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The Vagueness of Globalization: Analytical Meaning and Intellectual Value

Jan 23, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jan 23, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The term globalization is not a single concept that can be encompassed and defined within a set time frame. Similarly, it is not a process that can be defined clearly neither at the beginning nor an end. Globalization cannot be explicated upon with certainty and become applicable to everyone in every situation. The term globalization incorporates cultural stability; the relations, reproduction. Equally, globalization involves economic integration such as the transfer of policies across the border and the discourses of power for instance; it is a global concept, a process, a revolution and the establishment of global market free from the control of social and political issues (Held & McGrew, 2007). Therefore, globalization umbrellas everything with political, economic and social nature, and the concept of globalization has received various definitions over the previous years. Some connotations have referred to globalization as the progress, integration and cooperation, development and stability while other referring to regression, destabilization and colonialism.

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Despite the robust challenges, the term globalization brings a pool of hidden agendas. An individual geographic location, political ideology, social status, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and cultural background provides the platform for interpreting globalization. For instance, in 1995, the resident of the Third World Network, martin Khor, referred to globalization as colonialism (Held & McGrew, 2007). Concurrently, a journalist of Sweden in his book the “Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization (2001) indicated that globalization is the concept of world shrinkage of things moving closer and distances getting shorter. He added that globalization pertain the inclined ease that an individual from the other side through mutual benefits interact with someone on the opposite side (Hay & Marsh, 2001). Therefore, the two dissimilar interpretations reference the rotated perspectives in different world positions.

The nature of globalization provides a span of multitude of communities, disciplines and cultures. Notably, this has opened a room for multiple points of view, social, economic and political. The impacts of globalization are diverse, and the definitions presented by a scholar’s evidences. Therefore, questions still remain based on the potential difficulty of providing an elaborate definition to the concept alongside the challenges intertwine in trying to do so. Globalization is a vague concept because it provides various aspects and scholars who discuss the term provides the different aspects of globalization. The various aspects that include economic, social, political and religious aspects are all housed by globalization concept. Globalization discourses were initially polarized onto the con and pro attacks or celebrations. The view of critics provides that the globalization provides a cover of concepts for global imperialism and capitalism. Therefore, the term is condemned as a different form of logic of capital imposition and the market on a constant and continual on spheres of life and regions of the world(Dicken, 2010). However Hirst, Thompson and Bromley (2009) subscribes that the defenders of globalization provides that it is modernization continuation and progress force, freedom, increased wealth, democracy and happiness. The champions of globalization present it as generating fresh economic opportunities, beneficial, cultural diversity, political democratization and an opening of the new existing world.
The distractors observe globalization as harmful, controlled by the wealthier overdeveloped nations over the poor third world countries and bringing about inclined dominion. Therefore, Kitching (2001).asserts that distractors detect globalization as increase the hegemony of the ‘have nots’ and the ‘haves’. Additionally, the supplementation of the negative view, the critics of globalization reestablishes that globalization leads to the undermining of democracy, inclined destruction of the environment and natural species, and a cultural homogeneity (Mittelman, J2000). Likewise, some scholars imagine the project of globalization whether viewed positively or negatively, as beyond intervention and human control and inevitable. However, others view globalization as a process of generating new spaces for struggles and conflicts, distinguishing between globalization from various aspects (Kitching, 2001).
The assertions of the critical theory that discusses the fundamental transformations in the economy, culture and politics of the world based on a dialectical framework provides distinction between the emancipatory and progressive features. The theory provides ambiguities and articulations of globalization and the imposition of globalization from various aspects. Rodrik, (2011) argues that understanding the concept of globalization is theorizing the term as a product of global restructuring of capitalism and technological revolution that features the technological, economic, cultural and political aspects intertwined. Rodrik, (2011) writes that based n this perspective, an individual should limit both economic and technological determinism as highly contradictory, complex and thus ambiguous set of social relations and institution relations alongside the flow of ideas, goods, cultural forms, services and people. Illustratively, Stubbs and Underhill (2005) argues that the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the September terrorist attacks provides a display of the ambiguities and contradictions embedded in the concept of globalization that demands dualistic and critical perspectives to illuminate and clarify the global events. The author argues that the ensuing of Terror Wars and terror attacks illustrates the contradictions in the concept and nature of globalization that needs dialectical critique and analysis. Stubbs and Underhill, (2005) concludes that some reflections based on the implications of September 11 and continuous terror war for the democratic politics and critical social theory, envisaging a new movement around the globe against militarism and terrorism and for peace, democracy, social justice and environmentalism.
With reference to critical social theory, the concept of globalization incorporates both sets of social relations and capitalist markets and flows of capital, commodities, form of culture, technology, and people across the boundaries of nations via the globally networked society (Rodrik, 2011). Therefore, in a globalized network society, the technological transmutations and the capital work together t generate an increasingly interconnected and globalized world. The revolution of technology mentions the creation of computerized network of transportation, communication and presupposition exchange of the globalized economy. Likewise, the world capitalist market system extension that constantly absorb additional areas of spheres and the world of exchange, production and consumption into orbit is unclearly understood. According to Rodrik (2011) the revolution of technology presupposes global computerized networks and the movement of information, goods and people across boundaries of the nations. Therefore, the global computer and the internet make the concept of globalization possible by producing a technological infrastructure for the world economy. As Ravenhill, (2011) establishes, the satellite communication system, computerized networks, and the hardware and software that facilitate and link together the global economy is dependent on the breakthroughs in microphysics. He writes that the techno-science has generated powerful and sophisticated computer chips, and transistors, technological revolution, and integrated circuits that lead to an infrastructure for the society and the global economy.
Mittelman (2000) accomplishes that based on the technological revolution perspective, the concept of globalization cannot be understood without comprehending technological and scientific revolutions and capital global restructuring that forms the matrix and motor of globalization. However, the theorists of globalization either fails to account for the fundamental significance of technological and scientific revolutions and the new technologies that assists spawn globalization or provide an empirical interpretation of the process in a deterministic framework based on technology that occludes the imperatives economic dimension and the capitalism institutions. Therefore, Mittelman (2000) concludes that such biased optics fails to grasp the science coevolution capitalism, and technology and the highly ambiguous and complex globalization systems that incorporate democracy and capitalism, turbulent mixture of benefits and costs, technological mutations and losses and gains. Therefore, in order to theorize the globalized economic network, it is necessary to avoid the extremes of economic and technological determinism. The use of technological determinants frequently applies the postindustrial discourse, society or postmodern to describe the current developments.
According to Kitching (2001) the economic reductionism and determinism that merely depicts globalization as a market capitalist fails to comprehend the new modes and forms of capitalism itself that are entirely based on the novel of development of technology, culture, science, and everyday life. Furthermore, the technological determinism fails to recognize how the new economy and the new technologies are part of the capitalist restructuring, however, not autonomous forces that themselves are engendering a new economy and society that breaks with the past social organization mode. The postindustrial society has been referred to as information society or knowledge society that information and knowledge are given roles more prominent than the previous days. Therefore, it presumed that information and knowledge sectors are significantly important domains of the contemporary moment (Hirst, Thompson & Bromley, 2009). Hence, the postindustrial theorists are not ideological and are far off the mark as a majority of the critics argues.
Likewise, some post-structural theories stress that the globalization complexity exaggerate the autonomous and disjunction flows of people, culture, technology, and goods, thus the critical theory of globalization views globalization in the capitalist theory that involves restructuring and technological revolution(Hirst, Thompson & Bromley, 2009). Therefore, whoever wants to talk about capitalism, must mention globalization. Besides, it is impossible to debate or argue about globalization without mentioning restructuring of capitalism. The concept of techno-capitalism is beneficial in describing technology and capital synthesis in the current societal organizations (Held, McGrew, Goldblatt & Perraton, 1999). Unlike the postmodernity theories or the information and knowledge society that provides arguments that technology is the new societal principal organizer. The concept of techno-capitalism observes both the enduring primacy of the capitalist relation and the increasing significance of technological role of production. In the era of unrestrained capitalism, it is nearly impossible to object that the contemporary societies are still under the organization of capital and production accumulation and the imperatives of the capitalist continues to dominate distribution, production, and consumption alongside political, social and cultural domains. Therefore, the workers remain exploited by the capitalists, and the capital persists as the hegemonic force.
The view of current globalization definitions can arguably leave an individual feeling more confused in the discourse than before. The presence of numerous definitions and interpretations clearly indicates the diverse opinions developed regarding the globalization concept since it appeared in the Webster’s dictionary in 1961. As Held and McGrew, (2007) establishes, the previous decades have permitted humankind creativity to develop numerous definitions for globalization. Since the debate on the vagueness of globalization majorly stems from the concept of definition, t is significant to observe the definition progressions and the diverse connotations that have emerged. Held and McGrew, (2002) records that there is a minimum of 67 definitions that makes the reference to dimensions of the economy either through selling of goods and services or through market expansion. As established, most of these definitions incorporate other dimensions of political and social aspects. The researcher further illustrates that the definitions tend to be complex and multifaceted. They are hardly confined to few words; however, an elaborate definition focuses on the norm of addressing the concern. The illustrative globalization complexity in an attempt to the process through which globalization effects are experienced, whether economically, politically or socially, an individual often finds the subject debatable and multidimensional. Therefore, it appears to be universal that most of the authors have structured lengthy definitions. Based on the concept, it is reasonable to assume that the term globalization is meaningless and confirming its vagueness.
Held and McGrew, (2007) indicates that the term globalization is evolutionary it is a fluid process that constantly changes as the human society develops. The evidence is provided when assessing the numerous definitional ideas from authors. This paper presents an argument than individual’s own perspective that provides a definition for globalization, thereof, shapes any definition. One could confer based on the impact of globalization for days without exhibiting a clear understanding the clear meaning of the term. Through analysis of the complexity of globalization, it forces the issue to get simplified in at least two sentences. Therefore, the core of the discourse is purely determined by the author. The definition provides an elaborate indication of the perspectives of the author on the concepts of globalization, particularly, the meaning in the geopolitical terms. Therefore, by providing an abstract concept with nothing substantial there is no point of reference. In any way, the overview of definitions has clearly indicated that globalization is many things to numerous dissimilar people. As Garrett (1998) noted, globalization refers to a word of things with dissimilar axes, speeds, terminations, and points of origin and varied relationships to the structures of institutions, in various nations, regions or societies. Therefore, the assertions from the author capture the vagueness of globalization based on the complex definition. Thus, it implies that a further elaboration of globalization would not be beneficial in particular.
The future of globalization is a venture that no scholar would attempt to predict. The concept fluidity provides concrete recommendations for a definition difficult. Just by observing the changes in the definition of globalization over the previous years, it is reasonable to ascertain that the future may never provide any refined or simpler process of arriving at a clearer process conceptualization. Furthermore, the challenge of trying to understand globalization fully may never appear any soon (Dicken, 2010). By exploring the various thoughts and definitions, behind the idea of globalization, it is clear how the concept has been identified by academics and scholars over the course of nearly thirty years. As the existent of globalization is dictated by means and times, to dissimilar international system and societal facets, it implies that it can never be fully defined to the point of satisfaction of all the individuals impacted by the implications of globalization. The challenge provides that the definitions do not permit compressive understanding of the concept of globalization and is inconsistent and less extended to allow what lies on the core of the founder of globalization. Therefore, in reasonable terms, globalization is a term without coherent meaning and too ambiguous.
Ideally, the ambiguity of globalization requires the anti-corporate globalization movement to reconsider its agenda, nature, and goals. The concepts used in globalization are interchangeable to the authors the term globalization has been used where it provides openness. However, the product of globalization is the individual increment of openness of numerous countries and their global economy integration. Likewise, anybody making an attempt to follow the debate of globalization would notice the contradiction claims made by the critics and supporters to the very fundamental question (Hay & Marsh, 2001). Equally, both sides have supported their claim with facts; however, instead of clear truth evolving, there have been inclined heated debates. Therefore, it is reasonable to assert that the term is meaningless.


The stemming literature on the debates of the term globalization has inclined in the previous decade beyond the capability of any individual to extract a workable definition of the concept. Sensibly, the meaning of globalization may be self-evident, however, in another it is vague and obscure as the reaches of the concept are constantly shifting and relatively wide. The debate over globalization presents a robust part of the lifeblood. It reputable to draw that debate is globalization and globalization is debate. Thus, without one, the other is inconvincible. The subject of providing a coherent understanding of globalization can be deemed useless because of the ambiguity, shifting nature and its influence from the viewers’ perspectives. The search of comprehending globalization, therefore, can assist in reconsidering the focus of responses needed, and policy challenges that n turn would shade additional light on the process of globalization and its numerous impacts on the stability. Holding that it is nearly impossible to generate a definition style of the Webster dictionary is part of what evidences the meaningless and vagueness of the term globalization.


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