Globalization is the progressive universal integration of people from different parts of the world due to the exchange and adaptation of global views on social, political, economic, technological, economical and cultural issues (Arnesto 2011). Globalization is a phrase used to describe the growing influence of the western life on the rest of the world leading to westernization, the pursuit of a liberal global market as well as the growth in technology enabling the interactions to occur. The ultimate goal of globalization is to have global integration of nations and their cultures. This led to the exchange of information that later paved way for trade. Globalization has undergone various phases with the driving force changing, and this has brought about both positive and negative effects on the people involved (Courtwright, 2001). Various factors have led to the progressive growth in globalization these being technology, diplomacy, ideas, political ambition for power, trade, energy and art (Arnesto 2011).
Scientific discoveries and idealism
Globalization has been progressive since the 17th and 18th centuries where there was the rise of Science as intellects tried to explain the various phenomenon using scientific experiments. In these periods, ideas were the main unifying factors leading to the unification of diverse lands and cultures. “For most of medical history, doctors regarded drugs simply as tools to achieve broad physiological effects”, (Courtwright 2001 p 69). However, during this age, various scientists made discoveries in the medicine world where diseases that were previously incurable became curable (Stearns 2012). Through experiments, the cures were discovered as equipment was made that could aid in observation of microscopic factors leading to diseases. Some major contributors in this period were Anton Van Leeuwenhoek who discovered blood capillaries and microorganisms while William Harvey determined blood circulation.
Discoveries during this period were also used to allow sustainable agriculture that would aid in minimizing the food shortages and famines that were frequent in the period (Arnesto 2011). The rise of Science in this period was responsible for the transformation of people’s thinking from the belief of supernaturalism to secularism. Their beliefs of natural disasters being a form of punishment started to change as they begun understanding that plants were living things that could be affected by plagues, and that these plagues were preventable. The discoveries would be published in journals, which would be distributed to other lands that would then adapt to the changes leading to global integration (Stearns 2012). Globalization refers to exchange of information over a vast area of global reach. Since the means of communication in these periods was still highly underdeveloped, it took a long period for information to reach other parts of the world leading to slow adaptability.
The scientific revolution in this century encouraged the age of enlightenment. This was because, through the new discoveries, most of what the people believed in during that period became challenged. Hence, intellectuals started formulating theories regarding how society was to be governed (Stearns 2012). This was mostly meant to question the authenticity of governmental powers over the people and determine the truthfulness of religion. In some countries such as France, it was viewed as anti-government as it opposed the rules that the government had implemented and questioned the government’s power. The Enlightenment period is significant in the current level of globalization as the theories developed acted a foundation for future leaders (Stearns 2012). For instance, the American government’s ruling system, which contains the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, is created based on the political ideals set during the Enlightenment period.
The phenomenon of ideas went on into the 19th century that begun with Romanticism that emphasized the precedence of emotions over reason and intellect and made great use of literature, philosophy and art. This was expressed in architecture and was extensively influential in European architecture. It brought about the question of individualism and human rights and affected politics in Europe where it inspired nationalism (Arnesto 2011). This was followed by liberalism that allowed the middle class to express political sentiments. Materialism by Karl Max was another idea that had a significant influence on the political and socio-economic state of the world at that period which is still evident in today’s economics. Marx identified that the material circumstances in the world were what should be used to transform the world.
Yet another phenomenon that played a role in bring the world closer was science and the development of new thought patterns in the 19th and 20th centuries. The 19th century brought about advancements especially in Physics and the field of medical science. The ascent of science in this century led to industrialization leading to new theories emerging such as Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This brought about changes in social sciences and history affecting how people related. This theory comprised of an implication of survival for the fittest’, which often has been used in justifying political and social injustices. For instance, it was used by the Nazis justifying their racial superiority over Jews; it was also used by colonialists to justify their dominance over Asia and Africa.
The phenomenon of industrialization and political ambition
In the 19th and 20th century, America, Europe and parts of Asia experienced the industrial revolution that saw a change in manufacturing processes from being done by man to be run by machinery. This led to more efficiency and power leading to higher productivity levels. Major industrial developments during this period were in textile manufacture, mining and use of steel, steam power, machinery, chemicals, gas lighting and glass making (Stearns 2012). It also led to the development in the transportation sector with canals, roads and railways being developed and managed. This enabled access to other parts of the world enhancing expansion of international trade and diplomacy (Courtwright, 2001). The industrial revolution was a crucial factor in enhancing the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
This improved transportation and growth in economic power led to Europe, which was the most advanced at the period, to explore other options. Industrial revolution paved way for competitiveness between nations as the governments took interest in the scientific innovations (Arnesto 2011). This was to secure economic growth and remain competitive against the rising powers. One of the most essential discoveries in this period was that atoms could be split up to release energy or fused. Although the purpose was for positive energy production, it was used for war causing lasting problems to humans themselves and nature (Arnesto 2011).
Enhancement in technology and growth in economic power brought rise to heightened political tension and competition that has led to wars. Since the high level of economic success led to increased populations, nations have to seek for outside sources to sustain the population growth in their countries (Courtwright, 2001). Therefore, western countries ventured into unexplored places such as Africa and Asia where they introduced new cultures and crops, exploiting the resources to benefit their people. In as much as this era brought about globalization, it led to heightened degradation of land, which has continued on into the 21st century hindering the attainment of environmental sustainability goals. An example of this negative impact is expressed by Courtwright (2001) in his book,
“Long after the virgin forests of eastern North America have disappeared, tobacco remains an important source of deforestation in nations like Tanzania, where wood smoke cures the leaves. As much as an acre of forest is burned for every acre of tobacco cured, though the exact amount varies with the efficiency of local tobacco barns. Large applications of chemical fertilizers and pesticides pollute water supplies and breed pesticide-resistant mosquitoes and flies, a significant problem in the tropics” (62).
Technology and trade
The pace of globalization has rapidly increased in the 20th and 21st century due to improvement in technology. Some of the technology that has been made and enhanced over time in the past century is transportation means, such as airplanes, ships, faster vehicles and trains. These have made it possible for faster transportation allowing trade to occur over a long distance enabling countries that once were locked out to get involved in the trade (Courtwright, 2001). Technology has enabled improved research methods such as the use of satellites for environmental safety, better research methods in hospitals enabling better treatment for ailments.
It also allows better agricultural research methods ensuring that there is sustained production of food without degradation or depletion of natural resources (Arnesto 2011). Improved diplomacy over time has also had an influence on the continual growth of globalization as it leads to better relations between nations leading to enhanced peace and trade. This has led to nations working in union to bring about sustainable growth.
However, the greatest cause of the rapid growth of globalization in the 20th and 21st century has been the advancement in telecommunication (Stearns 2012). This is through improved computer systems and networks that allow communication to virtually any place in the world at any given time. This has allowed round the clock business operations. The improved mobile connections have allowed enhanced communication as well as security. Online transfer of money, which is the driving factor of business, has further enhanced the business processes that have allowed global connectivity and integration. Worldwide network coverage has enabled rapid transfer and exchange of information and knowledge, which has enabled better learning and more knowledge increasing the world’s ability to advance. This has influenced trade positively as innovativeness is increased (Arnesto 2011).
Positive effects of globalization
My view on globalization is positive as its positive effects outweigh its negative effects. Globalization has led to enhanced trade, which has been beneficial in increasing many country’s economies thus leading to improved living standards for people. It has also enabled people to appreciate the importance of cultural diversity, which has resulted in heightened levels of peace in some nations (Arnesto 2011). It has also led to economy improvement in some nations as their cultures have become sources of tourist attraction. Globalization is also vital since it has led to more organized leadership systems that have seen improved national relations (Stearns 2012). This is also crucial in that international forums can be held, where national leaders can unite for their countries to work in harmony. It has lead to improved research methods and equipments leading accurate results that are helpful in solving issues affecting society, such as; diseases, societal issues (Stearns 2012). It has also led to improvement in gender balance where women are beginning to have their opinions matter. It has led to improved education and skills, which has seen growth in all sectors such as construction, urbanization and planning, tourism and health
Armesto, Felipe Fernandez, “The World: A History, Vol. II”, Penguin, 2011. Print.
Courtwright, David, “Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World”, Harvard, 2001. Print.
Stearns, Peter, “Documents in World History, Vol. II, 6th Ed”, Pearson, 2012. Print.