Impact of Globalization on Place

Impact of Globalization on Place

The world has been getting smaller for hundreds of years, but unprecedented changes in transportation, communications, and information technology have dramatically accelerated the pace of globalization.


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Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, Economics

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The world has seen recent changes in transportation, communications, and information technology. All of these changes have increased the pace of globalization.

Put simply, globalization is the connection between people's activities and organizations around the world. The term is often used in an economic sense, helping describe the ways money flows into and out of a country. Globalization refers to the global scale on which businesses operate, and the exchange of goods and services between businesses, organizations, and countries. Globalization also refers to cultural changes that happen as a result of these business exchanges.

Advances in communication and technology have added to the rapid exchange of ideas. Smartphones provide an ongoing connection between immigrants and their families. Global news channels spread news about faraway events. The internet allows people all over the world to access the same information and entertainment.

Globalization and Place

Place can be defined as the physical and human characteristics of a city, country, or region. Physical aspects of a place include things such as landforms, water flow, elevation, and climate. Human characteristics involve the size of the population, population density, and culture. Population density is a measurement of the population relative to the size of the place. Effects on culture include changes to religion, language, clothing, and ways of life.

Globalization can affect the physical aspects of a place. For instance, increased trade might negatively affect the quality of air in certain places. However, globalization is most evident in how it might affect human behavior and activity. The rapid spread of information and goods has had an effect on cultures around the world.

Human Impact

Globalization is not a new concept. For thousands of years, people have traveled long distances, taking their trade and traditions with them and changing the places they visited. The Silk Road is an example of early globalization. For more than 1,500 years, Europeans traded glass and manufactured goods for Chinese silk and spices. Thanks to this ancient network of trade routes, both Europe and Asia became familiar with goods from far away.

The spread of religion can also change the appearance and culture of a place. For example, European colonization brought Roman Catholicism to North and South America between the 1700s and 1900s. Today, Roman Catholicism is still the main religion in South America.

Language is another defining characteristic of a place. Just as religion might change, language also changes with globalization. For example, today, an increasing number of people around the world speak English.

The economies, or level of business activity, of many places have changed as a result of globalization. Globalization can affect where and how people work and live. Globalization allows businesses to work in areas where labor is cheaper. American companies may work with companies in India where labor is less expensive.

In some places, globalization has created new economic opportunities. Textiles have become a main export of Bangladesh, a country in South Asia. This has improved the economy in Bangladesh, one of the poorest nations of the world.

Globalization, however, can negatively affect individual workers. Further, globalization has been criticized for the practice of labor exploitation in countries with little protection against such practices.

Globalization also brings about significant growth of cities key to global trade. Because of its role in global business, Shanghai, China, has grown to become the world's largest city.

Globalization also has a large effect on culture. Traditions, holidays, and popular culture now extend across national and ethnic boundaries. For example, more people celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States than in Mexico.

Globalization might also bring about cultural changes through its effect on consumers. In general, globalization decreases the cost of making goods and the average cost of goods. The lower average cost of goods leads to increases in the standard of living. People also have access to a wider variety of goods. Now, people in London, England, can dine on Indian food, and Chinese restaurants can be found in almost any American town. However, there has also been a rise in unhealthy food in some places.

Globalization contributes to a more uniform, united world view and culture. People around the world listen to the same music and watch the same television programs. All over the world, globalization has forever changed the human characteristics of places.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Roza Kavak
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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