I was discussing this with a friend and while I argued that globalisation (in the form of transportation of goods, people, knowledge and technology) existed since the early 17th century,he rebutted by saying that most colonial empires, the old 'gunpowder empires' and nation-states practised a form of economic autarky with minimal trade between colonial empires. He argued that much of the inter-continental trade took place within colonial empires rather than 'between, whereas the post-WW2 trade network was truly global.
You are both right.
The problem (as is often the case) here is that you both interpret the meaning of Globalization differently:
- you: 1786 to 1990
- friend: 1990 onwards
The effects of mondialization (as globalization was termed in the 19th century) is considered by many (through the 1786 Eden Agreement, a Free Trade agreement between Britain and France) part of the cause of the French Revolution.
In the 1960's, tarifs existed between major trade blocks, but is nevertheless considered a globalized trade (as it was during the colonial times).
Since the 1990's, the term is associated more with the meaning of no interference from governments (Free trade: markets regulates itself).
- Globalization - Wikipedia