So here’s a complex subject: Globalization.
What the hell is it?
Well, I find that there are two types of answers; the first is a single sentence — which isn’t very comprehensive, and doesn’t describe the thing in question. The second type, however, explains the thing in detail.
… I prefer the latter …. which is why I write this blog … and the posts are long.
So, enjoy this post about a complex subject!
Generally, globalization is connecting people (which sounds like a bad answer)
In general, globalization is the result of a core developments throughout human history — developments that target increased communication, mobility, security, and secure trade.
(Of course, as with EVERYTHING in politics, definitions are debated, yelled about, and redefined all the time. … and really that’s the case in all of academics.)
Broadly speaking, it’s a process (hence the “ization” suffix) of becoming global. And what does global mean? Embracing the whole of something (in this case, the globe meaning earth and the people on it).
How does the world become a singular, whole thing?
There have been a few developments over human history that alter the way humans interact with one another. These developments would be stuff like the development of currency, invention of boats, or vehicles, and, most recently, the Internet (of course one could come up with other significant developments).
Each development encourages increased communication and interaction between people, thus making the world more global (unitary). Each development listed above encourages people to increasingly rely on one another, despite where they may live, and thereby (theoretically) reducing the potential for conflict while increasing the potential for cooperation (or, at minimum, no conflict).
…. woah. slow the train down.
Let me run through how the examples I’ve listed above increase the potential for cooperation (and it usually comes down to trade, which is why that’s such a big deal in politics, FYI).
— Currency: There existed a time when dollars (currency more broadly) didn’t exist. Prior to the existence of currency (which developed in three waves now — read below**), people just traded stuff. Berries for spears and whatnot.
If they didn’t trade, there was just disorganized looting and such. With the invention of uniform currency, people were able to travel more lightly (imagine carrying around stuff to trade all the time), had the option of staying in one place or moving (because you didn’t always have to move a bunch of stuff to trade around), and the boss/employee relationship was possible (which is better than slavery, I suppose — in most instances anyway).
Naturally currency is manipulated, people are underpaid, and interest rates can create or destroy your currency supply.
BUT, are people better off with currency, or without?
**There are three sub-developments within currency itself, which all still exist FYI. First, currency was based on precious metals, like gold, nickel, bronze, silver, copper, etc — but that stopped because there’s only so much metal around, and it would hence run out. The second development was paper money; dollars, Euro and stuff. And finally, we are at the third stage of currency development, which is virtual. These days, it’s all a matter of numbers, and not a matter of physically having anything to exchange — because it’s swiped, and hence not even real. … thus currency is almost gone if you think about it. BUT, all three currencies are still viable, and bought and sold every day.
— Boats or vehicles: These are huge developments.
Firstly, imagine the first time a human took a boat across a huge river to see the tribes on the other side. … I’m not sure if it was good or bad (although human history suggests it had a brutal ending), but, eventually, new means of travel forced people to share resources (water, fish, field space or whatever). Like it or not, whenever people are forced to be together, politics is unavoidable, and people are forced to broker deals — unless they just eradicate the other group, which has happened countless times in human history.
As for vehicles; that invention transformed the American society. I would even go so far to say it was the single most important development that propelled the US into superpower status following WWII. Not only did it connect employers and employees (and employers had their pick of which talent to take, hence they were more successful), but it also introduced new, more efficient ways of creating stuff (line production).
… I don’t think there’s any doubt that these developments brought people together.
— The Internet: Ahhh. This is the big one. The game changer. And this is the one revolution that globalists hope will alter everything going forward. Big-data people love it, businesses use it, marketing companies hit the jackpot, law enforcement hit the jackpot, and even common people feel more powerful (I mean, look at this blog!).
I would say a lot of people have placed stock in the Internet, not just because it encourages global dialog, but also because it’s been revolutionizing trade, information delivery, data collection, shopping, and forces transparency. We’ve seen revolutions with the aid of social media, and ISIS document destruction of timeless temples. … it’s a pretty powerful thing.
However, I’m less optimistic than globalists. I would say that it COULD temper conflict only after it increases it. Meaning that increased transparency between groups, people, countries, or whoever, increases “bad blood,” which, in turn, prompts increased volatility between parties. In short, I’m saying that the internet is challenging a lot of what was, and for change to happen, that requires conflict.
BUT, there is no discounting the Internet’s intrinsic power — because it’s very substantial.
The goal of globalization is to increase interdependence in order to tackle HUGE issues like global poverty, war, human trafficking, weapons proliferation, disease, famine, terrorism, and all sorts of other stuff. But first, the idea is to connect people — because if you identify with people, it’s more difficult to shut them out. Also, if people and countries are interdependent, then, if one falls, it affects the others as well — so it’s in everyone’s interest to cooperate.
Globalization RECAP — and final thoughts.
It’s a process of bringing people together, increasing interactions with one another, and, generally, creating mutually beneficial relationships — thus making it more difficult to have wars and stuff.
Given this logic, advocates of globalization would say that increasing trade with China would decrease the potential for future conflict (war), because of the economic interest. Is this sound logic? Yes — if Chinese leaders compute that way, and are rational.
So, how do leaders act?
— The US assumed Saddam Hussein was a logical and rational person when making decisions, and that he had nuclear weapons. However, it turned out he didn’t, and was bluffing in order to look tough to Iran. While the US assumed Saddam was rational, the reality was that he bluffed.
… so I’m not sure it’s safe to say that all leaders in all countries behave rationally, and react simply to economic or trade considerations. … I guarantee Putin doesn’t care about economic stuff, and cares more about empire-like mindsets.
But, at the end of the day, you can agree or disagree with globalization as a global project. But, if you disagree, you have to think about why it won’t work. Why does bringing people together, increasing trade, and increasing interdependence not work?
I’ve heard a lot of people blast globalization who haven’t really thought that through — so, if you aren’t for globalization, you should think about that.