A globalized society can be viewed as a commonplace, area and/or a region whereby individuals interchange ideas and governed by a particular spectrum in a bid to achieve a predefined goal/aspiration. These ideas may vary in dimensions and scope depending with the individuals at hand, their specific long and short term aspirations, the expected outcome of their interactions and the conditions necessitating the cooperation. The ideas may include views, opinions, sharing of business prospects and opportunities; aspects of culture such as social exchange, education and training, and other socially motivated activities that can in one way or another help integrate individuals from different geographic, economic and social divides. Therefore we can integration perspective to define globalization as a process of integration, which can take international form depending with the stakeholders and the purpose of integration, which arises from interchange and/or exchange of ideas, views and aspects of culture and socialization, products and the holistic human development in relation to the external world (Boudreaux, 2008, 2).
Technology, on the other hand, can be defined as implementation of an idea, thought or invention in the process of making, modifying and using of techniques in relation to knowledge of tools and machines in order to solve a prevailing problem or condition. Technology seeks to improve existing tools, crafts or machines to a new set of efficient ones; systematically analyse the methods of organization to achieve a certain predefined goal, and/ or evaluate an applied input/ output model relations in order to perform a specific function (Macintosh, 2011, 4). The diversity of human knowledge and the need to solve emerging issues in daily activities has necessitated techno-progressivism, a stance of active support for the convergence of technological change in a bid to merge it with socio-economic changes. In addition, the need by the human species to convert natural resources into simple tools and applications was followed by the innovations and critical thinking that was necessitated by the need for “leisure class” and to control the environment that one is in. From this we can deduce that globalization has been propagated by the need to human species to understand; control, comprehend, integrate and to some point analyse the external environment with an aim of being part of it. In this paper we shall critically analyse the ways in which inventions, innovations and technological/industrial revolutions have made globalization possible; evaluation of its impacts on cultures and cultural exchange, international trade, health, and global workforce, and evaluate drawbacks of technology.
Innovations and Industrial Revolution
Industrial revolution in this sense can be viewed in form of rate at which innovations in science and technology have helped in transition to new manufacturing processes; mechanization of traditional methods of production from manual to machinery, the effects of global output as a result of this increased productivity, and the analysis of major turning points in our daily activities. For instance, innovations to improved efficiency of water power and new chemical manufacturing in industries have improved textile production, improved economies of scale in blast furnaces in smelting and production of iron related commodities through substitution of coke by coal which is cheaper and more effective, and advancement from steam engines to petro-driven and atomic energy sources that have revolutionized industrial operations. This has led to increase in output due to economies of scale, increased profitability and expansion of firms which has necessitated international trade; a prerequisite for integration and globalization through exchange of ideas, goods and skills across nations.
Technology and Communication
As discussed earlier, globalization involves exchange of ideas, views and opinions, products and other aspects of culture over a given spectrum or infrastructure of which communication serves the purpose. Communications is the basic medium of exchange within human where individuals can share, advice and receive advice at the same time; forming the basic infrastructure of the process of globalization. Innovations in the telecommunication sector have seen introduction of various means of communication and exchange of ideas making the world a global village. Technological advancements in the sector have replaced the traditional means of communications such as visual signs that included beacons, smoke signals and signal flags; pre-modern telecommunications of audio messages which included coded drumbeats, whistles and lung-blown horns. Today telecommunication has advanced to include electrical and electromagnetic technologies to include gadgets like telephones, tele-printer and telegram, and spectrums or infrastructures such as the internet, communication satellites, fibre optics and microwave transmissions.
Communication and Globalization
Advances of technology and innovations in the communication sector have enabled realization of globalization in it has eased the manner in which people share and interact globally. For instance, internet has eased the way people exchange information and data throughout the world by providing simple and accessible means and channels. Internet has availed both local and international business and social opportunities to an accessible infrastructure, mobile phones and personal computers, improving on convenience with which people can access the information of their liking at any given time. Globalization calls for exchange of ideas and products, and this, economically and/ or socially has been made possible by the availability of internet and internet distribution in various regions of the globe making it a village.
Fibre optic and microwave transmission technologies couple with the internet have improved the exchange patterns in that individuals are exchanging data and information in real time. For instance, these technologies together with the internet have made establishment of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, You- Tube, LinkedIn, etc., where individuals socialize, interact and exchange ideas in real time. In addition, technological innovations of these networks and internet providers have enabled customization of these social media sites to incorporate sections that feature business and advisory services thus promoting convenience and availing varied opportunities, all in a single medium.
During pre-modern days business and social opportunities were locked in the area/ country of origin with less or no movement of factors of production (Rajagopal, 2009, 3). Currently technological advancements in the field of communication have necessitated convenient transfer of information and data; a prerequisite for effective business or social interactions. For instance, in the 1800’s when communication was still traditional, there was less or no movement of information and factors of production internationally compared to today. Currently, one can communicate with someone in any corner of the world easily and conveniently through the use of telephone, social media, and telegraph communications; ease of sending and receiving business transactions through e-mails allowing free movement and exchange of factors of production.
Globalization calls for integration of the international society and the technological advancements in the field of communications have achieved this through promoting mutual interdependence globally. Currently, economies, business entities and multinational companies are globally interdependent in that the success of one is purely pegged on the success/ failure of the other. For instance, multinational companies depend largely on the data and information from the countries they want to expand their operations to which has been made simpler by availability of data in the internet and/or the ease of real time analysis of the business environment and other factors from the tools available in the internet and/or quick exchange between the transacting parties.
The convergence of communication and computer technologies, digitization and culmination in internet technologies has made it possible to technologically transfer a lot of information in digitized for to locations across nations necessitating outsourcing and relocation of certain types of services and sector jobs (Sorrels, 2013, 23). For instance, multinational companies established in countries with expensive labour may choose to outsource sectorial services such as customer care from the countries with cheap labour. This not only improves the profitability of the firm but the interdependence between economies and regions which is a benefit of globalization since the shared and outsourced services from these countries expound on the organizational culture and epistemology across nations and business organization.
Technological advancements have led to emergence of multilingualism such that individuals in the society can hear, communicate, and understand more than one language and apply it globally; a social phenomenon governed by the needs of globalization and cultural openness. The ease of accessing information through the internet; whereby one can input a word or a phrase and command the system to translate it to the dialect of his/ her choice, individuals exposure to multiple languages through social media interactions and the need to acquire knowledge more and more languages necessitated by changes in globalization needs, have led to rise of multilingual individuals in the society which from the business point of view has eased transfer of factor inputs and transfer of skills.
Transportation and Technology
Technology advancements have seen improvements in the mode of transport in the recent years with both the innovations in the automobiles and infrastructure; prerequisites for globalization in that people and factors of production can move to and from different locations. Infrastructure in this sense is the set of interconnected structures that provide framework supporting the entire transport and/or communication system to include structures like airports, roads, bridges, dams, energy sources (Button & Vega, 2012, 6). Innovations have also seen improvement of the automobiles and other means of transport to include trains, ships, boats, aircraft, trucks; which have enabled movement of goods and services from one destination to another. During the pre-modern times transport system was poor and slow but with the new inventions of petro- driven engines has opened up opportunities with invention of engines that are faster such as aeroplanes and trucks which ferry goods and services across the borders.
Transportation and Globalization
Transport provides an essential spectrum for globalization in that for effective integration of the people internationally, their movement from one region and economy to another is a prerequisite; a factor catered for by transport. Unlike in communication technologies, effective interactions are often at best when individuals can communicate face to face especially in international business deals and negotiations; which with innovations and technology, people can move overseas freely with the help of aeroplanes and movement of goods is convenient.
Transport has helped increase global organizations with an increase in commercial transactions and a large share of international diversification; factors that can be tied to logistics and effective operations (O’Connor, 2008, 3). For instance, advancement in technology has necessitated efficient and quick of perishable products such as horticulture to several destinations worldwide; enhancing the exchange of products between individuals and nations internationally. Logistics have been streamlined by technological innovations in that the infrastructural developments have availed opportunities and a variety of stop points such that business community can apply the transport theory in a bid to minimize transportation costs and increase efficiency. For instance, the infrastructural development of various airports, seaports and a wide network of bus stops have enabled short distance stop- overs for transportation of people and commodities using a single means in a bid to cut transportation costs. In addition, advances in technology have improved operations in the transport sector in that the process of logistics is well monitored to and from different destinations. For instance, international movement entails security details such as monitoring the movement of cargo and maintaining safety of the passengers; a development enabled by advanced digital screening devices and radar systems.
Technology and International trade
As discussed, globalization occurs from integration brought about by interchange of products and ideas internationally such that there are mutual benefits for partners and increased interdependence. International trade on the other hand calls for exchange of goods, services and movement of human capital from one country to another; a social phenomenon that promotes globalization. Technological advancements have seen establishment of industries and tools/ equipment that has seen an increase in productivity individuals and economies at large; guaranteeing an increase in gross domestic product of economies and surplus for export (James, 2007, 9). For instance, mechanisation in agriculture, use of technologically approved seeds and methods of farming, and advanced farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides have increased agricultural output in climate favoured economies meeting their demand and leaving surplus for export/ international trade. In addition, continued research and development has studies in various disciplines such that economies and individuals are continuously interdependent in areas of skills and human development (Abu-Laban & Gabriel, 2012, 14). For instance, technological advancements in fields of research and development such as science in countries like United States and the United Kingdom have motivated integration and international movement of individuals for the purposes of study and human capital development. This has also necessitated movement of capital inputs to various destinations in the world in terms of outsourcing by governments, institutions and multinational companies for provision of skills and expertise. This promotes globalization in that people from different geographical divides can interchange or share ideas which in the long run promote integration.
Technology and Culture
Cultural exchange between individuals and economies forms the basic concepts of integration; a factor that promotes globalization in that people learns and adapt to different culture for the feeling of unity and harmony. The integrated systems of learned behaviour which are characteristic of members of the society have been boosted by technology in that digitization of people’s ways of life through mass media and to some extent through the social media have enabled interactions in a grater perspective thus promoting globalization. For instance, technology has enabled production and recording of songs, poems and writing of cultural articles; which can later be shared internationally through the modern channels such as the television, social media and the internet such that a given cultural aspect is experienced internationally and/or accessed in a certain area. Cultural globalization as transmission of ideas, meanings and values across the world can also be manifested in religion, cuisines, international travels; which in the long run lead to integration and hybridization with which technology has helped in transfiguration to provide diversity for conceived globalization (Beyer & Bearman, 2007, 12). For instance, incorporation of technology by McDonald’s, the largest global food service corporation, in their production, logistics and the consumer satisfaction strategies of which majority are done over the internet, has helped integrate their customers through provision of equal and quality supplies all over the their outlets; promoting globalization and show casing the relevance of technology in the evolving cultures.
Sporting is another component of culture which for a long time has been a channel of integration locally and internationally. Technological advancements have streamlined sporting activities through provision sporting kit and infrastructure for different disciplines. For instance, technological advancements have helped in the construction of modern stadia and sporting kit to incorporate people with special needs in the sporting arena and facilitation of sporting activities such as ball games and Olympics. This has helped in the process of integrating the international society in that each and every talented individual can show case his/her skills irrespective of his/her physical / mental challenges; a good case of international Paralympics (James, 2010, 5). In addition to this, technology has enabled airing of live matches globally through the satellite transmissions enabling the world to share and enjoy sporting activities in real time thus promoting international integration and globalization.
Technology and Global Health
Technology has taken precedence in shaping the global health in that various advances in in research and development on global health have led to international sharing of ideas, technical skills and have in many ways contributed to the integration of the world as a global community (Brown & Gilfoyle, 2010, 11). For instance, the need to find the cure for HIV and AIDs has integrated experts and researchers from different geographical divides with an aim of sharing ideas; globalizing the health sector with an aim of improving health and reducing disparities of diagnosis and treatment irrespective of the geographical difference. Technological advancement in tools and techniques of approach in finding solutions to such kind of pandemics has in several ways impacted on the way people relate thus improving the interdependence (Kawachi & Wamala, 2007, 22) such that integrating thoughts and ideas makes the globe more of a village with effective exchange.
Technology and Global Workforce
Interdependence among economies can be attributed to uneven distribution of resources such that they need each other to supplement and compliment the available factor inputs and in the long run for international trade (Pulignano, 2011, 14). Technology has impacted on the way international labour is exchanged such that the availability of internet and computers has changed operations in the labour market by providing variety of opportunities for both the employers and employees internationally. This has promoted globalization in that individuals or the labour market can move freely across nation governed by market forces of demand and supply. Integrated systems such as soft wares and programs, public domain hosting by individuals, firms, and nations has availed opportunities and liberalization (Nester, 2010, 8)of the market such that individual and /or businesses can transact internationally thus bringing the world close and available to everyone. For instance, advancement of technology has reduced telecommunication of labour force overseas such that employees can choose the employer they want to work with at comfort of their homes, work on their assignments and later upload them to the respective employer. At this point, we can argue that the existence of the internet coupled with effective communication channels and the integration aspect brought about by interdependence promotes globalization through freedom and availability of choices.
Drawbacks of Technology: Hacking and Destructive Technology
Despite technology having contributed much to the realization of globalization, it has some drawbacks which if not mitigated in a timely manner can ruin the benefits in the long run and destabilize the integration and globalization process. A good example is the hacking technology whereby the access and availability of information becomes hazardous especially when it falls in the wrong hands (Schultz, 2010, 2) . For instance, globalization is information reliant and in case of a system hack, where an individual seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or a computer network motivated by protest or challenge, personal information can be lost and/ or end up in wrong hands. In case the hacker has malicious motives, he can exploit the weakness of the computer network or system to ruin integration in the society thus affecting globalization in the long run.
Destructive technology, on the other hand, can be viewed as whereby the innovations have diverted the attention and cultures of the world to assume new spectrums of behaviours and applications. For instance before the expansion of internet, fibre cables, and microwave transmissions; telecommunication was mainly through the telephone, telegram and radio/ television, which currently have been replaced by social media, Voice over the internet [VOIP] and other broadband communication technologies making it a disruptive technology. They come with advanced features such as visual calls, text message services and reduced rate or cost of making the communication making the initial technologies irrelevant (Mitcham, 2008, 25). For instance companies like Vonage and Skype provide a set up that replaces the normal telephone by establishing a method of using VOIP and other internet-friendly features such as browsing and exchange of information through short text messages. This can be viewed as a drawback to the earlier technologies but with the increasing demand for globalization coupled with customized personal needs such as safety and security of interacting individuals, these new technology serve the purpose and they reach the multitude with ease and convenience.
Technology has contributed much to the process of international integration and thus it has promoted globalization in a broader perspective. The increased demand for human to control his/ her interactions and the need to understand social phenomenon has contributed to the need of innovations which have necessitated sharing of ideas, products and cultural aspects internationally. Despite having the drawbacks of hacking and destructive/ disruptive technologies, its contribution to the realization of globalization and the anticipated benefits with future innovations are overwhelming and meets the ever changing global demands.
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