Globalization: The process by which the world increasingly functions as a single community, rather than as many widely separated communities. The term is used particularly to refer to the increasing integration of the world’s national economies and the growth of multinational companies that bestride them. In this specific sense, globalization dates from the late 20th century and is largely a consequence of the increased speed and reduced cost of communications. Jet aircraft, introduced commercially in the 1950s, have made it possible for people and goods to be conveyed to the other side of the world in a single day; and 20th-century developments in telecommunications and broadcast media, notably the Information Revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, have not only provided instant worldwide information but also made possible the establishment of global bodies of data and systems to access them. These technological innovations have been accompanied by the growth of international agreements and regulatory bodies since World War II, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which sought to remove obstacles to international trade, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), which extended GATT’s role by regulating such matters as intellectual property rights. Many companies have benefited from these developments, which have enabled them to expand easily into overseas markets and to conduct their operations wherever in the world is most efficient and most profitable. However, these companies are almost exclusively based in the developed world, especially in the USA, and their increased power is seen in many quarters to benefit already rich countries at the expense of the developing world. A key issue is the removal of tariffs and other barriers to international trade: many countries, both developing and industrialized, argue that exposing their internal markets to unfettered foreign competition would undermine indigenous enterprises and damage their economies. Allied to this is a fear in some cases that the penetration of foreign products and mass media will corrode a country’s traditional culture. Many of these concerns are expressed in the form of anti-Americanism: the USA and US-based corporations are perceived to be the principal economic beneficiaries of globalization, and elements of US culture have penetrated almost every country in the world.

“globalization” A Dictionary of World History. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.