Britain is widely regarded as a Postmodern society, and if this is the
case must be subject to two of the central issues of this
circumstance: those of first globalisation, then multinationalism.
What is it that these concepts constitute that affects contemporary
British society? The academic, David Held describes globalisation as
"the increasing extent, intensity, velocity and impact of world-wide
interconnectedness" - that is the growing extent to which societies,
more local groupings and indeed individuals are interdependent, and
can be affected by events well outside their immediate sphere of
concern. Put simply, it is the decreasing importance of the nation
state and its boundaries. It is as a result of this, most would say,
that communities external to the nation state, and particularly other
nation states, are able to have increasing influence over each other,
in a process described as multinationalism.
In order to consider multinationalism, we must first seek to
understand its prerequisite in globalisation. It is generally regarded
as having initially been an economic phenomenon, brought about by both
an increase in world trade and an accentuated recognition of the
necessity of international co-operation in the wake of World War One.
Its earliest effects may perhaps be demonstrated by the foundation of
the League of Nations, the predecessor in many ways of the UN, in 1919
with the aim of promoting internationalism to prevent a further war.
This however, was just a shift in governments' perception of the
nation state, and the most telling demonstration must surely be in the
world-wide effects of the Wall Street Crash in 1929. A plummet on the
US stock-markets sparked a world-wide depression, seeing the
originally uninvolved Britain and Germany lose approximately 40% of
their world trade as a direct result.
In its most contemporary and widely perceived form, globalisation is
often considered to be the increasing interconnectedness of people and
societies across the world, and the coming of a 'global village'. It
is perhaps due largely to rapid advances in the field of
communications with the development of the Internet, digital
broadcasting, mobile telecommunications and satellite communications,
that the individual of today has such broad horizons, and may consider
the world his own. Similarly, the development of air travel makes it
increasingly possible to travel to anywhere on earth with the minimum
effort, time and cost. This increasing freedom of access for all has
naturally led in part to an erosion of the authority and power of
traditional institutions such as government and religion, and most
importantly has decreased the centrality of the boundaries of
locality, region and nation to the lives of ordinary people.
The gradual growth of consciousness of the...