Linessa Dan Lin
Globalization is foremost defined in the dimension of economy, in connection to the expansion of capitalism and the division of labor on a global scale. With the rapid development of communication and transportation, people, technology, information, and capital have spread and integrated globally. Globalization also has other dimensions such as that of culture, of politics, and of ideology. The world as a large and closely connected economic entity has not become a single community or a unified global society as expected. Cultural and social diversities still exist, and have even been strengthened.
What is important is that, in different dimensions, local societies have the power to participate in and even influence the course of globalization, instead of enduring or accepting its infiltration. Consequently, globalization is not defined or advanced from the top down. In local societies, flows of individuals, and the ties that transcend the boundaries between communities, ethnicities, and nations are a force of globalization that cannot be ignored. Such a force is what we call "grassroots globalization." Here we see a force rising from the ground up, and we see connections among people, and between people and goods, embedded in everyday interactions.
The concept of the Greater Bay Area originated from a cluster of cities in the Pearl River Delta with Guangzhou as its center. The delta has a long history of international exchanges, and has been world-famous as the hometown of overseas Chinese. In fact, even before the Greater Bay Area had become a recently circulated concept of politics, economics, and geographics, the Pearl River Delta's unique geopolitical configuration enabled people and goods of its cities to reach the world through the Pearl River network of channels to the sea, returning information, economic activities, and cultures to Guangdong, and furthering their influence to inland China. The movement of people from Guangdong to Southeast Asia is a good example. Usually organized by individual networks, people set out from Guangdong, bringing its labor and Cantonese culture to Southeast Asia. Some even went further, to more remote places in South America and Africa. At the same time, they brought home overseas remittance, imported goods and foreign cultures. In the era of the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong and Macau are expected to play more active roles in linking this region to the world, and grassroots globalization, as well as the top-down one, will continue to be important for local societies in today's global landscape.