Globalization: the Making of World Society – Book Review

Running Head: GLOBALIZATION: The Making of World Society Review Essay: Globalization: The Making of World Society Part One: Summary Introduction Since the industrial revolution, the structure of world has been constantly evolving and progressing. The spread has involved the interlacing of economic and cultural activity, connectedness of the production, communication and technologies around the world, and it is now known as – globalization. The book I chose for this particular essay is Frank J.
Lechner’s, Globalization: the Making of World Society first published in 2009. Author Frank J. Lechner was born in 1958 in Amsterdam, Netherlands and is the director of Graduate Studies & Professor Department of Sociology at the Emory University in Atlanta. In 1982 he earned his Master in Arts degree in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh followed by a Ph. D. in 1985 in sociology as well. Most of his focus lies in global culture, change, religion and theory. One of his most recent researches involved national identity, specifically concerning the Dutch.
In addition to publishing Globalization: The Making of World Society (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), Lechner is the author The Netherlands: National Identity and Globalization (2008), and World Culture: Origins and Consequences (with John Boli, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), as well as numerous papers on religion and sociological theory. Book Summary In Globalization: The Making of World Society, Lechner talks about the processes that unfold in a wide range of fields such as sports, media, food industry, global economy, environment and religion due to globalization.

He describes its effects on everyday experience all around the world and demonstrates how globalization is also generating new discourses, cultures, and state policies. He explains globalization as a part of a still-greater transformation, both technical and social. Lechner wrote this book and divided it into three main parts: Global Experience, Global Institutions, and Global Problems. Each of these three parts is further divided into few more sub-topics such as for example, food, sports and media in Part I.
In the first part of the book, the author describes the three “waves” of food globalization around the world. The first “wave”, he describes as a “wave” in which Jamaica became a “sugar island” at the centre of the global network. The wave started not with a desire for sugar but with a search for spices. Many European explorers lured into travel by the prospect of finding gold and silver and were able to not only bring precious metals home but have brought tomatoes and potatoes to the European diet.
Another part of the first wave that the author talks about is when the Portuguese reached China and introduced maize, sweet potatoes and peanuts which later helped to sustain China’s population boom. With the first wave of globalization, more people became globally connected in more ways than ever before. People in different parts of the world were able to taste foods from other continents. As the new links in globalization were beginning to become established, they benefited some and harmed many others. Early globalization thus began to create a global hierarchy.
The second “wave” which dissipated in the early twentieth century is described as the time in which the Dakotas became the bread basket of the world. Also, large parts of Canada, Argentina and Australia became a source of food and profit and by 1913 they produced more wheat than all of Europe. As globalization continued to spread, a global food system emerged, tying all producers into a network of interdependence. The world market created enormous wealth and leading nations, tied together through free trade, strove to safeguard their power by extending their imperial reach.
The third “wave” of globalization was called “McDonald’s in East Asia. ” In this section of the book Lechner talks about how with globalization nothing stays exotic as it standardizes experience through organized diffusion. Although the third wave incorporates a lot of what the first and the second waves started, it is unique in the aspect that a fast food restaurant such as McDonald’s could be everywhere, yet nowhere in particular, as it helps deterritorialize eating itself – a step beyond both first and second waves f globalization. Furthermore, in the section on sports and the direction of globalization the writer describes the way sports and in particular soccer, has grown from the homeland of England to a worldwide game with the same rules. He explains that globalization does not mean that global rules, organizations, or models just take over. The global connections of the world society do not substitute for local ties such as American football in US, rather they move in tandem.
It is clear that in sports, globalization occurs in and through local and national settings as it adds another layer of connections and a new kind of shared awareness to the people in a certain society. In the last sub-category on global media, Frank Lechner talks about the role of Indian television, patterns in global television, and interpretations for global television as well as cultural imperialism. He describes the way the rights for television shows and programs such as “Who wants to be a Millionaire? ” have been sold to well over 80 countries and have enjoyed great success worldwide.
Many commercials and advertisements on TV carry subliminal messages that are aimed for a certain audience with a high degree of studying being put forward into the creation of the “perfect commercial”. In Part II of the novel the author begins to unravel the complicated and sometimes confusing aspects of the world economy. He begins with describing the way China, a country with extraordinary size and history, transformed and rebuilt itself after World War II at a time when broader reforms were sweeping the world hierarchy.
He goes on to explain America’s three main goals in the post-war time: to make trade flow much more freely, to stabilize the world’s financial system, and to encourage international investment. Moreover, Lechner describes the significance of Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany in the late nineteenth century, and his role in introduction of accident insurance bills and health care bills in Germany which marked the beginning of rise of welfare states. He also outlines Roosevelt’s and Veldkamp’s positions and their contribution in Britain and Netherlands respectively.
Frank Lechner continues with talking about the way in which globalization creates a political opportunity for the left-leaning political parties, promising to ride to the rescue in a time when some argue that globalization dampens welfare nations, to rather strengthen these states. Another aspect of globalization discussed in this part of the book is education. Education plays a key role in today’s society and with many people travelling with their high school kids to the United States and Canada in order to have a higher chance for a university or college admission, proves that in higher education a global market already operates.
The next section of the second part of the book briefly describes global civil society and global governance. United Nations, according to the author, has taken on “a larger law-making role than its founders had envisioned”. The direction of change proposed by such an institution does not always have the full consensus of relevant states in an issue, yet that change is toward more organization of certain fields above and beyond states. Part III of Globalization: The Making of World Society strictly focuses on global concerns.
The author describes key issues such as global migration, inequality, environment, and justice. First of the four issues listed is migration. The third wave of globalization witnessed a rise in migration, mainly from south to north along the gradient formed by global inequality. In this section of the book Lechner touches on the issue of redefining the national identity of a country as it is a goal in certain countries, which also links back to his previous two books:  The Netherlands: National Identity and Globalization (2008), and World Culture: Origins and Consequences (with John Boli, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
The second issue at hand in this section of his book is global inequality. In this section of the book the writer explains that globalization is essential for countries in the “bottom billion” to catch up, yet there is no single success path for all of the poorest nations. In this chapter he clearly paints his main argument that “globalization is not bound to make the rich richer and the poor poorer,” and goes on to say, “but if it is to lead to a more tangible ‘world society’, it will have to help reduce poverty and inequality far more” (Lechner, 241).
The last two section of the book primarily touch on the effects of globalization and its interconnectedness with global environment and global justice. Lechner discusses environmentalism and the way countries such as China deal with the environment and society in a balanced way. He put forward an example of Three Gorges damn built in China which displaced 2 million Chinese people, created a reservoir of nearly 400 miles and supplies 20 times more energy than America’s Hoover Dam. as an example of what a county could do in order to decrease the environmental damage, yet at the same time take a risk of displacing 2 million residents of the area. Literature Comparison Globalization: The Making of World Society by Frank Lechner is his attempt to clarify the key issues surrounding globalization in a brief, accessible and critical analysis of a complex topic. From the research conducted, I it is safe to conclude that this book is not a reply to any other book proposed by other writers; rather it is his attempt to explain his point of view on globalization and issues proposed by it.
Yet the author explaining his point of view represents one side of a bigger argument about globalization’s effect on the world, but no clear intentions of proving a point to a specific person or institution has been noted. Main Argument(s) The main argument proposed by Frank Lechner is that although there are many issues around globalization as a whole, he believes that globalization is essential for the poorest nations to catch up. He is keen on his point of view, and thus goes on to explain that development is the only way to reduce economic inequality.
Another part of his argument is that “globalization is not bound to make the rich richer and the poor poorer…but if it is to lead to a more tangible ‘world society’, it will have to help reduce poverty and inequality far more” (Lechner, 241). Part Two: Critical Analysis Personal Opinion After analyzing Lechner’s work, there are too many factors that make an accurate prediction difficult. The industrial revolution and the global expansion that it created, is on a scale that has never been seen in history. As a result, new issues are created, while old issues are modified.
The interdependencies between nations revolve around a free market. This encourages exploitation as a method to produce capital. The astronomical growth of supply and demand puts a heavy toll on the environment and its resources, which leads to an inevitable carrying capacity. The gap between rich and poor continues to increase around the world including capitalist drivers such as Canada and United States. Although Lechner does not see globalization as the main force in the inequality gap, I believe that this issue is of great concern.
In order to have a more objective opinion of globalization, we need to analyze the detrimental factors and the potential they have in slowing down or even reversing the constructive effects of globalization. When taking these factors into consideration, they become latent by the profits created. There is a growing concern with enormous amount of evidence of corruption happening in most developing, third world nations. Bribery enables transnational companies to gain export contracts, particularly in the arms trade and in construction, which they would not have otherwise won.
Every year, Western companies pay huge amounts of money in bribes to the officials and rulers in the developing countries in order to win over competitors. As these bribes go through, they have unfavourable results on the developing country, as they disadvantage smaller domestic firms, weaken development and deteriorate inequality and poverty, distort decision-making in favour of the project that benefits few rather than many, increase national debt, benefit the investor not the country, as well as damage the environment.
All of the factors listed above are proof of negative effects of corruption on successful globalization, which according to Lechner, “is not bound to make the rich richer and the poor poorer” (Lechner, 241). The second issue I would like to address is the growing gap between the rich and poor in not only developing countries, but the capitalist hubs. According to the latest consensus data released on May 1, 2008 by Statistics Canada, “between 1980 and 2005, median earning among Canada’s top earners rose more than 16 percent while those in the bottom fifth saw their wages dip by 20 percent (The Canadian Press, 2008).
Furthermore, the gap between rich and poor is widening, both within and among countries. In 1960, the richest 20 percent of the world’s population controlled 70 percent of global income, yet by 1993, the “richest 20” controlled 85 percent. In the same time period, the share of the poorest 20 percent had decreased from 2. 3 to 1. 4 percent. These disparities are likely to increase for the next half century as above stated issues such as corruption continue to affect the developing world (Human Development Report, 1996).
The third big issue at hand, which I believe causes globalization to have a negative outlook in the eyes of the proletarian individuals including me, is the environmental damages that are caused. Economic theory argues that the free market can be expected to produce an efficient and improved level of resource use, production, consumption, and environment protection, yet when private costs, which are the foundation for market decision, diverge from social costs, a market failure occurs resulting in pollution levels. Intensified trade and competitiveness pressures between companies generate harmful impacts on environmental quality (Esty, D. nd Ivanova, M. ). As the big name companies move into an immature economy of a developing country, they have the power to make the government change the laws and reduce their previous environmental requirements. Thus, the company that cannot function in Canada or Germany with those amounts of emission without paying fines will use the developing country’s position to produce high level of emissions with no restrictions. This point links back to the issue of corruption in the developing countries described earlier.
In addition, local government must protect the environment by not letting giant companies take over and control the government in order to make huge profits. Likewise, economic agreements that do not promote the common good and that are designed to increase the profits of few people in the world should be rejected by the authorities, if not local, then global. In conclusion, Globalization: The Making of World Society by Frank Lechner describes how the processes of globalization unfold in a wide range of fields including sports, religion, media, and the environment.
The author tries to explain and analyze the complex subject of globalization in a concise and easy-to-understand manner. His main argument in the book surrounds the explanation of how he believes that globalization is essential for the poorest nations to catch up and that globalization is not bound to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. References Dauvergn, P. (n. d. ). Globalization and the environment. Esty, D. C. C. , & Ivanova, M. H. (2003). Globalization effects on the environment. Globalization nd Environmental Protection: a Global Governance Perspective. Retrieved November 20, 2011 from http://www. yale. edu/gegdialogue/docs/dialogue/oct03/papers/Esty-Ivanova. pdf Lechner, F. J. (2009). Globalization: The Making of the World Society. Hong Kong: Wiley- Blackwell Publication. Research and markets; globalization: The making of world society. (2009). Investment Weekly News, (19458177), 423. Retrieved from http://ezproxy. qa. proquest. com/docview/ 200892079? accountid=14771 Shah, A. (2011). Corruption.
Global Issues. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://www. globalissues. org/article/590/corruption#GlobalizationMultinational CorporationsandCorruption The Canadian Press. (2008, May 1). Rich get richer, poor get poorer, census results show. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://www. ctv. ca/CTVNews/Canada/ 20080501/rich_poor_080501/ The gap between rich and poor is widening. (2004). World Resource Institute. Retrieved November 19,2011 from http://www. wri. org/publication/content/8659

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