Smart Library on Globalization
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The current phase of globalization is not under the control of some centralized regulatory institution, agent or state. Globalization is not chaotic either. Rather, authors discuss ways that the various aspects of globalization are ordered or where regulation is attempted.

Influence and Control

The notion of influence focuses on cause-effect relations among individuals, companies, organizations and states within a global system. Individuals and groups of individuals have a greater degree of influence (if not control) over markets, states and international policy than ever before.


The idea of influence simply indicates a cause-effect relationship. What one organization does in one place makes a difference for an organization in another place.

Influence and control are not the same thing, however. Control involves the degree to which an organization or network of organizations is able to regulate and direct globalization processes. Authors often write about powerful financial or regulatory organizations (for example, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, etc.) and their attempts to regulate or control globalizing processes.

However, attempts to control the globalizing process and success at control are two different things. In fact, attempts to control or direct macroeconomic processes may backfire dramatically.

Authors identify two reasons that organizations lack control over globalization:

  • Processes of globalization may work against each other. Since globalization is not a unitary process, but a conjunction of a number of different processes, conflict among processes is possible. For instance, while IFIs may seek to stabilize global markets through liberalizing policies, liberalized capital markets create a huge influx of private capital investment that may destabilize national economies.
  • Globalizing processes may be resisted or heavily influenced by local actors and ideologies. Globalizing processes are balanced (though not always evenly) by local processes, agents and situations. Globalization involves the interplay of both top-down and bottom-up processes. For instance,
    • People in local settings might view globalization as “Westernization” or “Americanization”
    • Others may resist globalizing processes as foreign or even evil
    • Still others may change or adapt globalizing processes to fit their own needs.

In short, powerful organizations may attempt to control some aspect of globalization, but real control is rarely, if ever, achieved. While many participate, no one is in control.

Logic of Development

Authors like Thomas Friedman focus less on the intentions of organizations or agencies in pushing forward globalization than on the underlying “logic” of globalization. That is, globalization operates according to a patterned set of processes (like the expansion of free-trade capitalism). Although these processes may not always play out in predictable ways, Friedman describes the overall process of globalization as “inexorable.”

On the other hand, Held and his colleagues argue that it is a mistake to see any necessary end or goal toward which globalization progresses. Rather, the factors underlying globalization are complex, diverse and are heavily influenced by historical circumstances.

Globalization may have a sort of “logic,” but the situation is incredibly complex. We may perceive certain patterns, but we have no idea what will actually come of the process of globalization.

Keytexts used to create this overview:
Common Business Problems Lead to Common Legal Solutions

Where Does Globalization Come From?

How to Resist Transplanted Law: China

How to Resist Transplanted Law: Indonesia

How Countries Resist Global Institutions

Four Theories of the Global Impact of Law

Four Sites of Struggle over Global Law

Three Perspectives on Globalization

Why Is Law Globalized? It Depends on the Type of Law

Economic Globalization: An Appraisal

Why Has the IMF Failed Its Mission?

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