07 Jul 2009  HBS Business Summit

Business Summit: Historical Roots of Globalization

In this breakout session, panelists shared insights, informed by history, of the convergence that globalization promotes.

 

Editor's Note: This is a summary of an HBS Business Summit presentation. View a full summary and video of the event on the HBS Centennial Web site linked below.

Date of Event:October 13, 2008
Moderator:Geoffrey Jones, HBS faculty
Speakers:Rawi Abdelal, HBS faculty
William Kirby, HBS faculty

In this breakout session, panelists shared insights, informed by history, of the convergence that globalization promotes. Each focused on convergence from a different reference point: institutional convergence (in financial systems), policy convergence (in China), and the convergence of consumer preferences (with the beauty industry as an example).

According to panelists, globalization has a homogenizing effect on diverse national cultures. Its pressures cause societies to become more alike, converging in business approaches, political and economic systems, and even aesthetic attitudes. The results of convergence can be hard for people and countries to support, though, and over time can mount into an anti-globalization backlash.

Globalization today faces a legitimacy crisis that has been unfolding for the past decade, a product largely of financial system convergence.

Key concepts include:

  • Globalization creates convergence that threatens what is distinctive about national societies.
  • Living with institutional convergence pressures casts doubt on the legitimacy of globalization.
  • China is no island: Its history is one of internationalization; its political policy came from convergence.
  • The history of the beauty industry shows how consumer attitudes can converge across the globe.
  • Read the in-depth summary

For more coverage and video:
http://www.hbs.edu/centennial/businesssummit/globalization/historical-roots-of-globalization.html