The global village is characterized by widespread use of advanced information and communication technologies .American physiologist, Manuel Castells has termed it ‘network society’ whereby we run our lives using “computers, network technologies [&] telecommunication [tools] …”(152).This has greatly changed our social structures (151).
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In the global village, government influence and control has weakened in economic, cultural, political and social dimensions unlike in the past. This has been attributed to novel information and communication technologies ( Castells 155). The powers of most government have been decentralized to local and regional levels “in an effort to regain legitimacy vis-à-vis, their citizen” (Castells 155).
This shift in power base is claimed to have been brought about by “mobile and liquid” capital that has been made possible by advanced information and communication technologies (Sassen, n.pag). It is claimed nations are ‘giving up’ their sovereignty in preference to ‘shared’ sovereignty, mainly through international bodies (EU,NATO ,UN Organizations etc), with other states that results in a collective and stronger influence over other nations (Castells 155).
Cities: With increased globalization, some cities are increasingly taking a significant role in running of world affairs than national governments.
Saskia Sassen, a professor of Urban Planning at Columbia believes that major cities of the world have the potential to create “economic geography”. She further states that cities are critical due to the fact that they are the hearts of the telecommunication infrastructure, the driving force of globalization and will continue to serve as “centers for coordination, control and servicing of global capital”.
Globalization has also brought about great changes in structures of cities and urban centers in areas such as workforce, settlement, size and design (Hall 144). The effects of globalization are much visible in cities. This has made the issue of the future of these cities to come under close scrutiny.
Global economy: The economy of the global village is a large network of small economies in which financial markets are major player (Castells 155). This economy is dynamic, rides on information technologies and is “heavily dependent on knowledge and information” (154).The global economy is a said to be a network of “firms, segments of firms, segments of governments, segments of public sector and non-governmental organizations” (Castells 154). This type of economy is also characterized by “flexible work arrangement” (Castells 155.)
Culture: Global cities are multicultural, owing to among other factors, deregulation and privatization of economies that has attracted foreign workers and traders setting in a wave of immigration all over the world (Sassen, n.pag). Corporate culture is emerging to be dominant over other cultures and identities. Previously localized cultures in western countries are fast spreading (Sassen, n.pag). Major global cities share similar cultures.
The global village is increasingly facing challenges in terms of unequal development especially widening income disparity, unemployment ,collapse of small businesses as a result of multinationals ‘international monopoly’ ,shift of attention from manufacturing to financial services among others (Sassen, n.pag).Their causes ,however, remain debatable.
Conclusion: With emerging superior information technologies every day, change is inevitable. Such changes may sustain the global villages as we currently know it but it may be in a very different scale and proportion. More research is needed on this topic.
Castells, Manuel. “The Contours of Network Society”. Foresight 2.2. ( 2000). Camford Publishing. Web.
Hall, Peter. “The End of The City?”City7:2(2003).Carfax Publishing. Web.
Sassen, Saskia. “Global City: Strategic Site/New Frontier.” Global Tension Conference. 2001 Web.