Basic Course 3
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Basic Course 3: The Causes of Globalisation

Complex phenomena can only be explained multicausally. There is no controversy about this in the globalisation debate, however all else remains disputed. Depending on the understanding taken as the basis for globalisation, other causes and forces are projected into the field of vision. The diagram names frequently given causes, without claiming to be complete.

Technological innovations, particularly in the field of information and communication, have played and still do play a central role without doubt. The Internet represents a symbol for globalisation in many respects. The globalisation of the financial markets, the lightening-quick transfer of unimaginable sums of money around the globe would be impossible without this technology, just as the organisation of transnational production would be and much more.

The enormous increase in trade as a further central element of commercial globalisation results not least from the fact that transport costs have sunk rapidly, and goods can be transported more quickly. The applies to the service sector in particular. Products such as software or databases can be sent from one corner of the world to the other over data lines in seconds.

The end of the Cold War is also frequently named as a cause. Whereas the world was divided up into two camps during the East-West conflict, this separating influence crumbled in the years following 1989/90 following the fall of the Iron Curtain. The former “Eastern Bloc countries” have opened their borders to the world market. An ever-increasing numbers of states are placing their trust in democracy and the market economy as fundamental principles of organisation

Global problems have played a very central role, above all at a conscious level. The presence of 'one world store's’ in the highly developed industrial nations are not the only evidence of this. Globalisation problems require an internationalisation of politics, and promote international consciousness. Organisations like Greenpeace or Amnesty International, who have dedicated themselves to global topics such as the environment or human rights, are global players in this field. The beginnings of a global society can be seen quite clearly.

Globalisation critics in particular, such as the ATTAC network, continually point out that we are not dealing with an inevitable process, but that globalisation, in essence, is more the result of deregulation policies under the leadership of the USA since the Second World War (see section on "ATTAC" on separate page  ). Without the liberalisation of world trade within the framework of GATT or the WTO, these developments would, in fact, have been unthinkable.

You can find Interesting information on this subject on the web-sites from the Bretton Woods organisations:


World Trade Organization:


International Monetary Fund:


World Bank:

[You will find further links in our Link List on globalisation]

... go to Basic Course 4: The resulting problems of globalisation

[Author: Ragnar Müller]

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SubjectsHuman Rights  I  Examples  I  Democracy  I  Parties  I  Europe  I  Globalisation  I  United Nations  I  Sustainability

Methods:    Teaching Politics    II    Peace Education    II    Methods



This online service on the subject of political education was developed by agora-wissen, the Stuttgart-based Gesellschaft für Wissensvermittlung über neue Medien und politische Bildung (GbR) (Partnership for the Exchange of Information Using New Media and Political Education). Please contact us with your questions or comments. Translation from German into English by twigg's Übersetzung deutsch-english.