Globalization (or globalisation—see spelling differences) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. Put in simple terms, globalization refers to processes that increase world-wide exchanges of national and cultural resources. Advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the Internet, are major factors in globalization, generating further interdependence of economic and cultural activities.
Humans have interacted over long distances for thousands of years. The overland Silk Road that connected Asia, Africa, and Europe is a good example of the transformative power of translocal exchange that existed in the "Old World". Philosophy, religion, language, the arts, and other aspects of culture spread and mixed as nations exchanged products and ideas. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Europeans made important discoveries in their exploration of the oceans, including the start of transatlantic travel to the "New World" of the Americas. Global movement of people, goods, and ideas expanded significantly in the following centuries. Early in the 19th century, the development of new forms of transportation (such as the steamship and railroads) and telecommunications that "compressed" time and space allowed for increasingly rapid rates of global interchange. In the 20th century, road vehicles, intermodal transport, and airlines made transportation even faster. The advent of electronic communications, most notably mobile phones and the Internet, connected billions of people in new ways by the beginning of the 21st century.
The term globalization has been in increasing use since the mid-1980s and especially since the mid-1990s. In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge. Further, environmental challenges such as climate change, cross-boundary water and air pollution, and over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization. Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment.
NASA - Satellite composition of the whole Earth's surface, visible Earth, images combined and scaled (2002).
The historical origins of globalization are the subject of on-going debate. Though several scholars situate the origins of globalization in the modern era, others regard it as a phenomenon with a long history. Some authors have argued that stretching the beginning of globalization far back in time renders the concept wholly inoperative and useless for political analysis. Perhaps the most extreme proponent of a deep historical origin for globalization was Andre Gunder Frank, an economist associated with dependency theory. Frank argues that a form of globalization has been in existence since the rise of trade links between Sumer and the Indus Valley Civilization in the third millennium B.C. Thomas L. Friedman divides the history of globalization into three periods: Globalization 1 (1492–1800), Globalization 2 (1800–2000) and Globalization 3 (2000–present). He states that Globalization 1 involved the globalization of countries, Globalization 2 involved the globalization of companies and Globalization 3 involves the globalization of individuals.
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