Globalization Justifying Modernity

Giddens says that “Globalization can be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away” (64). Globalization is the connection of the world based on the technology and knowledge we have today, but before modernization occurred the world was still globalized. The world was connected based on sovereignty and this connection was lined thin. The sovereign nations would not have relations with each other and was secluded. The knowledge and technology that was in the pre-modern time did not allow people to prosper off of others like today. The globalization of the modern time differs much because of capitalism and industrialism. These two concepts created competition and spurred the drive for innovation. Capitalism allows freedom that was not granted before and industrialism provided new technology that move us into an era of specialization. This new knowledge from modern nations spread worldwide as people started using their new resources in order to help other countries out, but to really benefit for themselves. A steady government at the time allowed for this organization to occur along with the reassurance of what Giddens calls as “Surveillance” along with military power that could control the means of violence in rapidly changing time. These four ideas along with technology and individuals innovation created a truly connected world economically, politically, and even militarily. This newly connected world has led to specialization and a cheaper world, but globalization has many drawbacks that go along with its upside.

As Giddens has said previously, modernity has many unintended consequences. These costs of globalization are just another way to prove we are still in the modern era. Globalization has caused the threat of a total war that ends humanity or the new technologies that could destroy the environment. These two consequences of globalization are only two of many that we have encountered so far as many will arise on the way. Even changes in the past few years after Giddens writing this book have had positive and negative effects. The ways of communication have come a long way and in these past few years cell phones have revolutionized the way we talk to people all around the world. Social media now keeps no news a secret and the outsourcing of jobs has changed the economy greatly. Giddens had no idea of this future technology or capitalistic ideas but he knew because of globalization that change for good or for the bad was inevitable, “The strongly competitive and expansionist nature of capitalist enterprise means that technological innovation tends to be constant and pervasive” (56). We are still in the modern era because of the changes that have continued to happen even after Giddens time. Globalization will continue to evolve just like technology and modernity. We just have to enjoy the beneficial parts of that change and be prepared for the unintended consequences that occur that we hope we will be able to overcome.

4 thoughts on “Globalization Justifying Modernity

  1. Stephen,

    You bring up two particular technologies that have emerged since Giddens was writing: cell phones and social media. Many will claim that these have been a positive thing. You say that social media in particular “keeps no news a secret.” How could we think of these technologies / developments as capturing both the benefits and unintended consequences of modernity?

    ~DM

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  2. Stephen,

    I do not believe globalization solely exists because of modernization. As you claim, globalization existed during pre-modernity, perhaps with just a lack of our worldwide knowledge. Travel and simple trade previously linked our world together, but with time and modernization, more complex methods of connection have been created, like the global economy and foreign affairs.

    That being said, globalization, along with modernity, can have an adverse affect on our society, like war and corruption. I believe that technology, specifically, is slowly diminishing the morality and realness of our society and generation…

    ES

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  3. I found your opinion on this chapter of Giddens to be really interesting. I don’t disagree with your point of view that “the globalization of the modern time differs much because of capitalism and industrialism. These two concepts created competition and spurred the drive for innovation.”, but I’m not sure if I agree with you that globalization is a result of modernization, or that the two are as interdependent on each other as you make it seem. For example, in the book Giddens writes that “the development of globalized social relations probably serves to diminish some aspects of nationalist feeling linked to nation-states but may be casually involved with the intensifying of more localized nationalist sentiments.” (64). This possibly is Giddens referring to how globalization is serving to build up and destroy nationalist sentiments within a population. You also note that Giddens does describe globalization as less than a novelty, but more of a “stretching process” between local and distant. You also mention social media as an adverse affect of globalization. In what way can you think of globalization having a positive effect in terms of building nationalism?

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  4. Stephen,
    I think you brought up some very intriguing points about the concept of globalization. When you said “We are still in the modern era because of the changes that have continued to happen even after Giddens time. Globalization will continue to evolve just like technology and modernity. We just have to enjoy the beneficial parts of that change and be prepared for the unintended consequences that occur that we hope we will be able to overcome.” This really got me thinking, I think Giddens shares the same exact views as you and this is a view I also agree with. Globalization really never will stop occurring, that is unless society goes through an unimaginable revolution at some point in the future, but even then I feel as if the concept of globalization and evolving will still be present. In order for it not to be present there would have to be no will to better anything in the world and there would have to be no scarcity in the world and that idea is far from possible. Of course there will be consequences of globalization but that is only natural and we as a human race will fight to overcome those consequences.

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