Globalization refers to an increase in the interdependence and interconnectedness of countries and people (Steger, 2003). Two inter-related elements define globalization, the opening up of international borders for an increase in the flow of services, goods, individuals or ideas and institutional changes at national or international levels to promote these flows (Steger, 2003). Most experts trace the origin of globalization to the European Age of Discovery together with the long voyages explorers made to the New World. It was, however, in modern times that globalization took different forms that now includes capital investment movements, trade transactions, and the migration of people, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment. This essay will thus explicate four dimensions of globalization (economic integration, political integration, ideological globalization, culture, and communication) and how some social groups attempt to counter or develop their local interpretations of global developments.
Economic globalization is a dimension that refers to the free movement of capital, technology, goods, and information (Steger, 2003). It primarily involves an increase in economic integration and the subsequent interdependence of regional, national, and local economies throughout the world after an increase in the cross-border movements. Economic integration often involves the globalization of finance, production, technology, institutions, corporations, and even organizational regimes (Steger, 2003). It is important to acknowledge that economic globalization has been on the rise since the cropping up of trans-national tradeб which have seen a steady increase in technological and communication advances as per the World Trade Organization and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade frameworks (Gaston & Khalid, 2010).
However, there are those who choose to resist this form of integration as they see it as a precursor for their loss of national integrity. Some blame it for increasing economic growth and incomes in the developing countries while simultaneously lowering the cost of consumer prices in developed countries. Member states have to cede a certain degree of control over important guiding principles, for instance, fiscal and monetary policies. The higher the level of integration, the higher the power that one might have to cede to the bloc.
Political Integration and Emergence of Transnational Governance
In the political integration, dimension involves components that are within the political systems together with other human systems. Political integration requires the relinquishing part of a nations national sovereignty or them to form a functional block. Political integration often starts with free trade zones, as is the case of the European Union (E.U), and usually starts after decades of cooperation. As a result, it led to the formation of transnational governments as subsets of governance using the European Union (E.U) framework with applications outside its natural hierarchies, regional or national. The goal of transnational governance, especially in countries that were torn apart by the Iron Curtain, is to foster social and economic development by removing barriers to free trade (Ougaard, 2004).
Critics of this system argue that it depletes political authority from member states and compels them to align themselves with a political organization that is the most dominant form. Member states also face constraints that, in a way, coerce them to conform and look like other countries. A common problem that these countries are bound to face is the view that governance changes jeopardize the nation’s ability to chart its course democratically.
Globalization of Culture and Communication
Culture is an amorphous system that includes symbolic notions of perception, cognition, and understanding. These issues serve to identify the social structure in place while articulating essential parts that human culture consists of; world view and ethos. Today’s globalization has become constantly irreversible. As a result, it influences the changing of cultural patterns from one form to another. There is also the mutual penetration of exchange and trends that are beneficial to the parties. These countries accelerate the subsequent entrance of a state into the global system which sees it in direct contact with a host of other nations. Moreover, it makes contributions to expanding existent cultural ties between immigrants and the local population. Globalization in this dimension will also result in a consumer class among a segment of the population which has led to Western consumerism. The message that these global firms pass spark fears among economic pundits that their rise will ultimately obliterate traditional cultures.
The “blind worship” of consumer goods from foreign lands compromises the national dignity of a country.
Ideological globalization almost inevitably follows the economic and political ones with the transnational principles that legitimize them. It ends up justifying the minimization of the role of a nation and decreasing its sovereignty. Core to its dogma is economic independence and national sovereignty. International financial organizations, for example, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), have a globalization principle that is capitalist neoliberal in nature, which they expect member states to “directly” and “indirectly” participate in. In other cases, ideological globalization includes the spread of religion. Christianity is one such religion whose origin and spread people can genuinely call global. Its active association with military and political institutions is one of the reasons why it was easy for it to spread globally. Roman Emperor Constantine (272-337) would mark its beginning when he established his empire by converting to Christianity (Wilcox, 2013). It soon spread to Spain and Portugal where it became the official religion with most of the citizenry becoming Christians. It is for this convincing reason that there is a substantive population of adherents of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines and Latin America. A standard counter development measure that states use to combat ideological globalization is a total rejection of what they stand for. Other religions, for instance, Buddhism, were the victims of suppression with the state’s power (Swearer, 1997). During the 1980s, this was indeed the case in Pennsylvania Chester Counter when Philadelphia’s Thais attempted to build a temple where they could practice Buddhism. Their proposal would face sharp criticism from the locals who saw it as another occult-like esoteric religion that was bound to draw young people to it and erode their Christian values.
Over the centuries, globalization has been increasing at a steady rate, promoting the interconnectedness that people ought to enjoy in this new age. Globalization also includes significant factors, for instance, constant advances in transportation and telecommunication infrastructure that generate and independence of economic and cultural activities. It features economic integration, political integration, ideological globalization, culture, and communication as different dimensions functioning under it.