In the earlier centuries, including the 19th century, people interacted with others across international borders and conducted exchanges but did not recognize the term ‘globalization.’ The actual growth and influence of globalization became rampant after World War II.

During the period, globalization facilitated four main aspects:

    •  transformation of the world economy (globalization)
    • the rise of global feminism
    • response to global modernity by world religions (Fundamentalism), and
    • global consciousness about the impact of human activities on the environment (Environmentalism). These are discussed below.


In the 1990s, globalization referred to the increased engagement of distant individuals through international networks. The networks comprised political relations, economic transactions, economic influences, and cross-border movements of people. Such processes can be traced back to connections among the Arab, Mongol, Russian, Chinese, and Ottoman empires. The participants used the Silk Road, the Indian Ocean, and trans-Saharan trade routes. Globalization also characterized the expansion of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. As a result of the relationships created in the Eastern Hemisphere during this time, new rulers, religions, products, technologies, and even diseases emerged.

In the 20th Century, globalization referred to the intense involvement in international economic transactions witnessed during the second half of the twentieth century. This same understanding was carried forward to the 21st Century. In the twenty-first century, people view globalization as a natural aspect that is unavoidable and thus cannot be stopped. 

Even then, World War I and the Great Depression of the first half of the 20th century reduced the global economic linkages. However, the usual trend was recovered, especially by capitalist victors such as the United States that aimed to prevent the re-occurrence of events like those of the Depression. Technological advancements fueled the economic globalization of the period. The period was characterized by the shipping of containers, giant oil tankers, and air express services that caused a significant fall in transportation costs.


The remarkable rise in protest movements across the globe characterized the 1960s. The most significant of the ideas of the recent century was the emergence of the global culture of liberation. The feminist movement of the 1920s in both the United States and Western Europe advocated for granting voting rights to women. The organized feminist movements lost relevance after women achieved suffrage. The activities created in the 1960s in both the US and Western Europe were based on the ideas of the book The Second Sex by Simeone de Beauvoir (1949), which helped women recognize how they were exploited. This time, women demanded the right to control their bodies.

During the 20th and 21st centuries, however, millions of women in America responded to Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique of 1963, which figured out the identity issues of educated women, which were not fulfilled by either marriage or motherhood. While some activists again agitated for equal rights, the focus was on employment and education as opposed to voting rights.


Fundamentalism emerged as a response to modernity’s difficulties in the world’s religions. Fundamentalism is an aggressive, forceful, and complete defense of piety witnessed in the 19th century and earlier religious traditions.  Several intellectuals had predicted that modernity, science, communism, or globalization threatened to eliminate the twentieth religion. 

The belief was encouraged by the rapid fall in religious beliefs in places like Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the Soviet Union. Besides, a scientific culture was already spreading around the world. Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam were popularly recognized as possessing the ability to expand beyond their sources. Buddhist concepts such as meditation and yoga were accepted in the West. Islam had been exclusive to Africa and South Korea but gained popularity in China towards the end of the 20th century.

During the early 21st century, Christianity gained 62% followers in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America. Before this period, Christianity was known as the religion of Europe or North America. The instability in religion in the 20th century encouraged the spread of certain traditions to new areas and necessitated the adaptability of religions to the modernizing world. The primary threat of science is its challenge to basic religious beliefs in the invisible realm of reality. Moreover, capitalism, industrialization, and globalization did away with relations sanctified using religious traditions.


Environmentalism movements began in the 1960s and onwards and challenged global modernity, focusing on the impact human activities would bring on the earth and all living creatures. Environmental transformation and consciousness were recognized after the wars, revolutions, and empires had been dealt with. The concern for the environment developed during the Industrial Revolution since it led to the extinction of 24 species, raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, destroyed groundwater reserves, increased desert formation, led to dead ocean zones, and landscape alterations.

The ability of humanity to change the natural order is the most prominent feature of the 20th century. The human impact on the environment took three major forms:

  • an increase in human numbers so that the world’s population in 2014 was 7.2 billion as opposed to 1.6 billion in 1900
  • the discovery of energy tapping potential from fossil fuels, such as coal in the 19th century and oil in the 20th century, and
  • phenomenon of economic growth, since modern science and technology significantly increased the production of goods and services.


Capitalism, modernity, science, and globalization of the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries presented opportunities and threats to the natural order of life in the prior centuries. Globalization encouraged international networks and business transactions, among other exchanges. 

Modernity and capitalization encouraged urbanization and the creation of employment opportunities, while science gave rise to new sources of knowledge. However, these factors contributed to exploitative relations, alteration of the natural order, and interfered with past religious beliefs.