Many see it as a primarily economic phenomenon, involving the increasing interaction, or integration, of national economic systems through the growth in international trade, investment and capital flows.
However, one can also point to a rapid increase in cross-border social, cultural and technological exchange as part of the phenomenon of globalisation.
The sociologist, Anthony Giddens, defines globalisation as a decoupling of space and time, emphasising that with instantaneous communications, knowledge and culture can be shared around the world simultaneously.
A Dutch academic who maintains a good website on globalisation, Ruud Lubbers, defines it as a process in which geographic distance becomes a factor of diminishing importance in the establishment and maintenance of cross border economic, political and socio-cultural relations.
Left critics of globalisation define the word quite differently, presenting it as worldwide drive toward a globalised economic system dominated by supranational corporate trade and banking institutions that are not accountable to democratic processes or national governments.
Globalisation is an undeniably capitalist process. It has taken off as a concept in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and of socialism as a viable alternate form of economic organisation.
Globalisation is the rapid increase in cross-border economic, social, technological exchange under conditions of capitalism.
It attempts to characterize globalization, and its effects on poverty, the environment, gender, culture, and political structure and dynamics.
David Held and Anthony McGrew write in their entry for Oxford Companion to Politics that globalisation can be conceived as a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, expressed in transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power.