The term globalization is used to describe how trade and technology have transformed the world into a more connected and interdependent place. Globalization applies to both economic and social changes.
Globalization began with Columbus’s voyage to the New World in 1492. The exchange of goods and culture had been known through ancient trade. Technology such as new ship designs and magnetic compasses played an important role in the maritime trade routes that flourished between the old and new world during the Age of Exploration.
The Age of Revolution spread ideas about liberty, equality, and fraternity from America to France to Latin America. Industrialization, colonization, war, and the invention of improved transportation systems strengthened trends towards globalization.
The Information Age caused the process of globalization to speed up. New computer and communications technologies redefined what it meant to be “connected.” This digital revolution impacted economies as well. National economies became more information-based and more interdependent. Economic success or failure in one place can affect every major world economy.
Scholars debate the benefits and disadvantages of globalization. For example, richer nations now can come to the aid of poorer nations in crisis. On the other hand, globalization has led to an increased risk for the transmission of diseases like ebola. The global village, a worldwide “us,” has emerged.
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