|The high school|
yearbook of society
|Most likely to succeed|
|—Pliny the Elder, showing that this is nothing new|
Globalization is the term given to the increased inter-connectedness of culture, economics, and social interaction. Planes can carry people (or packages) around the world in less time than it used to take to travel between nearby towns. Modern cargo ships can carry enormous amounts of freight across oceans far more safely and at faster speeds than earlier sailing ships, aided by big, powered cranes at major ports. Undersea and overland cables allow for rapid transfer of information across continents, far faster than messengers. Money and ownership can change as rapidly as electrons flowing through cable. The globalized world knew about the war in the country of Georgia about as quickly as people in Russia did. People flow freely too, and attempts to stem the tides of immigration have been failing around the world.
All you need to know: it creates a lot of good things, and some bad things at the same time.
The idea disturbs some nations as they see it as an encroachment on their own indigenous cultures, society, sovereignty, and government.
Experts are divided on what effect globalization is going to have on the sociopolitical environment. Some argue that culture and national identity will become meaningless, with people instead merging across state lines into larger cooperative groups, like the EU or a stronger UN. Others believe states will become meaningless as people look for strength in different groupings. That can be an ethnic group within a country or region, such as the Kurds, or a set of countries that have the same or very similar languages and culture, namely the Anglosphere (UK, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand). Religion is another possibility for the formation of "super-tribes", though there are many people who question its relevance in the modern day and future eras.
The Brexit victory and the surprise election of Donald Trump in 2016, among many other events large and small, have signified the rise of a growing anti-globalization movement, referred to as neo-nationalism, which is rooted in the fear of the loss of national sovereignty to corporations and foreign bureaucrats who do not necessarily advance the nations' best interests.
Inability to halt progression
One thing that all proponents do agree on is that globalization is not something that can be easily (or desirably) undone. The communications revolution has opened up trade, and much of globalization is based on the free flow of ideas and markets. Moreover, it's been argued that while states have tried hard to slow or stop the spread of various kinds of transnationalism, they have been unable to do so. Globalization has opened up, and partially removed, nationalistic boundaries.
Examples of effects
One thing to keep in mind: Whenever someone rails against the evils of globalization to you, ask them if they enjoy any of the following:
- Foreign cuisine, like the ever trendy Indian food... and contaminated milk and baby formula from China.
- Government organizations like the FDA being created in response to your own international export scandals.
- Foreign entertainment (including martial arts movies and art house flicks)
The lowered prices on everything at Wal-MartOK, never mind. Increased profitability for German and French banks now free to engage in speculative sub-prime mortgage lending and asset-backed securities in America and Eastern EuropeWell, shit. Your accountant's ability to more easily minimise your taxes by using offshore tax havens
- The ability to communicate instantly and quickly with distant friends and activists thanks to the Internet and text messaging, but not knowing any of your own neighbors.
- Websites like this, but also websites like that.
- Being able to discover just what horrors your government has been up to overseas rather than taking domestic news agencies' and corporations' word for it that everything was on the up and up.
- The ability to join an international organization and cooperate to actually make a difference in the world, and also the ability for omnicidal maniac nutjubs to recruit from all over the world.
- The ability of high end colleges to get high fee paying students from around the world, rather than only the people lucky enough to be born in the West.[note 1]
- Said universities having fewer slots available for local born people. At least they need more janitors for their shiny new sports facilities and business schools!
- Said student flow also promotes international intellectual conformity. Great for hard sciences and some social sciences such as psychology, but it's also produced conformity to batshit insane ideology in e.g. the Chicago School of supply side economics that gave us the Great Recession.
- Closed factories in the American, French, and Russian Rust Belts that were horribly "inefficient" and "obsolete" anyway, so every machine in them could be taken apart, shipped to the third world, and re-assembled to make the same products for a greater profit to the factory's owners as "efficient" and "cutting edge" facilities.
- Young and middle-aged people (forced into) leaving the miserable, polluted international Rust Belt cities in which they grew up such as Magnitogorsk and Pittsburgh, leaving the young and old incapable of cleaning their hometowns up or even maintaining them. Pittsburgh has lost half its population since 1979.
Critiques of the globalization paradigm
“”The need of a constantly expanding market for its products drives the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.
|—Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto.|
As Fred Cooper points out in Colonialism in Question, there are two things wrong with "globalization" as a term for understanding the world's networks of information, economic, and cultural exchanges — the "global" and the "-ization." By this, Cooper means that it is still problematic to talk about globalization as a solid unified, worldwide, and singular process when one takes into account the extent to which different social groups experience and are affected by the alleged phenomenon in different ways.
Another criticism portrays "globalization" as nothing new — from the Indian Ocean trade of the twelfth century to the Atlantic system of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, people, ideas, information, commodities, technologies, and money have been moving around the globe for a very long time now. The pace at which things move may have accelerated somewhat, but the networks carrying them have been around for centuries.
The legacies of these older forms of globalization can be found in the "traditions" that people want to protect against the perils of contemporary globalization. Consider, if you will, the Jamaican patty, a "traditional" West Indian food. It's essentially a Scottish meat pie filled with Indian curry, prepared by and sold to diasporic Africans in the Caribbean — a delicious treat impossible to conceive of in a pre-globalized world.
In fact, history has shown that contrary to much of what has been said on the aforementioned "inability to halt progression", globalization can not only be slowed but can actually go in reverse as well. Much of the rhetoric about the impending borderless world had been repeated ad nauseam in previous generations under different words. One example involved Norman Angell's 1909 book The Great Illusion, which in addition to espousing a bright globalized future, posited that there's no more need for such things as war. And in the 1920s and 1930s, the Comintern's version of globalization led to the Anti-Comintern Pact as a globe-spanning counter-measure. It took a little time to sort out that global one-up-man-ship.
A real critique
In modern trade, with lowered tariff barriers, manufacturers chase the cheapest source of labor available. This has led to the de-industrialization of Western democracies and a horrible trade deficit with low-wage nations. Not only are Third World nations prone to incredibly cheap labor (infamously referred to as sweatshops), on top of that they keep their currency cheap to encourage exports, instead of letting it float on the market — which true globalism would expect.
Other critiques focus on the tendencies to exaggerate just how "global" globalization is in practice and conflate an "ought" with "is". Despite the rhetoric and buzzwords, the global economy in reality (for now, at least) still acts more like a series of clustered regional markets. The flow of labor and transnational issues like terrorism and climate change, meanwhile, reveal the continuing significance of nation-states and regional blocs. Only a small proportion of the world's population live in countries other than their place of origin (though this doesn't necessarily reflect choice; it's still ridiculously difficult to migrate internationally outside of preexisting treaty blocs like the EU or ECOWAS and there are far more people who want to migrate than are allowed to), while even the most seemingly cosmopolitan regions of the world remain largely domestic, with little sign of this changing in the immediate future. Neither are local identities on the verge of being erased anytime soon, given the trend towards "glocalization" as well as the fact that online traffic remains largely confined to one's backyard.
Another criticism of the anti-globalization movement is that not only is globalization not a recent phenomena, it predates the story of Jesus. Thousands of years ago, the Romans used to complain that their wealth was flowing to the Seres[note 2] via the Silk Road and other trade routes, more or less the same parts of the world people blame today. Yet somehow, civilization still exists (even if it takes a Dark-Age hiatus from time to time). If anything, the trade with the East was what allowed Rome to grow in the first place; it wasn't just goods but ideas that also were transferred, ideas like writing,[note 3] engineering, glass blowing, medicines, etc. While what Rome had built may have been impressive for the time, Roman technology, like that of all societies, improved upon what had been done before rather than starting from scratch.
Globalization has encouraged a flow of capital into Africa, but the flow of ownership that has resulted has been largely asymmetric in its consequences, with privatization leaving ownership of African industry in foreign hands, predominantly from the Global North.
Globalization has also been criticized as subverting African autonomy. Indeed, many African nations today tend to lack full control over their own economic policy, instead being subject to the dictates of foreign institutions. Globalization has also led to the perverse tendency to disincentivize local production. A good example of this can be seen in clothing donations. The sheer amount of clothing being donated to Nigeria has practically made the development of a local textile industry impossible, as the Nigerian market has been flooded with cheap and even free clothing via foreign aid.
Globalization has been criticized as contributing to cultural imperialism. This cultural imperialism has resulted in a swamping of the African market with foreign media and products that have little to do with the indigenous African situation. This has been criticized as resulting in "the obliteration of African culture leading to a Eurocentric view of the realities Africans perceive." The introduction of the internet to Nigeria was met with fears that Nigeria would experience a weakening of its cultural identity especially because the internet pool of Nigeria was low.
Globalization has been criticized as being a smokescreen to push the negative freedom (or "freedom of the strong to oppress the weak without protections for the weak") of the free market onto the Global South. This is distinguished from the doctrine of positive freedom which holds that:
People should be free as long as they do not deny the rights and freedom of others. People should not be at liberty to deny others freedom and basic rights. There must be limits on freedom otherwise the liberty of the powerful becomes the oppression of the weak.
Globalization has been criticized as not being motivated by a desire to crush poverty but to instead impose the Western ideal of the free market on African countries. Akindeli (2002) puts it bluntly:
The foregoing is even more absurd given the fact that, these same western nations that are clamouring for respect for human rights and fundamental freedom are at the same time pushing for globalisation and economic policies that encourage the abuse of these rights including the denial of the right to economic equality. The predicaments of the people of the Niger Delta (particularly Ogoni people) in Nigeria offer a case in point.
The interests of the indigenous peoples of the Niger Delta have been devalued compared to the interests of multinational oil corporations, which has negatively affected the Niger Delta, which in turn has negatively affected the socioeconomic situation of the Ogoni people. Again, Akindeli (2002) puts it bluntly:
Concretely put, despite the immense contributions of the Niger Delta (particularly the Ogoni people) to the fiscal basis of the Nigerian State as well as to global capital, the area remains basically underdeveloped due to deliberate neglect and eclipsing from the rational policy agenda of the Nigerian State. The area continuously lacks basic infrastructural facilities such as good roads, schools, electricity, communications, hospitals and so on. In addition, oil spills have drastically affected the supply of potable water, leading to the high prevalence of water-borne diseases. Also, the impact of the exploratory and extractive activities of these global forces – Shell whose operation in Nigeria alone accounts for 14% of its total global operations, Mobil Agrip, Cheveron, Texaco, Total, etc. – have basically affected the social organization of the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta in general.
A manifestation of these negative impacts is the replacement of the traditional economy that was founded on fishing, farming and hunting for economic sustenance with a petrol-dollar economy. Thus, as the World Bank (1995) noted, the impact of oil exploration in the Niger Delta Area (particularly in the Ogoni Communities) by the forces of globalisation has decreased agricultural productivity and fishing in the areas, leading to the prevalence of poverty which was put above the national average.
Attempted resistance to this has been met with severe oppression by the Nigerian state, encouraged by oil multinationals. The fact that globalization is touted as a miracle cure to Africa's woes is ironic when one keeps in mind that globalization has also directly contributed to Africa's marginalization on the global stage.
Globalization also ties into the phenomenon of neocolonialism, where former colonial masters retain influence over their newly independent colonies through subtle means of control, including economic means. Many free trade agreements often touted by Western powers as mutually beneficial will unfairly favor foreign multinationals over the interests of local peoples (as can be seen with the aforementioned Niger Delta conflicts). Poorer countries will therefore see rising inequality, declining wages, and environmental degradation while richer countries benefit from cheaper goods and cheaper labor pools.
Neocolonialism differs from traditional colonialism in how its manifested, as Anthropology Review explains:
Neocolonialism also implies a more sophisticated power structure in which cultural values, symbols, and language are used to maintain domination. For instance, Western media and entertainment, as well as educational systems, may be imposed on less developed countries with the intention of creating a sense of dependence on their former colonial masters. This creates an unequal relationship between nations where one is clearly advantaged over the other.
In addition, while traditional colonial practices focused on exploiting resources such as land or minerals, neocolonial forms of exploitation may take place at any level – from corporate exploitation of labour to political manipulation of governments.
Neocolonialists will use many different methods to retain dominance over their former colonies, including economic entrapment through aid and loan programs. Often times aid programs will contain many strings that favor the interests of multinationals over the interests of local peoples. The cycle of borrowing can also create debt-entrapment, whereby a nation's debt burden increases, leaving it unable to fully control its economic policy and vulnerable to foreign influences. Often times this cycle of dependency will allow multinationals to flout local regulations, as they bring business to poor regions they can exercise their economic clout in a way that benefits them over the local peoples.
Many aid agreements will include clauses (the aforementioned "strings") that benefit foreign nations or multinationals over the interests of local peoples, including allowing foreign ownership of resources in ways that may not be very beneficial to poor regions, and opening up of markets. These aid packages also contain loans with very high interest rates: this makes these loans very difficult to pay back, entrapping these nations in a cycle of debt and economic dependency on the "lender country." Both of these perpetuate the cycle of neocolonialism.
Some very specific stipulations that come with these loan packages include reductions in trade unions and price regulations, privatization of previously nationalized industries, and removing restrictions on trade.
The IMF in particular has been commonly criticized as being a neocolonial institution. The US in particular holds effective veto power over any policy decision the IMF makes, which it can be argued effectively turns the IMF into an arm of American imperialism.
The IMF's neoliberal policies that encourage the cutting of wages and subsidies, reductions in welfare, the privatization of public goods such as healthcare, education, and water, and raising tax rates, may facilitate growth in developed countries, but in the Global South will generally benefit those who are already wealthy, while those who are "economically vulnerable" will pay the price. In particular, a study published by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center found that in "79 countries from 2002 to 2018, the IMF’s austerity measures were 'significantly associated with the highest earners receiving more at the expense of the bottom 80 percent.'"
While privatization does generally encourage greater economic efficiency and profit, its aftershocks overwhelmingly affect the average citizen. The Harvard Political Review puts it bluntly:
...Fiscal austerity measures tend to leave the economically vulnerable equally worse off, particularly by making necessary services like healthcare and education more difficult to access. Such conditions may increase countries’ debt rates as they attempt to salvage domestic conditions, perpetuating the cycle of poverty that keeps these nations dependent on international loans in the first place. The “dozens of countries [continually] dependent on the IMF for assistance” is, by some measure, “an indicator that some part of its advice is failing to deliver,” Kentikelenis said.
In Ecuador, the opening up of markets to foreign ownership resulted in over 90% of mining firms being owned by Canadian multinationals. However, foreign ownership of these firms may result in a reduced rate of local growth as more money gets sent back to the multinationals' home country (Canada) than would otherwise be the case if these firms were owned by locals.
Conditional loan packages have also been accused of violating the sovereignty of the lendee countries, as by "their very nature" these loan packages restrict these countries from making certain decisions about their economic policies and development paths. Interventionist economic programs have also been the root of much political instability in Latin American countries, with slogans such as "¡Fuera FMI!" being commonly heard chanted at protests. Protests against IMF-imposed austerity measures also led to the resignation of the then-Jordanian Prime Minister in 2018.
The Russian government has sponsored an anti-globalist astroturf organization called The Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (Антиглобалистское движение России). The so-called Calexit campaign seeks a California secession from the United States. A Calexit ballot initiative, sponsored by Yes California, has received financial aid from and partnered with AIGM. AIGM has a Calexit "embassy" in Moscow.
The stated aim of AIGM is "against the global dominance of transnational corporations and supranational trade and financial institutions", but is more likely specifically against economic dominance of the United States and the EU.
The term "globalization" is often misconstrued with the term "globalism". Sometimes, especially among the protectionist far-right such as Donald Trump's circle (or worse), "globalisation", "globalism", "globalist", etc, are all pretty much anti-semitic dog whistles for Jews or the International Jewish Conspiracy.
Who these "globalists" are vary from group to group. Members of QAnon use the term "The Cabal" to refer to a shadowy organization that's trying to undermine freedom for their own "globalist agenda". Like with all other variations of the term, the goal of "the Cabal" is to subjugate the freedom of the nation to a world government.
- Aside from slightly changing your country's international capital flows through their fees and tuition, and increased likelihood that they'll holiday or settle in your country, having foreign students really means having the children of rich, well connected foreigners in your elite's schools. Even godless commies have loved ones that they would really not like to kill. At the same time, the next generation of rich, well connected foreigners will be ones that your rich, well connected people have connections with, not to mention that their next generation of leaders happen to be sympathetic to your leaders' culture.
- India and China
- The Latin alphabet, for example, was a bastardized Greek alphabet, which in turn was derived from the
Tyrians CarthaginiansPhoenicians, who in turn copied a few scribbles from Egypt.
- Michael Shermer (August 1, 2011). "Globaloney: Why the World Is Not Flat...Yet". Scientific American
- Though in hindsight, we all know how that turned out.
- Eckes, Alfred E.; Zeiler, Thomas W. (2003). "4: Business Busted, Diplomacy Destroyed, 1929-1939". Globalization and the American Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780521009065. Retrieved 2017-08--6. "Meanwhile, it was Josef Stalin's government, not Roosevelt's, that pushed its own version of globalization in diplomacy. The Comintern Congress of 1935 called for a worldwide Popular Front against the Fascist powers."
- See the Wikipedia article on Anti-Comintern Pact.
- The World Bank and United Nations' estimates in 2013 point to roughly 3%, which while not a number to be ignored, nonetheless makes up only a relatively small minority.
- What Ethan Zuckerman calls "imaginary cosmopolitanism."
- , Postcolonial Web
- , Postcolonial Web
- Smilak NR, Putnam RF. A Critique of Colonialism and Modern Aid in Africa: What Would Skinner Say? Behav. Soc. Iss. 2022;31(1):252–71. doi: 10.1007/s42822-022-00093-3. Epub 2022 May 4. PMCID: PMC9067341. 
- , Anthropology Reviw
- , Boston University Global Development Policy Center
- , The New Arab
- Advocate's Russian ties cause concern in state secession movement by Melody Gutierrez (February 3, 2017 Updated: February 3, 2017 10:08pm) The San Francisco Chronicle.
- 'Calexit': Yes California movement opens ‘embassy’ in Moscow The Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia
- About December 22, 2016. Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia
- The Dark Side of Globalization: Why Seattle's 1999 Protesters Were Right, The Atlantic
- Why we need to worry when people talk about 'globalists', Gordon Haber, The Jewish Chronicle, Mar 21, 2018
- Zuckerman, Ethan (2019). "QAnon and the Emergence of the Unreal". Journal of Design and Science (6): 1–5. "At [QAnon's] core is the idea that all American presidents between John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump have been working with a cabal of globalist elites called 'The Cabal' to undermine American democracy and forward their own nefarious agenda. ... In all versions of the mythos, the Cabal seeks to destroy American freedom and subjugate the nation to the wills of a world government."