Globalization has become popular in the news and during economic, social, and political discussions. While many definitions exist for it, in the context of this article, globalization refers to the breaking down economic and cultural borders to create a more unified community. In line with this, nothing has driven and enhanced globalization more than the Internet. This relatively recent innovation has changed how people work, shop, date, campaign for political seats, learn, teach, and more. Below, we will take a closer look at the positive and negative impacts of the Internet on globalization.
Globalization would be little more than a pipe dream without the internet. Yes, people from around the globe could communicate before 4G and 5G internet, but the connections were often spotty, and the letters were long in coming. Keeping this in mind, the internet helped globalization through:
Expanded Business Opportunities
This is arguably the biggest impact of the internet. By opening up the market to wider audiences, the Internet allowed businesses to reach more people than those physically around them. Firms found they could market, sell, and ship their products to different parts of the world. This discovery led to the advent of the e-commerce industry, which has expanded so much today many businesses do not even operate a physical location. One such successful business is the iGaming market, where players access gaming services over the Internet. Today, anyone can play poker, slots, and baccarat at the best online casinos in Australia without ever leaving home.
This market has created an ecosystem of businesses around it. To facilitate online gaming, for instance, providers work with digital banking platforms to enable online transactions. They also employ cybersecurity services to keep their players and money safe online. This flourishing industry has triggered innovations like AI, blockchain, and VR – and this is just one example.
The expansion of the corporate and commercial worlds did not just benefit companies; it also created more employment prospects. Today, companies in the United States have call centers in India, staffed and operated remotely by employees from the country. Thanks to the Internet, millions of people work online today for both local and international markets.
This increased pool of human resources has benefitted international organizations’ cultural and intellectual diversity. These firms can leverage different talents and perspectives from across the globe to promote innovation and cooperation. Through this market, companies have also found mobile labor and lower production costs, allowing consumers to enjoy cheaper products.
The internet greatly improved communication, making sharing information faster, more efficient, and more reliable. Rather than send a letter and wait weeks for it to arrive, you can send an email within seconds. You can text, call, or video message your personal and professional contacts from anywhere worldwide, as long as they have the internet. This landscape has allowed information to flourish as it is shared widely and in real time. Moreover, it has allowed for deeper connections across borders.
People inadvertently share their beliefs, cultures, and traditions when communicating. This is how the internet has enabled cultural dissemination, where music, food, religions, and fashion from other parts of the world are experienced and celebrated elsewhere. And with a better understanding of each other’s cultures, people have found that they can be more tolerant and understanding.
Despite the many important steps the internet has helped humanity make toward globalization, there are concerns about its proliferation. The internet has inadvertently raised worries about:
Sadly, the internet is not accessible in the same way everywhere in the world. Connections are poor or heavily regulated in some locations, specifically in developing countries. Some jurisdictions, for instance, are banned from accessing certain sites. Experts believe this unequal access could bar some countries from the globalization movement and widen social and economic gaps.
Onboarding every aspect of daily life onto the internet often leaves it vulnerable to cyberattacks. During the pandemic, PurpleSec reports that cybercrime cases increased by over 600 percent. And since many people use the internet for work, gaming, shopping, communication, and more, the concern is that Internet users risk their private and financial information falling into the wrong hands.
One factor heavily limiting the spread of the Internet is political influence. But government sponsorship does more than promote unequal access. Sometimes, governments dictate what information their citizens can receive and send to the world. This can lead to propaganda and harmful communication. For instance, when people are banned from posting “political” content, the international community may remain wildly misinformed about an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Despite these challenges, the internet is the best thing to have happened to globalization. Addressing these concerns can help make its proliferation more equal and inclusive, especially for marginalized groups and developing countries. And as technology grows, the internet is set to evolve. The next version of the internet – the Metaverse – is expected to go mainstream within the next decade. It will be more virtually driven and allow for more rapid globalization.