Globalization Throughout History Analysis
Over the course of the class, we have studied globalization throughout history. Globalization is not a new concept. It is a historical, ongoing process that has changed and is still changing people’s lives. In order to understand how individuals experienced globalization during different time periods in history, I did what one must do when faced with a similar question. I decided to build a time machine and time travel. This paper contains the summaries of the interviews I conducted of three individuals each in different time eras. I hope this research is beneficial to those who seek to understand globalization on a micro and macro level.
I first time traveled to the time period between 1450-1750, in which the Columbian Exchange was globally changing cultures, institutions, and values. The Columbian Exchange was the global transfer of diseases, animals, plants, food, culture, technology, ideologies, and human populations. On a macro level, the effects are easily identifiable as history books have captured many of the effects. However, I wanted to generate a better sense of how this global phenomenon impacted individuals. My first interviewee was 22-year-old Native American woman from the North American West. For most of her life Dakota had worked in the fields alongside other women to produce food for the Pawnee people.
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The Columbian Exchange brought domesticated animals to the Americas that were able to rapidly produce because of the lack of predators. The horse was one of those animals, and it would drastically change Dakota’s life. Pawnee men abandoned their fieldwork to hunt for bison. The ability to move on horseback made hunting a faster method of gathering food. Dakota’s role in society changed, as she no longer produced food for the Pawnee people. Additionally, her environment came to change as well, as her people were no longer spending sufficient time on the fields planting vegetables and other food. Her diet came to include large amounts of meat as the men took over the food production. Although her life did change, Dakota was able to adjust to her new life with some ease.
For my next interview, I decided to fast forward to the era of imperialism in the 19th century. George, a Christian European, experienced globalism in a very different way in which Dakota did. For Dakota, globalization happened to her. George, on the other hand, was part of the imperialist global expansion, and brought changes to people’s lives. George was part of the civilizing mission, a mission to bring Christianity, education, and healthcare to “lazy, ignorant, heathens” of nonwestern countries. Throughout our interview, George emphasized how necessary global expansion was, and his responsibility to help those inferior to him. To make better sense of his ideology, I dug further into the matter.
The Industrial Revolution had given Europeans an economic and military advantage. This gap gave Europeans a sense of superiority and their opinions of other cultures and countries, like China and Africa, dropped drastically. Unlike Dakota, George was able to travel to different parts of the world and interact with other societies. The change he caused was drastic, and for the people whose life he changed would not adjust to their new life easily (unlike the change brought upon Dakota). George voiced that everywhere he traveled, he was met with constant resistance.
My last interview took place in the post war era, specifically during the Cold War. Nikita Khrushchev, one of the Soviet Union leaders during the Cold War, gave me great insight about what was happening globally at the time. Nikita was more than happy to inform me about the current state of the world and why the Cold War had commenced. First, there was an opposite set of ideologies between the communist and capitalist countries, and each side despised each other for it.
Second, the Soviet Union and The United States were competing as the world’s super power after WWII. This increased the competition and tension between the two countries. To make matter worse, the spread of communism into Vietnam, Korea, and China highly globalized the war because both courted countries such as the Philippines, Cuba, Chile, South Africa, and many more to their side. Not only was the involvement in the Cold War globalized, but so was its possible effect and implications.
Nikita and I discussed the weapons countries, including his, had built. Although he did not know that it would never come down to a nuclear war, he understood that if the war progressed and it came down to war, the high-tech weapons built would affect every single human being on the planet. His experience with globalization was on a scale unlike Dakota and George would ever experience, as he was a key player in determining the fate of the world.
Dakota, George, and Nikita experienced the scale of globalism differently. Dakota’s life was changed environmentally and socially, but it did not undergo a political change, unlike the lives of George and Nikita. During Dakota’s period, a war or economic depression would not have affected her world like it would have during Nikita’s time. As time goes on, the interconnectedness of our world gets harder to unravel. The harder it gets to unravel; the bigger the scale of impact grows.
Despite the resistance of globalization, people do not recognize that it has been happening and continues to do so. Globalization is inevitable, whether one is actively or passively participating, and it is an immediate side effect of events and trends like the Cold War, the Columbian Exchange, and the Industrial revolution.