary line such as the nine-dash line used by China in their claim to the South China Sea.


Liquid – takes the shape of its container.

Liquidity – refers to the increasing ease of movement of people, things, information, and places in the contemporary world. It is difficult to stop. Videos uploaded on yt or fb are unstoppable once they become viral.

Space and time are crucial elements of globalization.


1. Liberalism

Liberalism sees the process of globalisation as market-led extension of modernisation. At the most elementary level, it is a result of ‘natural’ human desires for economic welfare and political liberty. As such, transplanetary connectivity is derived from human drives to maximise material well-being and to exercise basic freedoms. These forces eventually interlink humanity across the planet.

They fructify in the form of:

(a) Technological advances, particularly in the areas of transport, communications and information processing, and,

(b) Suitable legal and institutional arrangement to enable markets and liberal democracy to spread on a trans world scale.

Such explanations come mostly from Business Studies, Economics, International Political Economy, Law and Politics. Liberalists stress the necessity of constructing institutional infrastructure to support globalisation. All this has led to technical standardisation, administrative harmonisation, translation arrangement between languages, laws of contract, and guarantees of property rights.

But its supporters neglect the social forces that lie behind the creation of technological and institutional underpinnings. It is not satisfying to attribute these developments to ‘natural’ human drives for economic growth and political liberty. They are culture blind and tend to overlook historically situated life-worlds and knowledge structures which have promoted their emergence.

All people cannot be assumed to be equally amenable to and desirous of increased globality in their lives. Similarly, they overlook the phenomenon of power. There are structural power inequalities in promoting globalisation and shaping its course. Often they do not care for the entrenched power hierarchies between states, classes, cultures, sexes, races and resources.

2. Political Realism

Advocates of this theory are interested in questions of state power, the pursuit of national interest, and conflict between states. According to them states are inherently acquisitive and self-serving, and heading for inevitable competition of power. Some of the scholars stand for a balance of power, where any attempt by one state to achieve world dominance is countered by collective resistance from other states.

Another group suggests that a dominant state can bring stability to world order. The ‘hegemon’ state (presently the US or G7/8) maintains and defines international rules and institutions that both advance its own interests and at the same time contain conflicts between other states. Globalisation has also been explained as a strategy in the contest for power between several major states in contemporary world politics.

Thus, the political realists highlight the issues of power and power struggles and the role of states in generating global relations.

At some levels, globalisation is considered as antithetical to territorial states. States, they say, are not equal in globalisation, some being dominant and others subordinate in the process. But they fail to understand that everything in globalisation does not come down to the acquisition, distribution and exercise of power.

Globalisation has also cultural, ecological, economic and psychological dimensions that are not reducible to power politics. It is also about the production and consumption of resources, about the discovery and affirmation of identity, about the construction and communication of meaning, and about humanity shaping and being shaped by nature. Most of these are apolitical.

Power theorists also neglect the importance and role of other actors in generating globalisation. These are sub-state authorities, macro-regional institutions, global agencies, and private-sector bodies. Additional types of power-relations on lines of class, culture and gender also affect the course of globalisation. Some other structural inequalities cannot be adequately explained as an outcome of interstate competition. After all, class inequality, cultural hierarchy, and patriarchy predate the modern states.

3. Marxism

Marxism is principally concerned with modes of production, social exploitation through unjust distribution, and social emancipation through the transcendence of capitalism. Marx himself anticipated the growth of globality that ‘capital by its nature drives beyond every spatial barrier to conquer the whole earth for its market’. Accordingly, to Marxists, globalisation happens because trans-world connectivity enhances opportunities of profit-making and surplus accumulation.

Marxists reject both liberalist and political realist explanations of globalisation. It is the outcome of historically specific impulses of capitalist development. Its legal and institutional infrastructures serve the logic of surplus accumulation of a global scale. Liberal talk of freedom and democracy make up a legitimating ideology for exploitative global capitalist class relations.

The neo-Marxists in dependency and world-system theories examine capitalist accumulation on a global scale on lines of core and peripheral countries. Neo-Gramscians highlight the significance of underclass struggles to resist globalising capitalism not only by traditional labour unions, but also by new social movements of consumer advocates, environmentalists, peace activists, peasants, and women. However, Marxists give an overly restricted account of power.

There are other relations of dominance and subordination which relate to state, culture, gender, race, sex, and more. Presence of US hegemony, the West-centric cultural domination, masculinism, racism etc. are not reducible to class dynamics within capitalism. Class is a key axis of power in globalisation, but it is not the only one. It is too simplistic to see globalisation solely as a result of drives for surplus accumulation.

It also seeks to explore identities and investigate meanings. People develop global weapons and pursue global military campaigns not only for capitalist ends, but also due to interstate competition and militarist culture that predate emergence of capitalism. Ideational aspects of social relations also are not outcome of the modes of production. They have, like nationalism, their autonomy.

4. Constructivism

Globalisation has also arisen because of the way that people have mentally constructed the social world with particular symbols, language, images and interpretation. It is the result of particular forms and dynamics of consciousness. Patterns of production and governance are second-order structures that derive from deeper cultural and socio-psychological forces. Such accounts of globalisation have come from the fields of Anthropology, Humanities, Media of Studies and Sociology.

Constructivists concentrate on the ways that social actors ‘construct’ their world: both within their own minds and through inter-subjective communication with others. Conversation and symbolic exchanges lead people to construct ideas of the world, the rules for social interaction, and ways of being and belonging in that world. Social geography is a mental experience as well as a physical fact. They form ‘in’ or ‘out’ as well as ‘us’ and they’ groups.

They conceive of themselves as inhabitants of a particular global world. National, class, religious and other identities respond in part to material conditions but they also depend on inter-subjective construction and communication of shared self-understanding. However, when they go too far, they present a case of social-psychological reductionism ignoring the significance of economic and ecological forces in shaping mental experience. This theory neglects issues of structural inequalities and power hierarchies in social relations. It has a built-in apolitical tendency.

5. Postmodernism

Some other ideational perspectives of globalisation highlight the significance of structural power in the construction of identities, norms and knowledge. They all are grouped under the label of ‘postmodernism’. They too, as Michel Foucault does strive to understand society in terms of knowledge power: power structures shape knowledge. Certain knowledge structures support certain power hierarchies.

The reigning structures of understanding determine what can and cannot be known in a given socio-historical context. This dominant structure of knowledge in modern society is ‘rationalism’. It puts emphasis on the empirical world, the subordination of nature to human control, objectivist science, and instrumentalist efficiency. Modern rationalism produces a society overwhelmed with economic growth, technological control, bureaucratic organisation, and disciplining desires.

This mode of knowledge has authoritarian and expansionary logic that leads to a kind of cultural imperialism subordinating all other epistemologies. It does not focus on the problem of globalisation per se. In this way, western rationalism overawes indigenous cultures and other non-modem life-worlds.

Postmodernism, like Marxism, helps to go beyond the relatively superficial accounts of liberalist and political realist theories and expose social conditions that have favoured globalisation. Obviously, postmodernism suffers from its own methodological idealism. All material forces, though come under impact of ideas, cannot be reduced to modes of consciousness. For a valid explanation, interconnection between ideational and material forces is not enough.

6. Feminism

It puts emphasis on social construction of masculinity and femininity. All other theories have identified the dynamics behind the rise of trans-planetary and supra-territorial connectivity in technology, state, capital, identity and the like.

Biological sex is held to mould the overall social order and shape significantly the course of history, presently globality. Their main concern lies behind the status of women, particularly their structural subordination to men. Women have tended to be marginalised, silenced and violated in global communication.

7. Trans-formationalism

This theory has been expounded by David Held and his colleagues. Accordingly, the term ‘globalisation’ reflects increased interconnectedness in political, economic and cultural matters across the world creating a “shared social space”. Given this interconnectedness, globalisation may be defined as “a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organisation of social relations and transactions, expressed in transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power.”

While there are many definitions of globalisation, such a definition seeks to bring together the many and seemingly contradictory theories of globalisation into a “rigorous analytical framework” and “proffer a coherent historical narrative”. Held and McGrew’s analytical framework is constructed by developing a three part typology of theories of globalisation consisting of “hyper-globalist,” “sceptic,” and “transformationalist” categories.

The Hyperglobalists purportedly argue that “contemporary globalisation defines a new era in which people everywhere are increasingly subject to the disciplines of the global marketplace”. Given the importance of the global marketplace, multi-national enterprises (MNEs) and intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) which regulate their activity are key political actors. Sceptics, such as Hirst and Thompson (1996) ostensibly argue that “globalisation is a myth which conceals the reality of an international economy increasingly segmented into three major regional blocs in which national governments remain very powerful.” Finally, transformationalists such as Rosenau (1997) or Giddens (1990) argue that globalisation occurs as “states and societies across the globe are experiencing a process of profound change as they try to adapt to a more interconnected but highly uncertain world”.

Developing the transformationalist category of globalisation theories. Held and McGrew present a rather complicated typology of globalisation based on globalization’s spread, depth, speed, and impact, as well as its impacts on infrastructure, institutions, hierarchical structures and the unevenness of development.

They imply that the “politics of globalisation” have been “transformed” (using their word from the definition of globalisation) along all of these dimensions because of the emergence of a new system of “political globalisation.” They define “political globalisation” as the “shifting reach of political power, authority and forms of rule” based on new organisational interests which are “transnational” and “multi-layered.”

These organisational interests combine actors identified under the hyper-globalist category (namely IGOs and MNEs) with those of the sceptics (trading blocs and powerful states) into a new system where each of these actors exercises their political power, authority and forms of rule.

Thus, the “politics of globalisation” is equivalent to “political globalisation” for Held and McGrew. However, Biyane Michael criticises them. He deconstructs their argument, if a is defined as “globalisation” (as defined above), b as the organisational interests such as MNEs, IGOs, trading blocs, and powerful states, and c as “political globalisation” (also as defined above), then their argument reduces to a. b. c. In this way, their discussion of globalisation is trivial.

Held and others present a definition of globalisation, and then simply restates various elements of the definition. Their definition, “globalisation can be conceived as a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organisation of social relations” allows every change to be an impact of globalisation. Thus, by their own definition, all the theorists they critique would be considered as “transformationalists.” Held and McGrew also fail to show how globalisation affects organisational interests.

8.  Eclecticism

Each one of the above six ideal-type of social theories of globalisation highlights certain forces that contribute to its growth. They put emphasis on technology and institution building, national interest and inter-state competition, capital accumulation and class struggle, identity and knowledge construction, rationalism and cultural imperialism, and masculinize and subordination of women. Jan Art Scholte synthesises them as forces of production, governance, identity, and knowledge.

Accordingly, capitalists attempt to amass ever-greater resources in excess of their survival needs: accumulation of surplus. The capitalist economy is thoroughly monetised. Money facilitates accumulation. It offers abundant opportunities to transfer surplus, especially from the weak to the powerful. This mode of production involves perpetual and pervasive contests over the distribution of surplus. Such competition occurs both between individual, firms, etc. and along structural lines of class, gender, race etc.

Their contests can be overt or latent. Surplus accumulation has had transpired in one way or another for many centuries, but capitalism is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It has turned into a structural power, and is accepted as a ‘natural’ circumstance, with no alternative mode of production. It has spurred globalisation in four ways: market expansion, accounting practices, asset mobility and enlarged arenas of commodification. Its technological innovation appears in communication, transport and data processing as well as in global organisation and management. It concentrates profits at points of low taxation. Information, communication, finance and consumer sectors offer vast potentials to capital making it ‘hyper-capitalism’.

Any mode of production cannot operate in the absence of an enabling regulatory apparatus. There are some kind of governance mechanisms. Governance relates processes whereby people formulate, implement, enforce and review rules to guide their common affairs.” It entails more than government. It can extend beyond state and sub-state institutions including supra-state regimes as well. It covers the full scope of societal regulation.

In the growth of contemporary globalisation, besides political and economic forces, there are material and ideational elements. In expanding social relations, people explore their class, their gender, their nationality, their race, their religious faith and other aspects of their being. Constructions of identity provide collective solidarity against oppression. Identity provides frameworks for community, democracy, citizenship and resistance. It also leads from nationalism to greater pluralism and hybridity.

In the area of knowledge, the way that the people know their world has significant implications for the concrete circumstances of that world. Powerful patterns of social consciousness cause globalisation. Knowledge frameworks cannot be reduced to forces of production, governance or identity.

Mindsets encourage or discourage the rise of globality. Modern rationalism is a general configuration of knowledge. It is secular as it defines reality in terms of the tangible world of experience. It understands reality primarily in terms of human interests, activities and conditions. It holds that phenomena can be understood in terms of single incontrovertible truths that are discoverable by rigorous application of objective research methods.

Rationalism is instrumentalist. It assigns greatest value to insights that enable people efficiently to solve immediate problems. It subordinates all other ways of understanding and acting upon the world. Its knowledge could then be applied to harness natural and social forces for human purposes. It enables people to conquer disease, hunger, poverty, war, etc., and maximise the potentials of human life. It looks like a secular faith, a knowledge framework for capitalist production and a cult of economic efficiency. Scientism and instrumentalism of rationalism is conducive to globalisation. Scientific knowledge is non-territorial.



Globalization accelerates economic growth, increasing standards of living, but there are winners and losers. 

Globalization benefits the consumer by increasing income and offering a greater variety of lower-priced products and services. 

Globalization increases employment and wages and helps improve working conditions and protect workers’ rights. 

Globalization helps clean up and protect the environment by providing the national wealth necessary to undertake environmental improvements. 

Globalization helps developing nations by accelerating economic growth and lifting millions out of poverty. 

Globalization helps protect human rights. Economic freedom and political freedom are closely linked. 

Globalization fosters the growth of democratic governments, which have almost doubled worldwide in just the last decade. 

The culmination of globalization and technology has resulted in a quality of life unimaginable one hundred years ago. 

Life expectancy, literacy, human health, leisure, and living standards have improved dramatically worldwide.


Globalization subjects the peoples of the world to financial crises and poverty in the name of corporate greed. Globalization has resulted in record corporate profit rates while the worldwide income gap continues to widen. 

Globalization results in U.S. jobs being shipped overseas to low-wage factories with poor working conditions and abuses of workers’ rights. 

Globalization exploits local environments in the quest for corporate profit and contributes to worldwide global warming. 

Globalization subjects developing nations to severe trade and financial lending practices, keeping nations trapped in debt and millions trapped in poverty. 

Globalization supports a world trade in human bondage and slavery estimated in the millions. 

Globalization threatens the sovereignty of the nation-state by undermining national laws and regulations with the power of world trade and finance bodies. 

Globalization threatens public health, local economies, and the social fabric of agriculturally based societies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *