La mondialisation (en anglais, globalisation) , terme en vogue depuis les années 1980, est un sujet grandement débattu au sein des académiques quant à son réel début. Quel rôle joue t-elle dans le dynamisme de la vie sociale, culturelle et économique ? Aide-t-elle la diversité, ou bien au contraire la menace-t-elle ? Modifie-t-elle la singularité individuelle et locale, et la remplace-t-elle par une citoyenneté globale ? Cette fiche réalisée par Samuel Santos t’aidera à répondre à ces questions avec des exemples concrets!
Definition of globalisation
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, globalisation is defined as “the increase of trade around the world, especially by large companies producing and trading goods in many different countries”. If this definition of globalisation is correct, it only covers some aspects of it. The second definition given by the Cambridge Dictionary allows us to better understand what globalisation actually is about. It is “a situation in which available goods and services, or social and cultural influences, gradually become similar in all parts of the world”.
Relevant examples you can use to talk about globalisation and its effects
A multidimensional concept – The advantages of globalisation
Globalisation is indeed much more than solely an increase in the trade of goods or services. It has had a huge impact in every aspect of life as we know it today. For example, reading this article on a laptop or on a smartphone would not have been possible if it was not for globalisation and externalisation (i.e., the use of cheaper assembly lines).
In the dynamism of social, cultural and economic life, globalisation has allowed every of these three aspects to thrive. Regarding social life, it allowed social networks and other digital means of communication to keep in touch with our friends and our loved ones. Culturally speaking, globalisation also allowed great expansion of the field of possibilities. Whether it is for music, cinema or art, it allows us to have unlimited and most of the time free access to countless worldwide content.
The last impact of globalisation is economic life. The least we can say is that the impact has been incommensurable. Apart from the rise in the trade of goods, it also allowed for greater diversification of the in consumer goods and services offering. Furthermore, countries and companies trading on a globalised scale can develop competitive advantages by focusing on their respective domains of expertise.
Anti-globalisation claims – The other side of the coin
Globalisation seems to have benefited the social, cultural and economic life. But, it also involves a great deal of debate regarding its advantages and disadvantages.
For example, does globalisation foster or threaten diversity? On the one hand, we might think that it threatens it. Everyone indeed has more unified access to the same resources. People would be less unique because of it. On the other hand, we cannot deny the fact that because of this unlimited access, people can diversify their sources of knowledge. In the end, this allows globalisation to foster diversity.
Another issue the anti-globalisation militants have is that it drives a shift toward the Western model. Thus, it creates a gap with other civilisations. For example, globalisation generates acculturation for civilisations with no or only limited internet access. These cultures do not have the same access as we do to cultural resources, for example. Hence, globalisation enlarges the gap between the Western World and its standards, and other isolated cultures.
Quotes about globalisation
Here are some quotes of former and current leaders in their respective sectors as well as influential people worldwide.
- “No generation has had the opportunity, as we now have, to build a global economy that leaves no one behind. It is a wonderful opportunity, but also a profound responsibility.” – Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States of America (1993 – 2001);
- « We cannot speak day after day about globalisation without at the same time having in mind that […] we need multilateral solutions. » – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (2007 – 2011);
- « I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’.” – Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama;
- “The ‘anti-globalisation movement’ is the most significant proponent of globalisation – but in the interests of people, not concentrations of state-private power.” – Noam Chomsky, American linguist;
- “Trump sees the world in terms of a zero-sum game. In reality, globalisation, if well managed, is a positive-sum force: America gains if its friends and allies – whether Australia, the E.U., or Mexico – are stronger. But Trump’s approach threatens to turn it into a negative-sum game: America will lose, too.” – Joseph Stiglitz, American economist.
How to use these examples during your exam?
Example of a question: According to Collins Dictionary, Globalisation is defined as “the emergence since the 1980s of a single world market dominated by multinational companies, leading to a diminishing capacity for national governments to control their economies”. Explain this definition. How is this definition incomplete? What does globalisation play a dominant role on apart from the economy? Please use examples, authors and quotes studied in class, as well as your own knowledge in order to answer.
We can see that this subject strongly urges you to cover the multi-dimensional aspects of globalisation. To follow the instructions properly, you should take them linearly. In this instance, we can, for example, divide them as follows:
- Statement (definition);
- Explain the definition;
- Complete the definition.
By handling this kind of instructions linearly, it allows you to dive progressively into the subject. It will ensure that you do not miss out on some essential points.
Last but not least, there is an essential component in these instructions. You have to provide your corrector with examples, quotes and authors you covered in class. If using your own knowledge is always considered as an added value to your essay because it shows that you understand the topic and that you have integrated the knowledge, it is not sufficient. Using what you covered in class on top of that allows you to demonstrate that you reflected on the topic both from a scholar and from a personal perspective.
To conclude, you have to keep in mind that globalisation is not solely an economic matter, as it strongly influences the social and cultural life as well.
Try to be careful about the sources you use while studying. As we have stated before, globalisation is a very debated subject, as some ‘anti-globalisation’ movements have risen. Beware of fake news, and try to stay critical while studying. For example, if you think that globalisation has only had positive effects since it started, try to nuance it by thinking about why one might consider otherwise.
Globalisation: some useful vocabulary
You will find below a translation for some of the vocabulary used in this article in order to help you prepare. Do not hesitate to use this list and to complete it while you prepare for your exam! Good luck!
- la mondialisation = globalisation
- l’échange = trade
- les biens et les services = goods & services
- favoriser quelque chose = to foster something
- menacer quelque chose = to threaten something
- un avantage compétitif = a competitive advantage
- la croissance = growth
- multidimensionnel = multidimensional
- dernier point, mais non des moindres = last but not least
- à une plus grande échelle = on a larger scale
- agrandir quelque chose = to enlarge something
Tu es maintenant fin prêt pour aborder la thématique de la mondialisation. Mais attention, veille aussi à ne pas perdre des points à cause des erreurs fréquentes en anglais que les correcteurs rencontrent si souvent ! Bon courage pour tes révisions du bac !