The journal Foreign Policy occasionally produces detailed reports about the state of the global system. These articles are usually well-worth reading. (In November, we linked to a piece they did last year on "committment to development" demonstrated by the 21 richest nations.) This week, Foreign Policy released the latest of its annual studies on the degree of global integration.
The Globalization Index measures a country's various transnational links, "from foreign direct investment to international travel, telephone traffic, and Internet servers," as well as looking at a country's involvement in international organizations. The main article, Measuring Globalization: Who's Up, Who's Down?, includes a link to a country-by-country ranking, as well as links to the source data (.zip file) and a discussion of the report's methodology. Other good articles include Measuring Globalization: Economic Reversals, Forward Momentum, which goes into greater detail about the meaning of the index, and a brief essay (oddly offline at the moment) about the challenges of trying to tie cultural globalization into the index.
The report, while claiming not to take sides on the pro- and anti-globalization debate, clearly comes down on the globalization-is-a-net-positive side. But even if you disagree with the overall conclusions, the data presented in the articles and charts are worth thinking about. For example, the chart of "Globalization and the Environment" shows an apparent correlation between global ties and environmental responsibility. What is it about transnational connections that makes it more likely that a country will demonstrate environmental sensitivity?