During the 1990s, literature on the international political economy was dominated by the idea of globalization. Dramatic decreases in transport costs and the rise of fast and cheap telecommunications technology have made geography less relevant and facilitated massive increases in global trade and new forms of multinational production. Whether or not such developments are good or bad is a topic of ongoing political debate. Some argue that an expanding global economy provides new opportunities for the developing world to integrate into global markets and to achieve rapid rises in living standards "pointing" to ongoing global growth and a reduction in absolute poverty. Others argue that the expanding global economy has instead increased global exploitation and inequalities, and further marginalized the developing world.
International politics has played a key role in converting new technological opportunities such as travel and communications (globalization in a narrow sense), into new forms of economic regulation and business practices (globalization in its broad sense). Stronger governments have had more choice than weaker governments concerning their response to global pressures for more international and less regulated economic activities. Even the weakest government, however, has had some room for manoeuvre. Additionally, there has been considerable variation between responses from the developed and developing worlds. This chapter introduces the predominant means of thinking about globalization, from the historical experience of the developing world to provide the tools required for assessing the viable options developing countries currently face under globalization.
Three Approaches to Globalization.
There exist three broad theoretical approaches to thinking about globalization. Generally, however, no single approach is usually adopted, but, rather, a combination or mixture of the three is used.