Essentially, the world economy since the mid-nineteenth century has become more integrated in that distant nations are more tightly connected to each other through trade and commerce. This has not been a straightforward process, however, as exploitation of many parts of the world through economic and political imperialism was a fact of life from the late nineteenth century through the middle twentieth century. But technological as well as political developments (such as the removal of trade barriers) have contributed to the new reality of globalization.
The other significant trend in the development of the world economy is the relatively recent shift in manufacturing power (at least of consumer goods) from the Western powers to China and other countries. China's rise as an economic powerhouse, built in part on this shift, has in many ways reshaped the global economy in ways that would have been unimaginable in the mid-nineteenth century.