Chapter 19

Media and Globalization


The concept of globalization has its origin in the philosophes of the modern period, such as Condorcet who envisaged a universal and cosmopolitan global society. An early modern theory of globalization can be found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1994) where he famously introduced his concept of the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. Smith postulated that the individual interests of ‘economic man’ ought to be mediated through multinational trade and the market throughout Europe and the burgeoning colonial world.

The liberal ethos of Smith’s market theory was one of the first enlightenment constructions of the concept of globalization; linking the advancement of both the nation state and the individual within modern society to the caprice of a laissez-faire political economy. Later in the modern period, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would articulate a critical theory of globalization that interpreted Smith’s and other political economists’ (such as David Ricardo) liberal market logic as the ideology of bourgeois imperialism where ‘[t]he need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere’ (Marx and Engels 1978: 476).

Marx and Engels did not theorize globalization one-dimensionally however; instead they interpreted the imperial tendency of the capitalist project to expand ...

Get The Blackwell Companion to Globalization now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.