top of page
  • JVC

Globalization and the Digital Dimension

As the world expands both technologically and economically the effect that globalization has had on this expansion is immense. With the greater interactivity of cultures, economies, and industries, globalization has propelled us into the world that we see today.

Deciding whether these effects have been positive or negative depends entirely on your perception of globalization and its direct effects from it. Globalization itself Is the expansion of nations and the connectivity that this expansion causes.

The advent of greater technologies such as railroads, planes, ships, and internet media has allowed humans to interact farther away and faster. Because of this, you see cultural practices religions languages begin to become shared among societies. All these factors play into the economics and the economics play back into the prior factors.

To understand this fully we need to look closer at the transmission of ideas through globalization as well as the impact on choices that world leaders have made in reaction to it. And more importantly, look closely at the new age of technology and interaction such as social media and the globalization of the collective consciousness that we are now seeing to truly see what effect globalization has had. Without globalization, the world we live in today would not exist.

Globalization is expansion, as industries and groups within states begin to work outside of their state's boundaries they tend to expand more and become interdependent on other forms of resources both inside and outside the state. As the railroad industry increased, so did the steel industry, massive amounts of steel needed to be mined and smelted.

As mining companies and railroad companies outstretched and reached out to other countries and interdependence was created. The more railroads that are built, the more steel that's needed, and the more workers are needed. And with these railroads, cultures and, companies can easier spread more. This is best exemplified during the pre-World War 2 era. The connectivity between Europe and the Americas and Asia increased dramatically as the need for steel and oil increased. As companies and technologies were shared among the nations and those nations became more globalized by it, more industries were created.

This allowed for stronger economies for the more globalized countries and non-globalized countries’ economies to "fall behind". Because of this economic preference for interconnectivity, many countries found themselves globalizing quickly as a reaction to an unstable economy or lack of quality within the government or state. Post-World War II the same idea gave birth to Chinese industrialization. With the political changes and upheavals between Mao Zedong and modern-day, President Xi Jinping. You can see the effect this industrialization and globalization had on China. Less than 100 years ago, China showed very little impact on the global scale, yet quickly through a massive amount of adoption of technologies, Suppression of rights, and a focus on globalization and industrialization they became a world power in production.

This is seen to an even further extent with mass consumerism and the Exodus of companies within the United States leaving to manufacture in China.

Cheaper labor in China allowed these companies to expand faster and garner more profit which in turn led to greater advancement in both technology and expansion. The same concept shows itself in America during the 1950s, as the adoption of new industries, technologies, and ideas from other cultures increased, the economy of the US also changed with it. In many ways, it bolstered a new market as well as gave birth to many ideas. This progress also allowed for new media and art, as ideas were shared, the political views and focuses of America also shifted greatly. This led to the United States that was focused on political change and technological increase. The 1960s and 1970s were full of tremendous change from landing on the moon to civil Rights Acts and protests to large foreign wars. Much of the change brought greater rights to women and people of color.

This effect is argued to be related to globalization, many other countries around the world during this time of the space race, seem to be so far behind comparatively. Russia and the US focused on expansion and globalization. They created massive industries and outreach to other parts of the world to do it. China continues to attempt to do the same thing to this day, and when compared to countries that have not globalized, they have not expanded or changed socially and economically. We see a severe difference in economic power and technological advancement. This advancement that globalized countries have created a series of positive economic, technological, and in many cases social changes.

Globalization has always influenced the movement of information and ideologies; it has even led to changes in borders and countries because of these thoughts and ideologies. Communism, capitalism, and anarchism have all spread through globalization. Yet in modern times because of how interconnected our lives are with technology, globalization now shows its greatest effects in the digital realm rather than physical. So much so that even currency and banking are moving fully into the digital world. This is an effect of globalization in two ways, the first way being that with increased interconnectivity between nations financial systems also become interconnected, and the greatest control of this connection is held with the West.

Western countries such as the US, Britain, Germany, and others have all controlled most of the banking industries as well as currencies that are used to trade among globalized countries. With the advent of digital currencies and a more digital marketplace, the ability to shift away from the centralized banking systems that have dominated is now possible. In reaction to this China and Russia are attempting to globalize the world in a different direction.

"...Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, became the first online retailer in Russia to accept WeChat pay" (Hillman, p. 6).

China is currently using a system and app called WeChat

"... WeChat has over 1.24 billion monthly active users and accounts for 34% of China's total data traffic"(page 2 Ting Cong)

with all this data traffic and the use of business and peer-to-peer communication over the app as well as the fact that most other social media platforms, including Facebook, are banned within China, WeChat has become the go-to source within China for business communications. Almost a third of China's GDP was accounted for by WeChat in 2016, In 2019 chat caused direct economic revenue upwards of CNY920.4 billion and indirect economic revenue is estimated at CNY1130.1 billion (Anqi Zheng). With Russia allowing this industry to expand into its economy, it can circumnavigate much of the financial global market.

This creates a level of independence while at the same time globalizing Chinese platforms into Russia. Other nations are beginning to adopt and use this idea as well. As digital economies have become more prevalent, we see the new railroads of the economic world being built in the digital realm.

And as globalization has shown in the past the creation of these "digital railroads" has led not only to economic growth but cultural and political sharing. Much of today's media, news sources, and marketing teams all focus on digital platforms and social media platforms. And even further many people's lives are immersed in a computer or on their phone for a significant portion of their day. With nearly infinite access to the rest of the world not only just through music, art, and language, but even though products and shipping, the spread of ideologies and information in culture is faster than ever.

Now the question is whether faster is better or worse, as the positive sides of globalization such as access to goods and economic growth, and sharing of cultures speed up and grow so do the negative actions, like discrimination, war, and corruption. Even though the war has become that of the cyber realm, it is a war of information, access, and defense.

Digital cyber-attacks on the infrastructure of a state are not the only way war is fought in the digital realm. The swaying of opinion and even the recruitment of soldiers is becoming ever more important in the digital world. For the first time in history, we are seeing live streams and active posts that can be shared around the world almost instantaneously. Control of this information is important, and many nations and countries attempt to do this, However, just as globalization was uncontrolled in the past and led to many changes socially so it does now as well. I speak more on this in my article here

In the 1950s, one of the greatest changes to the political scene in the fight for civil rights was the fact that a lot of the protests were beginning to be televised and shared with videography.

With the use of videography, people across the nation were capable of understanding what was happening, and you can see a shift in voter turnout to push towards an idea of stopping the extreme violence that was happening on the streets, such as the housing down of African Americans or the use of dogs on them. This visualization of a reality that was happening affected the political outcome of the nation.

This was proven nearly 70 years ago, with the advent of new technologies and greater connectivity through this media You can see where this transfer of information can have an even greater influence.

However, control of this influence is not always possible, the surfacing of misinformation or "fake news" shows what happens when true freedom is completely allowed in a digital space. However, against all disinformation, there are also millions of videos and media sources that are reliable and teach very relevant information.

It Has gotten to the point where most aspects of daily life can be figured out by a simple YouTube search. Be that from repairing cars to working on a computer. Even further academic and literature sources are almost entirely stemming from media. Many classes and college courses are capable of being offered online around the world. Now educational institutions can educate thought processes and mentalities across the world and borders.

In 2018, over 6.9 million students enrolled in online or distance education within America's degree-granting institutions (review 42). Furthermore, various charitable organizations as well as free online academies such as Kahn Academy, have given access to not only basic-level education but in some cases collegiate-level education entirely free to populations around the world. Now the only limiting factor is access to electricity and the Internet which we've seen globalization focusing on reaction to this digital need. The advent of electric cars, solar panels, wind systems, and more green alternative energies for rural areas has increased because of this sharing of information and increased importance on digital infrastructure. This digital infrastructure gives us new avenues in which to move assets and goods and collaborate with our already massive physical infrastructure of global consumerism.

This added dimension of economic mobility has required a new way of thinking about how the world connects economically, politically, and culturally. We seem to find ourselves in Plato’s cave of the digital realm. This new dimensionality of connectivity has created a whole new field of understanding and reaction.

Because of the immense and almost immediate connections that this digital realm and globalized economies have created, nations now must react and build economies and political structures that can adapt and mold with this new dimensionality.

" Developments in the production, exchange or use of private goods and non-specific assets will be more and more shaped and determined primarily by transnational or global factors and trends" (Genny page 621

moreover, this drive for production and goods also influences the governments themselves.

" The authority policy-making capacity and policy implementation effectiveness of national governments will be eroded and undermined where the good, asset’s structure is most globalized or trans nationalized." (Cerny page 623)

So now not only are the industries focused on what the digital world is leaning towards economically but also socially.

Nations with the greatest influence and reach through the digital market not only to their people but states abroad now seem to hold a position of authority. The garnering of political authority and economic power has eroded and changed with this new digital economy as well, which is why China seems to be trying to control the use of this technological connectivity as well as direct its future. Being a part of or controlling the industries that allow humans to interact and become connected to globalize more with each other, gives a certain level of control.

However, with this control, nations could abuse this power to almost control the citizen’s everyday life entirely. However, as history has shown, reactions and resistance to this control will always be present. And is even more so because of the ease of access to information. Even within China's borders regardless of how many avenues are controlled, there's always access to global access of information. Because of this, there are some directions within not only China but Russia and the United States as well. This exemplifies that the government and people do react on a global scale. With gender norms changing within certain countries, the acceptance of LGBTQ rights is even in countries that have been historically against them. Or even the rallying and volunteer efforts of individuals to go to protests or even fight in wars.

Not because of enlistment through the government or sections like that but because of the media. The Ukraine conflict is a perfect example of this divide. So, the concept of governance comes into question a system or form of government that is more overarching and allows this connectivity to thrive yet still has a system to prevent corruption. The idea of a larger cooperation of governments such as what we see with Russia, India, and China. Or the attempts by the United Nations in conglomerating many countries’ efforts into one goal. This could lead to some form of a world government. However, some nations will find themselves resistant to this.

The concept of liberty and individual powers is a challenge within the United States If it wishes to have the same control or direction that China is using for its economic shift a paradigm shift may be needed. In other words, to globalize the digital realm with US policy and economics the US would require a political paradigm shift within the culture to have a greater acceptance of minimal privacy and a greater involvement of not only the governments but the citizens in everyday affairs. Overall globalization is a two-way street, it has allowed for technologies and ideas to expand across the world. The current day world we live in would not be possible without the cooperation and interdependence that we see in cultures today.

However, this also is paired with the great wars and corruption, we see spread around the world overall, the quality of life across the world has increased greatly in the last 200 years. Music, art, and sciences have expanded exponentially, and the population of the world has increased dramatically. As far as measuring terms of success, this would seem like growth. Globalization may have many serious negative effects. However, it is through the cooperation of humanity, communities, and states, that we will find solutions to most of the day’s problems and create a better future.


Hillman, Jonathan E. “China and Russia: Economic Unequal.” Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 2020.

Cerny, Philip G. “Globalization and the Changing Logic of Collective Action.” International Organization 49, no. 4 (1995): 595–625.

Grant, Richard, and Jan Nijman. “Globalization and the Corporate Geography of Cities in the Less-Developed World.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 92, no. 2 (2002): 320–40.

Anqi Zheng Academy of Information and Communications Technology, China, Analysis on the social and economic impacts of internet platforms December 11th, 2020 chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/

Scherer, A.G. and Palazzo, G. (2011), The New Political Role of Business in a Globalized World: A Review of a New Perspective on CSR and its Implications for the Firm, Governance, and Democracy. Journal of Management Studies, 48: 899-931.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page