Globalisation: Meaning and Impacts

Globalisation is the phenomenon which has brought the world together at one flat platform where there is an apparent blurring of all differences in all aspects of contemporary life ranging from social, cultural, economic, political, life-styles etc. It is a remarkable phenomenon by which many geographical and cultural barriers have come down gradually and the entire world has become a global village. It is the rapid expansion of communication and transportation which has reduced distances and generated an everlasting interdependence among people and nations at all levels.

Meaning of Globalisation

The term globalisation is derived from the word “globalize” which stood for an international network of economic systems where all economies are directed towards a global market. Global and multinational financial institutions exercise great control on the economic decision-making and processes of the world nations. Furthermore, economic globalisation has resulted from increased trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration and spread of technology. It is popularly described as “widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, from cultural to criminal, the financial to the spiritual.” Globalisation can thus be seen as a phenomenon of transformation of economic, technological, socio-cultural and political forces at local or regional levels to international scale. The ever-increasing relevance and importance of the term has led different famous individuals describe it in their own unique way:

Tom G. Palmer of Cato Institute has defined it as “the diminution or elimination of state-enforced restrictions on exchange across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has resulted.”

Likewise, Thomas L. Friedman in his book, “The World is Flat” has stressed the role of globalisation in terms of trade, outsourcing, supply-chains and political forces which have made lasting impacts on the world and have changed it for good or bad.

Noam Chomsky has also presented his views saying the term globalisation is used in a doctrinal sense primarily to describe the economic globalisation.

As per Manfred Steger, professor of global studies and leader of research at Global Cities Institute, RMIT University, there are four dimensions of globalisation namely-economic, political, cultural and ecological along with a fifth dimension i.e. the ideological which cuts across the other four. It is actually the ideological dimension which covers a whole range of norms, claims, benefits, narratives and the phenomenon itself.

It is thus proven that the advance of globalisation is inevitable and it will leave a lasting impact on all facets of humanity. It has brought in a new pace of development which was unheard of till a few decades ago.  Change has become the new norm and it is the only thing that has stayed constant.

Indian Scenario

India brought down its Berlin Wall way back in 1991 when she opened her economy to the world. This brought in the much needed freshness in its economic health of the country. It helped boost its economic growth and brought many international players to tap the huge and the then nascent Indian market.  Along with the economy, people also opened to the new avenues of growth and unexplored realities of life. The western onslaught however, could not uproot the deep seated traditions and values which are a hallmark of our society, the basic thread which has held the diversities together over the ages. India has so far smartly embraced the West within limits of its ethos and stands tall as the fastest growing economy of the world. Indian society which has been labelled as intolerant by some analysts has not only given way to Western values but is also home to diverse languages, religion and traditions.  People although are less mobile in terms of their cultures yet have immense tolerance for others.

Overview of Impacts of Globalization

Economic Impacts

Globalisation is worldwide economic integration and alignment to international financial norms and standards. The opening of the Indian economy had ushered in a new era of growth. Indian markets changed from being a seller’s hub to a consumer’s market with one of the largest and demographically youngest consumer base in the world. This served as a great attraction for international players who have rapidly made way to Indian soils. Also, the economic liberalisation and relaxation of trade norms, the foregoing of licence raj things were made easier for international investors to put their money here. Along with new technologies, products and practices economic integration opened many vistas of opportunities for Indians.

Political Impacts

Unlike the traditional ways of political practices where the governmental decisions and policies affected only the national political systems, today such decisions have a ripple effect across the globe. The decision of one national government has multi-level effects on other economies too. Political integration has become evident by the growing number of bilateral or multilateral political blocks which have the power to unanimously decide on major issues of the world.  The growing integration of all spheres has also led to problems which are global in dimension and outlook viz. climate change, terrorism, human trafficking, refugee crisis etc. These are massive issues which can only be tackled let along solved by world nations on a same platform. This holds as good for India as for the most advanced nation of the world.

Cultural Impacts

Culture has many facets, and each one has had its share of change due to globalisation of values and ethos. India which is culturally rich has maturely walked the line. It has helped Indians to open to new realities of life, women empowerment, great work culture, education, jobs etc. It has also enhanced consumerism as the young population of India doesn’t mind spending despite the inflation. The technological advancement and reach has brought mobile phones at each doorstep. Likewise, the rapidly growing social networking community has raised awareness about social causes, brought people on a level platform and rekindled old relationships.  It has enhanced ease of living. Religion which is an important component of culture has had many positive impacts of the phenomenon of globalisation. People have embraced the values of mutual respect for other people. Terrorism which stood to divide and scare people has failed in its basic ideology as people of the world have become more united against the extremist vision.

Ecological Impacts

This primarily deals with the impact of global integration on ecology and environment. The growth in industry has unleashed many ecological issues like food shortages, resource depletion, widespread climatic changes, irreversible damage to ecosystems etc. India has witnessed each one of them and is struggling to grapple with it effects.  India has voiced its concerns on many international platforms to bring attention to the damage being already done by the developed world and the one that is happening in the growing suburbs of the developing nations.

Thus, globalisation has touched and left an imprint on each sphere of life.