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Global Interdependence

Global interdependence is a situation in which human interactions and relationships transcend national borders and in which social problems within any one country—such as unemployment, drug addiction, water shortages, natural disasters, or the search for national security—are shaped by social forces and events taking place outside the country, indeed in various parts of the globe.

Global interdependence is part of a dynamic process known as globalization—the ever-increasing flow of goods, services, money, people, technology, information, and other cultural items across political borders. This flow has become more dense and quick moving as space- and time- related constraints separating people in various locations seemingly dissolve. As a result of globalization, no longer are people, goods, services, technologies, money, and images fixed to specific geographic locations.

Sociologists debate the events that triggered globalization. Theoretically, one could trace its origins back 5 million years to East Africa (believed to be the cradle of human life) and to a time when humans began to spread out and eventually populate and dominate the planet. Other potential dates that mark the start of globalization include the invention of the printing press (1436) and the steam engine (1769).

As globalization has increased, so has the demand for fossil fuels. One of the most profound measures of global interdependence is that 25,000 shipments of imported food products enter the United States each day. That translates into 20 million shipments per year.