Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsWelcome to week two. The big question we're going to deal with this week is, has globalisation always been as it is today? Or another way to put it, we're going to look at the long history of globalisation in short. And when I mean the long history, I mean we're going to go way back. We're going to go back to the emergence of modern humans. Prehistoric times. Now, why should we study globalisation's history on such a long scale? In my view, globalisation changed radically a couple of decades ago. And yet, many people are thinking about globalisation as it had been since the beginning of the 19th century.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsTwo centuries of globalisation of a particular type got people thinking that globalisation was somehow a force of nature, that it was immutable, that it always had been this way and always will be this way. And the way of thinking about it sort of got stuck. I think that that misses a big thing. Globalisation changed, I believe, around 1990 in a very important way. And more importantly, I think it's going to change in a big different way going forward. So what we're going to do is study history, going way back, to show that globalisation has changed radically several times over history.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsWhat we're going to do in the next steps is, with the videos and the readings, follow part 1 of my book, The Great Convergence, and see how globalisation has changed.

Welcome to Week 2

Welcome to Week 2

The big question for this week is: “Was globalisation always like it is today?”

Today’s world is changing rapidly. Governments, businesses and citizens around the world need to think hard about the future and take steps to prepare for it. But how can we know the future?

The simple answer is that we cannot. The best way to prepare for the future is to understand the past, since history is the “laboratory” of social sciences.

Following this logic, Week 2 takes a brief look at the history of globalisation since modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago.

Learning Goals

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  1. Understand how globalisation has changed over time.

  2. Have a good idea of how the first wave of modern globalisation (the “old” globalisation of the 19th and 20th centuries) produced the main outlines of the economic landscape of today’s world, namely a world where most humans live in poor nations while a few nations are rich.

  3. Have a good idea of how the “new” globalisation (which has been going on for the last 25 years) differs from the “old” globalisation of the 19th and 20th centuries, and how the changes the new globalisation brought about have lead to rapid change in the world’s economic geography and the allocation of economic power.

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This video is from the free online course:

International Affairs: Globalisation

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies