Globalization has become the new century's most abused buzzword.
Advocates and detractors alike bend its meaning to fit their
In truth, globalization entails a dense web of cross-border
relationships that range from the very evident - one example is the
exotic fruits found in supermarkets - to the very subtle, such as
the opinions that become conventional wisdom as a result of the
unprecedented boom in human interaction.
One aspect frequently missed in the debates about globalization
is its measurement: How extensive is globalization? Which countries
are the most globalized? The least? And why?
Those rare instances in which anyone attempts to measure
globalization typically rely on data concerning international trade
and investment flows, to the exclusion of other aspects of global
To fill this gap, Foreign Policy magazine teamed up with A.T.
Kearney to create the Globalization Index, which employs indicators
spanning information technology, finance, trade, travel, and
personal communication to gauge levels of global integration in 50
key developed countries and emerging markets.
The results of this exercise offer a fascinating three-
dimensional glimpse of the nature, speed, and scope of
globalization. Looking closely at the details, we find strong
evidence that some of the most widely held notions surrounding
global integration require reexamination. Consider just a few of
Globalization and income disparity need not go together. The
world's most global countries boast greater income equality than
their less-global counterparts.
Even among developing countries, those that are more integrated
with their neighbors (such as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech
Republic), tend to have more equitable patterns of income
distribution than those that are not as well integrated (including
Argentina, China, and Russia).
This finding offers a counterpoint to those who argue that
developing countries are poor and unequal because of globalization,
suggesting instead that history, economic policies, welfare
programs, and education policies may play an important role in
shaping income distribution.
More-globalized nations are freer and less corrupt. With few
exceptions, countries that score well on the Globalization Index
enjoy greater political freedom, as measured by the annual Freedom
House survey of civil liberties and political rights. Similarly, a
comparison of the index's rankings with Transparency
International's survey of perceived corruption worldwide suggests
that public officials in more-global countries are less corrupt
than their counterparts in closed economies. …