The first discussion assignment for this course will focus on Globalization, a topic discussed in the introduction chapter. I recognize that this assignment is a bit more challenging and perhaps more time consuming than other discussions that follow, but globalization is such an important organizing principle for World Regional Geography that I feel we should spend some time considering this concept. Moreover, many of you are education majors and are required to cover this topic as a major learning objective within your program. Globalization is also an important concept covered on the geography portion of the PRAXIS exam. Most importantly, Globalization has become of central focus in the current presidential campaign, each side with their own view of how to engage with the global economy. With all this in mind, students will benefit from a careful reading of the material included in this discussion and it might be helpful to read your text material on globalization first. Your textbook introduces globalization on page 26.
I have two questions I wish you to answer for this discussion. First, which view of globalization do you most agree with and why? A description of the three views I wish you to choose from can be found in the Knox and Marston excerpt below. Second, in your opinion, is globalization a positive force or a negative force? Please explain your answers using information provided in this discussion.
To help you consider these matters, I ask you to view the material that follows. To start, I ask that you watch a video and read a transcript produced by PBS journalist Paul Solman. First the video. Please click on the following link to access the video:
If you had trouble with the video on youtube, the following link will take you to the video, streaming audio, and the transcript on the PBS website.
The second item is a transcript of a 2007 piece by Solman where he conducts an interview explaining globalization by analyzing the writings of Adam Smith. Please click on the link below to read the transcript. If it works, you may also listen to the audio podcast at the top of the page:
Solman‘s 2013 case-study explores the issue from from a negative approach while the 2007 interviewee clearly sees globalization as a positive. This website will not only give you a brief overview, but also explains opposing views on this topic:
Let’s turn to three “expert” viewpoints on globalization. This information is important for you to answer question one. From Knox andMarston’s human geography text, the three expert viewpoints are the Hyperglobalist View, The Skeptical View, and theTransformationalist View:
From Knox and Marston‘s Human Geography text (pages 10-12), the three expert viewpoints are the Hyperglobalist View, The Skeptical View, and the Transformationalist View. Here is what they write…
The Hyperglobalist View: At one extreme is the view that open markets and free trade and investment across global markets allow more and more people to share in the prosperity of a growing world economy. Economic and political interdependence, meanwhile, creates shared interests that help prevent conflict and foster support for common values. Democracy and human rights, it is asserted, will spread to billions of people in the wake of neoliberal policies that promote open markets and free trade. Neoliberal policies are economic policies that are predicated on a minimalist role for the state, assuming the desirability of free markets as the ideal condition not only for economic organization but also for political and social life. Hyperglobalists believe that the current phase of globalization signals the beginning of the end for the nation-state and the “denationalization” of economies. By economic denationalization they mean that national boundaries will become irrelevant with respect to economic processes, and that national governments will not control their once geographically bounded economies but will instead facilitate connections among and between different parts of the world throughsuprantational organizations such as NAFTA and the EU.
The wider implications of the hyperglobalist position is that the world will become borderless as national governments become increasingly meaningless or function merely as facilitators of global capital flows and investments. Hyperglobalizersbelieve that the nation-state, the primary political and economic unit of contemporary world society, will eventually be replaced by institutions of global governance in which individuals claim transnational allegiances that are founded upon a commitment to neoliberal principles of free trade and economic integration. Politically, the global spread of liberal democracy will reinforce the emergence of a global governance, replacing the outmoded nation-state with global institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Skeptical View: A second broad argument within the globalization literature belongs to the skeptics, those who believe that contemporary levels of global economic integration represent nothing particularly new and that much of the talk aboutglobalization is exaggerated. The skeptics look to the nineteenth century and draw on statistical evidence of world flows of trade, labor, and investment to fortify their position. They argue that contemporary economic integration is actually much less significant than it was in the late nineteenth century, when nearly all countries shared a common monetary system known as the gold standard. The skeptics are also dismissive of the idea that the nation-state is in decline. They argue that national governments are essential to the regulation of international economic activity and that the continuing liberalization of the world economy can only be facilitated by the regulatory power of national governments.
The skeptics assert that their analysis of nineteenth-century economic patterns demonstrates that we are today witnessing not globalization but rather “regionalization,” as the world economy is increasingly dominated by three major regional financial and trading blocs: Europe, North America, and [East Asia]…. The skeptics understand regionalization andglobalization to be contradictory tendencies. They believe that because of the dominance of those three major regional blocs, the world is actually less integrated than it once was because Europe, North America, and East Asia control the world economy and limit the participation of other regions in that economy.
The Transformationalist View: According to the transformationalist view, contemporary processes of globalization are historically unprecedented as governments and peoples across the globe confront the absence of any clear distinction between the global and the local, between domestic affairs and international affairs. Like the hyperglobalists, this group understands globalization as a profound transformative force that is changing societies, economies, institutions of government — in short, the world order. In contrast to the hyperglobalists and the skeptics, however, thetransformationalists make no claims about the future trajectory of globalization, nor do they see present globalization as a pale version of a more “globalized” nineteenth century. Instead, they see globalization as a long-term historical process that is underlain by crises and contradictions that are likely to shape it in all sorts of unpredictable ways. Moreover, unlike the skeptics, the transformationalists believe that the historically unprecedented contemporary patterns of economic, military, technological, ecological, migratory, political, and cultural flows have functionally linked all parts of the world into a larger global system in which free trade agreements such as NAFTA help to draw regions into a global neoliberal economic framework…. [The transfomationalists] suggest that we are all heading toward a world where places and regions will experience a wide range of internal changes at the same time that the strength of their connections with other parts of the world will increase. What is perhaps most unsettling about the transformationalist view of globalization is the anticipated increase in disparities in wealth. Transformationalists believe that globalization is leading to increasing social stratification, in which some states and societies are more tightly connected to the global order while others are becoming increasingly marginalized. They contend that there is no evidence to sustain the hyperglobalist claim that the new global social structure is tending toward a global civilization where equality among individuals will eventually prevail. They argue the opposite: that the world will increasingly consist of a three-tiered system — comprising the elites, the embattled, and the marginalized — that cuts across national, regional, and local boundaries. Within nations, disparities of wealth–already striking in many countries–will increase, just as they will between nations.
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