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Eureka: Globalization 4.0
by Jay Gutman
2017-01-27 11:42:10
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Globalization 1.0 started in the 18th century and was the globalization of ideas. Globalization 2.0 started in the late 19th century and had to do with relatively massive migration movements. Globalization 3.0 started around the 1950s and regarded the globalization of corporations. Globalization 4.0 has started recently with the globalization of data.

globe01_400_03Ideas continue to move, so do people, so do corporations and so does data. I said in the introduction that the globalization of ideas started in the 18th century, but it really started a lot sooner. But only around the 19th century were some agricultural techniques, some industrial techniques and the philosophy known as “humanism” or the worship of humans, making once widespread human sacrifices and murder illegal were spread relatively at the global level.

After a revolution of ideas, the transportation revolution meant massive migration movements around the world, people moving from one city to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another.

In the 1950s corporations started going global, although some corporations did globalize before the 1950s. But from the 50s onwards a lot of companies started trying their luck opening branch offices around the world.

At the beginning of the 21st century, big data projects were able to collect data on significant portions of humanity, leading to relatively accurate data on where epidemics start, consumer trends and social trends.

At the leadership level, the trend has been economic growth at all costs. But big data isn’t only about economic growth, as it can also trace social welfare needs or healthcare needs. Say if google spots one geographic area where too many people start searching for information on, say, “herpes” or “flu” this could be an indication for the need to take action. If google spots too many people in one area searching “shelter” that probably means that geographic area has housing problems it needs fixed.

In today’s debate, two keywords are associated with globalization: (Syrian) refugees and free trade. Regarding refugees, the way to prevent future crises is again with big data. If too many people are searching “jobs” for several consecutive months or years in any given geographic area that probably means action needs to be taken and such geographic areas need counseling on how to get their economy to run. Regarding free trade, big data can tell us what companies are using foul play. If too many people are searching for mechanics or spare parts of any given car brand, or if there are vast differences in pricing between a car brand in one location and a car brand in another location, that probably means there’s foul play somewhere. This is my rather optimistic view of globalization.


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