Kevin Robins

KevinRobinsBy global economy, we mean an economy that works as a unit in real time on a planetary basis. The forces of globalization thereby tend to erode the integrity and autonomy of national economies.
We may see globalization in terms of the new possibilities opened up by global communications, global travel and global products. Or, alternatively, we may consider it from the perspective of those for whom it represents unwelcome destabilization and disorientation. To some extent, this difference may be a matter of who will gain from global change and who will lose or be marginalized. Globalization occurs as a contradictory and uneven process, involving new kinds of polarization (economic, social and cultural) at a range of geographical scales. The encounter and possible confrontation of social and cultural values is an inevitable consequence. We have a global economy and a global culture: we do not, however, have global political institutions that could mediate this encounter and confrontation.

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3 Responses to Kevin Robins

  1. shinichi says:

    The Social Science Encyclopedia

    by Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper

    Globalization by Kevin Robins

  2. shinichi says:

    The development of the world economy has a long history dating from at least the 16th century, and is associated with the economic and imperial expansionism of the great powers. By globalization we refer to a more advanced stage of this process of development. The global economy is one in which all aspects of the economy – raw materials, labour information and transportation, finance, distribution, marketing – integrated or interdependent on a global scale. Moreover, they are so on an almost instantaneous basis. By global economy, ‘we mean an economy that works as a unit in real time on a planetary basis’. The forces of globalization thereby tend to erode the integrity and autonomy of national economies.

    Newly emerging and consolidating global corporations are the driving force behind these developments. Where multinational corporations in the past operated across a number of national economies, economic globalization now requires corporate interests to treat the world as a single entity, competing in all major markets simultaneously, rather than sequentially. This may involve the marketing of global products or world brands such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s or Kodak. In most cases, however, global competitiveness will require more complex and differentiated strategies. Managing in a borderless world in fact necessitates the segmentation of corporate organization and marketing according to transnational regions, notably those of Europe, North America and the Far East. Some global corporations describe their approach, more precisely, as one of global localization, recognizing the continuing significance of geogaphical difference and heterogeneity. The globalization of economies is more accurately seen in terms of an emergence of global-local nexus.

    Globalization has been made possible through the establishment of worldwide information and communication networks. New telecommunication and computer networks are overcoming the barriers of time and space, allowing corporate and financial interests to operate on a twenty-four-hour basis across the planet. The inauguration of information superhighways promises to further extend this compression of our spatial and temporal worlds. Global media are also part of this complex pattern of transborder information flows. Using new satellite and cable systems, channels like CNN and MTV have begun to create truly global television markets and audiences (though here too, there is growing realization of the need to be sensitive to local differences). Instantaneous and ubiquitous communication gives substance to Marshall McLuhan’s idea, first put forward in the 1960s, that the world is becoming a global village.

    As national economic spaces become less functional in the global context, cities and city-regions are assuming a new role as the basing points in the spatial organization of international business. Cities are consequently compelled to attract and accommodate the key functions of the global economy (services, finance, communications, etc.). This results in inter-urban competition across national borders, leading to the formation of a new international urban hierarchy. Cities must aim to become key hubs in the new global networks. Metropolitan centers such as New York, Tokyo and London may be described as truly ‘world cities’ or ‘global cities,’ the command centers in the global economy. Competition among second-level global cities involves the struggle to achieve ascendancy within particular zones of the world. This competition also requires cities to distinguish their assets and endowments through strategies of place marketing and differentiation: in a context of increasing mobility, the particularities of place become a salient factor in the global positioning of cities. As well as attracting global investors and tourists, cities are also the destinations of migrant and refugee populations from across the world. Global cities are also microcosms in which to observe the growing dualism between the world’s rich and poor and the encounter of global cultures.

    We should consider what globalization means for the world’s cultures. Is there a global culture? What might we mean by this? In the case of commercial culture (film and television, popular music, etc.), there are certainly aspirations towards creating a unitary, worldwide market. Global media corporations, such as Time Warner, Sony and News Corporation, are thinking in terms of global products and global audiences. This is possible only with certain kinds of programming, however, and for the most part global media interests operate in terms of transnational media spaces (e.g. the ‘Eurovision’ region; the ‘Asian’ region served by Murdoch’s Star TV). At the same time, there are contrary tendencies, towards the proliferation of national and also regional (e.g. Basque, Gaelic) media. This may be seen in terms of the (re)assertion of cultural difference and distinction in the face of globalizing tendencies. Again it is the relation between the global and the local that is significant. The globalization of the media should be understood, then, in terms of the construction of a complex new map of transnational, national and subnational cultural spaces.

    Cultural globalization – associated with flows of media and communication, but also with flows of migrants, refugees and tourists – has brought to the fore questions of cultural identity. For some, the proliferation of shared or common cultural references across the world evokes cosmopolitan ideals. There is the sense that cultural encounters across frontiers can create new and productive kinds of cultural fusion and hybridity. Where some see cosmopolitan complexities, others perceive (and oppose) cultural homogenization and the erosion of cultural specificity. Globalization is also linked, then, to the revalidation of particularistic cultures and identities. Across the world, there are those who respond to global upheaval by returning to their ‘roots,’ by reclaiming what they see as their ethnic and national homelands, by recovering the certainties of religious tradition and fundamentals. Globalization pulls cultures in different, contradictory, and often conflictual, ways. It is about the deterritorialization of culture, but it also involved cultural reterritorialization. It is about the increasing mobility of culture, but also about new cultural fixities.

    We may see globalization in terms of the new possibilities opened up by global communications, global travel and global products. Or, alternatively, we may consider it from the perspective of those for whom it represents unwelcome destabilization and disorientation. To some extent, this difference may be a matter of who will gain from global change and who will lose or be marginalized. Globalization occurs as a contradictory and uneven process, involving new kinds of polarization (economic, social and cultural) at a range of geographical scales. The encounter and possible confrontation of social and cultural values is an inevitable consequence. We have a global economy and a global culture: we do not, however, have global political institutions that could mediate this encounter and confrontation.

  3. shinichi says:

    The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate

    by David Held, Anthony McGrew

    (2000)

    Part III The Fate of National Culture in an Age of Global Communication

    20 Encountering Globalization by Kevin Robins

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