Globalization is the process by which local phenomena or cultural aspects become global ones. The term is also used to describe the diffusion of technology, medicine, political ideas, industries, and just about anything from a cultural "hearth" to the rest of the world. A vast majority of the globalization that occurs in the world comes out of the United States (and other "MDCs," or "more developed countries"), such as the McDonalds company, which started out as a small American restaurant in 1940 and has since gone on to become one of the world's largest suppliers of fast food, operating in a majority of the world's countries. Globalization of culture plays a major role in the economies of most nations around the world. For example, the diffusion of the mobile phone from the United States to the rest of the world provides cheap telephone service to many poorer countries (cell phones are cheaper to use because they don't require any rewiring to operate and one cell tower can serve a large number of people).
Globalization should not be confused with the concept of a "global economy," which is part of globalism. While globalization is often a major factor in the theorized global economy, it is not the same force.