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Thomas Friedman’s Three Eras of Globalization Essay

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Updated: Mar 14th, 2020

The globalization process is meant to break all political and physical boundaries and enhance international cooperation in different aspects of life. Globalization ensures that relevant systems of life are spread to all parts of the world despite the many complexities involved.

Globalization is a very elaborate process with very complex systems. This paper will discuss the three eras of globalization by highlighting some of the characteristics associated with the eras. Globalization is a continuous process whose characteristics and effects change with time.

Many scholars have come up with different philosophies regarding globalization, but Thomas Friedman has been very instrumental in helping people understand the history of globalization. Friedman argues that globalization takes in phases which can also be referred to as eras (18).

The three eras of globalization have different characteristics and timeframes which make it possible for them to be classified into different eras.

The first era of globalization occurred between 1492 and 1800 (Friedman 13). This era was characterized by imperialism, exploration, and colonization.

The majority of events in this era are not documented because there are no clear records of activities that took place activities in this era (Friedman 28). Colonization and exploration were the major events in this first era of globalization.

The British Empire was the most powerful in terms of industrial production, and therefore people from different regions around the world moved freely to the empire to buy goods (Friedman 58).

European explorers traveled around the world in this era as they identified the most suitable regions to set up colonies. Explorations are some of the few events that were well documented from the first era of globalization (Friedman 99).

The first era of globalization is also associated with the spread of pests and human diseases around the world which had devastating effects on the local people.

The indigenous population experienced different types of mistreatment from the visiting European explorers that included rape, slavery, and genocide (Friedman 112).

The second era of globalization occurred between 1800 and 2000 (Friedman 257). According to Friedman, this era was characterized by the industrial revolution (260). Multinational companies were established in Europe and America as a result of technological advancements.

The second era is associated with major technological innovations in the transport, communication and industrial sectors which led to a reduction in the cost of production and transportation (Friedman 257).

Technological breakthroughs and a reduction in the cost of production made it possible for big companies in Europe and America to establish branches in foreign countries. This marked the beginning of international trade because of improved connectivity.

Companies in developed countries were forced to globalize in search of raw materials, workers and the market for their goods (Friedman 279). The European and American multinational companies could not be sustained without the rest of the world.

The industrial revolution in the second globalization era encouraged cross-cultural connections. Barriers to international trade such as international borders were broken down in the second era (Friedman 305).

The developments in the second era of globalization made it possible for production to take place away from the market compared to the first era where production could only be done near the market (Friedman 305).

The speed of doing business was increased in the second era, and this led to the establishment of transnational supply chains (Friedman 305). The discovery of new forms of communication led to the information revolution in the second era of globalization.

The World Trade Organization is an example of global institutions that were established in the second era of globalization to control international trade. The second era of globalization transformed the world into a global village.

The third era of globalization began in 2000 and has set the course for the 21st century (Friedman 318). The third era of globalization is characterized by competition among individuals from different corners of the world.

The developments in this era are not influenced by individuals from Western countries. According to Friedman, the world has become flat in the new era of globalization (345). The third era has experienced the rise of new economic powers such as China and Brazil.

There is rapid economic growth throughout the world, and this has led to the emergence of regional powers (Friedman 346).

There have been a lot of technological innovations in the new era that have improved global interconnectivity (Friedman 346). The bulk of innovations in the new era have been encouraged by the demand for better products. There are new ways of doing business such as e-commerce which has been a major revolution in the business world.

The new era of globalization has the potential to increase global wealth through international trade and collaboration (Friedman 368). The means of global interconnectivity in the third era of globalization are cheap and reliable.

Multinational companies have increased in number because of the many opportunities that have been brought about by globalization (Friedman 372). The 21st century will experience increased productivity and technological innovation due to current global trends.

The 21st century is associated with the digital generation that uses the internet to exploit global opportunities. Individuals are in a better position to socialize, work, study and even do business over the internet.

Works Cited

Friedman, Thomas. The World is Flat 3.0: A brief History of the Twenty-first Century, New York, NY: Picador, 2007. Print.

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