WHP Lesson 42: Introduction to Globalization

Globalization refers to how the world has become more connected economically, politically, socially, and culturally over time. Although this has been happening for a long time, the last fifty years or so have been an era of intense globalization. We communicate with each other rapidly. Some events or changes in one part of the world affect people everywhere. The results have been very positive in some cases, but in other cases, have caused major problems.

Driving Question: What is globalization, when did it begin, and why do we care?

  • Over the past century, people in different parts of the world have gotten closer and closer because of technology like telephones, airplanes, and the internet. Ideas and news now move rapidly from one place to another. Our lives have become more and more intertwined for much the same reasons. And, our economies, also, have become reliant on each other. In economic terms, globalization describes the process by which production and distribution have become world-wide in scale.  
  • Globalization has a huge impact on our everyday lives. Most of the items you own are very much a result of globalization. Your cell phone, for instance, is probably made from rare metals mined in Central Africa and plastics made in factories in Mexico, assembled in South Korea or China. The company that makes them may be headquartered in Finland, or the United States, or Japan. But if it’s a publicly owned company, and most of them are, it has shareholders (investors) from around the world.  And it manages to get its product to a store in your neighborhood. Or it’s sold to you via giant international online companies like Amazon (in the United States) or Baidoo (in China). But even simpler things like the food you eat or the shirt on your back may have a long supply chain reaching through four or five countries. What would your life be like without globalization?

Word of the Day: Globalization

  • Definition: the process or idea of the world becoming more like that of a single nation with one shared economy and one shared culture rather than separate, distinct countries.
  • When thinking about globalization, we often think about the way people and countries around the world get more and more connected to each other. In an economic sense it means the ways in which production and distribution of goods and services has become increasingly interconnected.


  • ReadIntroduction to Globalization” in Lesson 7.5 on Khan Academy.
  • As you read, think about these two questions. How much has globalization affected everyone? Is globalization a good thing?

Historian’s Journal Prompt

  • How has globalization changed in the past few months?
  • The global outbreak of COVID-19 has shown us how interconnected the world really is. What changes have you seen in that global network since the COVID-19 outbreak? Are people traveling more or less? Do you think people are buying more or less? And where are the things we’re buying coming from?