Globalization may be the most powerful
trend of our time. It refers to a world in
which societies, cultures, politics and economies have, in some sense,
come closer together. Nowadays, giant companies such as Coke, Nike, Sony
and Microsoft are selling, producing and marketing their products throughout the
world, while investors move their money around the globe electronically,
seeking maximum profits regardless of where it comes from.
While the media is quick to point out the new and cheap products we
can now purchase, it hasn't been hyping the effects of globalization on
working people, the environment and society with the same fervor. Globalization
is quickly changing the way we work, our costs and standards of living,
the control we have over our food and environment, and just as importantly,
how others live and work. It's vitally important that we understand it and
actively confront it.
The process of globalization has been going on for a long time, sometimes
behind the scenes and sometimes out of sight. However, people are becoming aware of
how global trade agreements such as NAFTA are perpetuating sweatshop labor
and how institutions such as the IMF and the
World Bank are not helping
developing countries grow sustainable economies. Though complex,
globalization can be broken down into a number of key areas, and
it's possible to learn what's going on, who is using globalization for
what reasons, and how citizens are resisting and reclaiming control.
In contrast, the term globalism is used to express the
belief that the people of the world share one fragile planet, and that we
can all work together with mutual respect, to grow together to make
a just, sustainable world. Globalism,
like all values and ethical beliefs, requires active practice in our day to
day lives - communications to foster understanding, sharing of needed resources
on the basis of equity and sustainability, and mutual aid in times of need.
(paraphrased from Mark Ritchie, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)
At right are a number of areas which shed light on the workings of
globalization. Each one has stories and games, and links to resources
and actions you can take in that area. Please explore the site,
play the games, and join the discussion!