In recent years the concept of globalization has become widely used in a broad range of disciplines. It is also attracting increasing attention within adult education although the discussion is still only in its infancy. It is not surprising therefore that this discussion has drawn on arguments and positions opened up in other fields but in the process the term has been used indiscriminately and often in a highly uncritical way. Globalization mostly refers to a set of economic and political phenomena. However, it has also become a discourse which serves to treat globalization as an irresistibleand irreversible process beyond the scope of human agency to resist. This paper aims to contribute to the debate about adult education and globalization and raises issues concerning the role of the nation state and the proposition that globalization is a new paradigm. It concludes by posing an alternative way of understanding globalization,seeing it not as the driving force of change, but rather an expression of the expansive, and often explosive nature of capital accumulation.