Globalization and Technological Advancements

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How does the United Nations enhance globalization?

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The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organisation that was established in 1945 the aftermath of World War II to promote international stability. Following the wave of destruction brought on in Europe and Asia by two world wars, countries wanted to find a way to forge peace.

The UN is dedicated to cultivating peace and security, maintaining good relations between nations, and providing assistance to the least developed countries. 193 of 195 countries in the world belong to the UN, making it the most powerful and influential organization of its kind. By creating and maintaining a global community, the UN as an institution has, to a great degree, enhanced and expanded the process of globalization.

Globalization refers to a historical process that has resulted in an interconnected global economy. Local and national economies are now integrated into a world market, where governments, corporations, and people from different countries are able to interact. Trade between nations is only able to take place when general peace is enjoyed. Since its founding, the UN has sent peacekeeping missions to conflict areas to ensure that peace accords are adhered to. By helping restore relations between countries, the UN assists in reintegrating war-torn nations into the global market.

Globalization doesn't just refer a stage of economic development during which various actors enjoy free trade; it also refers to a way of thinking—a globalized and cosmopolitan sensibility. In this sense, the UN enhances and supports globalization because it gives various nations a way to forge shared norms and values through various agreements. The most famous example is likely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948.

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The United Nations (UN) supports globalization in a number of ways.

First, the very existence of the UN promotes globalization. It is the quintessential global organization. Founded in 1945, it has endured far longer than its relatively unsuccessful predecessor, the League of Nations. The failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s was a key reason for the failure to prevent World War II (1939–1945). There have not been any world wars since the UN was founded, and the UN is at least partly responsible for that.

Second, the UN promotes and practices international law. This is done through the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The idea behind it is to reduce the likelihood of war by giving an international and impartial body judicial powers. Moreover, the UN works hard to prevent war crimes. For example, in September 2019, it issued a report stating that the US, the UK, and France may have been complicit in war crimes in the war in Yemen.

Third, the UN seeks to protect the global environment; in many ways it has led the fight against global warming. In 1997, the UN Conference on Climate Change was held in Kyoto, Japan. In 2015, in Paris, an international agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions was signed.

These are just some of the myriad ways that the UN fosters globalization.

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While the United Nations provides a forum for dispute resolution and peace enforcement, these represent different forms of multilateral diplomacy that don't generally contribution to globalization as it's come to be understood. Instead, it is the UN's functional institutions which directly contribute to an increase in globalization.

Functionalism is a concept in the liberal theory of international relations which posits that a cohesive international society can be developed through the creation and maintenance of integrative institutions; institutions, in other words, that are based on functional purposes and do not rely on an ideological vision. Functionalism is a the cornerstone of globalization theory.

Functional institutions that operate under the United Nations umbrella—specifically that of the United Nations Economic and Social Council—include the World Meteorological Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Postal Union, the International Telecommunication Union, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, among others.

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Although many writers discuss globalization primarily in terms of business, it is also an important cultural and socioeconomic phenomenon. The United Nations provides important underlying infrastructure that makes globalization possible.

First, and perhaps most importantly, it provides a talking shop that can resolve international disputes, and it supplies peace-keeping forces in war zones. This conflict reduction is essential to trade in goods and services, migration, and travel. Globalization relies on a degree of world peace.

Second, as a global institution, the United Nations creates a forum in which people from across the world can exchange ideas. It works closely with other organizations in the area of global philanthropy. Having, for example, doctors from Europe and North America travel to Africa to help with epidemic diseases is an example of a positive aspect of global cooperation and communication.

Next, UNESCO is a UN organization tasked to "build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture." In doing so, it increases cultural globalization and exchange of ideas.

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The United Nations promotes and enhances globalization in a number of ways.  This is particularly true if we think of globalization in more than just economic terms.  If we consider the fact that globalization also involves things like the globalization of norms and ideas, we can see that the UN has even more of a role to play.

In purely economic terms, the UN and its associated organizations do a great deal to promote trade between nations.  Organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization work closely with the UN.  They promote trade between countries and they promote policies within countries that would make it easier for them to trade with one another.  By doing this, they promote economic globalization.

However, the UN also has a role to play in other aspects of globalization.  Most specifically, the UN is very active in trying to promote democracy and open governance.  This is a form of promoting the globalization of ideas and values.  The same is true of the UN’s efforts to do things like promote international law and international human rights. 

In these ways, the UN and affiliated agencies do much to promote globalization broadly defined.

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