Introduction: Deep Globalization and the Global Media
in the Late Nineteenth Century and Early Twentieth
There is much debate over just when globalization began. Much recent writ-
ing assumes that it was at the end of the twentieth century, whereas other
scholars argue that such processes go back for millennia, if the focus is on
trade, migration, and cultural contact. Still others point to the rise of capital-
ism in the fifteenth century or the constellation of factors—the ascendance of
nation-states, industrialization, displacement of a religious cosmology by sci-
ence, etc.—known as modernity in the nineteenth century as the moment in
time in which the modern global order took shape. Our starting point of 1860
reflects a number of factors, including the extra-European focus of capital
flows that emerged in the last few decades of the nineteenth century, the
parallel rise of multinational corporate and financial institutions, the emer-
gence of new technologies and business models that became the basis of what
we call the global media system, and the advent of modernity, not just in the
core of the global system, but also among certain political, intellectual, and
commercial classes in the postimperial nation-states of South America and
those struggling to reform the decaying edifices of anciens régimes in China,
the Ottoman Empire, and Persia, among other places. And the end point of
our study in 1930 reflects the backlash that mounted against globalization
beginning in 1914 with the onset of World War I, but with the final nail in its
co≈n occurring over a decade later as strident nationalism and the failure of
e√orts to reconstitute a new era of internationalism based on greater tech-
nological, economic, political, and cultural interdependence led to the demise
of the long global era covered in the following pages.
Globalization during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth was
not just shallow and fleeting, but deep and durable. The growth of a world-
wide network of fast cables and telegraph systems, in tandem with develop-
ments in railways and steamships, eroded some of the obstacles of geography
and made it easier to organize transcontinental business. These networks
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