Globalization Index Essay

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of the term globalization emerged in an article in the October 5, 1962, issue of The Spectator. However, it was not until the early 1980s that the term began to take shape within academia. Since then, the term globalization has been considered the most quoted, mentioned, and used term in world history so far. The term globalization encompasses a range of social, political, and economic changes. Some disciplines including anthropology and sociology focus on cultural changes of growing interconnectedness and the increasing ease of travel. Some disciplines such as political science examine the role of international political institutions like the United Nations and the increasing power of transnational corporations. Other disciplines such as economics track the exchange of finances, goods, and services through expanding global markets.

Theodore Levitt defines globalization as a powerful force driving the world toward a converging commonality. Sociologist Anthony Giddens defines globalization as a decoupling of space and time, emphasizing that with instantaneous communications, knowledge and culture can be shared around the world simultaneously. As one of the most well-known economists and pioneers of globalization, Jagdish Bhagwati claims that globalization is very often used to refer to economic globalization, that is, integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and technology via reductions in the barriers to trade, and increased capital flows, stimulated foreign direct investment, technology and knowledge transfer.

World explorations in the 16th century linked continents, economies, and cultures as never before, and that led to a big expansion in international trade and investment throughout the late 19th century. However, Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson demonstrated that there is little evidence of global integration of commodity markets before the early 19th century by utilizing data on commodity price convergence. Their evidence shows that the first wave of globalization began in 1820 rather than the 16th century and it was the period from about 1870 up until World War I that witnessed the most impressive period of globalization.

Then, for Brian Snowdon, the first age of globalization came to an end in 1914 with the beginning of the first world war, and the first age of globalization went into sharp reversal during the 1914–50 period as it collapsed during the gold standard crisis in the late 1920s, the Great Depression in the early 1930s, and World War II between the years of 1939 and 1945. The world economy deglobalized as the world’s economies became more protectionist. This was the period when “great reversals” in globalization took place in the goods, financial, and labor markets. Until the end of World War II there were no discussions regarding development with the process of globalization, and it has taken over 50 years to rebuild the global economic system. Finally, the second phase of globalization started in the 1950s, developed with the establishment of the international organizations with the Bretton Woods agreements in 1944, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), and continues today with the liberalization activities in financial markets, international trade, foreign direct investment, and with the innovations in technology and the knowledge economy.


The most well-known index for globalization is the KOF index. The KOF Index of Globalization was introduced in 2002 by the KOF Swiss Economic Institute and the index was published by Axel Dreher and his team. The overall index measures the economic, social, and political dimensions of globalization. Now data is available on a yearly basis for 122 countries, and the 2007 index introduces an updated version of the original index. In constructing the indices of globalization, the variables are transformed to an index on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 is the maximum value for a specific variable over the periods and 1 is the minimum value. Higher values denote greater globalization. According to the index, the world’s most globalized countries are Belgium, Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The least globalized countries are Haiti, Myanmar, the Central African Republic, and Burundi.

Another very popular measure of globalization is the joint publication of A. T. Kearney Foreign Policy Magazine Index (KFP). The KFP aims to provide a comprehensive measure of the extent of globalization across the world by assessing and ranking 62 countries, representing all the major regions that account for 96 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and 85 percent of the world’s population. The KFP index concentrates on four main dimensions of globalization: economic integration, technological connectivity, personal contact, and political engagement. According to the KFP Index, in 2006, Singapore, Ireland, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Denmark were the most globalized countries, while Egypt, Indonesia, India, and Iran were the least globalized countries in the list.

Key Players

Antiglobalization (mundialism) is a term used to describe the political, economic, and sociological stance of people, groups, and organizations who oppose the neoliberal ideology of globalization. Some antiglobalization groups and organizations are the International Institute for Sustainable Development; the International Forum on Globalization; Greenpeace; the World Wide Fund for Nature; Oxfam; Friends of the Earth International; the Center for International Environmental Law; Public Citizen; Consumers International; the World Conservation Union; Focus on the Global South; One World; the Third World Network; the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development; and the Center for Research on Globalization. Some antiglobalization individuals are Naomi Klein, George Monbiot, Martin Khor, Mary Robinson, Joseph Stiglitz, Noam Chomsky, Dani Rodrik, and John Ralston Saul.

Pro-globalism (globalism) is a term used to describe the political, economic, and sociological stance of people, groups, and organizations who defend the neoliberal ideology of globalization, such as free trade, economic freedom, libertarianism, and democratic globalization. Some pro-globalization groups and organizations are the International Policy Network; Sustainable Development Network; the Competitive Enterprise Institute; the Cato Institute; the Institute of Public Affairs; the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; World Growth; the Heritage Foundation; WTO; IMF; World Bank; and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Some pro-globalization individuals are Johan Norberg, Douglas A. Irwin, Jeffrey Sachs, Jagdish Bhagwati, Martin Wolf, Philippe Legrain, and Mike Moore.


  1. Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defence of Globalization (Oxford University Press, 2004);
  2. Axel Dreher, N. Gaston, and P. Martens, Measuring Globalization: Gauging Its Consequences (Springer, 2001);
  3. Harold James, The End of Globalisation: Lessons from the Great Depression (Harvard University Press, 2001);
  4. Theodora Levitt, “The Globalization of Markets,” Harvard Business Review (May–June 1983);
  5. Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson, “Once More: When Did Globalisation Begin?” European Review of Economic History (April 2004);
  6. Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson, “When Did Globalisation Begin?” European Review of Economic History (June 2002);
  7. Brian Snowdon, Globalisation, Development and Transition (Edward Elgar, 2007);
  8. Peter Temin, “Globalisation,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy (December 1999);
  9. “The Globalization Index,” Foreign Policy (v.157, 2006).

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