What is globalization? On a simple level, Globalization seems to be a a name for the increased interconnectedness of cultures, a world of complex mobilities and interconnections, characterized by cultural flows of capital, people, commodities, images, and ideologies

"Neo-liberal" Globalization seems primarily to be about opening up markets (to multinational or rather a-national corporations), enabling a globally distributed production system. (using the least expensive labor worldwide) to produce branded objects (or lifestyles) for worldwide consumption. 

Globalization is made possible by informational technologies, which allow for rapid movements of capital as well as information, and by the movements of goods, services, and peoples. Globalization results in the formation of a single market, or rather the arrival of players who can take advantage of variations in markets (arbitrage) eg: corporations such as Nike who use inexpensive labor, wherever it is, to create a branded image that is meant to have global appeal...or financial traders (eg. George Soros) who can take instant advantage of financial market conditions on an unprecedented scale. "the man who broke the pound." or finally "super-empowered individuals" such as Osama Bin Laden

Globalization seems to escape any control or containment by nation-states. Indeed, the principal criticism of this latest form of capitalism is that no controls can be exerted on its principal actors, although the ideological arguments for opening up global markets make the claim that democracy as well as wealth go hand in hand with free markets. For John Gray, en False Dawn, the new international laissez-faire system is anarchic, unstable, and has no provisions for the protection of labor, the environment, and social stability. The apparent eclipse of the nation-state is offset by the prominence of global cities: financial centers (an international yet highly localized network) migrant workers "diasporic cultural communities" (Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City as Latin American Cities) 

Globalization entails a transformation of time and space, a "space-time compression" -- in which the speeding up of post- fordist economic and social processes has experientially shrunk the globe. (David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, 1989) (see real time.) Does this hypermobility result in the neutralization of distance, in new forms of deterritorialized proximity-- in what Manuel Castells calls a space of flows? (see space / place ) Do these technological transformations in communications / mobility (fax, portable phone, internet) mean that no society can be cut off? Does globalization enable the formation of hybrid cultural groups? (see Appadurai) 

Is Globalization the latest phase in the social transformations of the West variously described as modernization / postmodernism / Empire? (see local / global ) Does globalization flow only from the West to the Rest? 

Is globalization another name for Americanization, or Westernization? Is it the latest form of the West's Cultural Imperialism, now deterritorialized, uprooted from its historical birthplace? Is it "An American monoculture (which) would inflict a sad future on the world, one in which the world is converted to a global supermarket where people have to choose between the local Ayatollah and Coca-Cola." (Regis Debray) Why can't we have both? Does the global dissemination of cultural practices result in the cultural homogenization of the world? Cultural materials do not transfer in a unilinear manner. They always entail interpretation, translations, and customization. 

Or, as Samuel Huntington argues, does this latest form of modernization strengthen historic cultures and reduce the relative power of the West? Is the reverse flow from the "rest to the west" resulting in the peripherilization of the core? (Huntington notwithstanding) Globalization cannot be conceived solely as a one-way, western imperialism. It must be understood as a process of mutual, if uneven infiltration. 

What is the relation between globalization and gaia ?