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The Global Century.

As we enter into the 21 century, preparation for the new challenges ahead is of the utmost importance. However, to look to the future, one has to look to the past. The twentieth century has been, one of exponential growth and facing new frontiers. Walls have fallen, and borders opened up. However, is it an apt description to term the 'grand old dame' of the old millennium, the 'Global Century?' Even though some may have doubts about the lofty name given to the twentieth century, they cannot deny that the last century was the first time that almost the whole world participated in a war. Not once, but twice. In the early stages of the twentieth century, arms races between England and Germany culminated in a war that involved most European nations, and even some beyond the borders, like some parody of a crazy gang fight, they faced off in two teams: the Central Powers and the Allies. Termed the 'Great War', the world had never seen such battles fought on such grand scales in its long, long life. Unfortunately, it was to see it again, and, in the same century. If World War I were the 'Great War', then World War II was beyond comparison, both in its scope, and its destruction. The battle waged, from England all the way to Hawaii, in Pearl Harbour. Both Southern and Northern Hemispheres took part, from countries such as France, Germany, and England, to Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. The war took place on two battlegrounds, one in Europe, and one in Asia. Japan, Germany, and Italy were the main Axis powers, while the United States, England, and France were the main Allied powers. Between the lot of them and the rest of the world, millions were slaughtered, and countries were ruined. These two wars left no doubt in anyone's minds, that isolation was out of fashion, and globalization, the new world order. From then on, any war, whether it was between the US and Vietnam, or the US and Iraq, or the US and Korea, will make people sit up and take notice. With the memory of the Two World Wars painfully in their minds, they now know that no matter how far away that country may be; they will inevitably be affected. During the Gulf War in the early 1990s, the war in the Middle East caused oil prices to soar. The Cold War and the arms races between the U.S. and the Soviet Union led to nervous nations either welcomed Communism with open arms or eradicated it in a flurry. On a political note, the twentieth century has also produced several regional and worldwide organizations. Mindful of the fact that no man is an island', countries have flocked to join organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), ASEAN, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Doing so would mean getting protection from bigger countries, and more importantly, opening up trade. In terms of decision-making, instead of individual countries such as the United States making all the decisions. the world now makes her decisions a whole body. For example. after the Gulf war, the UN decided to place an oil embargo on Iraq. Just two years ago. NATO decided that it would help East Timor towards independence. What affects one, affects all. This is further seen in economics. In terms of money. the world is like a gargantuan country. with trade routes opening up all over the world. Trade is one essential act that has opened up many countries and the one thing that has made others eager to do the same. No one country can stand alone. and what one needs is usually what others have. From Japan to South America, trade is indeed globalizing the world. It is like a giant chain. Companies such as Nike in the United States set up factories in China. and other Third World countries in Asia. and then sell the items to Americans. The making of goods and parts is no longer confined to one particular country. Wealthier nations, aware of cheap labor and building costs in Third World nations, bring their factories overseas to make a better profit. and to increase efficiency. One example of this is the post-Fordism concept, characterized by Toyota cars, where different machine parts are made in countries, where they supply, only if you demand. Look at the label's clothes, and one will find that the ‘made in' section is different for different brands. Goods made in Taiwan, China, Japan, are increasingly being exported to Europe and America. Trade in the last century has indeed globalized the world. Besides trade, the economy of one country, for example, Japan, does affect economics in others, especially countries that are in the region. The Great Depression in the 1930s took place primarily in the United States. However, the shockwave was felt throughout the whole world. As unemployment in the US surged, so did unemployment in Singapore. Countries were so isolated that people in Europe thought that Asia was occupied by barbarians. However, due to the links the nations in the world have with each other. This is now inevitable. One recent example would be the Asian recession, where plunges in the stock market in the US, Hong Kong, and Japan caused a 'domino effect' on others, such as Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Now we look to the Dow Jones in the US, Hang Seng index, or the Nikkei index to predict the ST index.

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