With the help of examples, explain the concept of ‘a shrinking world’.  A shrinking world is a phenomenon whereby the world appears to be getting smaller and space shrinks as a consequence of the revolution in transport and communication technologies reducing the frictional effect of distance on movement. Shorter time is taken for people, goods and services to cover the same distance. Revolutions in transport technology has seen an increasing rate of travel speed over space and time. During 1500s-1840s (300 years), technology was drawn from natural resources; horse-drawn coaches and sailing ships had a speed of 16km/h. 1850s-1930s (30 years), industrialisation created steam locomotives and steam ships with speeds over 6 times increase. 1930s-1950s, propeller aircrafts advanced across air space opposed to that of land of sea previously, with speed up to 640km/h, over 11 times increase over 2 decades.
1950s-1960s, the jet passenger aircraft made significance advances across air space with speed twice over the last decade. Over time, advances in technology with greater speeds across spaces with less friction has eased and accelerated movement of people, goods and services.
The rapid increases in speeds over decreasing time frames highlight that the concept of a shrinking world is accelerating. Revolutions in communication technologies, in particular the Internet, has enabled real-time interaction between people in different parts of the world. The laying of telecommunications infrastructure such as optic fiber cables enables global transmission of data and information at high speed. For instance, the HQ of a company can outsource its labour and activities to other regions of the globe yet still be able to track its performance and reap profits. The Internet may serve as a medium through which conferences can be held.
Meetings with colleagues or even friends can take place without them having to cross geographical boundaries. Making contact with others can take place virtually anywhere by electronic mail or video call regardless of location so frictional effect of distance is reduced, resulting in a shrinking world. The concept of a shrinking world characterises that of the reduction of friction in distance due to advent in transport and communication technologies allowing faster travel and real time interaction respectively. Notably, the world is shrinking at an increasing rate. It has to be acknowledged that a shrinking world is reflective of the globalisation process with increased integration, interaction, interdependency and interconnectivity.
On the internet, the emergence of social networking sites increases interaction and interconnectivity; forums and discussions promote integration of different cultures; TNCs harness the internet as a useful communication technology for interaction between segments of their GPN increasing interdependence. Indeed, people cover the same distance with shorter time, hence ‘a shrinking world’.
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