The 1990s were the decade of globalization, not simply in academic settings but also in public policy worldwide. Earlier the idea of globalization was promoted in the global marketing and strategic planning of transnational corporations, led by Coca-Cola, Ford and McDonald's. Relying on standardized production methods, long recognized as the rationalization of the world, they customized a core, globally recognizable product for national markets.
Corporate global strategies drew on a preexisting global imagery and metaphors. The potential of worldwide television broadcasting prompted Marshall McLuhan's 'global village' (1962) even before space exploration and satellite communication caught the public imagination. Both message content and technology were global. President Jimmy Carter's farewell address to America in 1981 pointed to a similar duality with new weapons technology. The same rocket technology for delivering nuclear warheads enabled us to see the earth as a fragile globe. Global science was also a threat to the globe.
These effects mean a change in the relations of humankind to its environment, an epochal shift that the discourse of the global registers. It refers then to more than the expansionary aspirations of Western capitalism. The unchanging basic thrust of capitalism for centuries prompts the frequently asked question 'What is different now?' that can justify the new discourse of the global, globality, globalism and globalization. The answer lies in the consequences, in all that the 'limits to growth' (Meadows et al., 1972) imply, in the changed frame for new ventures.
Considering something as a totality has no necessary connection with taking the earth as the territorial frame. The French language renders this distinction effectively through globalization for totality, and mondialization for extension worldwide. In English they are confused. The spread of standardized practices that George Ritzer (1993), from a Weberian position, calls McDonaldization is not tied logically to planetary...