‘Globalisation has been the most widely used, misused, and abused word’. As a concept globalisation does not evoke a single image, instead an imagery of disparate meanings. Searching for a single definition of the word is a fruitless exercise, as it includes anything and everything.
The term has been used in a multiplicity of senses. We can think about economic definition, political definition, and managerial definition as ‘”globalisation is political, technological and cultural, as well as economic.”
How do people view globalisation – some see it as a highly positive force leading to economic liberalism, political democracy, and cultural universalism; others see in its wake the rising power of transcorporations, integration of international finance, diffusion of technological innovations and the emergence of community culture around the world.
Some others view it suspiciously for example as harbouring a blueprint of corporate layoffs. And there are those who see a dialectical relationship among the forces of globalisation (greater integration and productivity) and those of counter- globalisation (resistance), and stress the need for analyzing both of these forces together.
People looking from different academic lenses find different ideas. Geographers take it as deterritorialised globe as a principle of social and cultural life with compression of time and space. Political globalisation favors protection of human rights and democracy over totalitarianism and focuses on the changing role and importance of the nation-state. The political definition of globalisation substantiates that the process of globalisation is intensifying the level of interactions and interdependence between states and cultures, in which national boundaries are less important sometimes.
Recent attempt of President Obama to establish cord with the Islamic world is part of political globalisation. To anthropologists, it invokes the themes of cultural convergence. Culturally, it affects people’s tastes in the arts and encourages lifestyles that are fast paced, urban, and comfortable with the latest technology.
Mass media reinforces globalisation through program content, advertising, and unlimited access to information over the internet. This political and cultural identities integration with the larger global community has provided globalisation a distinctly western orientation. Under a managerial perspective “this process of interaction and interdependence could mean a tendency towards regionalisation of people’s cultures.
Thomas Friedman has defined globalisation as “the inexorable integration of markets, nation states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before.” Saul has defined it as “an inevitable form of internationalism in which civilisation is reformed from the perspective of economic leadership. World Bank’s definition of globalisation refers to technology as the causal factor.
A.T. Kearney has identified four elements of globalisation while ranking the countries in the context of degree of globalisation:
1. Economic Integration:
Trade, FDI, Portfolio Capital flows, income payments and receipts (including compensation of non-resident employees and income earned and paid on assets held abroad).
2. Personal Contact:
International travel and tourism, international telephone traffic, and cross- border transfers.
Number of internet users, internet hosts, and secure servers.
4. Political Engagements:
Number of memberships in international organisations, UN Security Council missions in which each country participates, and foreign embassies that each country hosts.
Table 1.3: Seven Evolving Definitions of Globalisation:
|1. Interconnections between overlapping interests of business and society||This view sees the globalised world in terms of a convergence between business and society. While these two are not always harmoniously integrated, interests and priorities become convergent over time.|
|2. Shifts in traditional patterns of international production, investment and finance||This view interprets shift and trends in the world economy, some out of which are pulling previously district domestic economies, but with others creating their own regional identities.|
|3. Absence of borders and barriers to trade between nations||This view is that of a sovereignty without borders and spatial boundaries. Territoriality disappears as the organizing principle, and will be replaced by powerful multinational firms that are linked across the triadic economies.|
|4. Functional integration of internationally dispersed activities; more a process than an end-state||Rather than an end-state, this view emphasizes the evolutionary nature of a global world. Moreover, as international trade intensifies, there will be more integration of finance, technology, and production.|
|5. World integration of finance, nation- states, and technologies within a free market enterprise||This view emphasizes the drivers of globalisation (technology, finance, and information) with the inevitable consequence of moving into a world with free trade as the predominant ideology.|
|6. Movement in the direction of greater integration, as both natural and man-made barriers to international economic, exchange continue to fall||This view emphaseses the economic phenomenon of increased integration of markets occasioned by markets, technology, and diminishing government-imposed barriers to international trade.|
|7. Increased permeability of traditional boundaries of almost any kind, including physical borders such as space and time, nation-states, and economies, industries and organisations, and less tangible borders such as cultural norms||This rather broad view goes beyond the physical border of nation-states and the functional borders of business enterprises to more intangible boundaries of cultural norms and values. While it is not clear that the globalised world will have a single culture and society, it is stated that borders and boundaries of any kind will have fewer consequences for society and business practice.|
At the heart of globalisation is economic globalisation. And, hence it has to be defined as under: “development of global financial markets, the growth of transnational corporations, and their increasing domination over national economies.”