What Is Globalization?

Globalization refers to the interaction between different peoples and governments, often in the realm of international trade. It intensifies the interconnections within the global community and influences nations not only economically, but also culturally.

Globalization is a millennia-old phenomenon. Humans have been migrating throughout all of history, and people have been trading with other civilizations for thousands of years. An example of mass migration is the European settlement of the Americas, along with the millions of slaves they transported from Africa. The well-known Silk Road from the Middle Ages, stretching from Europe to China, shows that people travelled long distances in history for trade.

Globalization has increased dramatically since World War II, when many different nations arranged trading agreements with other countries. The daily turnover of foreign exchange markets is huge with more than $1.5 trillion, as of 2016. International banking has also risen dramatically.

Globalization also brings about changes in cultural identity with the advent of nation-states. Cultural communication increased dramatically after World War II with advancements in technology, including the Internet. The use of English as a universal language supports the global infrastructure that technology has created.

Advocates of globalization claim that the phenomenon helps poor nations develop their economies, while critics argue that it primarily benefits Western corporations and harms local businesses, cultures and civilians. Thus, both common people and governments have taken measures to try to manage globalization.