Globalization is "a set of processes that are integrating economic, cultural, political, and social systems around the world."
While globalization is not a new phenomenon, political and technological developments over the past 60 years have spurred enormous increases in international trade, investment, and migration, entering the world into an unprecedented stage of economic and cultural development. International trade has increased 20 times since 1950, and foreign direct investment is set to hit a record $1.5 trillion.
Globalization continues to be driven by policies that promote free trade. Since the 1980s, many countries have adopted free market economic systems that have increased their productivity and created countless opportunities for investment. Governments have negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to trade and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. This global industrial and financial structure has generated wealth on an unparalleled scale. Over a period of only 20 years, more than 250 million Chinese and 103 million Indians rose from desperate poverty to enter the ranks of the middle class. No other anti-poverty program in history has come close to such success!
Technology is another driver of globalization. The Internet has transformed the world of business by allowing investors, individuals, businesses, and corporations to identify and pursue economic opportunities around the world. This includes faster and better analyses of economic trends, easy transfers of assets, and collaboration with far-flung partners. Emerging country stock markets are up 50% in 2007 alone, and many predict these markets will continue to outperform their developed-world counterparts.
然而全球化並不是新現象，過去60年政治與科技發展刺激國際貿易、投資與移民的大幅成長，已使世界經濟與文化發展儼然進入一個空前的階段。國際貿易自1950 年來成長20 倍，而海外直接投資（foreign direct investment） 也創下1.5 兆美元的紀錄。
全球化持續受到提倡自由貿易政策的影響。從1980 年代開始，許多國家因採用自由市場經濟體系受惠，生產力增長，也創造了無數投資機會。政府的協商大幅度降低貿易壁壘，並制訂國際協定來推廣商品、服務與投資的交易。全球產業與經濟結構帶來空前未有的財富規模。短短20 年間，中國有超過2 億5000 萬人口、印度有1 億300 萬人口，從窮困潦倒晉升中產階級行列。歷史上沒有任何一個反貧窮方案可以達到如此的成功。