Key Concept 6.3 New Conceptualizations of Global
Economy, Society, and Culture
The twentieth century witnessed a great deal of warfare and the collapse of the global economy in the 1930s. In response to these challenges, the role of state in the domestic economy fluctuated, and new institutions of global governance emerged and continued to develop throughout the century. Scientific breakthroughs, new technologies, increasing levels of integration, changing relationships between humans and the environment, and the frequency of political conflict all contributed to global developments in which people crafted new understandings of society, culture, and historical interpretations. These new understandings often manifested themselves in, and were reinforced by, new forms of cultural production. Institutions of global governance both shaped and adapted to these social conditions.
I. States responded in a variety of ways to the economic challenges of the twentieth century.
A. In the Communist states of the Soviet Union and China, governments controlled their national economies.
Examples of Communist governments controlling their national economies: • The Five-Year Plans • The Great Leap Forward
B. At the beginning of the century in the United States and parts of Europe, governments played a minimal role in their national economies. With the onset of the Great Depression, governments began to take a more active role in economic life.
Example of government intervention in the economy: • The New Deal • The Fascist corporatist economy
C. In newly independent states after World War II, governments often took on a strong role in guiding economic life to promote development.
Example of governments guiding economic life: • Nasser’s promotion of economic development in Egypt • The encouragement of export-oriented economies in East Asia
D. At the end of the twentieth century, many governments encouraged free market economic policies and promoted economic liberalization.
Examples of governments encouraging free market policies: • The United States beginning with Ronald Reagan • Britain under Margaret Thatcher • China under Deng Xiaoping • Chile under Pinochet
II. States, communities, and individuals became increasingly interdependent, a process facilitated by the growth of institutions of global governance.
A. New international organizations formed to maintain world peace and to facilitate international cooperation.
Examples of new international organizations: • The League of Nations • The United Nations • The International Criminal Court
B. New economic institutions sought to spread the principles and practices associated with free market economics throughout the world.
Examples of new economic institutions: • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) • World Bank • World Trade Organization (WTO)
C. Humanitarian organizations developed to respond to humanitarian crises throughout the world.
Examples of humanitarian organizations: • UNICEF • The Red Cross • Amnesty International • Doctors Without Borders • World Health Organization (WHO)
D. Regional trade agreements created regional trading blocs designed to promote the movement of capital and goods across national borders.
Examples of regional trade agreements: • The European Union • NAFTA • ASEAN • Mercosur
E. Multinational corporations began to challenge state authority and autonomy.
Examples of multinational corporations: • Royal Dutch Shell • Coca-Cola • Sony
F. Movements throughout the world protested the inequality of environmental and economic consequences of global integration.
Examples of protest movements: • Greenpeace • Green Belt in Kenya • Earth Day
III. People conceptualized society and culture in new ways; some challenged old assumptions about race, class, gender, and religion, often using new technologies to spread reconfigured traditions.
A. The notion of human rights gained traction throughout the world.
Examples of human rights: • The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights • Women’s rights • The end of the White Australia Policy
B. Increased interactions among diverse peoples sometimes led to the formation of new cultural identities and exclusionary reactions.