and Regional Response
in the Americas
At the close of the twentieth century, the international integration of the world market economy is progressing at a rapid pace. Perhaps it is because of the speed of this integration that the process has become termed "globahzation." This process encompasses economic transformations in production, consumption, technology, and ideas. It is also intimately linked with transformations in political systems as well as with sociocultural and environmental change. 1
What is globalization? According to H. A. Watson, "globalization is not reducible to terms like international, multinational cross-border, or offshore."2 Richard O'Brien argues that it is a tendency that refers to "operations within an integral whole," since "a truly global service knows no internal boundaries, can be offered throughout the globe, and pays scant attention to national aspects." 3 This radical position gives globalization a clear definition but it also limits globalization to those global corporations that have a presence in most countries of the world -- as in international banking. This approach essentially sees geographical variations in the world as becoming less and less significant. Indeed, O'Brien argues that "the closer we get to a global, integral whole, the closer we get to the end of geography." 4 According to this view, globalization will become synonymous with a homogenized world of global corporations.
Opposing views of globalization stress the notion of the "shrinking world," focusing on a growing integration and compression of the world's peoples, places, and nation-states and a blurring of their territorial boundaries. 5 Territory and geography are still important in this view,