The Dynamics of Globalization – Social Perspective by Asmar Atif

To understand the future of business & globalization we need to dwell in the past. A deep study of the 5 dimensions of globalization i.e. social, political, economic, technological and environmental must be seen through 4 different lenses of history, the pre-great war period, inter-war period, post-1945 and post-cold war. The most crucial and impactful in my opinion is the social dimension and its impact throughout the four historical periods. In a nutshell, social events right from the 19th century to the first decade of the 21st century provide clear evidence of increasing global interdependence with events taking place in one country or region impacting the others at an increasing speed and magnitude.

The pre-great war period especially the 19th century marks unprecedented societal development and its trans-regional impacts never seen before. Events like woman’s first right to vote in 1893 in NZ or Athens Olympic Games in 1896 were first of its kind events. However, much of the development was driven by technological advancement in the field of war. The pre-1914 era was the pinnacle of European imperialism and social structure development where the Dutch & the British found new trade sea-routes. WW1 halted the social integration and events in Europe adversely impacted pretty much the whole world.

The interwar period was full of social turmoil originating from the treaty of Versailles and leading to political & social unrest in many parts of Europe. WW1 which started in Europe led to the end of Nicholas Czar’s Russia and Red Revolution resulting in Lenin’s Soviet Union in 1917 courtesy Bolshevik revolution. Hyperinflation in Germany reached up to 20,000% in 1923, the rise of the Nazi party with its political strategy of nationalistic socialism and post-war restructuring of Europe were all the results of regional impacts. Hence, the great depression of 1929 (collapse of Wall Street) added misery to the already economically indebted Europe. All this had a devastating impact on the western social structure and values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

The post-1945 world took steps towards social integration as lessons learnt from the war pushed all winners and losers to shape new world order. UNO, World Bank and IMF were the new face of global governance to institutionalize global policy objectives. However, the rise of Chinese communism in 1949 and the Berlin Blockade by the USSR in 1948-49 threatened a confrontation giving birth to NATO in 1949. Warsaw pact was USSR’s response to NATO. Not only this, the Korean War of 1950-53 exposed the Pro-communist & Pro-West nation-states and pushed countries to take sides. European-Economic-Community which later became the EU was formed to strength Western alliances as USSR interfered in the social/domestic affairs of several countries to advance its communist-agenda. This ideological struggle had a great social impact on many countries till the end of the cold war with the Soviet breakup in 1991.

The end of the cold war brought a new dawn for a unipolar world where the EU was the first bigger step taken by the European countries towards social-integration. However, the terrorist attacks of 2001 in the US and the rise of populism and protectionism in the western world leading to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump signifies what happens in one part of the world affects dramatically the other with great speed and magnitude. On the contrary, the election of Emmanuel Macron in France seems to have put a halt to this and time will tell how the social order of the world is shaped moving forward.

Reference List: 

  1. Module 1, Unit 2 Interactive Info-graphics, LSE and GetSmarter, 2017.

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