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Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson

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Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson

Before we consider the future of ‘globalisation’ we must define its nature and outline its past. This is a complex and contested concept. If we take growing international interconnectedness – increasing flows of trade, investment and communications between nations – to be what most people mean by the term, then ‘globalisation’ has been happening for the last 50 years. Moreover, new technologies – long distance jets, satellites, IT, fibre optic cables – have made international travel, media and financial exchanges far easier, enabling dramatic increases in traffic volumes. The key questions are threefold. First, are these economic and social processes linking nations since 1945 unprecedented? Second, are these processes developing at the expense of state and national governance, that is, are national economies dissolving into a global marketplace and relations between states becoming secondary to more complex interactions between a variety of economic, social and political agencies? Third, is international economic interconnectedness set to increase or decrease?