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Study Notes

4.1.1 Globalisation (Edexcel)


Last updated 20 Sept 2023

This Edexcel study note covers globalisation

a) Characteristics of Globalisation:

  1. Increased International Trade: Globalisation involves the growing interconnectedness of economies through the exchange of goods and services across borders. It has led to a significant increase in international trade.
  2. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Advances in technology, particularly the internet and communication technologies, have played a pivotal role in globalisation by facilitating instant communication and information sharing across the globe.
  3. Multinational Corporations (MNCs): Globalisation is characterized by the rise of multinational corporations that operate in multiple countries, seeking markets, resources, and labor efficiency.
  4. Cultural Exchange: Globalisation has led to the exchange of cultures, ideas, and values through media, travel, and immigration. This has resulted in greater cultural diversity and cross-cultural influences.
  5. Interconnected Financial Markets: The global financial system has become highly interconnected, allowing capital to flow easily across borders and impacting the stability of economies worldwide.
  6. Migration and Labor Mobility: Increased global mobility has led to the movement of people across borders for work, education, and other opportunities.
  7. Global Supply Chains: The fragmentation of production processes across countries has given rise to complex global supply chains, where components of products are manufactured in different countries before being assembled elsewhere.
  8. Standardization: Globalisation often leads to the standardization of products, services, and business practices to meet international expectations and norms.

b) Factors Contributing to Globalisation in the Last 50 Years:

  1. Technological Advances: The rapid development of information technology, including the internet and mobile communications, has significantly reduced communication and transportation costs, facilitating global business operations.
  2. Trade Liberalization: The removal of trade barriers through international agreements like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has promoted international trade.
  3. Economic Liberalization: Many countries have adopted market-oriented economic policies, including deregulation and privatization, which have encouraged foreign investment and trade.
  4. Transport Infrastructure: Improvements in transportation infrastructure, such as containerization and the expansion of shipping routes, have made it easier and cheaper to move goods globally.
  5. Financial Integration: The liberalization of financial markets and the ease of cross-border capital flows have connected global economies more closely.
  6. Multinational Corporations: The expansion of multinational corporations into new markets and the establishment of global production networks have furthered globalisation.
  7. Political Stability: Greater political stability in many regions has reduced the risks associated with doing business abroad.

c) Impacts of Globalisation:

  1. Individual Countries:
    • Economic Growth: Globalisation can stimulate economic growth by increasing trade and foreign investment.
    • Income Inequality: It can also exacerbate income inequality within countries, as benefits may not be evenly distributed.
  2. Governments:
    • Reduced Control: Governments may have reduced control over their economies due to international trade agreements and global market forces.
    • Policy Coordination: International cooperation becomes essential in areas like climate change and financial stability.
  3. Producers and Consumers:
    • Access to Markets: Producers gain access to larger consumer markets, but face increased competition.
    • Consumer Choices: Consumers benefit from a wider variety of products and lower prices.
  4. Workers:
    • Job Opportunities: Globalisation can create job opportunities, but it can also lead to job displacement in certain industries.
    • Labor Standards: Concerns arise over labor standards, worker rights, and exploitation in some countries.
  5. Environment:
    • Environmental Impact: Globalisation can contribute to environmental degradation through increased resource extraction and pollution.
    • Sustainable Practices: There's a growing emphasis on sustainability and responsible business practices to mitigate environmental harm.

In summary, globalisation has profound effects on economies, societies, and the environment. While it can promote economic growth and cultural exchange, it also poses challenges such as inequality, environmental degradation, and the need for international cooperation. The impact of globalisation varies widely depending on the specific context and policies of individual countries and regions.

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