ISO has its beginnings in post-World War II Europe. Many cities needed to rebuild their infrastructure, and retool industries.
In 1946, the International Organization for Standardization was founded to develop common methodologies. The purpose was to develop common manufacturing, trade and communications standards. Today, for example, we accept without question that one computer can talk to another using TCP/IP or the Internet Standard Protocol.
Without agreed upon standards, much of today's commerce would not function. Standards are the basics of connectivity. International trade operates on the underlying assumption that everything can fit. The international standardization that we now enjoy did not occur spontaneously. Standards were generally established outside of politics but did not always come easily. But common sense, and the interests of cooperating nations, have prevailed since the late 1940s.