After economic globalisation is defined, the factors that have favoured it in recent times are outlined and the process is placed in a historical context. Measures of the recent expansion in economic globalisation are given, such as trends in the proportion of global GDP traded internationally, and the relative size of global FDI. China’s comparative economic openness compared to the rest of the world is discussed. Potential positive and negative economic and social impacts of globalisation are explored, taking into account important economic theories. Particular attention is given to globalisation and the evolutionary dynamics of economic growth by considering the economic ‘catching up’ phase of countries, such as China, and by placing this in a general evolutionary context. The question is also posed of whether economic growth will eventually cease, and whether industrial and social structures could become defective once economic globalisation is well established and enters its mature phase. Economic growth fostered by growing globalisation also raises globally important environmental and natural resource issues of relevance to the sustainability of economic growth and to the fulfilment of human goals. Some of these issues are investigated, taking into account theories that provide an optimistic prognosis, as well as those which warn of dangers and difficulties ahead.


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