This business buzzword of the 1990s is actually about 30 years older. It appears in adjectival form in The Economist of 4 April 1959:
Italy’s “globalised quota” for imports of cars has been increased.
The word globalization itself appears in Merriam Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of 1961.
It’s even older in a more general, non-economic sense. It was used in reference to the spread of American racism by U.S. troops during the Second World War. From The Chicago Defender, 15 January 1944:
The American Negro and his problems are taking on a global significance. The world has begun to measure American by what she does to us. But—and this is the point—we stand in danger [...] of losing the otherwise beneficial aspects of the globalization of our problems by allowing the “Bilbos in uniform” with and without brass hats to spread their version of us everywhere.
And from the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1951):
Replacing the central mythos of the medieval Church, this new culture pattern is in process of “globalization,” after a period of formation and formulation covering some three or four hundred years of westernization.
And in an entirely different sense, globalization was used in the 1920s by Belgian psychologist Jean-Ovide Decroly as jargon for a stage in a child’s development. He published La Fonction de Globalisation et l’Enseignement in 1929.
Copyright 1997-2015, by David Wilton