World History 2 260 - 15.1 A Global Economy

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain how trade agreements and attempts to regulate world trade have shaped the global economy since the 1990s
  • Analyze the way multinational corporations have affected politics, workers, and the environment in developing nations
  • Discuss the way globalization has affected workers around the world

In many ways, World Wars I and II were only temporary interruptions in a centuries-long process of global integration. This process is often called globalization, the interconnectedness of societies and economies throughout the world as a result of trade, technology, and the adoption and sharing of elements of culture. Globalization facilitates the movement of goods, people, technologies, and ideas across international borders. Historians of globalization note that it has a very long history. In the days of the Roman Empire and the Han dynasty, Europeans and Asians were connected to one another through trade along the Silk Roads. In the fourteenth century, the Black Death spread from Asia to Europe and North Africa, killing people on all three continents. With the European colonization of the Americas in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and British colonization of Australia, all of the world’s inhabited continents became enmeshed in exchanges of peoples, products, and ideas that increased in the nineteenth century as the result of both technological developments and the imperialist impulses of industrialized nations. Only the world wars of the twentieth century brought a temporary halt to these exchanges. Furthermore, once the world wars were over, globalization not only resumed its pre–World War I trajectory but even gained speed, despite the Cold War and decolonization efforts in Asia and Africa. As the Cold War came to a close, the United States and increasingly powerful corporations ensured that capitalism and free-market economics would dominate the globe.

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 2: from 1400 textbook by Openstax