Globilization is the process of forming the entire earth into one integrated economic market that transcends national or geographic boundaries. This leads political globalization, as groups of countries, such as the European Union, create large, cooperative economic blocs, and social globalization, in which similar food, clothing, and entertainment is marketed across the planet.
The upside of globalization is market efficiency: without barriers between nation-states, goods can be produced as cheaply as possible and shipped as quickly as possible around the globe, offering many people access to a wide variety of goods. Interrelatedness also leads to possibility of greater global cooperation and a spirit of "we are all in it together" that, ideally, could foster international peace and prosperity.
However, while the merits of globalization were much touted in the late twentieth century, downsides have become more apparent. For example, the availability of cheap labor in some parts of the world often places downward pressure on wages in countries with a high cost of living, which in turn can lead to political and social instability. Further, transnational corporations with huge economic clout and loyalty to no one country can pressure individual nations into making concessions on environmental standards and safety that help corporate profits but are a detriment to lives of ordinary citizens. Capital can flow from place to place seamlessly, adding to financial efficiency but making it harder for individual countries to collect corporate taxes to help pay for the services, such as transportation infrastructure and an educated workforce, that these countries offer corporations.
In addition, border freedoms have led to a backlash of nationalism and xenophobia, in which local citizens resist assimilating people of other cultures. Finally, when a Starbucks or PF Chang's restaurant can be found everywhere from Seattle to Istanbul to Beijing, many people question whether the corporate homogenization of world culture is having a detrimental effect on the quality and variety of everyday life.