Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Introduction The world has undergone a lot of changes. The changes have caused a major debate regarding the effects and the significance of these changes. This is the idea behind the phenomenon of globalization. Globalization has emerged as a powerful and controversial concept of this age. According to Albrow (1990) the world has seen a major process of increased interconnectivity and interdependence of the markets and businesses . This is a process that has been spreading considerably for the past few decades. The changes have been contributed to by technological developments that have made it possible and easier for people to travel, communicate and operate globally. Development in telecommunication infrastructures and increase in the use of the internet are the major driving forces behind globalization. While there changes have been evident there is a ranging debate regarding globalization. At the center of the debate regarding the change, is the extent, form and results of globalization in the modern world . Defining globalization There is a major debate regarding the definition of the term globalization. There is thus a lack of a general definition of the term, either in the academic field or even in the day to day conversations. Various scholars have focused on varying aspects of the change like economic, social, cultural, and technological. Nevertheless, at the basic level, globalization is a term that is used in reference to the increased interconnectedness. For the many people who have agreed that the world has become globalised, they have developed various definitions of the term. Most of these meanings include an idea of an increasing level of international flows in such a way that one can talk about a ‘global society.’ Kiely (2005) has found evidence that activities in the world have become intercontinental or interregional in scale . Globalization or globalization refers to the process of global integration emanating from increased interconnectivity of human activities as well as the interchange of ideas, information, products and various elements of culture. Ray (2007) has defined the concept of globalization as the increasing unification of the international economic order via elimination of barriers like export fees, tariffs, and import quotas . Particularly, development in telecommunications and transportations systems is the major drivers of globalization. The main goal of globalization is increasing wealth, material, products and services all over the world. The term globalization is directly related to the idea of economic globalization. This is from the point of view of the integration of regional economies into as global economy . However, globalization can not only be viewed from the perspective of the globalization of the economy. This is due to the evidence that globalization also describes the process by which national cultures, societies and economies are interconnected via transportation, communication and business. The term globalization can also be applied in referring to the transnational exchange of ideas, languages, or culture through acculturation Globalization from the perspective of Realism The main idea related to the realism theory is power politics. The idea of power politics is important in understanding the presumptions of political realism. Morganthau wrote regarding realism. He insisted in realism being based on an inherent character of humans . Reductionism, a theory which was suggested by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, refers to the point of view that human beings are inherently bad. The ultimate driving power of political realism is power optimization . This means that it is sustained by a balance of power. The theory suggests that interstate conflicts are unavoidable in a global environment that is characterized by lawlessness. It is suggested that realism will be at times replaced by imperialism. Majority also argue that it is pessimistic, especially as far as globalization is concerned. Realism renders the powerful and privileged conscious of the idea that it is their self-interests that are served by utopianism. Such ideas of realism are significant to any state in deciding the manner in which it should conduct international relations . It is interesting how an idea like realism got its name and retains it even after it is allegedly obsolete. Regardless of the fact that this idea has been dismissed as outdated, it still remains a very important aspect in analyzing modern affairs . With the coming up of the complicatedness of globalization, the idea has continued to provide, though in a limited way, the worldview of the ‘real’ state of affairs. When situations become the ‘real’ things which actually matter, there is no denying that cost-benefit analysis and self-interests are the final determining factors of decisions outcomes. This is the same idea which is suggested by the pessimists in globalization, who see it as being responsible for the reality of inequalities, while the ones seen as the agents of the change are going after their personal interests . To some extent, they are correct, given the evidence that progress or development cannot be achieved except for the existence of considerable inducements driving the agents of change. For instance, the multinationals are seeking to manipulate the global system seeking to maximize their profits. Additionally, it is simply logical of the players to go after their objectives in a realist way. This same idea can be used in reference to the state players in the global system. This is where their objectives are national objectives rather than profit maximization . Globalization which comes with the strengthening of the flows of resources as well as a high level of interdependence of states can finally produced increased overall output. This means a general increase in the quality of life and living standard. It cannot be denied that the more states there are in the integration, the less possibility of engaging in conflicts, which ultimately can cause more stabilization as well as sustainable political and economic development. Possibly, globalization can cause greater benefit to the majority. However, the problem is that the benefits are not as equally distributed as many people would want the situation to be. The greater issue is that the nation state tends to be greater losers in the process of globalization, given the fact that their independence and sovereignty diminish due to effects of the post-modern tendencies . There is sufficient proof of selective benefits of the globalization process as well as its limitations. As a matter of fact, the Marxist idea of “the rich exploiting the poor” is always present in any globalization discourse. Most of the global structures and organizations only serve the interests of a few. Regardless of their seemingly altruistic mission statements as well as visions, they do not serve the interests of all, but a selective few. Regardless the argument that the achievement of their objectives involves development of all the regions in the global system, the motivation behind them is still self-interests. This is where the idea of realism is evident . However, there should not be overlooking of the end results. Progress and development particularly on an international level, can take many years, decades or even centuries, to attain and instantaneous satisfaction is an aspect that should be expected. Regardless the evidence that the players in the system are always compelled by self-interests, they can at the same time have an important part to play in pulling those lagging behind along. Thus, it is the responsibility of those lagging behind to ensure that they are a part of the process, by demonstrating their potential as well as participating, rather than just arguing and awaiting benevolence. This means that all the players in the global system have an important role in ensuring that they are not left behind in the development process . Impact of globalization on relations between states It is over three decades since Charles Kindleberger confidently claimed that “the nation-state is just about through as an economic unit.” In the modern era, there are significant dimensions of global life apart from the relations between states. As a matter of fact, in the modern globalised age, it is a fact that there exists a major change in economic, political and social dynamics. This means that there are “New Realities” . One of the realities is said to be the move to an information or postindustrial society from the industrial world. Things are no longer the same for the nation states and the international system. This also means that the way states related before this era is no longer the same. Globalization has a great deal changed relations between states . In the era of globalization, there has been evidence of considerable abundance of apocalyptic forecasts of end of the nation-state. From this point of view, globalization is regularly given the role of “prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.” In the current globalised world, most of the major issues are on a global level. This means that most of the things that are happening in the world today such as politics, conflicts and business cannot reviewed from a national level. Thus, policies developed by states concerning such issues cannot be developed from a state perspective, but an international or global one. Additionally, most of the things that are happening in different parts of the world are felt, though not uniformly in all other parts of the world. In the globalised world, therefore, it is not possible for the state to remain a lone or sovereign player . Policy makers at the state level are faced with the need to realize the basic changes in the international politics. States are forced to utilize economic, political and military powers in fashioning a global environment which is good for the values and interests of the players in the global system. Gone are the days when the country looked at its own interests and values without considering others. For much of the 20th century, national interests and geopolitics drove the policies of most nations, including the United States. Entering the 21st century, “virtually all nation-states become part of a larger pattern of global transformations and global flows. Goods, capital, people, knowledge, communications and weapons, as well as crime, pollutants, fashions and beliefs, rapidly move across territorial boundaries. It has become a fully interconnected global order…” Economic, political and economic affairs are no longer simply domestic affairs. They are governed by complex international systems and laws which regulate the affairs of the international system. Thus, policies and laws developed in any state, especially as far as relations with other states are concerned are regulated by the international system of laws and institutions . Conclusion From the discussion, it emerges that globalization is the process that has been developing for a long time amid a lot of debates. While some people view it as an evident process that has changed the world in the modern era, others argue that the idea of globalization is an illusion. However, the theory of realism has led to the idea that globalization and its effects to states is a reality. The reality of globalization has been proven in various ways. There is enough evidence to support the argument that the world has undergone a lot of changes, especially in the 20th century. While there is no agreement in the meaning of the term globalization, the basic idea of globalization is a process of economic, social, political and cultural integration. One of the major effects of globalization is on the relationship between states. With globalization, the sovereignty of states is being replaced by a system of interdependence where events in one part of the world are felt in other parts, though not in the same magnitude. 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