In its essence, the process commenced when human beings started migrating from one place to another for their own physical survival or for economic activity or for sheer adventure. However, the process got recognizable in the post-Cold War era when the world got an impetus of fiber optic and satellite (electronic communication) revolutions affecting civic commercial life. This time the physical barrier was removed through a non-physical way. Resultantly, an abundant and quick flow of information in transcontinental dimensions made happen the process decipherable. Innovations in the means of mobility (transportation) also enhanced the process. In this case, the physical barrier was evaporated through a physical way.
Both the electronic communication (non-physical) and transportation (physical) have woven a web of globalization owing to which the goal of global village encompassing time and space seems achievable. That is why, it can also be said that globalization is a tertiary effect of scientific inventions of which the prime focus is humanity.
The path to a global village has vibrated the world hexagonally. That is to say, ideology, society, culture, economy, politics, and ethics are the six main dimensions.
On ideological front, globalization has drawn divergent and disparate ideologies together. The same can be visualized in the backdrop of the famous hypothesis, the "Clash of Civilizations," propounded by S. P. Huntington. This front has given a possibility of an ideological confrontation. It is considered that the recent Middle East upheaval and the September 11 event bear relevance to the same.
On societal plane, globalization has brought about social changes in a recipient society. The well-known "triple F" (Fast Food Family) phenomenon is a major manifestation of that. This plane is perceived as a major threat to the societies that give value to societal nature and structure, like south Asian societies.
This aspect creates a general pool of non-acceptance of the western culture especially its immaterial form like liberal life style. This aspect seems quite unacceptable in the conservative societies, like that of the Middle East.
On economic facet, globalization has propagated Capitalism as a new force of global economic life. Consequently, the notorious "poor-rich divide" has ascended from the national boundaries to the global level. Its promoter is considered to be certain institutions like WB, IMF, and WTO. Similarly, the G8 and NGOs have also played their due role. The transnational flow of investment as well as swarming of the Multinational Companies (MNCs) around free trade option remains a prominent feature. Due to employment of cheap labour from the developing countries, the costly labour of the developed countries has become jobless. Various companies are also inclined to cut social benefits of the workers. Moreover, the merger of the MNCs has caused accumulation of wealth in few hands and prevented the global trickle down effect. Europe and American continents are the major areas of calling out hostile rallies as a sign of discontent to the same.
On political surface, globalization has challenged all the non-democratic systems and offered them a reverberant idea of democracy for all. This idea is sweeping the world swiftly except where a socialist school of thought is still strong, like few countries of the former Communist bloc. On the same surface, the monarchical Middle East is also offering resistance.
On ethical frontage, globalization has taught the legendary phrase: thank you for saying sorry. Consequently, the civilized "Thank you-Sorry" trend has become a preliminary part of introduction of the once wild West. However, many western ethical values give a chance to the Confucian countries of the Far East like China, Japan, and the Koreas to feel threatened.
Globalization provokes different antagonistic groups from different areas of the globe due to different reasons. It seems that the theory of Evolution where survival of the fittest is the governing formula, is also active. In other words, nature is poised to select which ideology, society, culture, economy, politics, and ethics is the best to survive. The rejected one will become a relic of history.
Human culture being dynamic in nature is attracted to novelty. Simultaneously, we are obsessive in nature too. we cling to our ancestral and the owned values pertaining to any aforementioned six dimensions. Our obsessive nature keeps us stubborn to even accept a change. Resultantly, we remain dissatisfied and disgruntled at the proposed or acquired newness. That is how; globalization has also become a source of conflict on what to accept and what to reject to accomplish the job of nature.
The inherent force (the tertiary effects of the inventions) in the process of globalization leaves no room for opting out for any country. Each has to be a willing part of the process and not the reluctant one. The process calls for an openning up and undertakes adjustments related to all the aforementioned six dimensions in order to attain homogeneity, ideally. Alternatively, it entails an accepted and agreed heterogeneity wherever realignment is impossible.
Globalization is a vibrant process that is bound to integrate the world more in the coming years as technology progresses. It is to be understood that in order to achieve the goal of a global village, while diluting the boundaries of the nation states, globalization enjoins upon all the inhabitants of the world to be global citizens to "think globally and act globally" from the space engineering to the genetic engineering.
Contributed by Dr. Qaisar Rashid. Reprinted with permission from Pakistan Tribune.
To read another Global Envision article with a decidely different perspective on globalization, see Bush's Globalization.