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.


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Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

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Globalization is when different parts of the world connect. People, ideas, knowledge and goods move more easily around the world, and people start to have more in common.

Globalization In History

Globalization has a long history. For example, thousands of years ago, Greek culture spread across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Another example is the Silk Road, a trade route between China and the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is the area around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. The Silk Road helped the spread of ideas and knowledge, along with silk, spices and other goods.

When Europeans started setting up colonies in other continents, globalization grew. They took over many countries in the world so they could get their goods. Many early-European explorers also brought the Christian religion to new areas.

Globalization sped up 200 years ago with the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, farmers moved to the cities to work in factories. Many companies used raw materials, like metals, from distant lands. They also sold their goods in other countries.

For example, Madras was a cotton cloth made in the Indian city of Madras. After India became a British colony, the British did not buy the cloth from India. They only took the cotton and made the cloth themselves in English factories. They then sold it all over the world.

Globalization sped up even more 100 years ago, thanks to new technology.


Globalization depends on how people communicate. News and information zip instantly around the world on the Internet. People can read news about other countries as easily as they read about their local news.

About seven out of every ten people in the world now use cellphones. A farmer in Nigeria can easily talk to his cousin in New York City, New York. Nigeria is a country in Africa.


International travel has also created more globalization. Each year, millions of people move from one country to another to find better-paying jobs.

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

Travelers are able to see new ideas, goods and services. In this way, globalization influences trade, taste and culture.

Popular Culture

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

People also wear similar clothes because of globalization. National and local costumes have become rarer.

More and more, people eat foods from different parts of the globe. People in England eat Indian curry, while people in Peru enjoy Japanese sushi. Meanwhile, American fast-food chains have become common across the world. McDonald's has more than 31,000 restaurants in 118 countries. People all across the world are eating more meat and sugary foods, like those sold in fast-food restaurants.


The economy has also become more globalized. Trade across the world is very important for most companies. American companies, like Microsoft, Apple and Google, make a lot of money from people around the world. The economy of the country of Saudi Arabia relies on exporting oil.

To have more trade, many countries have created free-trade agreements. A free-trade agreement is when countries try to make trade easier between them. For example, they may stop charging taxes every time someone sells a good to another country.

Globalization has allowed many companies to move factories and jobs to poorer countries. This is called outsourcing. People make less money because the company can pay lower wages. The company makes more money this way and goods may cost less.

People and organizations are connected to companies and banks all over the globe. Because of this, when something bad happens to a big company or bank, it's also bad for the world. This is called a financial crisis.


Still, globalization can be very good. Many world problems can only be faced if countries work together. For example, climate change is a problem that involves many different countries. Climate change means that the planet is warming up because of gases from cars and factories.

Many people say globalization will help people communicate. People are able to use medicines they can't find in their country. Also, companies are bringing new jobs to poor countries.

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

Some say free trade causes unfair working conditions. People might get new jobs, but those jobs probably aren't very good ones. Also, when companies bring jobs to poor countries, they take away jobs from rich ones.

People who like globalization say that workers in poor countries are better off this way. They actually make more money than in other jobs. They also say that free trade has made prices cheaper in rich countries. It's a win for everybody.

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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