Globalization can be defined as a phenomenon where regional economies, civilizations, and societies have become united through a world-spanning link of communication and trade. The process of globalization has come with both positive and negative effects in relatively equal measure. With regards to this paper, there will be a discussion of the effects of the internet on globalization. Further, this paper will entail a conversation of how the internet has a direct effect on politics such as promoting the spread of fake news and propaganda.
Effects of the Internet on Globalization
The Internet and Operation of Businesses Globally
The internet has transformed the business world through the establishment and subsequent use the web as a means of communication or doing business. Organizations that initially had thought of working and competing loc ally are now able to manage clients and work with different organizations around the globe, which is of tremendous benefit for their businesses. This implies expansion of businesses, increase in profits, being able to do business for longer distances or having a global client base among many other advantages (Agrawal). Companies, with the aid of the internet, can now set up workplaces and centers in different nations without experiencing any issue related to distance. They can manage and form associations with other global organizations, and they can employ individuals around the world. Such businesses that have been impacted by the internet, and are now operating on a global scale include those of transport and media among others. It is thus right to argue that the internet has changed business from being local to global.
The Internet, culture and Globalization
The web has turned into the main impetus behind cultural globalization, empowering diverse societies from around the globe to coordinate and exchange their culture. It has thus removed the social hindrance in ways that could never have been thought of before its establishment. This incorporates various factors from collecting cultural data about different nations and societies through music, pictures or different news that come from those countries. This has empowered people all over the world to be culturally aware and understand people of different countries (McGrath). For that reason, it is now easy for people to have friends from different nations on social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter, something that was not there before the establishment and subsequent use of the internet.
The Internet and Communication on a Global Scale
The other effect that the internet has had on globalization is enabling people of different countries to communicate easily. Communications between nations, governments, organizations, and people have all turned out to be easier in modern times because of the internet accessibility (Kaul). From having the capacity to hold conferences with a person on the other side of the world to having the capacity to talk with friends or relatives in another nation, the effect of the internet on communication has been significant. This in turn has made it possible for globalization to take more root as people can now connect or communicate throughout the world where there is internet connectivity more easily than before the establishment and subsequent use of the internet. Communication through the internet is done in many ways, for instance, through emails, social media platforms, or videoconferencing.
Internet Effects on Governments and Economy
Another key area the internet has been able to influence with regard to globalization is the government and the economy. The web has made it less demanding for government leaders to physically meet to foster relationships between them, either for political or business reasons. The economy has also profited from the discovery of the internet and its role on globalization, because it enhances collaboration between governments, particularly on trade and business. This has made imports and exports less troubling, thus improving the economy of different states around the globe.
The Effect of the Internet on Politics
The Internet in the Promotion of Fake News and Propaganda
It is interesting to note that many people tend to believe that whatever has been posted on the internet is true. This observation has helped spread fake news as people trust the information they acquire online; thus, depicting how the perception of the public can be influenced. With the introduction of social networking sites acting as drivers of indoctrination and the application of easily accessible tools; for instance, search engine optimization (SEO) and snap farms, influencing public opinion online is no longer seen as a heavy duty (Kwang). Further, most people tend to believe information that has been distributed at face value, notwithstanding how peculiar it may seem.
According to research conducted by Trend Micro, fake news has increasingly become familiar to many people during in the last one year. The survey further established that increased internet connectivity and the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have enabled sharing and spreading of information; hence, solving the challenges of physical borders as well as limitations of time and distance. In addition, the research found out that the public’s perception of reality has become easy to manipulate; as a result, leading to propagation of fake news that tampers with factual information. Moreover, the research pointed out that individuals following fake news take advantage of the short attention people have while seeking information in the digital era. Therefore, the internet is slowly starting to be viewed as a tool that propagates propaganda all over the world. The most recent example is how fake news might have affected the US presidential election of 2016 and allegations of Russia spreading fake news using social media platforms (Kwang).
Small local groups can utilize the web for political reasons, for instance, mobilizing people nationally or globally. The Internet has permitted more restricted gatherings to consolidate people which then makes it a useful tool to play a role in both national and global politics. For instance, leaders of different political parties in the United States have utilized the internet both in the past and present times to arrange meetings, spread propaganda, and exchange strategies since the late 1990s. Instances such as the Mexican Zapatista Movement, whose leaders utilized the internet to have its grievances heard, and then rally the international community to put pressure on the Mexican government in the mid-to-late 1990s (“International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences”).
Further, activists engaged with the world environmental movement utilized the internet in June 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, a gathering described casually as the Earth Summit, to arrange for meetings and various activities. In 1992 Rio sessions, these gatherings sorted out and introduced their positions to delegates using the internet. Because of the internet enabling people to communicate across borders, the sentiments of these gatherings were considered and incorporated into the subsequent events. In spite of the fact that the activities at Rio sessions happened before the establishment of the internet to be used by political movements, it demonstrated the capability of the recently developed innovation and the early utilization of the internet (“International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences”). Although the internet was not adequately across the board for gatherings to contact open crowds, the environmental groups utilized e-mail to speak with technophiles in different gatherings and to organize activities. The capacity of the internet to impact authoritarian social orders stays unclear, however, its effect on open social orders is commonly acknowledged.
Internet Use in Polarizing Political Views
Despite the growth in numbers of Americans who go online in search of political news, more than half of Americans who use the internet are worried of its influence and portray it as a tool used in catalyzing political extremism. According to Pew's Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, between the year 2002 and the year 2010, the number of Americans who depended on the internet in order to acquire news related to elections more than tripled from 7% to 24% (Bosker). The same research established that 55% of American web users alluded to the fact that the internet is escalating the influence of people with extreme political views. On the other hand, over half the number of those surveyed came to a conclusion that the internet aided them to connect with other users who consider their own political viewpoints, as well as 34% coming out clearly that they search for news sources that underline their beliefs.
Nonetheless, the accessibility of extreme viewpoints online tends to lead to the perception that the internet has provided a breeding ground for more polarized political standpoints. It is important to note that the presence of radical sites do not essentially mean that people’s political standpoints are influenced at any given time. With the Republicans constituting 44% of the poll respondents and 37% for the Democrats, the survey suggested that the respondents consider political news from sources that are in line with their beliefs, studies that have been conducted previously depict that what users talk about their news consumption habits is different from how they behave (Bosker). With regards to Gentzkow’s research that was published in the year 2000, it was established that individuals with revolutionary viewpoints not only accessed radical sites but also created time to access moderate sites as well as those sites that differed with their points of view.
Use of the Internet by Politicians to Contact the Public
The internet has been used by political organizations and individuals to communicate with the public and as such, the electorate. Most of the political organizations and politicians have developed websites which provide information about their policies, contact details, and links that are related to other pages (Heblich). In addition, such web pages have provisions that enable the user to interact with web developers in a way that they can give feedback about what is contained in the page, share viewpoints about policies or specific issues, and provide aid by donating or volunteering. In the world of today, political websites are not only established by political organizations and individuals but also by groups that are referred to as information intermediaries. Information intermediaries are groups that provide a compilation of websites that have been developed by different political organizations. It is imperative to note that these sites can either be bipartisan or neutral for that matter (Williams). Besides, intermediary sites enable its users to have access to political philosophers’ texts, news about events, and discussion programs which help the users to deliberate their concerns with others.
Moreover, the e-mail is the other fundamental element of the internet and it is widely used in the dissemination of political information. The e-mail aids people from geographically different places to communicate in a convenient, cheap, and fast manner. The use of the e-mail within political parties has aided in the organization of the party; in order to make sure that party members are briefed of issues so as to act on them appropriately. Further, the use of the e-mail has been witnessed in canvassing issues with party supporters and spread the beliefs of the organization. Email records, which allow one message to be presented on a huge number of subscribed recipients, are integral assets that encourage political discourses and activism. These lists might be 'claimed' by political associations or be non-factional in nature, and are regularly controlled by a human mediator who stands in the position of a 'Master of Ceremony' role (Williams). Records that are overseen might be more significant than unmediated records, as superfluous or hostile messages can be caught before they are sent to alternate supporters to the list.
Internet and Political Campaign across the world
The internet has of recent past been a good platform for politicians, governments and various political groups to not only campaign for various elective seats, but also promote their agenda. Starting with the illegal groups that have political agenda such as the al-Qaida, Islamic state and al-Shabaab, all have used the internet to either threaten their adversaries, advance their political agendas or campaign for those who consider themselves as sympathizers to offer any help they need (Heblich). In the absence of a platform where such groups, widely considered to be criminal, to share their views and elaborate more on why they are misunderstood, the internet thus act as the only remaining platform where such groups can communicate to a large group of people all over the world without any restriction or limit to distance and audience. On the other hand, politicians have used the internet to campaign for themselves. For instance, during the military intervention in Libya by NATO and the US, the countries that sponsored the intervention used the internet as one of the platforms to try to convince the international community and the whole world as such that the intervention was a just one and it was the right thing to do to avoid more bloodshed in Libya. However, as things would later unfold, the Libyan situation was not as was portrayed and that the NATO led army and the US had other anterior motives for ousting and subsequently leading to the murder of the then Libyan leader. Therefore, the discussion demonstrates that the internet can be used as a tool for political reasons, especially, due to its features which favor the spread of information to a large area, without the limitation of time and audience.
The discussion has demonstrated that the internet has affected globalization in many ways such that it has enabled business operations to move from local and it is now possible to be conducted globally. In addition, the internet has facilitated cultural exchange which has then empowered different societies around the globe in the sense that people are not only able to learn the culture of other people, but also improve the interaction and friendship of people of different culture. Moreover, the internet has enhanced communication on a global scale between governments, organizations, and people from different parts of the globe. It is also evident that the internet has shaped economies of different countries considering the fact that the world has become a global village where it is easier to import and export goods and services from one nation to another. However, the internet seems to be influencing globalization both positively news and propaganda. Also, it has encouraged polarizing political views. On the positive side, on the other hand, the internet has enabled politicians and political groups to contact the public, and improve relations between countries, either political relations or trading also referred as business relations.
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