What lasting legacies of early modern globalization are evident in the early 21st century?
I think that one legacy that globalization has given, even as this century's early moment, is the idea of "the rest." For so long, the political and economic focus of the world's attention was on "the West." America and the European nations were the focal point of the world's attention. This was where commercial progress found its center. Globalization has developed a new setting where "the rise of the rest" became the norm. Countries like Brazil, India, and China emerged as global competitors and took much of the focus away from one area of the world and spread it out. This helped to establish the "flat world," in which advances in technology made the world much closer than it originally seemed. The result of this is an interchanging of economic partners, almost to a point where globalization impacts nearly every aspect of our being. Borders on a map have become not as important as the need to overcome geographic distinction. When customer service is dialed from London, the person on the other end is a world away geographically, and, yet through the power of globalization, that becomes perfectly acceptable.
The flip side of this element has also become part of the globalized world. An economic recession in one part of the world creates ripples throughout the world economy as all nations are dependent and interdependent on one another. There is no longer a sense of economic autonomy or protectionism because globalization has come to mean a "worldwide economic integration." All economies are interrelated. There are no nations, there are no political distinctions. In the most bizarre of ways, Paddy Chayevsky in his script for the 1976 film, Network, foretold of this globalized reality. About a quarter century before it took hold, Chayevsky, though the character of Arthur Jenson, spoke of a globalized world:
You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels....You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.
Globalization has constructed this reality where there is "only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars." This becomes the legacy of globalization. It is representative in how one nation's economic troubles spells doom and challenge for everyone else. The notion of "we are all linked in this together" carries profound economic truth. This has also led to a threatening element in such a world. With the "flat" nature of the world, the threats that wish to do harm to such a system are vast and are, literally, anywhere. The modern war is not one fought with traditional armies and traditional battlefields. Advances in technology have made the enemy difficult to spot, elusive, and able to strike at a minute's notice. The globalized world has created this form of warfare in which traditional boundaries are pivoted to a new setting and form of fighting.