To what extent is globalisation a relatively new process in world politics
To what extent is globalisation a relatively new process in world politics?
Globalisation is an intensely contested and often misunderstood concept. There are many debates concerning globalisation however one debate will be looked in particular. The debate of whether globalisation is a relatively new process in world politics.
Globalization is not a new phenomenon. To state that globalization is a new concept is to state that international trade is a new phenomenon. It has been a concept, and a major precept of Classical economists, ranging from the physiocrats to David Ricardo. He talked a lot on Mercantilism. Mercantilism was a prevalent economic strategy during the sixteenth century and up till the seventeenth century, because it supported the political structure and the economic circumstances of that time. Mercantilism is an economic strategy that makes the assumption that wealth is finite. To become wealthy, a country must colonize to search for new sources of species (precious metals), take other countries’ wealth, and maintain a favourable balance of trade. This meant the government must dictate economic activities, internally and externally, making the country into a closed economic system. However, the physiocrats believed that government intervention not only artificially inflates prices; government intervention is also a detriment to the development of higher quality products. Reforming economic choices towards free market was the first step to globalization. Ricardo also wrote about a world where countries should specialize in a particular industry and trade with each other for the greater good. The shift from mercantilism to classical economic ideas caused the British, French, and Germans to trade openly with each other, which is a perfect model of globalization.
This is a preview of the whole essay
As the free market system became the prevalent economic model, imperialism grew as an economic strategy. Imperialism was greeted with harsh criticism. Dependency theorists stated that the underdeveloped countries were being ‘raped’ by the major economic powers. Dependency not only stripped the underdeveloped country of its resources, but it also subjugated them to the industrialized country and to their product dumping. According to Lenin, imperialism was the systematic exploitation of underdeveloped countries by the Financial Capitalists, wanting to gain profits off their quasi-colony.
There is nothing particularly new about the existence of globalisation. The reasons that it has emerged recently can be due to the way in which globalisation has gone through a period of rapid escalation. Otherwise, it is hard to see any clear defining qualities that globalisation has that has not been here in the previous centuries. One reason that could explain this is due to the fact to the fact in the early twentieth century through to the 1950’s, globalisation had in effect gone into reverse causing its re-emergence to be seen as a ‘new wave’ of globalisation.
Andrew Gunder Frank argues that globalisation is at least 5,000 years old. By 1500 he says: ‘there was a single global world economy with a worldwide division of labour and multilateral trade. That is unlikely as Christopher Columbus had only chanced upon America eight years earlier.
Although globalisation is arguably more dominant now than ever before with more influential factors, the basis of it has existed for over centuries picking up speed and development with the occasional relapse along the way. In effect globalisation now is felt more in the way more countries are affected by it and more MNC’s have emerged, a factor that was not really seen for the most part of the globalisations development.
‘Globalisation emerged as a buzz word in the 1990’s, just as ‘interdependence’ did in the 1970’s, but the phenomenon it refers to are not entirely new.
The debate over whether or not globalisation is a new phenomenon can be taken even further by saying that ever since man has travelled and left his place of origin; a basis of globalisation has existed. Globalisation has only recently become an issue as there has been a more dramatic spread of networks altering the cultures and economies of countries.
However, even though it’s been argued globalisation was clearly under way by the eighteenth century, an alternative argument can be put forward. There is never any dispute over the fact that there was a large global trade network but there is no means that can imply a rise in global trade necessary involves globalisation. Many goods (in this case pepper) were traded from places such as Asia to Europe and their goods often fetch far higher prices in Europe due to the tariffs placed causing the failure in a having a single global market. This is a step away from globalisation at the time.
Although globalisation is arguably more dominant now than it has ever been due to more influential factors, its basis has existed for many decades or even centuries and has picked up to be even bigger, with the occasional relapse along the way. Globalisation is now felt more in the way that more countries are affected by it or a part of it and more MNC’s have started to emerge; a factor that was not seen in the early days of the globalisation development.
Although there were many early signs of globalisation in the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, there was never enough to say that globalisation was as big of a factor now that it was then but it was only starting to develop the potential to be one. Recently though, there were many things to suggest that globalisation was in full swing. This is because not only were goods and money travelling but so were people. Their lives where beginning to change, culture, economies and political were too shared and exchanged. Also, many forms communication were being set up to pave the way for even more trading and political exchanges.
To conclude, globalisation for many has just emerged recently, however to those with a profession in this area or those with a good knowledge will know that it has been for a relatively long period of time, it just was not recognised as globalisation. Therefore it would be fair to say that globalisation is not a relatively new process in world politics, it has only been recently recognised as such.
Taken from the book Social Theory and Global Culture, ‘Globalisation has thus not been a sudden novelty, It goes back to the three last centuries, and went through different stages’.
open world pg 81
globalization – whats new whats not? Pg 82
governance in a globalizing world
open world pg 85
globalization – social theory pg