What is the difference between "globalisation" and "globalization"?
These are alternative spellings. The first is generally thought of as the American spelling of the word and the second is often thought to be the strictly UK spelling of the word, though the Oxford English Dictionary offers both alternatives. I have chosen to use the "s" spelling throughout because the coursebooks I was referring to were using it. It doesn’t really matter which one you use when you are writing as long as you are consistent and use the same spelling throughout.
What exactly does "globalisation" mean?
In its broadest terms the word simply means that "it relates to the whole world". Simple!
So what does it mean in real terms?
Globalisation, according to the pundits, means the facilitation of integration between different nations and peoples, reduced transportation costs (e.g. cheaper flights), easier and cheaper communication over great distances, more efficient trade between different countries around the globe (thereby improving the economies of developing countries), improved services and standardised quality of products (so you can buy the same fast food, fizzy drink etc. anywhere in the world), shared knowledge (in a variety of fields including medicine thereby reducing disease and mortality in developing countries) and general progress to the benefit of all. Sounds great, doesn't it!
Who makes globalisation happen?
There are many international bodies who are behind the globalisation movement. To name but a few in the field of global economics there are:
- The IMF (the International Monetary Fund)
- The World Bank
- The WTO (the World Trade Organisation)
Why are some people against globalisation?
The opponents of globalisation cite various reasons for their resistance to the phenomenon:
Some believe that the globalisation trend leads to a loss of local traditions in the form of globallly uniform clothing (such as jeans), globally similar eating patterns (such as the fast food phenomenon) and globally popular music trends (such as western pop music). They argue that individual national identities are diluted by these factors.
It can also be argued that globalisation has not benefited developing countries that much. Globally speaking, the poor are still poor (with limited or no access to basics such as electricity, clean drinking water and essential medical help) and the wealthy countries seem to be maintaining or increasing their wealth quite efficiently.
Even the use of English as a global language has its detractors who argue that the global use of English is affecting individual languages. Some countries even endeavour to stop English words entering their everyday language.
Is globalisation good for us?
In theory there are endless benefits to be gained from globalisation if it is handled sensitively and professionally. Whether we will all benefit equally is hard to say. After all who can accurately predict the future?
Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.
1. Globalization or globalisation? The Oxford English Dictionary __________ both alternatives.
2. Globalisation, according to the pundits, means more efficient trade between different countries around the globe (thereby improving the economies of __________ countries).
3. The opponents of globalisation cite various reasons for their __________ to the phenomenon.
4. Some believe that the globalisation trend leads to a __________ of local traditions.
5. __________ countries seem to be maintaining or increasing their wealth quite efficiently.