This chapter is an introduction to the course Globalization: Past and Future. Jeffrey Sachs provides an overview of the six major waves of globalization: the Great Dispersal, the Neolithic Revolution, Land-Based Globalization, Ocean-Based Globalization, the Anglo-American World, and the New Globalization. He discusses the factors that shape globalization and covers the concept of "diffusion," or the dispersal of concepts, inventions, etc. from one place to others. He briefly addresses how the earlier waves shaped the current state of globalization, and poses three questions to frame the discussion of modern globalization: Can the world truly choose a path of shared prosperity, social inclusion for all, and environmental sustainability in this sixth wave of globalization (the 21st century)? How should our global governance and our geopolitics be organized if it is true–as seems likely–that the Anglo-American age has ended and we are now multi-polar, with important powers throughout the world that need to find new ways to cooperate? Fundamentally, is global peace possible and through what model of statecraft and global cooperation?
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