Human dynamics, institutional change, political relations and the global environment have become increasingly intertwined. The development of multicultural societies has certainly not been without its problems. The re-emergence of extremist political parties, the segregation of cultures and ethnic conflict, illustrate the problematic side of socio-cultural integration at the local level. We argue that socio-cultural factors not only change as a result of globalisation, but also can be causes, as well as challenges to the process of globalisation itself. We describe how the recent introduction of the MGI and KOF globalisation indices can be used to empirically address to what extent globalisation affects social phenomena. Overall, while the rigidity of national boarders slackens, to speak about a global community is misleading. National borders still exist and the nation-state still matters. The fact is that they have to co-exist with civil society. The institutions of global civil society place limits upon the government and function as a sort of check on various forms of government, especially the authoritarian and absolutist varieties.