Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Processes of Globalisation

I am guessing that you have all probably done a substantial amount of reading regarding factors affecting development, especially colonialism, over the last week or so, thus I thought I would skip out that bit and instead focus on globalisation, starting at the very beginning.....

Globalisation = increasing interconnectivity of global markets, politics and cultures

Factors that have allowed Globalisation to occur:

1) One of the most important factors that has allowed globalisation to occur, and at arguably such a rapid rate, is the development of ICT, with particular reference to the internet, as its development has permitted cheap, reliable and almost instantaneous communications between all parts of the world (in theory!). This new found ability to share information, transfer capital and marketing at such a quick speed has been essential for globalisation and is something that I think many of us take for granted nowadays. Going slightly off topic but just think how much easier are lives are thanks to the internet and telecommunications, even our education and the way we learn has been greatly improved - if you ask your parents etc I doubt that they would have ever predicted that we could be sat at home, on computers, listening to our geography teacher discuss LDCs and the Millenium Development Goals at 5:30pm on a Tuesday evening!!! 

2)Anyway, this flow of information has also been supported by improvements in transport (of both people and goods) - I am guessing a few synoptic links (you know, those things that our essays are meant to be full of now to demonstrate we 'think like geographers'!) could be made to the AS Energy module here.... The increased mobility we now have has made transportation more efficient and cheaper with such developments including:
- Increased aircraft size, introduction of budget airlines, development of airfreight companies and intergrated air movement networks
- Container revolution in the 1960s along with standardisation which allowed containerisation to become so efficient and cost effective
- new computerised logistics systems for all forms of transport
high-speed rail networks and extension of railway networks
- better and more direct road links
With this ability to move goods cheaply and quickly seeming to be intrinsic to globalisation, how is it going to be affected when oil reserves run out or when it no longer exists as a commerically viable resource. I am sure you will remember the debate that exists over whether or not we have reached peak oil and if not, how long will it be before we reach this point? There, at present, exists no other resource capable of filling the void oil will leave and so can globalisation, as we know it, exist in the future?
Although, this movement of goods has been crucial, the movement of people has been equally so and although some of the above have increased our mobility, there are some other factors more specifically linked to the movement of populations....

- tourism has played a huge role in getting people, therefore cultures, moving around the globe
- increase in migration which has seen unskilled workers, who are increasingly forced to migrate illegally as richer countries try to protect their populations from an influx of workers who would be willing to accept lower wages and poorer working conditions
- brian drain/gain

3) With both people and goods moving, services  and marketing have began to move. The easiest example to see this in is probably the spreading of the advertising industry which has been greatly utilised by TNCs and increased foreign direct investment.

Transnational Corporation (TNC)/Multi-national Corporation (MNC) = at its simplest level, this is a corporation that has prodcution establishments or delivers services in atleast two countries. Interestingly, or perhaps even worryingly, some TNCs have grown so large that they have budgets that exceed those of many countries in which they operate.

It is becoming more common for TNCs to market products in a way which ensures the same campaign can be used across the globe as part of an international marketing strategy. The advantages for TNCs of such international stragegies include:

- the cost of research and development of products can be spread across many more sales, reducing unit costs and increasing profits
- brand loyalty can be encouraged as people move from one country to another
- manufacturing can move to countries and regions where production costs (particularly wages) are cheaper without needing to change the basic product which was internationalised.

TNCs are seen as the agents of globalisation and without them, globalisation would struggle to exist but is their presence always a good thing.......well that documentary we watched today regarding Wal-Mart cleary suggests not. So, does this mean that globalisation is the way to develop or is globalisation detrimental to development? Have a think about it, blog post is on its way!

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