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Social Studies Model Answer Chapter 8 (Causes of Globalization)

1. Developments in Transportation

Developments in transportation is one of the causes of globalization. There has been better development in air, sea and land transport over the years. Air transport has become cheaper, faster and bigger over the years. Due to improving technology and access to the internet, more and more budget airlines has been able to set up shop. These airlines like SCOOT, Air Asia, Jet star has caused air ticket prices to become substantially cheaper, hence allowing more people to be able to afford air travel. Likewise, aircraft can also travel faster today due to better airplane and engine technology. In the past, it would take more than one day to fly halfway round the globe from Singapore to London. However, today, that journey can be made in 14hrs. Aircrafts are also becoming bigger and bigger these days. For example, the largest passenger jet today is the A380 which can carry more than 500 passengers at one go. With speedier, cheaper and larger air transport, these has allowed more people to be able to travel from many different parts of the world across vast distances. This has increase globalization. At sea, transportation has also been revolutionized by containerization. This refers to the shipping of goods via standardized containers, which are moved around efficiently by container vehicles, container ships and container ports around the world. Through containerization, more goods are moved faster from ports to ports. For example, Singapore and Rotterdam are two of the largest container ports in the world facilitating the transport of millions of containers worldwide every year. Finally, on land, there are more and more railway lines, roads and pipelines connecting many different countries and part of the world. These land links speed up the movement of people and goods between countries thus causing greater globalization. For instance, China, is currently working with many central Asian and European countries to build the One Belt One Road programme where Asia and Europe will be connected by roads, railway and pipelines. When this is completed, movement of goods and people between East Asia to Western Europe and other regions will become much easier.

2. Developments in Technology

Developments in technology is another cause of globalization. Development in technology has occurred in both the hardware and software. Hardware refers to computers, laptops and smart phones. These are increasingly becoming more portable and more efficient in allow people to be able to communicate and for other purposes. Together with the development in software like the internet, social media, applications, websites, etc., this has created a huge increase in globalized communication, commerce and movement of people worldwide. One of the greatest change in globalization is that of instant communication between people anywhere, anytime in the world. A foreign professional in Singapore using WhatsApp on his smart phone on his way home on a bus at midnight can effectively talk to his family from Europe on video call for free and for a long time without disruption. Professors in universities from different parts of the world can also exchange information and data via Zoom conference call today easily. In the field of E-Commerce, smart phones with the numerous apps, can allow many people to buy and sell goods online from anyway in the world, thus triggering huge movement of goods across the global. Through apps like Shoppe, Amazon, Lazada, many people can shop online to acquire goods from foreign countries. These goods will then be shipped rapidly. All these instant communication and fast online shopping has increase globalization exponentially today.

3. Roles of MNCs

The roles played by Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are also important in causing more globalization in the world today. MNCs being profit-driven companies tend to seek out cheap and professional labor, seek to set-up more overseas markets, and require vast amount of raw materials from overseas sources. In an era of easy and modern transport and communication, MNCs often move their production plants to other countries that can provide a significantly lower labor cost. For instance, most of Apple is manufacturing plants for their iPhones, iMacs; iPads are based in China because of the availability of huge amount of cheap labor in China. Similarly, many big car manufacturers from the US have their car making factories in Mexico. These forms of relocation of factories to other countries leads to globalization, as more people and materials has to move across boundaries to other countries. On the other hand, some other high tech MNCs like Google, Facebook, Twitter, who are based in the US Silicon Valley, are often magnets for the world’s most talent computer engineers and digital professionals. These highly skilled professionals come from all over the whole to the US to work in these very attractive companies. As a result, there is greater globalization of people. MNCs can also cause more globalization when they set-up more overseas markets in foreign countries. For example, the numerous fast food companies and beverage companies in the US like Mac Donald’s, KFC; Starbucks has gone global in set up their fast food chains and cafés worldwide. Today, these fast food outlets and cafes are everywhere around the world. Such massive expansion of business overseas leads to significant amount globalization as companies move more labor and materials overseas to set up their new markets. Finally, MNCs also cause greater globalization when they import huge volume of raw materials to fuel their manufacturing of products while at the same time, export huge amount of finished products to other parts of the world. Singapore, being a major oil refinery and petro-chemical hub imports huge volume of fossil fuels from mainly the Middle East. After refining and processing these raw materials, we than ship the finished products of gasoline, fuel, LNG etc. to other export markets like Japan and China. This causes massive movements of materials across many countries and across huge distances, which results in more globalization.

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