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This post was edited by knox1234 at 2019-1-29 17:38|
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, landing in the Americas while trying to reach India. He brought back the news of an exploitable land of riches and resources to King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, the rulers of Spain. Columbus set off a frenzy of imperial conquest among Old World Europeans.
Over five centuries after Columbus proved through navigation pluck that the world is round, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman roiled the world with his bestseller "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" after a journey to India's hi-tech city of Bangalore. In it, he recounted how a fusion of state-of-the-art technologies is changing our lives at an unimaginable speed while leveling the economic playing field.
These two events bookend what can be defined as different eras of globalization, from one of exploitation to one of increasing cooperation and interdependence. But is this trend inevitable, or will we experience tectonic shifts resulting from unforeseen issues in the process of integrating people from different backgrounds and circumstances?
Globalization 1.0 – Rise of sea powers
Years after Columbus' landmark discovery, Vasco da Gama set sail with an expedition to reach the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and then to India, establishing a sea route connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the mysterious Indian kingdoms. The two voyagers opened the floodgates to a new epoch: globalization, a term, however, that made its debut centuries later in 1962.
The first episode of globalization reunited people separated for over 10,000 years. It was during this age that coffee told a tale of migration from Ethiopia to Europe, humble potatoes traveled from the Peruvian soils to dinner plates around the world, and chili peppers found a spice route from South America to East Asia. The flow of food on maritime routes was the dawn of global trade.
It was an age made possible by sea powers, bringing contact between different civilizations with unprecedented efficiency. From the late 1400s to the early 1800s, the world shrank from large to medium with countries globalizing. This trend, however, did not result in respect for indigenous cultures, but rather brought about their exploitation through imperialism.
Globalization 2.0 – Pax Britannica
The second period of globalization came in the midst of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. Spanning from the 1760s to the 1840s, this revolution was a stage of painstaking transition – from handicraft workshops to factories with humming machines, and from an agrarian society to an urbanized one.
People started using fossil fuels to power machines that enabled production and movement. Plus, the wide utilization of iron and steel accelerated the pace toward heavy industrialization. The Spinning Jenny and the power loom greatly enhanced the making of textiles.
Bringing all of this together was the steam engine, which allowed for human productivity at a scale never seen before. Besides being a commercial success, steam carriages, locomotives and boats entirely altered the sea-powered trade pattern and buoyed land-powered economies.
This second episode saw the world further shrinking from medium to small as cross-border companies spearheaded integration and development. But while it precluded the prosperity of Britain and the European continent, which contributed 47 percent to the world economy back then, Asia, Africa and certain regions in the Americas ground to a halt due to colonization and plundering of their resources. In many a place, old civilizations were brought to their knees.