A Social Studies Unit for Grade levels: 10-12
Author: Benicia D'sa (email@example.com)
Graduate Student, Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education, Utah State University
This unit is intended for high school social studies teachers who are teaching the complex subject of Globalization.
Students will be able to:
- Understand the basic constituents of globalization.
- Understand the various international organizations working for and against globalization.
- Discuss the functions of these international organizations.
- Assess and evaluate the impact of globalization on the environment.
- Discuss the various alternatives to increased industrialization.
- Explore the impact of world trade.
- Understand the rules that guide international trade and are used to develop international agreements.
- Understand the development and purposes of the World Trade Organization.
What is Globalization?
"Globalization is the increasing development and deepening of world markets in capital, in goods and in services by the increasing occurrence of commercial exchanges across international boundaries" (Warby, 1999, p.1).
This definition characterizes the important elements in globalization.
1. It is an economic process.
2. It involves increasing interaction of national economic systems.
3. There is a growth in international trade, investment and capital
There are various definitions on globalization (http://www.globalisationguide.org/01.html).
Anthony Giddens, a reputed sociologist, defines globalization as a "decoupling of space and time emphasizing that with instantaneous communications, knowledge and culture can be shared around the world simultaneously"(Introduction section, para. 4).
Rudd Lubbers, former Netherlands premier and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, defines it as "a process in which geographic distance becomes a factor of diminishing importance in the establishment and maintenance of cross border economic, political and socio-cultural relations"(Introduction section, para. 5).
There are some who say that globalization is just academic and media propaganda.
Logically, there can be no process of globalization in a world order of nation states. A world order is already global, by definition. The logic of 'globalization' is false, but the idea has become an ideology. For different reasons, different people claim that there is globalization. (p.1)
For more on Treanor go to http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/globalisation.html
What are the conditions for globalization?
Michael Warby (1999) has set down the three conditions for globalization:
1. The existence of a long period of peace between the major powers like United States, Britain, France and Germany since the end of the Second World War.
2. Advancement in transport, communication, information retrieval and storage, which have become less expensive as compared to previous years.
3. Decisions of national governments to avail of the benefits of global markets.
I have added two more conditions:
4. Close relationships that have developed between countries due to their respective special interests.
5. Certain countries having the comparative advantage of producing certain crops or manufacturing equipment and many other products.
Peace is an important factor to facilitate globalization. We cannot have trade between countries in an environment of tension and conflict. In a period of war, there is an unfavorable climate for trade as a result of high inflation in prices due to uncertainty.
Technological development also fosters globalization by making travel and freight cheaper than before. Michael Warby (1999) elucidates that "technological change means much more can be achieved with a given amount of human effort, either because existing resources can be used more easily, or things which did not used to be available as resources become so"(p.2). Warby gives an example of bauxite. Bauxite was useless except for road filler until the processes of commercial smelting of aluminium were developed. Bauxite became dramatically more valuable, but metal suddenly became cheaper as this new resource entered the market.
Warby (1999) shares some statistics with respect to freight, travel and international phone calls:
$1000 of sea freighting in 1950 now costs $820.
$1000 of air travel in 1950 now costs $290.
$1000 of international phone calls in 1950 now costs $37.
Given that average weekly earnings have increased in real terms more than two and a half times in the same period;
what took 16 days of earnings, at average male earnings in 1950, to buy in sea freight now takes 5 days of earnings;
16 days earnings worth of air travel now takes 1 and three quarter days of earnings; and
16 days earnings worth of international phone calls now takes one hour and 50 minutes of earnings.(Warby, 1999, p.2)
These statistics demonstrate the low costs of transport and communication arising from the information technology revolution which has made it easier for markets to cross international borders.
The third condition is the decision of national governments to expand their countries participation in global markets. This decision requires governments to remove barriers to trade across their borders of capital, goods and services.
The fourth condition, close relationships that have developed between countries due to special interests, as an example, would include the European Union, as a conglomeration of countries, that would engage in trade in order to boost their economies and the European currency, the Euro.
The fifth condition to foster globalization is countries having the comparative advantage engaging in productive trade. A country has a comparative advantage when it has the ability to produce a product relatively more efficiently, or at a lower opportunity cost. The concept of comparative advantage is based on the premise that everyone will be better off producing the products they produce relatively best. This applies to individuals, companies, states and regions as well as to nations. The end result is that specialization and trade increases total world output (Clayton, 2001).
For additional information on globalization, a detailed conceptual map is given on this web site http://globalize.kub.nl/map.htm
When did globalization begin?
There is no consensus about the starting point of globalization. It is presumed that globalization started with the first great expansion of European capitalism in the 16th Century, followed by an expansion in world trade and investment in the late nineteenth century.The establishment of the Date Line and world time zones along with the near global adoption of the Gregorian calendar set the stage for global trade.
Who are the players in the global market?
There are various players, some are pro-globalization and some are anti-globalization.
Pro-globalization groups are:
The World Trade Organization (WTO) http://www.wto.org
The WTO was established in January 1995 in Geneva, Switzerland to administer the rules of international trade agreed to by its 144 member countries (as of 1 January 2002).
1. Administering WTO trade agreements
2. Forum for trade negotiations
3. Handling trade disputes
4. Monitoring national trade policies
5. Technical assistance and training for developing countries
6. Cooperation with other international organizations
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) http://www.imf.org
The IMF was established after the World War II in 1946 to:
Promote international cooperation on finance, Encourage stability in exchange rates and orderly systems for exchanging money between countries
Providing temporary assistance for countries suffering balance of payments problems
The World Bank www.worldbank.org
The World Bank was founded in 1944 and is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. The bank works with governmental agencies, non- governmental organizations and the private sector to formulate assistance strategies. The bank provides loans for investment projects, such as water and sanitation, natural resource management, education and health.
The other international organizations are
United Nations www.un.org
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development www.oecd.org
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development www.unctad.org
The World Economic Forum www.weforum.org
The World Social Forum www.forumsocialmundial.org
Anti-globalization groups are:
The Friends of the Earth www.foe.org
The Sierra Club www.sierraclub.org
These groups argue that globalization harms the environment. They accuse multi-national corporations for global warming, the depletion of natural resources, the production of harmful chemicals and the destruction of organic agriculture.
Developing country organizations:
Left activist organizations on developing issues, such as the Third World Network www.twnside.org.
These organizations are concerned that the global organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are not doing enough to alleviate poverty and may be contributing to it. They propose cancellation of their debts with international banks.
Left critics of capitalism:
Corporate watch www.corporatewatch.org
International Forum on Globalization www.ifg.org
Global Policy Forum www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/index.htm
Global Solidarity Dialogue www.antenna.nl/~waterman/
These organizations are devoted to monitoring the activities of global organizations and the development of globalization
For more information on anti-globalization players go to
Suggested web-site for further reading
www.globalisationguide.org &endash; Pros and Cons are discussed with reference to the topics listed below:
- Reasons for global inequality
- Costs and benefits of free trade
- Role of the internet and communications technology in globalization
- Is globalization shifting power from nation states to undemocratic organizations?
- Globalization and culture
- Environmental impacts of globalization
- Developed countries and Developing countries
- Globalization and its alternatives
News web-sites on Globalization
Globalization: What on Earth is it about?
Globalization: For and against
For Advanced reading
Go to http://globalize.kub.nl/ for:
Of renowned Professors Ruud Lubbers and Jolanda Koorevaar, for example,
The Dynamic of Globalization Governance in an era of globalization
Globalization and the Social Fabric: Realizing Human Values in the New Millennium
Clayton, G. E. (2001). Economics principles and practices. New York. GlencoeMcGraw-Hill.
Miller, R. (2001). Glencoe economics today and tomorrow. New York. GlencoeMcGraw-Hill.
Pennington, R. (1999). Holt economics. Austin. TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Warby, M. (1999). Globalisation, Economic Rationalism and Public Policy. Lecture to Public Policy students. Geelong Campus. Deakin University. Australia.
Globalisation what's it all about? Retrieved April 18,2002, from http://www.tidec.org/Globalisation/what_about.html
Globalisation, Economic Rationalism and Public Policy. Retrieved April 18,2002, from http://www.ipa.org.au/Speechesandsubmssns/mwglobalsum.html
Globalisation Guide.org. Retrieved April 28,2002, from http://www.globalisationguide.org
No Globalisation. Retrieved April 28,2002, from http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/globalisation.htm
The World Trade Organization. Retrieved April 29,2002, from http://www.wto.org
The World Bank. Retrieved April 29,2002, from http://www.worldbank.org
- The learner will be able to:
- Relate fluctuations on gas prices to global trade. (Day 1)
- Make connections with the information revolution and globalization. (Day 2)
- Assess the impact of globalization through familiarity with home equipment,
- electronic gadgets, clothing, food products and so on. (Day 3)
- Identify the important elements of globalization. (Days 1, 2 and 3)
Books, pens/pencils, paper, computers with Internet access and blackboard
Divide students into five groups. Each group must go through the web-site
http://www.howstuffworks.com/gas-price.htm &endash; How Gas Prices Work
Groups would select one of the five topics listed below
1. Introduction to how gas prices work
2. Guzzling gas in America
3. Where your money goes
4. Control of the oil market
5. Domestic supplies
Then, group leaders would make their presentations on the various topics that they have researched on the Internet (topics allotted to them). The teacher, then, leads the discussion on the influence of world trade on Oil Prices. The salient features of globalization are examined in the class.
How many gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel does our personal vehicles use each year?
Why are we disturbed by gas prices?
When do gas prices increase?
How do countries which form the OPEC control production of oil? How is this control reflected in domestic gas prices?
Students would read the article on the Internet "Weavers Go Dot-Com, and Elders Move In" See web-site below.
Divide the students into convenient groups and ask them to discuss the article in their groups. Then, the teacher would lead the discussion on how globalization had an impact on a tribal village in South America. Students would examine the impact of Internet in their daily life. Each student must write down the positive and negative effects of the Internet.
Suggested questions: (adapted from http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20000330thursday.html )
Who restored the ancient art of hand-weaving large hammocks from locally grown cotton, and why?
How did the weavers venture into e-business and make large sums of money?
What has caused the tension between the weavers and the traditional leadership in this tribal society?
What was the influence of e-commerce on the sales of the hammocks?
How did the struggle for power affect the weaver's society?
Divide the students into four groups. Each group must visit a department store. Each group must be allotted a section of the department store, for example, kitchen equipment, furniture, food products and so on. Each group must write the name of the product and the manufacturing country.
Group leaders will make their presentations in class. Teacher will discuss the terms comparative and absolute advantage, specialization and relate it to interdependence and interconnectedness among world regions.
Comparative advantage, absolute advantage, globalization, trade, interdependence, specialization, interconnectedness, free trade, restrictions, relative to other countries, indigenous.
American History &endash; "Compare the Industrial Revolution which took place in the 1800's to the Dot-com Revolution. What do both revolutions have in common? How do they differ?"
Who are the persons responsible for Guyana's independence? What was the influence of the British coloialists on this country?
Geography &endash; "Pinpoint the village of Lethem and discover why cotton grows so well there. Explore the Southern Savannas."
Looking at the physical features of Guyana, what would be the permanent crops in this country? How would cotton cultivation affect the occupations of the people?
Math &endash; Find out the gas prices in each state of the United States for a week. Determine the trend of the gas prices of each state in that one- week period. Compare it with the gas prices in the following week. Do gas prices follow a particular pattern? If yes, why?
Suggested web-sites for advanced reading.
The United Nations agency, Unctad, has published a report, E-Commerce and Development that may be downloaded from this website.
Stephen Kobrin of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania contributes a paper on "Economic Governance in an Electronically Networked Global Economy"- http://www-management.wharton.upenn.edu/kobrin/
The Church aid organisation, World Vision International presents three perspectives on globalisation and poverty.
The International Labor Organisation compiled a CD-ROM on globalisation in 1997. The material is a bit dated, but can now be accessed from its web site.
The learner will be able to::
- Identify the various international organizations working for globalization. (Day 1)
- Identify the various international organizations working against globalization. (Day 2)
- Assess and evaluate the impact of globalization on environment. (Day 2)
- Reason out the alternatives to increased industrialization. (Day 3)
Books, pens/pencils, paper, computers with Internet access and blackboard.
Divide the students into convenient groups. Each group is required to identify the functions of one of the listed international organizations. The information can be accessed through the Internet.
The international organizations would be:
1. World Trade Organization.
2. International Monetary Fund.
3. World Bank.
4. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
5. World Economic Forum
6. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Each group leader would present their findings to the class. The reasons/need for the founding (formation) of each of the international organizations would be discussed.
Divide the students into convenient groups. Each group would be asked to identify the contention of one international anti-globalization group.
1. Friends of the Earth.
3. The Sierra Club
4. Oxfam www.oxfam.org
5. Corporate Watch www.corporatewatch.org
6. International Forum on Globalization www.ifg.org
Teacher and students would discuss the need for checks and balances in global trade. They would critically analyze the cost and benefits of free trade.
Divide students into convenient groups. Each group would investigate on an industry, its benefits and its pollutants. This could be done, if possible, by visiting the industry or checking out newspaper articles or Internet resources on the specific industry.
Some of the industries could be:
1. Chemical Industry
2. Oil Wells
3. Plastic Industry
4. Steel Industry
5. Nuclear Energy
Each group would analyze the impact of an existing industry on the economy. The environmental costs and benefits of the industry would be discussed. Students would discuss possible solutions/alternatives to prevailing problems.
Ecology, environmentally degrading industries, bio-diversity, subsistence, cost-benefit ratio, transnational, global warming
Consider the problems of global warming, depletion of ozone layer, Carbon dioxide pollutants and the rapid industrialization of countries. Is it worth the trade off? Discuss environmental hazards on the quality of life at present and the future.
Investigate the United States involvement in international organizations, pro-globalization and anti-globalization, both historically and currently.
Do an analysis of the World Bank. Make a list of the donors and the borrowing countries with the amount donated or lent for five consecutive years. If possible, make another list of the countries and the amount, which the World Bank has decided is irrecoverable and thus cancelled for five consecutive years. The same period (years) should be chosen for both the analyses. This exercise is done to have a comprehensive view of the organization (working) of the World Bank http://www.worldbank.org/about/whatis/(where we get money, where does the money go).
Find out if there exists any political or economic relationship between donor countries and borrowing countries. (For example, are they members of any common organization such as NAFTA, European Union, OPEC.)
Find out the relationship between the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) % of a borrowing country and the amount borrowed from the World Bank in a time frame of five years (from the time the money is lent by the World Bank).
This would help in tracing out the efficacy of loans given by the World Bank.
For example, India has borrowed $13 million from the World Bank for hydroelectric projects in 1995. What was the GDP growth rate in the subsequent five years? Go to http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html for the economic statistics.
Suggested web sites for advanced reading
Nicholas Bayne of the London School of Economics investigates whether public protests dramatise the political salience of trade policy available on this well resourced page.
Papers from a workshop on globalization and public policy held at the University of Toronto can be downloaded at
Lesson Three: World Trade Organization (Adapted from Site)
The learner will be able to:
- Understand the development and purposes of the World Trade Organization. (Day 1)
- Investigate the impact of trade on a global scale, the rules that guide international trade, and trade agreements that have been developed to help guide international trade. (Day 2 and 3)
- Empathize the arguments for and against globalization.(Day 4)
Books, pens/pencils, paper, computers with Internet access and blackboard.
Divide the students into six groups. Ask them to check the web-site
Each group would select a different principle and make notes on it. The group leader will do a presentation of each principle. It will be followed by a discussion in the class.
Principles of the trading system
1.Trade without discrimination (two groups)
- Most-favoured-nation (MFN): treating other people equally
- National treatment: treating foreigners and locals equally
2. Freer trade: gradually through negotiation
3. Predictability: through binding
4. Fair competition
5. Development and Economic Reform
What do you understand by the term "most-favored-nation"? What are the benefits of being a member of the MFN group?
Why are tariffs attached to imports? How does it affect the exporting country? Give an example.
What was the outcome of the Uruguay Round of talks? How does it affect countries today?
Day Two and Three:
Divide the students into convenient groups; explain that they will be investigating the agreements of the WTO. (Teachers could do a Jigsaw arrangement)
They will be able to find it on http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm0_e.htm
Each group will select a section on the agreements. The group leaders will do a presentation on these sections. The teacher along with the students will discuss the rationale behind these agreements (rules and impact).
Day Four (Culminating Activity):
Students can do a role play and interchange roles between pro-globalization players and anti-globalization players. This would help them in understanding the contention between the two groups.
An example would be construction of dams (Narmada River Valley Project). One group of students could play the part of the World Bank. The other group could be the environmentalists or anti-globalization players (Narmada Bachao Andolan). The World Bank could discuss the financing of the dams and the benefits that will accrue to the country. The environmentalists and anti-globalization players could argue about the displacement of farmers at the river side or about the flooding of the banks of the river. Then, they could exchange roles. The example is a real one. You could get information from the web site. This exercise would lead to understanding on both sides and may facilitate a harmonious (compromise) agreement.
Negotiating, intervention, tariffs, agreements, concessions, disputes, arbitration, unilateral
Inter-disciplinary Connections as discuss in: Site
"Investigate the United States'involvement in international trade, both historically and currently."
"Explore how world trade affects cultures around the globe. How does cultural diffusion occur?"
"Graphically compare economic statistics among member countries of the World Trade Organization (imports, exports, gross national product, gross domestic product, etc.) What do these statistics indicate about the role of fair trade among these nations?"
Suggested web-sites for advanced reading
Globalization and human rights is the topic of a documentary broadcast by U.S. public broadcaster PBS which has made transcripts and additional resources available at:
The World Trade Organisation presents a response to those who believe it dictates government policies in an account of ten common misunderstandings about its function.