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Globalization can be defined as being when human activities take place on a worldwide scale creating an interdependence between countries. When something happens in one area, it can have a knock-on effect in other places. For Geography in high school, you need to be aware of the causes of globalization plus the positive and negative effects on people and the planet.

There has always been a degree of globalization but since the end of the Second World War, transport and communications have increased massively, making it much easier to exchange trade and cultural ideas. Companies that operated only in their own countries have been able to expand and have become what are called multinational corporations (MNCs) - companies with subsidiaries in many countries. This is helping to create increased wealth in MEDCs, however, the benefits are less for ordinary people living in LEDCs - they are often seen as a source of cheap labor.

So what has caused this increase in globalization? As well as improvements in transport such as larger and faster cargo ships, the development of the international telephone system, the internet and mobile technology has made it much easier to communicate with people in other countries. When importing goods from other countries, many governments imposed taxes, making items from abroad expensive. Organizations like the WTO (World Trade Organisation) have promoted the idea of free trade between countries, with the reduction of import taxes. This makes the goods cheaper to buy and so more trade is the result. Labor costs in some countries is much lower than in Britain so labor intensive industries like clothing and call centers take advantage of this by moving abroad.

Multinational corporations are also known as TNCs (trans-national corporations). These generally have their origins in MEDCs and quite often, they invest in other MEDCs as the market for their products is greater, however, some TNCs do invest in LEDCs. You need to learn the factors that attract TNCs to a particular country.

Positive impacts of globalization are numerous and include humanitarian, environmental and economic benefits. There is an increased awareness of events in far away parts of the world such as famines, wars and natural disasters meaning that aid can be sent quickly by MEDCs. An increased awareness of issues like deforestation and global climate change effects alerts more people that a return to sustainable development is necessary to ensure the future of the planet. Economically, inward investment by TNCs brings jobs and opportunities for local people and increased wealth for local economies. Finally, it means that ordinary people can experience foods and products that were not previously available to them.

On the other hand, globalization tends to benefit mainly MEDCs, the money invested by TNCs does not always benefit the local economy as profits are often sent back to the MEDC. Unscrupulous TNCs can operate with lower safety and environmental standards in many LEDCs, where laws to protect workers and the environment have not been made or are not enforced. In Britain, the textile industry, coal mining and steel manufacturing industry have declined severely as these products can be obtained much more cheaply from abroad thanks to globalization.

Which of the following is not a transnational corporation?
An Indian restaurant in the UK
Motor car manufacturers like Ford and Toyota
Food companies like McDonalds and KFC
Oil companies like Shell
An Indian restaurant is an example of globalization
Which of the following is not a result of globalization?
An increase in international trade
Closing the gap between the world's richest and poorest countries
Interdependent economies
Freer movement of money, services and goods
LEDCs are usually exporters of the less profitable raw materials and food. Exports from MEDCs are usually the more profitable manufactured goods
Which of the following is a negative impact of globalization?
Jobs can be lost in MEDCs
New jobs are created in LEDCs
Foreign currency is introduced into the local economy
Mixing of people from different cultures
Labor costs are usually cheaper in LEDCs so multinational (transnational) companies close down factories in MEDCs and set them up in LEDCs where they can pay less for labor
Which of the following is not a factor that has influenced globalization?
Quarrying for building materials
Bigger and faster ships
Quarrying for building materials is a local business as it is usually more expensive to import suitable building materials from abroad
When a company invests in a foreign country it is called ...
a gamble
outward investment
inward investment
speculative investment
Such investment does not necessarily fully benefit the local economy
Which of the following factors is most likely to attract an MNC to invest in a foreign country?
Workers receive a high average wage
Lack of raw materials
Raw materials are cheaper
Good tourist attractions
If raw materials are cheaper, this can increase profits for the MNC by reducing costs
A positive benefit of globalization is ...
it uses up raw materials
it opens up new markets for companies to sell their products and services
it lowers the wages for the local workforce
local farmers can grow more food
This increases profits for the company
Why do some people think that globalization is not a good thing?
Globalization will drown out some local traditions and languages
Globalization does not guarantee that local economies will benefit
International laws about employment conditions and pollution are not enforced
All of the above
There are many positive points for globalization, make sure you know them for your exam
The term economy of scale means ...
a reduction in costs because of a large quantity
the economy of a nation that depends on fishing
an internationally recognized scale that is used to measure whether a country is a MEDC or LEDC
a way of measuring the profitability of a TNC
When products are made on a large scale, the costs are less. The same applies to transporting of goods or raw materials
Which of the following statements about globalization is true?
Larger and faster cargo ships mean that it costs a lot more to transport raw materials and finished goods
Large companies can take advantage of cheaper labor costs and reduced legal restrictions in LEDCs
It has reduced the amount of free trade between countries
It is a lot harder to communicate with people in other countries than it was in the 1950s
The other three answers are exactly the opposite of what has really happened due to globalization
Author:  Kev Woodward

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