This book raises students' awareness and understanding of global trends, forces and events by showing them how to think about the world systematically. Based on more than a decade of teaching about global issues to university undergraduates, the book focuses on understanding globalization and its effects on our lives. The book's seven chapters cover important principles and concepts from the systems perspective, such as what a system is, what global systems are, how and why systems grow and decline, what makes global systems invisible, how global issues are addressed as political questions, and others. Seven case studies apply these principles to global issues, such as the AIDS pandemic, endangered species and endangered languages, global energy systems and gasoline prices, contaminated food, and the consequences of the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The book includes two appendices: a glossary of important global system terms, and a description of global systems and cyberpsace, including the structure and governance of the Internet.
Robert P. Clark is professor of government in the Department of Public and International Affairs, and coordinator of the interdisciplinary program in global systems, at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. His most recent books on globalization are The Global Imperative: An Interpretive History of the Spread of Humankind (Westview, 1997) and Global Life Systems: Population, Food, and Disease in the Process of Globalization (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).