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Globalization profoundly alters relationship global North South
The international exchange and integration of economies, societies, cultures, and governing policies play host to the worldwide phenomenon known as globalization. Countries interact through transportation, trade, and communication; inherently influencing the respective realms of economy and political agenda. Traditionally, globalization is highlighted by this integration of economic and political systems across the globe, however this exchange transcends into societies, ethics, cultures, industry, ecological effects, and a myriad of other global influences. Globalization is a process perceived as "good" or "bad" depending on geography, profession, and how one relates globalization in terms of values (Rothernberg 2002). A person in Los Angeles, London, Rio de Janeiro, and Hong Kong would identify differently with the concept of globalization, just as opinions vary between business leaders, elected officials, and the unemployed. Some understand globalization to be the Americanization of world culture and a source of United States dominance. Others believe it is a source of prosperity, economic growth, and democracy; some believe globalization to be a lead contributor in the exploitation of the developing world, environmental devastation, and the suppression of human rights (Rothernberg 2002).
Despite the multitude of views on globalization, professionals agree the impacts, whether negative or positive, are profound and evident. The impacts of globalization can be exemplified by examination of the global North-South divide. This division is the social, economic, and political separation that exists between developed, wealthy countries known as the North, and developing, poorer countries - the South (Pieterse 2000). Coincidentally, most Northern countries are located in the Northern Hemisphere, however the distinction is independent of geography and is anchored on economic development. The North-South model allows for some transition in the definition -- as a country becomes more economically advanced they may be regarded as a Northern country. This divide between North and South is not considered a healthy categorization, but as a social and economical gap between these countries. The wedge between developed and least developed nations is catalyzed by globalization, and many deem globalization as a major force for global inequality (Avi-Yonah 2005).
The globalization enhanced division of the North and South perpetuates unequal relationships between countries, requiring economies and societies to rapidly acclimate to changes in global markets. The adaptation to growing economies does not occur in a balanced and equal measure, which only widens the gap between the rich and the poor. Three broad interactions that are accelerated and intensified by globalization are social, political, and economical. The social impacts affect culture, language, information transferal, technology, and religion. Political authority sways legal and ethical perceptions. Within the confines of economics, globalization influences financial, industrial, and job markets. In addition to the exchange of social, political, and economical constructs, three tensions of globalization have been identified. These tensions are defined as: individual choice vs. societal choice; the free market vs. government intervention; local authority vs. supra-local authority (Rothernberg 2002, p. 2).
Acknowledging the existing tensions is critical to understanding the reaches of globalization and its inferences into the North-South division. One of the most notable and quantifiable paradigms is the economical distance between wealthy North countries and less-developed South countries. As economies progress and less-developed nations struggle to keep-up, the infrastructure of South nations are manipulated to the point of being dependent on wealthy countries for survival. The removal of dependence gives rise to Liberalization -- releasing these countries from North assistance by the removal of government interference in financial markets. In addition to liberalization, some professionals indicate the North-South divide is diminishing (Arrighi 2003). Even with the professional support indicating blurred lines between North and South countries, globalization and the effects on economical polarization are still apparent and present in the twenty-first century. The negative implications are particularly evident in the global South as Northern practices dominate political-economic markets.
There is no precise definition for globalization, but in the simplest terms it is regarded as the intensified flow of trade, culture, investments, and governments between countries. Globalization is considered the buzzword, marked by media outlets, where perceptions vary from country to country, region to region, and person to person ('Ten Basic Questions' 2005). In the constructs of society, globalization impacts culture, language, information transferal, technology, and religion. The core of each of these elements is the projection of stereotypes, perspectives, and discrepancies between world portrayals vs. experiences. In the North, studying social sciences is a legitimate focus to understanding the collective human experience, however these studies typically depict a narrow Northern view (Pieterse 2000). In the South, attempts of understanding Northern views are made outside the full scope of historical context and cultural differences. Northern sociology scholars engage with mystical traditions from the East to gauge discrepancies without full understanding of actual disparities in philosophy. Meanwhile, Southern scholars adhere to European Enlightenment principles to rationalize modern perceptions. This cycle of using outdated ideologies to justify global experiences extends the social gap, and creates further distinction between North-South views on globalization (Pieterse 2000).
The multidimensional perspective from North and South countries further diversifies social geography. Attitudes and points-of-view change not only from pole to pole, but vary between countries, regions, and territories. For example, views and practices regarding information and technology are uninhibited by some nations, and manipulated by others. Since satellite broadcasting was established in the 1980s, and the international flourishing of the Internet during the mid-1990s, these technologies allowed for information to travel the world quickly, in abundance, and at a cost efficient rate (Therborn 2000). In the United States and other capitalist nations comprising most of the North, access to information and technology is unrestrained. The majority of these populations can retrieve unlimited information at their fingertips. In hostile governments, communist nations, and lesser-developed countries composing most of the South have unstable access to information and technology. This unreliable information portal ranges from censorship of websites and news outlets, limitation to local access information, to zero access to information or technology. This manipulation, or complete lack, of information isolates Southern nations. Forcing people to operate in the absence of global information or make opinions founded on biased opinion is not conducive to informed societies or bridging the gap between North and South perspectives.
Another social construct fueled by globalization is the Americanization of world cultures. This concept first extended into language culture after the First World War during the Versailles Conference and English was added as a language of international diplomacy (Therborn 2000). The global extension of English continued through the Second World War, the Cold War, and is now regarded as a dominate language in international relations. Americanization presents globalization as a process promoted by American consumer culture that dominates other cultures (Rothenberg 2002). Some would spin this Americanization as encouragement of cross-culture impact, indicating how cultures interact and learn from each other; however the idea of Americanization ultimately ignores global contributions made by other cultures.
In addition to the globalization of societal attitudes, the political arena also affects and contours to different values between the North-South divide. Government institutions play their role on local, state, federal, and international levels. The politics of some countries enforce censorship, strict travel and immigration restrictions, and filter information provided to their citizens. Some governments exude opposing views stemming from their society's values. Some adhere to the democratic process; some to communism, dictatorships, socialism and some are unstable to the point of collapsing. There are also international organizations and unions that attempt to provide further oversight and implement additional rules (Escobar 2004). Each force and contributing government carries their own sense of doctrine, values, and understandings; culminating into an intense environment where it is impossible to please everyone. Some demands are made, others are not, and some appear to make government manipulations to fill a political agenda.
In terms of policy, the North-South divide creates a situation where strong opinions are met and few are realized. There are governments that operate close to a religious doctrine and set of values, while others encourage religious liberty. Regional governments are expected to operate with national governments, and then abide to international organizations and understandings. Each tier of government can not only create further disconnect within their own country between policy and the people, but this disconnect carries into the global scheme (Rothenberg 2002). The divide between the North and South inevitably speaks different political languages with their own set of values; inhibiting progress and increasing polarity.
Tying close to the political helm, globalization marks its effects on economy; significantly between developed and lesser developed nations, extending its reach into financial, industrial, and job markets. Worldwide financial markets emerge with the trillions of dollars traded in national currencies daily to support international investment levels. Some countries regard capitalist views as the economic standard while others hold a socialist ideal. The variance in these values causes different views on trade and commerce. This influences treaties, imports and exports, supply and demand. Each country defines their values and each perspective is expected to operate in the global economy.
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