Globalization is when different parts of the world connect. People, ideas, knowledge and goods move more easily around the world, and people start to have more in common.


Globalization In History

 

Globalization has a long history. For example, thousands of years ago, Greek culture spread across Asia, Africa and Europe.

 

Another example is the Silk Road, a trade route between China and the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is the area around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. The Silk Road helped the spread of ideas and knowledge, along with silk, spices and other goods.

 

When Europeans started setting up colonies in other continents, globalization grew. They took over many countries in the world so they could get their goods. Many early-European explorers also brought the Christian religion to new areas.

 

Globalization sped up 200 years ago with the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, farmers moved to the cities to work in factories. Many companies used raw materials, like metals, from distant lands. They also sold their goods in other countries.

 

For example, Madras was a cotton cloth made in the Indian city of Madras. After India became a British colony, the British did not buy the cloth from India. They only took the cotton and made the cloth themselves in English factories. They then sold it all over the world.

 

Globalization sped up even more 100 years ago, thanks to new technology.


Communication

 

Globalization depends on how people communicate. News and information zip instantly around the world on the Internet. People can read news about other countries as easily as they read about their local news. 

 

About seven out of every ten people in the world now use cellphones. A farmer in Nigeria can easily talk to his cousin in New York City, New York. Nigeria is a country in Africa.


Travel

 

International travel has also created more globalization. Each year, millions of people move from one country to another to find better-paying jobs.

 

People do not travel just for work, of course. Millions of people take vacations to foreign countries.

 

Travelers are able to see new ideas, goods and services. In this way, globalization influences trade, taste and culture.


Popular Culture

 

Popular culture has also become more globalized. People in the United States enjoy listening to South African music and reading Japanese comic books. American soap operas are popular in Israel.

 

People also wear similar clothes because of globalization. National and local costumes have become rarer.

 

More and more, people eat foods from different parts of the globe. People in England eat Indian curry, while people in Peru enjoy Japanese sushi. Meanwhile, American fast-food chains have become common across the world. McDonald's has more than 31,000 restaurants in 118 countries. People all across the world are eating more meat and sugary foods, like those sold in fast-food restaurants.


Economy

 

The economy has also become more globalized. Trade across the world is very important for most companies. American companies, like Microsoft, Apple and Google, make a lot of money from people around the world. The economy of the country of Saudi Arabia relies on exporting oil.

 

To have more trade, many countries have created free-trade agreements. A free-trade agreement is when countries try to make trade easier between them. For example, they may stop charging taxes every time someone sells a good to another country.

 

Globalization has allowed many companies to move factories and jobs to poorer countries. This is called outsourcing. People make less money because the company can pay lower wages. The company makes more money this way and goods may cost less.

 

People and organizations are connected to companies and banks all over the globe. Because of this, when something bad happens to a big company or bank, it's also bad for the world. This is called a financial crisis.


Politics

 

Still, globalization can be very good. Many world problems can only be faced if countries work together. For example, climate change is a problem that involves many different countries. Climate change means that the planet is warming up because of gases from cars and factories.

 

Many people say globalization will help people communicate. People are able to use medicines they can't find in their country. Also, companies are bringing new jobs to poor countries.

 

But not everyone thinks that globalization is good. Some people are worried that American culture will destroy local cultures around the world. They fear that everyone will end up eating hamburgers and watching Hollywood movies.

 

Some say free trade causes unfair working conditions. People might get new jobs, but those jobs probably aren't very good ones. Also, when companies bring jobs to poor countries, they take away jobs from rich ones.

 

People who like globalization say that workers in poor countries are better off this way. They actually make more money than in other jobs. They also say that free trade has made prices cheaper in rich countries. It's a win for everybody.

 

The Global Network
American fast-food restaurant chains have become a symbol of modern globalization.
abroad
Adverb

in a foreign country.

accelerate
Verb

to increase speed or velocity.

Noun

(356-323 BCE) Greek ruler, explorer, and conqueror.

bankrupt
Adjective

unable to pay debts.

Battle in Seattle
Noun

(1999) protest of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Wash.

Bollywood
Noun

mainstream Indian film industry.

Noun

natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

cell phone
Noun

device that uses radio signals to transmit and receive voice and other data.

chili pepper
Noun

plant native to the Americas whose fruit and seeds are cultivated for food and spice.

Christian
Noun

people and culture focused on the teachings of Jesus and his followers.

Christopher Columbus
Noun

(1446-1506) Italian navigator.

Noun

complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.

Noun

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

colony
Noun

people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.

communication
Noun

sharing of information and ideas.

confront
Verb

to address a problem or person directly.

controversial
Noun

questionable or leading to argument.

corporation
Noun

business made up of a group of stockholders, or people who own interest in the business.

costume
Noun

traditional clothing of a region or country.

cotton
Noun

cloth made from fibers of the cotton plant.

crime
Noun

unlawful activity.

curry
Noun

food associated with India that features spicy sauces, vegetables and sometimes meat.

decade
Noun

10 years.

drug trafficking
Noun

buying, selling and transporting of illegal drugs.

economic downturn
Noun

part of the business cycle when the exchange of goods and services slows down. Also called a recession.

economy
Noun

system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

expansion
Noun

process of enlarging.

export
Noun

good or service traded to another area.

fabric
Noun

cloth.

facility
Noun

a building or room that serves a specific function.

factory
Noun

one or more buildings used for the manufacture of a product.

fiber-optic
Adjective

having to do with the transmission of light through transparent fibers.

fiery
Adjective

burning or having to do with heat.

financial crisis
Noun

situation where banks, credit unions, and other institutions suddenly lose much of their value.

finished good
Noun

item assembled and ready for sale.

free trade
Noun

international exchange of goods and services without taxes or other fees.

Noun

connection of different parts of the world resulting in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.

HSBC
Noun

(HSBC Holdings plc) one of the largest banks in the world.

immigration
Noun

process of moving to a new country or region with the intention of staying and living there.

import
Noun

good traded from another area.

incident
Noun

event or happening.

Industrial Revolution
Noun

change in economic and social activities, beginning in the 18th century, brought by the replacement of hand tools with machinery and mass production.

Information Age
Noun

nickname for the current era of humanity, starting with widespread public access to the internet (the World Wide Web) in the early 1990s. Also called the Computer Age.

International Criminal Court
Noun

organization that tries people accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Internet
Noun

vast, worldwide system of linked computers and computer networks.

labor force
Noun

workers or people who are physically and legally able to work. Also called the workforce.

Latin America
Noun

South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Madras
Noun

type of light cotton cloth. Madras is also the former name of the city of Chennai, India.

market
Noun

central place for the sale of goods.

McDonald's
Noun

largest restaurant chain in the world.

merchant
Noun

person who sells goods and services.

migrant
noun, adjective

person who regularly moves from place to place, usually in search of work.

mill
Noun

machine used for grinding or crushing various materials.

natural disaster
Noun

an event occurring naturally that has large-scale effects on the environment and people, such as a volcano, earthquake, or hurricane.

network
Noun

series of links along which movement or communication can take place.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Noun

(1994) treaty between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that reduced tariffs and made trade easier between the countries.

oil
Noun

fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

outsourcing
Noun

process of moving jobs and factories to developing countries in order to lower costs.

pasta
Noun

dough rolled or made into shapes and then boiled.

popular culture
Noun

goods, services, ideas, and patterns of their use in a population.

Noun

place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

poverty
Noun

status of having very little money or material goods.

profit
Noun

money earned after production costs and taxes are subtracted.

proliferation
Noun

very rapid growth or increase in production.

raw material
Noun

matter that needs to be processed into a product to use or sell.

religion
Noun

a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.

Noun

ancient trade route through Central Asia linking China and the Mediterranean Sea.

similar
Adjective

alike or resembling.

software
Noun

electronic programs of code that tell computers what to do.

standard of living
Noun

amount of goods and services a person in a specific community or geographic area is able to afford.

sushi
Noun

bite-sized rolls or balls of sticky rice topped with seafood or vegetables.

tariff
Noun

tax imposed on imports or exports.

tax
Noun

money or goods citizens provide to government in return for public services such as military protection.

terrorism
Noun

use of violence and threats of violence to influence political decisions.

thrive
Verb

to develop and be successful.

tourist
Noun

person who travels for pleasure.

trade
Noun

buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.

trade route
Noun

path followed by merchants or explorers to exchange goods and services.

travel
Noun

movement from one place to another.

wage
Noun

money paid to a person for providing goods or services.

wealthy
Adjective

very rich.

World Trade Organization (WTO)
Noun

group that works with governments and international organizations to regulate trade and resolve trade disputes between countries.