The UK and globalization

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Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : The process of globalization
Corpus Corpus 1
The UK and globalization




> timelines and maps, p. VII-VIII

In the 18th century, the United Kingdom was the first country to have an international economy. Nowadays, is it still a globalized country?

1 UK, the powerhouse* of economic globalization

A The first globalized country

 Originated in the mid-18th century in Britain, industrialization provided bases for globalization such as steamships.

 Britain was also an initiator of free trade, which is a policy in which governments do not restrict imports or exports. Two British economists of the 18th century, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, advocated this theory.

B A specialist of financial services

 Since the 1970s, the UK has been very open to FDI flows*. Banks and pension funds invest a greater proportion of national capital abroad than any other G7 country’s investors.

 The UK leads the way for financial technology (fintech) services.

2 Soft power of the UK

A History, language and education

keyword A country’s soft power is its ability to influence people through its most attractive assets, notably culture, language and education.

 Britain’s historical heritage includes parliamentary democracy and human rights advocacy.

English is the single most widely used language in the world – spoken by some 427 million native speakers and 950 million people as a second or foreign language.

 3.1 million overseas pupils attend British-style private schools.

 Apart from the USA, no other country in the world has more higher education institutions among the world’s top 100 universities. The two oldest and most famous English universities are Oxford and Cambridge.

B Cinema, music and sports

 The British cinema is one of the most powerful cultural agents of the last 100 years, with films like Lawrence of Arabia, as well as the James Bond and Harry Potter franchises.

 The British music industry is also very influential. Since around 1963, British talent has been as prominent as American talent, given the success of The Beatles, Adele and many more.

 Most sports, like football, rugby or golf, have their origins in 19th century Britain. Local fans of the top football English clubs (e.g. Manchester United) are now vastly outnumbered by those abroad.

3 Flaws* and critics against globalization

A Inequalities in the country

 In the past 30 years, the UK’s manufacturing sector has shrunk by two-thirds and the country now imports a lot of manufactured goods. The Northeast is the most affected by this industrial decline.

 In this area, since the 1980s, a lot of workers have been made redundant*. Firms chose to relocate their plants in developing countries (>card22).

B Left and right-wings protests against globalization

 Around the G20 summit on March and April 2009, 35,000 people joined the “March for Jobs, Justice and Climate” in London. In this coalition, trade unionists* and British people excluded by the effects of globalization claimed for jobs and a fair share of the wealth.

 A new political party, the UK Independence Party, commonly known as UKIP, appeared in 1993. Its ideology laments the loss of “Britishness”, and fights against the European Union and the effects of globalization such as immigration and multiculturalism.

  • a powerhouse
    = une locomotive
  • flows = flux, ici flux financiers
  • a flaw = un défaut
  • a trade union = un syndicat
  • to be made redundant = être licencié


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