Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Informing in the Flat, Rough World: Balancing Globalization Gone Awry

Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Informing in the Flat, Rough World: Balancing Globalization Gone Awry

Article excerpt

Introduction

The following discussion will explore ongoing economic globalization from the perspective of the dominant organizational form--the transnational corporation (TNC) (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989). The backdrop to analysis is the world that has dramatically changed in the past 30 years. Economic systems across national states have demonstrated a trend of isomorphism. Principles of market-driven economy in a capitalist mould have become nearly universal, suppressing alternatives in the process. Political systems also show a tendency to look alike within the regional and/or global context. In the cultural domain, artefacts from different countries have become more visible globally, engendering advent of "world music," international cuisine, shared consumption preferences, and life-styles. These trends toward global isomorphism are studied under the rubric of "globalization," referring to cross-disciplinary research that ranges from investigative journalism to specialized areas of economics, political science, political economy, cultural studies, and information/information systems. Globalization can be certainly traced further back in the past and tied to intercontinental voyage, trade, and conquest. Still, the pace and magnitude of changes have been unprecedented in the last 30 years. Following this premise, the present discussion focuses only on this period. In addition, just the economic domain is under analysis, while other domains will be addressed only when they are directly related to the economy.

Researchers of globalization are not just from academia but also from other occupations, including journalism, politics, and economics. The researchers agree on the basic concept of globalization: barriers to international expanding of economic, political, and cultural structures, actions and products have been diminishing and give rise to global phenomena (Castells, 1996; Friedman, 2007; Fukuyama, 1992; Jones, 2003; Klein, 2008; Levitt, 1983; Stiglitz, 2002, 2006). Many researchers also agree that information, information technology or information and communication technology (either referred to by "IT"), information systems, and telecommunications networks are the forces behind globalization (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989; Castells, 1996; Jones, 2003; Levitt, 1983). Financial markets run on global computer networks; firms source, produce, and sell around the world owing to interconnected information systems; political processes are affected by economically-relevant information that is promptly disseminated by the Internet and other channels; and TV networks, film, and the Internet communicate globally cultural artefacts, driven by commercial interest or otherwise. However, researchers disagree in valuing results and direction of globalization, its drivers, and the character of information and IT.

In valuing globalization results, two confronted camps have morphed. There is a camp of enthusiasts, which values the unfolded globalization as the process that brings benefits to all countries regardless of their economic and political differences (Friedman, 2007; Levitt, 1983). The opposed camp criticizes globalization results, arguing that globalization disproportionally benefits more powerful countries and represents a new form of their domination (Hiatt, 2007; Klein, 2008; Perkins, 2004). The globalization enthusiasts assume that the globalization process is heading toward a higher level of development of the entire human race, a new renaissance, even to finally achievable parting with an undignified history (Fukuyama, 1992). For the globalization critics, however, globalization leads merely to escalating poverty, pollution, famine and other old problems for the majority of people, if not to a new barbarism (Chossudovsky, 2003; Klein, 2008). Researchers also differ in identifications of main drivers of globalization. For some, the chief driver is international or supra-national organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization (Chossudovsky, 2003; Klein, 2008; Stiglitz, 2003). …

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