chapter  1
33 Pages

Introduction

The world is becoming one at last is it not? Pleasant thought, or is it? Ah well, soon it will be a fait accompli and no concern of ours.1

The last two decades have witnessed an explosive proliferation of academic writings on the subject of globalization. Unusually, this has been accompanied by a high level of interest in the media to the extent that, in almost no time at all, globalization has become an accepted term in a vast number of languages throughout the world. As Jan Aart Scholte has pointed out, the term fi rst appeared in a dictionary in 1961 and the terms ‘globalize’ and ‘globalism’ were coined in the forties.2 Yet, in but a blink of an eye, the term has come into such common usage that it is diffi cult to imagine that just two decades ago most regarded it as a neologism. However, such widespread usage has inevitably resulted in the meaning of the concept broadening to include a whole host of issues, running the attendant risk of losing any conceptual focus it had.