In simple words, the term globalization means a process by which cultures, regional economies, and societies embrace the idea of integration through a universal network of trade, communication, and transportation. This has both benefits and disadvantages in all aspects of social, economic, technological or environmental developments of any region.
Globalization began to take its place in different societies all over the world in the eighteenth century. This is because that period marked the emergence of globalization and modernity. In the modern sense, globalization may have kicked off after the Second World War. During this era, international leaders wanted to break borders and encourage trade and business among different countries. This paper discusses globalization in Saudi Arabia and how it has influenced the country’s economic, political, and social life (Slackman, 2007).
In the present times, Saudi Arabia is the most influential nation on the Arabian Peninsula. It ranks highly among oil-rich countries which include Iraq, Libya, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Nigeria. 25% of known oil reserves in the world lie in Saudi Arabia. After the discovery of this invaluable natural resource in the year 1938, the country saw the need to collaborate with other nations of the world for the main reason of extension of its market. The world’s demand for oil resource is high. Therefore, there seems to be a ready market for Saudi Arabia’s oil and oil products everywhere in the world. This affected the economic, cultural, political, and technological growth of the nation. There was the need for skilled manpower for most operations in respect of oil exploitation. Consequently, it was inevitable for the people of the Arabian Peninsula’s richest region to cement their relations with foreign partners to achieve the goal of economic development and sustainability. This came at the time when globalization was a matter of consideration among diverse leadership settings across the continents. This concept has changed the face of Saudi Arabia not only in its economic and political strife, but also cultural transformations that take place today (Freeman, 1998).
Globalization and Economy
In Saudi Arabia, globalization has had a tremendous influence on the overall transformation of its economic status. Before the discovery of oil, Saudi Arabia was a lifeless country which operated a traditional economy strictly observing its traditions. Through the adoption of the globalization concept, the country started the journey of modernization which has had favorable impact on its economic status.
Saudi Arabia is one of the well-developed modern countries in the world today. It has the biggest economic growth rate in the Arabian Peninsula and is among the highest economic powers on the entire planet. The status of the country presently matches some of the world’s highly influential powers such as Britain. The living standards of people have vastly improved and conform to the current trends of the developed countries.
The country has one of the best modern infrastructural platforms thanks to the revenues that come from the trade of oil. There is a low unemployment rate in the country, because the energy sector offers numerous job opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabia. Poverty levels are exceptionally low in this country. Besides, globalization has played a significant role in ensuring that the country accepts and embraces foreign investment in the country. This is one of the crucial factors for the country’s current economic position (“What Saudi Arabia Thinks about Globalization”, 2010).
Globalization and Technology
Globalization has brought both positive and negative effects on technology, especially in communication and transportation sectors. Because of advancement in technology, transport and communication costs have gone down significantly. This has led to low costs in the management of information in the country. There is an appreciable decline in the prices of electronic devices, especially computers. The widespread use of the internet for communication and other purposes is a result of globalization. There have been tremendous technological advancements; as a result, the country improves its interaction with other countries seeking to improve their business ties through the use of modern technology (Freeman, 1998).
Globalization and Saudi Traditions
As a result of globalization, there are appreciable changes in the lives of people in the Arabian Peninsula’s richest nation. Before the country began trading with other nations of the world, foreigners had been not free to own or invest anything in Saudi Arabia. That is not the case nowadays. Foreigners have entered the country, and there is diversity of lifestyles in the country’s population. Currently, pastoralists in the country can make use of the modern transport means to move their animals from place to place. Traditionally, they had to walk around in search for animal pastures. Besides, there is substantial transformation of people’s religious perceptions because of foreign forces. Now, Saudi Arabia has modern religious infrastructure with mosques and other religious places meeting modern levels of architecture. The changes in people’s lives made a remarkable shift from the ancient Saudi Arabia to the modern nation (Freeman, 1998).
Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive nations not only in Asia but also in the entire world. Oil revenue is the most influential factor that has necessitated the acceptance and embracing of the concept of globalization in this country. Unlike before, Saudi Arabia is no longer an only-native people location. There are diverse groups in the country, both foreign and native. The importance of global ties to open up market for the country’s most invaluable economic commodity, oil, is the main driving force. Globalization has enabled the Asian country to undergo monumental transformations.