7 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 5 (1999-2000)
A Tour of Globalization

handle is hein.journals/ijgls7 and id is 11 raw text is: A Tour of Globalization
BRUCE MAZLISH*
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it was fashionable to
take a Grand Tour of the world to round out one's education. In fact, such a
Tour was generally restricted to Western Europe and perhaps North Africa
and, as such, was decidedly eurocentric. Today, we travel widely across the
globe, called by some a global village. To understand the globalized space
and time in which we live, I propose to undertake a tour of globalization;
that is, to travel mentally in its realm. My aim is to map the topic as a
project and as a research area.
Globalization can be defined as a process taking place today before our
eyes. It is also a historical process, whose origins must be sought far back into
the past. Yet, I wish to contend that globalization as we know it is new in its
intensity and in its dimensions-so much so that we can usefully speak of our
entering a new period of history, a global epoch.
Immediately, we are presented with a dating problem with regard to such
an announcement: When did the global epoch begin?' Was it in the 1950s,
with the launch into space and the advent of nuclear power? Or was it the
1970s, with the spread of the information revolution and the extraordinary
compression of space-time facilitated by computers? Or do we have to wait
until 1989 and the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union that ended
a bi-superpolar world and made possible a truly global society?
What distinguishes this new epoch is the synchronicity and synergy
among the factors that make for globalization. It is in these terms that a dating
decision will eventually be made, The factors include the following:
humanity's step into space from which we have a new perspective on
spaceship earth; the development of nuclear energy that gives us the
potential to destroy ourselves, or at least our civilization, with one blow; the
* Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recipient of the Toynbee Prize in
Social Science, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is THE
UNCERTAIN SCIENCES (1998). He is currently working in the field of Global History, among other
endeavors, serving as co-editor of a series in this regard published by Westview Press.
I. There are those who contend, for example, that globalization is not new, that it is to be found in
the nineteenth century, at the time of the second industrial revolution, with proportionately larger amounts
of capital moving around the world than at the present time.

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