There is little doubt among scholars that globalization has successfully modified the global socio-economic order (Acs & Preston, 1997; Barclay & Smith, 2003; Ferdows 1997; Hay & Rosamond, 2002; Kraemer, Gibbs, & Dedrick, 2005). It is natural therefore that the discourse of globalization has captured the interest of a growing number of scholars and intellectuals, in the sense that the proliferation of globalization presented both advantages and disadvantages for both developing and developed economies (Stanislaw & Yergin, 2002; Vietor 2005; Hay & Rosamond, 2002).
This situation called for the rigorous study of the impacts and the lessons to be learned from humanity’s experience with balancing the costs and the benefits of a globalized world. This paper would therefore attempt to provide a holistic view of the impacts of globalization for today’s society by describing the process by which globalization grew and identifying the challenges and opportunities it presents for both developed and developing economies.
I- The Growth of Globalization Globalization, which refers to “the web of linkages and interconnections between states, societies, and organizations that make up the present world economic system,” (Acs & Preston 1997) has changed the way people live and conduct business, made possible to a large extent by the tremendous advances in information and communication technology that has driven down the cost of data processing and business solutions.
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(Vietor 2005;Norris 2001) Globalization is often seen as the product of the organic development of the world economy, the inevitable consequence of the growth of the global capitalist system which required the continuous creation of new markets in order to sustain the growth of capital. (Hay & Rosamond, 2002; Stanislaw & Yergin 2002) Thus, globalization, in essence, is the integration of the world economy to facilitate the rapid movement of capital, labour, and products across national and international borders (Vietor 2005) through the “shortened economic distances between nations” (Dhungana 2003).
This, however, required a high degree of trade liberalization and financial deregulation in many countries (Kraemer, Gibbs, & Dedrick, 2005) to remove barriers that would slow down or impede the whole process of production, distribution, and marketing of products and services, or pose constraints to the smooth flow of the business supply-chains and capital movements (Stanislaw & Yergin 2002; Vietor 2005). In many ways, the growth of globalization entailed political decisions.
Governments had to “adopt market-oriented policies,” that restructured their economic policies and priorities to accommodate investments and capital inflow (Acs & Preston 1997) on the one hand, and to develop and maximize their own resources on the other, (Dhungana 2003) in order to define their competitive advantage. The demand for the development of technological capacity and diversified human resource strategy also meant that education, training, and IT infrastructures were in place to meet increasing business needs.
(Stanislaw & Yergin 2002) Consequently, this decade has also been marked by the increased adoption of information and communications technologies (ICTs) since this fueled globalization forward, and vice-versa (Kraemer, Gibbs, & Dedrick, 2005). In no other time in human experience has change been as abrupt and as visible as in today’s globalized world, as evidenced by the speed by which information is created, transmitted, and circulated all over the globe.
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