The Global Network

The Global Network

Globalization is the connection of different parts of the world. Globalization results in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.


3 - 12


Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

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Globalization connects different parts of the world. People, ideas, knowledge and goods move around more easily. People start having more in common.

Globalization In History

Globalization has a long history. Thousands of years ago, ancient Greek culture spread across Asia, Africa and Europe. They built towns in new continents so they could buy and sell more goods.

Another example is the Silk Road. This was an ancient trade route between China and Europe. It carried ideas and knowledge, along with goods like silk and spices.

In time, Europeans began setting up colonies in other countries. They took control of those countries and brought goods across the world. Globalization grew more and more. Many early European explorers also brought the Christian religion to new areas.

Globalization sped up 200 years ago. This period was called the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, farmers moved to the city to work in factories. Many companies used materials, like metal, from distant lands. They also sold their goods in other countries.

Globalization sped up even more 100 years ago. One of the reasons was the Internet.


Globalization depends very much on how people communicate. Knowledge zips around the world on the Internet. People can read news about other countries as easily as they read about their hometowns.

Many people in the world also use cellphones. A farmer in Nigeria can talk to his cousin in New York City, New York. Nigeria is a country in Africa.


Being able to travel around the world also created more globalization. Each year, millions of people move from one country to another in order to find better jobs.

People do not travel just for work, of course. Millions of people take vacations in other countries.

Travelers are able to learn about new ideas, goods and services. In this way, globalization affects trade, tastes and culture.

Popular Culture

Popular culture has also become more globalized. People in the United States like listening to South African music. They read Japanese comic books. American soap operas are popular in Israel.

People eat more foods from other countries. People in England eat Indian curry. People in Peru enjoy Japanese sushi. Meanwhile, American fast-food chains are common around the world. McDonald's has restaurants in more than 100 countries. People all across the world are eating more fast food, which is both meaty and sugary.


Globalization helps companies sell goods to other countries. American companies, like Microsoft, Apple and Google, make a lot of money from people around the world. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, a country in the Middle East, sells oil to many other countries.

Most large companies have offices all around the world. Many of them have moved factories to poorer countries. This is called outsourcing. The company can pay less money to workers in poor countries. It also makes more money and foods might cost less.

People and organizations are connected to companies around the world. Because of this, if a big important company is in trouble, then the rest of the world is in trouble, too. This is called a financial crisis.


Globalization can also be a good thing. Many countries around the world face the same problems. They must work together to solve them. For example, countries are joining together to deal with climate change. The earth is heating up because of gases from cars and factories.

Through globalization, people can also get medicines that don't exist in their country. The new jobs that globalization brings have stopped many people from being poor.

But not everyone says that globalization is good. Some people worry that American culture will destroy local cultures around the world. They fear that everyone will end up eating hamburgers and watching Hollywood movies.

Many also blame globalization for being bad for workers. Even if they get jobs, those jobs might not be very good. On top of this, when companies move from rich countries to poor ones, they take away jobs from the rich countries.

Still, people say that factory workers are better off with globalization. At least they have a job that makes them less poor. They also say that globalization has made goods cheaper. Rich countries don't have to spend as much money to buy things, which means they're better off, too.

Fast Fact

Battle in Seattle
The 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was held in Seattle, Washington, United States. This meeting was protested by thousands of people opposed to globalization. The protests turned violent. Hundreds of people were arrested. Many were injured in confrontations with police. Many buildings were damaged. The incident is sometimes called "the Battle in Seattle."

Fast Fact

Powerful Peppers
Food has long been an important part of globalization. Today, foods in Korea and many parts of China are often spicy. They get their spice from chili peppers. This was not the case before the 1600s. The fiery chili pepper is native to the Western Hemisphere. Christopher Columbus first brought chilies to Europe in 1493, and from there they spread across Asia.

Media Credits

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Diane Boudreau
Melissa McDaniel
Santani Teng
Erin Sprout
Hilary Costa
Hilary Hall
Jeff Hunt
Tara Ramroop
Kim Rutledge
Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society
Tim Gunther
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
Educator Reviewer
Nancy Wynne
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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