William Shakespeare, the famous writer and poet referred to the world as a stage with all of us are merely players (Dimitrova, 2002). These words seemed to be sophisticated because of the difficulty in understanding what he really meant.
However, as time has passed by, the words have become clearer to us. The world has become very informed. There is a smooth flow of information from one corner of the world to the other. At the same time, the boundaries which separated nations are now permeable. People travel easily from country to country.
At the same time, the production of goods and services has also expanded. The world has a variety of goods and services from which a consumer can choose from to ensure that he/she can get maximum satisfaction. Lastly, the economy of the world has grown and expanded beyond the physical borders. Countries from far and wide can now trade with one another at ease. With the advancements in technology, a person in South America can strike a deal with another one in Russia without the two of them coming into physical contact.
The question that comes into mind is what makes all these possible. What makes the world to operate at a global scale? Who controls it? Who sets the rules that governs it? Many people have been asking themselves these questions so that they can understand how the world operates. These factors are effective at all the corners of the world; affecting every aspect of our lives.
A simple word has been used to describe all this; Globalization. It is due to the effect of globalization that the world is operating at a global scale. It brings people together to work as a team in order to achieve certain goals and objectives and finally ensures that there is socioeconomic and political development in all states of the world.
Globalization has made the world to be uniform due to the synchronization of social, cultural, technological and commercial aspects of life which originate mainly from western countries and spread to the rest of the world.
Like any other advancements, there are some people who support globalization and some who criticize it. This paper therefore critically analyzes globalization from the point of view of those who support it and those who are against it. It will look at the debates, controversies and areas of contention within the context of globalization. It will finally focus on the role played by technology in the development of globalization.
Sociopolitical Impacts of Globalization
Globalization can be traced back to the ancient civilization when the people of Mesopotamia started to practice irrigation along the banks of river Tigris and Euphrates (Swipnet, 2011). The technology was slowly adopted by many other communities in the world. With time the technology became much sophisticated to ensure that production meets the demand of the world. During the early civilization, people used to practice trade.
There were communities who were known to be long distance traders, travelling all around the world on merchant ships. In the course of their expeditions, they met and interacted many different cultures and communities. In the process, they exchanged ideas, cultures and beliefs.
Globalization begun as a small scale venture but ended up being a great advancement witnessed in the world. With time, globalization begun to have an effect on various aspects of life. It played a critical role in social, political and economical aspects of all the states in the world.
For those people who support globalization, they view it as a stepping stone that has brought many communities together. This process begun in the medieval times and is still in process up to the present times. A couple of centuries ago, there was no equity among all members of the state. There are those who had a higher status in the community than others. Status was determined by wealth, family background or sex (Jovanovic, 2011).
The rich and the elite had and people from the royal families had a higher status in the community everyone else in the society. They therefore enjoy certain privileges which made their lives to be more comfortable. The middle class and the lower class groups did not enjoy much of these rights. Most of them were either slaves or peasants. They had to work hard to earn a living.
Due to the oppression that they were facing, the individuals from the middle and lower classes started to fight for equality so that have the rights and freedoms that were destined to them. Locke and Voltaire are examples of people who initiated the fight for equality in their societies. It has been argued that if Locke is the idealist of the enlightenment, then Voltaire is the realist. This statement is totally true. Although the works of these two philosophers overlapped, they differed a lot in the ideology of some issues.
Both of these people were philosophers during the enlightenment era in Europe which occurred sometime during the eighteenth century. During this era there were movements which were lead by intellectuals who believed that scientific knowledge and information should be incorporated into the human beliefs as an aid of understanding the universe in a better way (Palmer, 1964).
According to the philosophers, people should abandon traditional and religious beliefs and embrace this new idea. Locke was among the enlightenment philosophers in England and used this idea to fight for equal rights for all people in the society. He believed that every man was equal and that no one should be treated in the society. In his book Second Treatise of Government Locke talks about the various aspects of life and politics.
He states that for the proper understanding of the origin of political power, one must understand the origin of mankind in the state of nature (Locke, 1982). During this period no one had control over the other but each one of them was a judge of what the law required. In this state every individual is equal since they are all born indiscriminately with similar advantages and disadvantages.
Since each individual interpreted the law in his own way, there are instances where one might breach the ideals of another person and even if there was a universal judge his decisions may be biased. This is the point where the state of nature which seemed to be so ideal starts to fail (Locke, 1982).
Voltaire on the other hand was against the religious practices that were being practiced during the 19th and 19th century. During this time, it was impossible to differentiate religion from the state. Religious leaders were the ones who appointed the rulers of societies. Despite this, it was the same religious leaders who went astray according to what they were preaching (Voltaire, 1950).
As it is seen the works of Voltaire on were mainly against religion and the fact that religion gave the leaders (kings and emperors) the divine power to rule other people and in return the leaders would protect the church. Through his works people started to demand for democracy, equality and freedom from their leaders. According to people, these factors were necessary values for the development of the society since they will lead to better political systems based on democracy, economic development, capitalism, and religious tolerance.
The works of Voltaire and Locke led to global revolutions and rebellions. America for example discovered that their rights and freedoms were being violated by their colonizers. They fought and attained their independence which they finally got. The founding fathers of the nation developed a constitution which was based on equality among all men, an idea which had been brought up by Locke.
The French revolution on the other hand might have occurred as a result of the works of Voltaire and other French philosophers. It is through globalization and sharing of ideas that other communities realized about their rights and the need to fight for them.
At the present moment, people are still fighting for their rights and freedoms, but at a global scale. They have formed groups and organizations which are composed of individuals with the same ideologies, goals and objectives. There are many movements, groups and organizations that work to ensure that human rights are respected all over the world with each continent having a unique body that ensures this.
The human rights and freedoms which are being protected include the right to own property, the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to vote, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of movement and so on. At the moment there are new rights which have been introduced due to the dynamic nature of life.
They include the right to future generations which is concerned with the sustainable use of resources so that future generations can also enjoy them, the right to water to all individuals and lastly the gay, lesbian and transsexual rights which relates to the sexuality status of an individual.
Economic Impacts of Globalization
The level of trade has grown remarkably over the last few decades as a result of the advancements that are being experienced in the field of information, communications and technology (ICT) (Jovanovic, 2011). These advancements have also increased the number of tradable services in the field of IT and ICT which have made the offshoring and outsourcing of services to be much easier.
The ease in the tradability of these services coupled with the increased independence of the location has contributed to the offshoring of services by many companies in the west (Kapila, 2009). Companies are now outsourcing services such as support, customer care, research and consultancy. The main reason behind this is that outsourcing for services is much cheaper and the end result is desirable. The development in IT and ICT has led to the globalization of services all around the world.
With the revolution in IT and ICT, the location of companies is not of a high concern as it used to be. The advancement in technology has made the transmission of inputs and outputs to be much easier. These processes can now be conducted digitally and transmitted via electronic means.
Companies have therefore offshored much of their services especially white collar jobs to improve their sustainability and efficiency. The customer care for the giant computer manufacturer Dell, for example is located in India (Kurtz, 2010). When local residents call the customer care, they are being served with an operative who is located in India. Many employers have embraced this move and replaced much of their staff in the US and UK to reduce their operating expenses.
Globalization has also influenced the manner in which companies market their products and interact with their customers. They have embraced the use of technology in order to survive the stiff competition in the market. Some of them, for example, have incorporated the use of social networks and brand communities as a communication strategy of reaching and engaging customers.
This because social networks and brand communities are the easiest and most efficient ways through which consumers can be reached as a result of technological changes that the world is currently facing. Most organizations and business companies therefore have stopped stop using outdated methods of reaching out to consumers. Some have incorporated the old methods with the latest ones.
Debates on Globalization
During the early days, globalization used to be celebrated as a new freedom. This is due to the fact that it leads to the emergence of connections and that opened up the world to everyone. It also led to the emergence of new innovations and improvements which led to the emergence of new products and ideas. As a result, individuals, institutions, societies and states have been brought t together by this phenomenon.
Despite all these achievements, there are some people who are skeptical about globalization. According to them, if globalization is not checked, the identities of sovereign states all around the world will disappear with time. The agglutination of states will erode the distinct features and uniqueness of states.
This will make it difficult to distinguish one state from another. Consequently, the stability and viability of many states will be at stake due to the different interests that are posed by the various parties in the associations. As a result, it will be difficult to meet the demands of various nations hence the sustainability of the state and the association in general will be at stake.
Another criticism of globalization comes from environmentalists and environmental activists. They view globalization as a major threat to the environment. This is due to the innovations in technology which have altered the original state of the environment.
Industrialization for example has brought about a lot of damages to the environment due to pollution. They have contributed to air, water and land pollution. This has brought about adverse effects to the climate. At the present moment, we are experiencing climate change and global warming (Moore, 1998).
These are some of the repercussions which these activists are talking about. Furthermore, humans have become more vulnerable to the effects that have been coupled by globalization. The radiations and emissions that are released into the atmosphere may lead to the development of diseases which may critically affect the health of people.
Finally, globalization has brought about a lot of social instability in terms of culture and beliefs. When people interact, they tend to share some aspects of their lives. In the process, people from different cultures and backgrounds may share and adopted cultures from different communities.
Some of these new cultural traits may not be moral to a given community. This brings about a lot of disrespect and arguments between the members of the same culture. At the same time, individuals of different cultures may also disagree with one another and arguments may come about as a result. This is what has contributed to the war between Israel and Palestine that has been going on for years now.
From the discussions, it is evident that globalization has brought about a lot of developments in the world. It has improved the social, political and economical aspects of our lives. This has been achieved through the ease of production, transport, communication and other factors of the economy.
This has made it easier for individuals to cross the national borders and interact with anyone all around the world. However, globalization could not have enjoyed this success if it was not for the rapid advancement that is being experienced in technology. These advancements have facilitated many aspects of life by making them to be much easier and convenient; unlike previous times.
As a sociologist, it will be critical for me to embrace the role played by globalization in ensuring that the life we live in at the present moment is better and convenient. To ensure that globalization is sustainable in future, it will be necessary to ensure that the there is an agreement between those people who are for globalization and those who are against it so that we can work together and ensure that the world is a better place.
Dimitrova, A. (2002). Challenging Globalization: The Contemporary Sociological Debate About Globalization. Retrieved on 27th June 2011 from
Jovanovic, M. (2011). International Handbook on the Economics of Integration: Competition, Spatial Location of Economic Activity and Financial Issues. Sacramento: Edward Elgar Publishing
Kapila, U. (2009). Indian Economy Since Independence. New Delhi: Academic Foundation
Kurtz, D.L. (2010). Contemporary Marketing 2011. New York: 2011
Locke, J. (1982). Second Treatise of Government. Ed. Richard Cox. Maryland: Davidson
Moore, T.G. (1998). Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global warming.
Massachusetts: Cato Institute, Palmer, R. (1964). The Age of the Democratic Revolution. Surrey, England :Ashgate
Swipnet. (2011). The History of Mesopotamia. Swipnet. Retrieved on 27th June 2011 from http://home.swipnet.se/~w-63448/mesopotam.htm
Voltaire, F. (1950). Candide; or the Optimism. Ed. John Butt. Riverside :Penguin Books