WHAT IS GLOBALIZATION?

Globalization is change. But change has always been an integral feature of life. So why do we now want to call it globalization? This is a crucial question and the answer is important, because some would contend that globalization is not new, but that globalizing processes began long ago, with the Age of Discovery, the effort to convert the world to Islam, or to Christianity, or even earlier, perhaps with the spread of our species throughout the world starting 100,000 years ago. But this contention misses an essential point: the fact that we now find the term globalization useful signals that we have recognized a qualitative difference in the nature of the change we are now experiencing. Change in the modern world is qualitatively different from change in the past. Globalization is the most useful term for pulling together under one heading and one field of study all the multiple currents of social and cultural change in the modern world that appear to be qualitatively different from the past.