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June 2, 2013 / C H Thompson

What is Globalisation?

Many sociologists now see the distribution of power as crossing transnational boundaries. Therefore globalisation is seen to weaken the power of nation states to control their own economies. In addition politics and political action world-globalisation-maphave become more globalised. Follow this link for an overview of this globalised world with the key features of globalisation listed here or watch this documentary on globalisation.

This position sees the model of power as something confined within the territorial boundaries of the nation-state as too limited. This point was clearly identified by Skocpol who argued state power is affected by the actions of other states.

According to Ohmae’s book ‘The End of the Nation State’, 1995, political borders will become increasingly insignificant. In the globalised world more and more economies are interlinked through the concentration of industrial and financial capital. Transnational companies are increasingly key players of an ever increasing international economy.

In a globalised economy there are clear limitations of nationally-centred multinationals with many global corporations having adapted themselves into ‘flexible transnationals’. No longer are companies divided between the operations in one country compared to another, instead they have ‘global products’. Such products universalises consumer sovereignty through ‘global information’ creating ‘global needs’ and subsequently ‘global commodities’.

Theodora Levitt argues the new reality is about ‘global markets’ whereby global corporations operate as if the entire world were a single entity. Transcending national differences global corporations work to treat the world as a single market.

For Ohmae individuals have become global citizens who want to buy the cheapest products no matter in the world where they’re produced. Primark is a good example of this mind-set. For the global consumer,  global economic links are more important than national economies. On this basis national policies on the minimum wage are ineffective if firms move their business elsewhere for example Dyson as well as slave labour used in the prawn trade.

Ohmae argues companies no longer have any affiliation to the society they’re based in. It can be argued this is clearly evident with the UK corporation tax issue with Starbucks. This clip highlights how Apple’s company philosophy has pushed Ohmae’s point to its limit.

From the above Ohmae position is there’s now one economy, global in structure covering developed and developing societies.

  • This inter-linked economy is co-ordinated by giant corporations with global brands like Apple
  • Modern 24/7 communications via systems such as internet allow individuals to purchase goods from anywhere and anybody in the world. Just think of ebay.
  • Governments can no longer tax, control, or influence such organisations as they can move money wherever, whenever they wish
  • Consumers have more power than the state

However other sociologists argue states have more power than Ohmae recognises.


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