Global Policy Forum

Globalization

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Over many centuries, human societies across the globe have established progressively closer contacts. Recently, the pace of global integration has dramatically increased. Unprecedented changes in communications, transportation, and computer technology have given the process new impetus and made the world more interdependent than ever. Multinational corporations manufacture products in many countries and sell to consumers around the world. Money, technology and raw materials move ever more swiftly across national borders. Along with products and finances, ideas and cultures circulate more freely. As a result, laws, economies, and social movements are forming at the international level.

This site considers not only the Globalization of the Economy but also the Globalization of Politics, of Culture and of Law. The globalized world sweeps away regulation and undermines local and national politics, just as the consolidation of the nation state swept away local economies, dialects, cultures and political forms. Globalization creates new markets and wealth, even as it causes widespread suffering, disorder, and unrest. It is both a source of repression and a catalyst for global movements of social justice and emancipation.  The great financial crisis of 2008-09 has revealed the dangers of an unstable, deregulated, global economy but it has also given rise to important global initiatives for change.

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The term globalization encompasses a range of social, political, and economic changes. Within the section Defining Globalization, we provide an introduction to the key debates. The materials ask what is new, what drives the process, how it changes politics, and how it affects global institutions like the UN.

Globalization expands and accelerates the exchange of ideas and commodities over vast distances. It is common to discuss the phenomenon in highly generalized terms, but globalization's impacts are often best understood at the local level. Cases of Globalization explore the various manifestations of interconnectedness in the world, noting how globalization affects real people and places.

Tables and Charts on Globalization provide data on the growing global interconnectedness and draw a statistical and graphic picture of Globalization.

Globalization often appears to be a force of nature, a phenomenon without bounds or alternatives. But peoples’ movements have shown that it is neither unalterable nor inevitable. Citizens all over the world—ordinary people from the global North and South—can work together to shape alternate futures, to build a globalization of cooperation, solidarity and respect for our common planetary environment.

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