Globalisation - A Borderless New World
The process of Globalisation truly began when Homo Sapiens started to colonise the world from Africa - a slow process over thousands of years. Our 20th and 21st centuries, by contrast, are witness to a phenomenal and exponential globalisation pace unequal in the history of mankind (albeit. with its benefits and imbalances). And, from the end of World War II, that globalisation took off vertically. Indeed, at the blink of the eye, the world has become a smaller place. Today, the global interdependence of sovereign states across the world is an undisputable reality; we are in a single global inter-relationship situation. Underlying this break-neck pace of globalisation is our economic engine all too clearly in evidence. But globalisation is not only an economic issue, it is equally reshaping and redefining local and international politics and ushering new cultural and social dimensions.
Trade and commerce are key factors in the evolution of all civilisations. In our 21st century, that economic engine has dramatically evolved to a globalised level. Currently (2016), our World economies are virtually integrated with the consequence that sovereign states are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their national economies independently.
A globalised economy is forcing nation states to work together towards common economic solutions, agreeing on international standards and practices - a cooperation not deemed possible less than 60 years ago.
An additional benefit of a globalised economy is a diminished possibility of a 3rd World War (though not erasing armed conflict entirely). However, our current global economic system is seriously flawed (a cycle of an auto debt creation system, promoting a pursuit of unsustainable growth resulting in an intolerable degradation of our environment). A restructuring of our global monetary system based on sustainabilty is an urgent issue which can only be achieved at an even higher consensual and global level. An integrated global economy will forcibly provide the right background and framework in achieving the required urgent monetary reforms. Whatever the definition and nature of a reformed global economy, one thing is certain, it will inevitably mean radical and painful readjustments on the part of all citizens worldwide, from the richest to the poorest.
The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955)
Visionary French Jesuit, paleontologist, biologist and philosopher
English is currently one of the most widely spoken and written language worldwide. Through the global influence of native English speakers in cinema, music, broadcasting, science, and the Internet, English is now the most widely learned second language in the world. Because a working knowledge of English is required in many fields and occupations, education ministries around the world mandate the teaching of English to at least a basic level. Over 400 million people use the English vocabulary as a mother tongue and over 700 million people, speak English, as a foreign language (only surpassed in numbers, but not in distribution by speakers of the many varieties of Chinese). - Three-quarters of the world's mail, telexes and cables are in English. - More than half of the world's technical and scientific periodicals are in English.
English is the medium for 80% of the information stored in the world's computers and the use of English online has increased by around 281% over the past ten years - English is the language of navigation, aviation and of Christianity; it is the ecumenical language of the World Council of Churches. - Five of the largest broadcasting companies in the world (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC and CBC) transmit in English, reaching millions and millions of people all over the world. China (CNTV), Russia (RT TV), Arab (Al Jazeera) are international TV stations broadcasters in English as well as other languages.
Globalisation is inexorably making the English language critical for communication of information and that means English has become a vital "survival" tool for any person, organisation or country wishing to participate into world affairs. The sad consequence is that over the coming decades, a great number of languages will disappear even faster because there will be no need to preserve them. To some this will be viewed as a great diversity loss to humanity. The blunt fact is that it is simply part of the natural evolution - nothing is ever static in nature; continuous change is the motto of life itself.
Languages Disappearing at an Unprecedented Rate -
Roughly 80 percent of the global population speaks only one percent of its languages. Although the rise, fall and mixing of languages has occurred throughout human history, the rate of loss has been accelerated in recent decades by globalisation.
Not only does the English Language borrow words from other languages,
it sometimes chases them down dark alleys, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets
James Davis Nicoll (Born March 1961) - Canadian, First reader for the "Science Fiction Book Club"
Below is a World map tracking how the Internet is distributed across the entire world (that was 3 years ago - what would it look like today; 2016?). With the advent of the Information Age at the end of the 20th century with its phenomenal growth of communication technologies,
the world has become irreversibly interconnected. One of the defining phenomena of the present times reshaping the world as we know it, is the worldwide accessibility to the internet. Almost all nations are now having a growing percentage of their citizens using the Internet, watching cable/satellite television and with a mobile phone "attached" to their ears - catching up fast with the world's richest countries (communication mediums with no respect of physical frontiers and consequently, with a high global impact bringing universality of thoughts, behaviour and practices). As of May 2015, more than 3 billion humans are now using the Internet (according to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union - ITU). The mobile industry continues to scale rapidly, with a total of 3.6 billion UNIQUE mobile subscribers at the end of 2014 (not counting multiple account subscribers). Half of the world's population now has a mobile subscription—up from just one in five 10 years ago. An additional one billion subscribers are predicted by 2020, taking the global penetration rate to approximately 60%. The mobile ecosystem directly employed nearly 13 million people in 2014, rising to over 15 million by 2020. The sector also indirectly supported nearly 12 million jobs in the broader economy in 2014 and this figure is predicted to rise over 13 million by 2020.
Globally & Socially Networked
Below is a map of the world (2007), drawn by Facebook's employee, Paul Butler, using connections between just 10 million Facebook friends (a mere 2% of its million users!). Even if the world was dark and totally unmapped,
Facebook could produce a map of the world complete with clearly defined borders and continents just with its subscribers network. Quite remarkable. Social media is becoming a globalised parallel world. Users around the globe have built and, are ever more building their personal lives, developing relationships, sharing their experiences and growing businesses. Domains like marketing and advertising have a completely new meaning since social media came on the global scene. It is often quoted that if a person doesn't have a social media account, he or she simply doesn't exist - and the same goes for companies. The lovechild of the World Wide Web is social media, which comes in many forms, including blogs, forums, business networks, photo-sharing platforms, social gaming, microblogs, chat apps, and last but not least social networks. The power of social networking is such that, the number of worldwide users is expected to reach some 2.5 billion by 2018, around a third of Earth's entire population. An estimated half a billion of these users is expected to be from China alone and approximately a quarter of a million from India.
Monthly Active User (MAU) figures for the most active social network in each country add up to almost 2.08 billion – a 12% increase since January 2014. Research conducted by GlobalWebIndex suggests that the average social media user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks and microblogs. Market leader Facebook is the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts 1n 2016 with 38.6% of global online users. June 2014 - for the first time ever, Facebook registered more video views than YouTube (partly due to Facebook’s decision to auto-play videos, resulting in a low video completion rates compared to YouTube but, it is still a clear marker in the sand). Is Facebook about to eat YouTube for dinner in 2016. People across the globe have taken social networking into their homes, offices, on holidays, whilst traveling and it has become an integral part of their daily lives. Facebook possesses the greatest catalog of human life ever created. It is the envy of social scientists who dream of getting just a fraction of that data, to study everything from how social connections are related to job markets, to disease transmission across city borders.
Global Air Travel
On the left is a map of scheduled airline traffic in 2009
Over the last century, commercial aviation has transformed the world in ways unimaginable. Today the global aviation industry provides unprecedented connectivity, directly and indirectly, to people in all corners of the world.
"Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets, and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO (2014). Airline deregulation has now spread to much of the industrialised world, a key development in the globalisation of the air industry. Today, the global airline industry consists of over 2,000 airlines operating more than 23,000 aircraft, providing service to over 3,700 airports (in 2006, before the Financial Crisis, the world's airlines flew almost 28 million scheduled flight and carried over 2 billion passengers). The growth of world air travel has averaged approximately 5% per year over the past 30 years. The ACI (Airport Council International) forecasted, in its 2011 Report, that by 2029 world passenger traffic will more than double, passing the 10 billion passengers per year perhaps, as early as 2027. (NOTE: Military and other civil flights, i.e. clubs, private jets etc. are not counted)
Some key statistics include:
• On average, every day more than 8 million people fly. In 2013 total passenger numbers were 3.1 billion. That number is expected to grow to 3.3 billion in 2014 (equivalent to 44% of the world's population).
• About 50 million tons of cargo is transported by air each year (about 140,000 tons daily). The annual value of these goods is some $6.4 trillion (35% of the value of goods traded internationally).
• Global airline industry turnover is expected to be $743 billion in 2014.
• Aviation supports over 57 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity. The industry's direct economic contribution of around $540 billion would, if translated into the GDP ranking of countries, place the industry in 19th position.
On a cautious note; WHO (World Health Organisation) in a report on an estimated pandemic outbreak, calculated that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any one time. In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals.
"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed of lost airline luggages."
Mark Russell (American political satirist/comedian)
Global Shipping Impact
In addition to fuel costs, ship emissions are an important environmental topic for the shipping industry.
In a 2007 report (published by The Environmental Science and Technology Journal) 60,000 deaths per year worldwide
were attributed to shipping emissions. The above map charts the annual increase in sulfur emissions in the world's shipping lanes.
However, the world is now a global society supported by a global economy
which, simply could not function if it were not for ships and the shipping industry (some claim as the linchpin of the global economy). Today's world fleet is registered in over 150 nations and is manned by over a million seafarers of virtually every nationality. 72% of world shipping is oil tankers and container ships. Significant oil pollution is caused by tankers illegally cleaning their tanks while out at sea and dumping the dirty water overboard. European Airborne surveillance spots an average of 50 vessels discharging their tanks in the sea. 72% of oil pollution caused by shipping is estimated to be deliberate and illegal. The North Sea is the busiest shipping route and over 100,000 tons of oil are dumped in the North Sea. The Arctic sea is also the dumping ground of highly radioactive wastes by Russia in spite of the practice been banned worldwide for more than three decades.
Marine life is known to be susceptible to noise or sound pollution from sources such as passing ships and powerful sonar waves.
Propeller noise pollution
in the ocean is estimated to have increased by about ten decibels, a tenfold increase, over the last two decades.
seismic oil and gas exploration,
scientific research activities, and the use of military sonar and communications equipment have caused an increase in ambient marine noise of two orders of magnitude in the last 60 years. Recent studies suggest that prolonged noise pollution does harm whales directly by causing behavioral changes that interfere with the health and survival of the animals (damaging their hearing, causing internal bleeding and death). There are many claims that beached whales across the world are due to noise pollution disorienting or impairing the whales ability to find their way in the oceans.
The shipping industry is an important key factor in the globalisation process needing a better monitoring of ships at sea by all countries. Regulating the maritime industry to promote safety and security and prevention of pollution from ships worldwide is the function of the International Maritime Organization since its inception in 1959. However, the IMO remains a weak enforcement instrument.