The purpose of this essay is to evaluate globalisation and the growing multidirectional flows of people, objects, places and information. Firstly I will focus on globalisation and how migration, culture, economics and politics fit into the picture. Secondly I will focus on how globalisation has affected Ireland. To gain a better understanding of globalisation I must first define it. Globalisation is a transplanetary process or set of processes involving increasing liquidity and the growing multidirectional flows of people, objects, places and information as well as the structures they encounter and create that are barriers to, or expedite, those flows.
A term that is closely related to globalisation is transnationalism, “processes that interconnect individuals and social groups across specific geo-political borders”. Ritzer,2010,2) Transnationalism however is limited to interconnections that cross geo-political borders for example, Mexican immigrants living in the US sending remittances home to family members in Mexico. Globalisation includes such connections but is not restricted to them and encompasses a far wider range of transplanetary processes.
Globalisation can be analyzed through conceptual metaphors such as solid, liquid, gases and flows. Before the “global age” people, things, places and information tended to harden over time, this lead to a common attribute which was solidity.
Solidity prevented the free movement of people, objects and information as they were limited to one place. However over the last few decades there seems to have been a melt and now globalisation is becoming increasingly mobile or liquid. As the process of increased mobility continues, liquid now turns to gases. This enables globalisation to flow even faster and with greater ease. The new liquid and gases have both constructive and destructive effects. Many global flows are interconnected while others maybe multidirectional flows. However flows do not necessarily go everywhere, even when they do they affect places differently.
One could argue that globalisation “hops” from one place to another rather than evenly flowing through these places. For example globalisation flows easily through the developed world but bypasses many places in the less developed world. Globalisation has increased the connectivity and interdependence of the world’s markets and businesses. This process has speeded up dramatically in the last two decades as technological advances make it easier for people to travel, communicate and do business internationally. Two major recent driving forces are advances in telecommunications infrastructure and the rise of the internet.
In general as economies become more connected to other economies, they have increased opportunity but also increased competition. Therefore as globalisation becomes a more and more common feature of world economies, powerful pro-globalisation and anti-globalisation lobbies have arisen. “Economic globalisation comprises the globalisation of production, markets, competition, technology, corporations and industries. ”(Joshi,2009) While economic globalisation has been occurring for several hundred years, it has begun to occur at an increased rate over the last twenty to thirty years.
This recent boom has been largely accounted by developed economies intergrating with less developed economies, by means of foreign direct investment, the reduction of trade barriers, and in many cases cross border immigration. It can be argued that economic globalisation may or may not be an irreversible trend. There are several significant effects of economic globalisation. There is statistical evidence for positive financial effects as well as proposals that there is a power imbalance between developing and developed countries in the global economy.
Furthermore, economic globalisation has an impact on world cultures. Cultural globalisation refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values across national borders. This process is marked by the spread of commodities and ideologies, which become standardised around the world. Through technological advancement, culture has been moving beyond borders and boundaries, transforming through locations the shared meanings of culture.
“Through the process of sharing the ideas and values of one culture to another ultimately leads to interconnectedness between various populations from diverse cultures. (Inda,Rosaldo,2002) To better understand the complexity of culture, Stuart Hall defines it as “the process of sharing meanings in society. ”(Hall,1997) Culture used to be confined to local regions but with advances in technology it now allows us to tear down barriers of time and space. Today in modern society, cultures move freely from the most remote areas to the biggest cities in the world. Mixing of cultures is common in many western countries, the domination of a culture over another is referred to as colonial imperialism.
Cultural globalisation thus modifies the meaning given to a representation by a particular culture, and gives it the dominant cultures own meaning. George Ritzer wrote about the “McDonaldization” of society and “how fast food businesses spread throughout the United States and the rest of the world, forcing world populations to adopt fast food culture. ”(Ritzer,2010) Many critics argue that through the dominance of American culture influencing the entire world, this will ultimately result in the end of cultural diversity.
Many cultural identities may cease to exist. Traditionally politics has been undertaken within national political systems. National governments have been ultimately responsible for maintaining the security and economic welfare of their citizens, as well as the protection of human rights and the environment within their borders. With global ecological changes, an ever more integrated global economy, and other global trends, political activity increasingly takes place at the global level.
Under globalisation, politics can take place above the state through political integration schemes such as the European Union and through intergovernmental organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Political activity can also transcend national borders through global movements and non-governmental organisations. Civil society organizations act globally by forming alliances with organizations in other countries, using global communications systems, and lobbying international organisations and other actors directly, instead of working through their national governments.
In terms of the new structures of political power at global level, the United States maintains a dominant position but is vulnerable to challenges and attacks. For example Islamic fundamentalism has provided a profound challenge to American political structures. I have shown how globalisation has affected the world under the headings culture, economics and politics. Now I will look at how globalisation has affected Ireland. In the last decade Ireland went through a boom period due to globalisation “Celtic Tiger”.
This seen many people from all over the orld flock to our shores. Money was plentiful, job prospects were excellent and our economy was growing thanks to economic globalisation. However in recent years, Ireland has been suffering a recession. Global markets have collapsed with a direct effect on Irish markets. Ireland has received bailout money from the IMF to try and kick start our economy. However Ireland has not been the only country in the European Union to be affected by the collapse of global markets, Greece, Portugal and Italy have all suffered the same faith.
Ireland is now facing massive emigration once again and this is a direct result of globalisation. Emigration among Irish nationals continued to increase sharply from 27,700 to 40,200 over the 12 months to April 2011 while emigration among non-Irish persons fell for the second year in a row. Irish nationals were by far the largest constituent group among emigrants 53%. Below is a table from the central statics office showing how emigration has affected Ireland from 1999 to 2011.