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Sociocultural and economical forces

The term ‘Globalisation’ is widely used and in most cases, the people using this term have contrasting understanding of its meaning. Globalisation can be defined in a number of different ways. Literally, Globalisation can be described as the process of unifying the world into a single society functioning together. Sometimes, it is often used to refer to, the integration of technological, political, sociocultural and economical forces into one.

In the context of economy, it can be defined as the removal or reduction of barriers between the national borders of countries in order to facilitate the movement of goods, services, capital among others. While in political context, the term Globalisation can be used to refer to the formation of a universal government which monitors and also controls the activities of the small governments of countries. Economists have used the term Globalisation since 1980 while in social sciences it has been used since 1962 but its concepts became popular in 1982.

The earliest form of Globalisation existed during the era of Han Dynasty, Parthian empire and also during the Roman Empire. However, Globalisation started properly in the late 15th century when the northern Europe nations started to impose their ways into the rest of world through trade, exploration and conquest (McMahon 2004). Global integration continued in the 16th and 17th centuries during the European trade expansion, when America was a colony of Spanish and Portuguese empires and also when it was a colony of France and England.

Furthermore, the East India Companies, which were composed of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, were also established during that period. These companies made Globalisation a business phenomenon and this contributed to its growth. During this period, the British Empire, which was the largest empire in history, was able to achieve Globalisation because of its power and size, thereby imposing other nations with British culture and ideals.

Moreover, during the 19th century there was a rapid growth in international investment and trade between the European countries, their colonies and also with the United States of America. The Island Pacific and the sub-Saharan Africa areas also entered into the world system in the late years of that period. In the early years of the 20th century, during the First World War, Globalisation started to break down, and later collapsed in the early 1933.

However, after the Second World War, Globalisation was started by politicians who were planning to eliminate national borders which were hampering trade in order to increase interdependence and prosperity thus reducing the chances of future wars. This led to the Bretton Wood conference, which was an agreement by the leading politicians of the world to put down a framework for international finance and commerce, and this therefore, resulted to the formation of several international institutions which were meant to oversee the Globalisation processes.

These institutions included the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and many others . Since the Second World War, Globalisation has grown rapidly and this has been mainly due to the advancements in technology, which have reduced the cost of trade, and also, the international agreements which have led to a considerable decrease in barriers which were hampering international trade. Over the past two decades, Globalisation has become something of a touchstone for writers, politicians and even commentators.

It may be seen as a straightforward dichotomy between those who oppose it and those who welcome it. It has aroused passions as it was seen in Seattle during the World Trade Organisation meeting in November 2000, where a large group of people joined together in an anti-Globalisation movement (Milward 2003 ). The perceived effects of Globalisation show that, it is complex web of many things. Positive effects of Globalisation For nations that engage well with the international economy, their economies have grown much faster than those nations with closed economies.

This therefore shows that Globalisation has improved the wealth of these nations and this has led to improved access to clean water and health care and hence the life expectancy has increased. Furthermore, the improvement in the wealth of a nation leads to more job opportunities and these results to poverty reduction. The reduction in investment barriers and the increase in global income have led to an accelerated growth in most of the nations due to the increase in foreign investment. The total foreign investment was about US$ 23, in 1975 while in 2003, it increased to about US$ 575 ( Global education 2009 ).

The global movements of information and also the modern communication have intensely contributed to the increase in liberal democracies and a decrease in undemocratic regimes around the world. The advancement in technology has also considerably lowered the costs and prices of goods, services among others, and thereby changing the ways of treating diseases, communicating and also doing business, in most of the nations. Globalisation has improved environmental accountability and awareness and this has led to the utilization of more efficient and less polluting technologies which has brought out a positive environmental outcome.

Moreover, the increase in global institutions has also enabled international economic and political tensions to be resolved fairly, thereby maintaining peace between trading partners and also reducing poverty. Negative effects of Globalisation Globalisation has both economic and social costs and in the past decades, it has shown to have a number of undesirable social and economic consequences. Inequality within and between nations has increased and there has also been reported increase in impoverishment in some of the nations.

Modern communication has made many people to be aware of the differences between the developed and the developing countries, and this has resulted to a large increase in the number of people migrating to the rich nations resulting in ‘brain drain’ of skilled workers in the poor nations. The highly educated and the qualified professionals, such as engineers, doctors among others, have migrated to the highly developed nations in order to benefit from the high salaries and the great lifestyle, and this has resulted to a severe shortage of skilled labour in the developing countries.

This large increase in the migration of people to the rich nations has also resulted to an increase in the number of people smuggled through the borders of these rich nations. The rapid increase in trade and also in traveling have contributed to the rapid spread of human, plant and animal diseases, such as bird flu and HIV/AIDS, across national borders. Globalisation has also led to introduction of tobacco and cigarettes in the developing countries which have major adverse financial and health effects. Furthermore, this has resulted to an increase in poverty and diseases such as tuberculosis among others, in the developing countries.

Globalisation has made people to be more vulnerable to social risks, such as unemployment, crime and many others. Technological advancements and trade liberalization brought about by Globalisation, have changed the economies of the developing nations thereby allowing cheap and low quality imports of manufactured goods. This has therefore led to the destruction of agricultural-based communities resulting in unemployment due to scarcity of jobs in the traditional economic sectors. The increase in unemployment in these developing nations has also resulted to an increase in crime.

There has also been an increase in the number of nations excluded from the benefits of Globalisation, and this has resulted to a decline in the living standards in these nations, thereby increasing the gap between the poor and rich nations. In 1960, the gap in incomes between the 20% of the most developed and the least developed nations was about 30 to 1 while in 1995, it increased to about 82 to 1 ( Global education 2009 ). The processes of Globalisation have destroyed the government’s capacity to respond in a socially compensatory way.

In the past, a country can implement its own national policies and benefit from them. However, with Globalisation this is not possible. For countries pursuing economic policies which include deficit spending are punished by capital outflow and currency speculators. Competitive industries benefit from trade liberalization but the uncompetitive ones don’t. This therefore, forces the participating nations to restructure and reform their economies thereby resulting in high social and economic costs in the immediate term.

Moreover, in the developing nations, the industries of mining, forestry and agriculture exploit the codes of the environment which are inadequate and this has resulted to the destruction of the environment. The modern globalised culture is rapidly growing and this has resulted to the disappearance of indigenous culture and languages in the developing countries. In conclusion, Globalisation is a reality, and its benefits and costs depend on how well it is managed.

There have been examples of a well managed Globalisation and also those of a poorly managed engagement such as, when a nation opens its economic boundaries before having the capability to respond well and adequately. Moreover, in the recent years, Globalisation has not been managed properly, and the key players that include International Monetary Fund, World Bank among others should be more transparent and the structures of voting in these institutions should be amended in such a way that they reflect the present economic power distribution.

The social consequences of Globalisation show that more measures of social protection are required and should be implemented. To reduce inequality between and within countries, an increase in social redistribution is a necessity. Strengthening of social protection systems and social rights can lead to a reduction in vulnerability of people to social risks, which include crime, unemployment, smuggling and many others. New strategies of empowerment should be created in order to eliminate social exclusion.

The above measures should be implemented by the international institutions and also by the participating nations in order to reduce the negative effects of Globalisation in the societies and also, in the world as a whole. With these measures in place, the gap between the developed and developing countries will be reduced greatly since poverty will be eliminated and there would an increase in wealth in the developing nations. Word Count: 1668 Reference List

Global education (2009). Globalisation. Retrieved April 29, 2009, from <http://www. globaleducation. edna. edu. au/globaled/go/pid/178> Milward, B. (2003). Globalisation: Internationalisation and Monopoly Capitalism Historical Processes and Capitalist Dynamism. Edward Elgar. McMahon P. (2004). The five stages of Globalisation: where it came from and where it is going. Online Opinion. Retrieved April 29, 2009 from <http://www. onlineopinion. com. au/view. asp? article=2029>

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