End of globalisation ? | By Dr Shoaib Baloch


End of globalisation ?

GLOBALISATION has many more boons to offer provided that man is prepared to tame it for the welfare of humanity at large.

It has shrunk the world thereby bringing forth all inventions and discoveries in any part of the world to the service of mankind.

It would have been impossible for mankind to take advantage of what have been produced in the world thus far without the service of globalization.

Nevertheless, globalization is the culprit of many misfortunes—economic inequality, pandemics, climate catastrophe, terrorism, refugee crisis, spread of destructive weapons, identity crisis, sovereignty challenges, disruptive technologies, human and drug trafficking and exploitation—that humanity faces today.

Globalization is, however, not absolved of what havocs it has wreaked in the world, yet it will be a sheer injustice if we do not count the virtues of globalization.

Globalization has transformed the world. Global political, economic, social, and cultural outlooks have changed altogether.

Globalization has worked as a vehicle for the spread of democracy that has enabled man—partially if not completely—to conquer peace and develop robust governance structure.

It has revolutionized the world markets that have changed global wealth dynamics. A large segment of society has been integrated into the world political and economic structures, particularly women.

People have been able to get their fundamental rights which was denied in pre-globalization era.

And, cultural assimilation of various civilizations has facilitated to enhance the cognizance of different cultural patterns that help cultivate tolerance and mutual respect.

In addition to this, the spread of knowledge and technology is also a product of globalization.

Access to knowledge, spread of information and ubiquity of communication infrastructures have fundamentally transformed the world.

Time and space seem to be collapsing as the revolution of information technology has shrunk the geographical gaps and the ubiquitous extension of space is now bound to claim limit.

The living standard of mankind has also been improved. Although a gigantic global population is living below the poverty line and have no access to basic needs, a large segment of people across the world has been fortunate enough to have exploited globalization to their favour.

Only globalization does not change the destiny of mankind; however, it depends upon people to take advantage of the boons which globalization is set to offer.

In the same way, globalization has increased the access to global markets, expanded world supply chain, lowered the prices of commodities, augmented economic growth, mushroomed foreign direct investment (FDI) in pauper countries, and amplified employment opportunities worldwide.

Even though globalization is a destructive force as it has created new existential threats, countless bonanza and advantages have been brought forth by globalization that to be harnessed for the greater interest of mankind.

However, even the critics of globalization question its actuality. Paul Hirst, Grahame Thompson and Simon Bromley argue in the book “Globalization in Question” that globalization denotes the latest phase of capitalism, and only applicable to a small portion of people.

As they write: “It is widely asserted that we live in an era which the greater part of social life is determined by global processes, in which national cultures, national economies, national borders and national territories are dissolving.

Central to this perception is the notion of a rapid and recent process of economic globalization.

” But “highly internationalized economy is not unprecedented…capital mobility has only recently begun to shifting investment and employment from advanced to the developing countries, and here it is just a very few of the emerging economies that are benefiting.”

Yet, globalization will shape the future of different nations. Economic integration of China to the global economy has accelerated its economic growth to an unprecedented rate that has enabled Beijing to be the global second largest economy.

Similarly, the latest report of the World Economic Forum shows that India has overtaken Britain, making it the fifth largest economy in the world.

In fact, globalization is making destiny cheaper in Asia. Unfortunately, globalization contains the seed of its own destruction.

It has been fanning the flame of the fire that is bound to roast it sooner or later. A complex set of tribulations in the world may strangulate globalization, pushing it to the wall until the forces of globalization are prepared to retreat.

A plethora of evidences suggests that globalization will pack its bag and baggage to retire. Regionalism has gained currency owing to the failure of globalism that will be a death-knell to globalization.

Also, identity crisis tends to mobilize the forces of nationalism against globalization, as an example can be deduced from the Brexit.

The disruption of global supply chain poses another serious threat to globalization as it is evidenced from Ukraine War, the Covid-19 pandemic and economic decoupling of major economies, particularly the US and China.

Moreover, the rise of economic and cultural protectionist movements and xenophobia in the shape of Islamophobia or Sinophobia are also arresting the tides of globalization.

It has been due to refugee influx, economic migration and cultural invasion of aliens from different parts of the world.

It has increased the notion of “nativism” that has paved the way for far-right politics in advanced democracies.

Today, national security has superseded global security. States have become vulnerable to cyber threats, climate change, terrorism and social polarization due to hybrid warfare; therefore, policymakers may think globally but they will act locally in order to protect their national interest.

Similarly, the rise of nationalism and populism will render the global multilateral forums, the political bedrock of globalization, redundant.

Unilateralism in foreign policies will make it difficult for states to collectively respond to global threats.

Hence, globalization does not survive in such climate, and these developments may force globalization to hibernate.

—The writer is a strategic affairs and foreign policy analyst, based in Islamabad.


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