chapter  4
20 Pages

World Problems and Specific State Problems

One of the confusions stemming from the conventional view of globalization portrays the world as being transformed from a state-based international system to a globally based arrangement. Such a perspective arises from giving exaggerated emphasis to the effects of the reduced costs of transportation and communications that have occurred over the course of the last century and a half and to the spread of the international system across the globe. From that focus, some observers make great inferential leaps from facts like instantaneous communications to speculations about an imagined world community. Moreover, in the private sector, some multinational firms have moved from basing their investment and operating strategies in a single country to spreading their manufacturing and distribution activities across many states. Confusion arises from conflating scope of activity by individual firms with a presumed structural unity within which they operate. Clearly, firms are not the basic structural units that form the fundamental organization of the world. Nor does the globe form the unit of organization. States comprise the international system in which they and other entities conduct relations and operations (Giddens 1987; Jackson and James 1993; Offe 1996).