“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity”.
––Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General.
It is impossible to understand where something is headed, without first understanding where it comes from. So the first question is: What is globalization? Read about it here.
Globalization has six very important attributes (as stated in What is Globalization?):
- It is permanent and irreversible. Given its profound roots in human nature.
- It is omnipresent. There isn’t an instance or place untouched by globalization.
- It is multidisciplinary. It needs to be analyzed from multiple perspectives, in a holistic way.
- It is not optional. The choice is not in whether we embrace it or not. It is in how we embrace it.
- It cannot be controlled. Nobody controls the process of globalization for an extended period of time, regardless of the size and influence they may have, since globalisation is the collective interaction of individuals, organizations, and nations evolving through time.
- It is meritocratic. The natural selection process is highly applicable to the way globalization works (survival of the fittest).
Yet, globalization means a lot of different things to different people.
When dealing with globalization, like in all human endeavors, if common foundations and premises aren’t shared, a proper analysis is virtually impossible.
In fact, that was the major idea behind writing the book GLOBALIZATION: Opportunities and Implications, to define and document the major premises of globalization. It is an attempt to unify the basic context for further analysis.
What are the major foundations and premises that have to be shared for a meaningful analysis or debate? In other words, what are the desirable common denominators from where to take off?
There are several. Probably the most basic one is a proper use of metrics. Lord Kelvin very wisely stated “What is not measured cannot be improved”. Indeed, that is a fundamental truth.
So, the starting point should be to have an adequate grasp of who’s who in the world. That means to share a common knowledge of the major features and traits of most nations on Earth. For that purpose to be meaningful, it is necessary to have a balanced, objective, reasonably comprehensive overview of:
Each country’s size (population, geographical extension, GDP, total exports, and so on), the per capita figures are of a particular importance. because they provide sound metrics for comparisons among nations (and also for meaningful comparisons within nations themselves along time).
A balanced overview about each nation (and region) history and geopolitics.
The second indispensable element is to have a clear understanding of the cause/effect relationships concerning wealth and poverty. Wealth and poverty are clear effects of present and past causes. There are a handful of currently very wealthy nations that just a few decades ago (3 to 5) were among the poorest countries on earth (Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan) or among the poor ones (Czech Republic, Chile, Israel, New Zealand) and nowadays are already developed nations, some of them extremely wealthy, like Singapore.
China is in the midst of a profound transformation in that direction: although China is still a poor nation (per capita basis), the speed of economic growth of the past three decades has already catapulted it from the low tier among the poor to the middle range. If China is able to maintain a growth rate substantially higher than the rest of the world, as has been the case during the past three decades, the Chinese economic miracle will continue.
So, economic solvency is a result of how a society organizes its production of goods and services. The better organized a society is, the wealthier it becomes. A nation’s economic solvency only indirectly has to do with political ideology. It mostly has to do with management capabilities (or lack thereof), particularly in the political arena.
Once that common ground on globalization has been laid out and shared, relevant analysis (and debates) can take place.
The globalization phenomenon provides an unsurpassable opportunity to learn from the best managed nations on Earth, in benefit of the rest. Most fortunately, globalization has within itself the key to massively decrease world poverty, in a consistent, self-sustainable basis. Read about the Turbo-charged Global Project.
As previously stated, unmistakable cause/effect relationships are at work behind the world’s best governed and prosperous nations; that is also the case behind the most undeveloped countries in the globe. Widespread poverty, along with its multiple most pernicious byproducts does not have to be the norm among most nations in the globe, as it already has been since the beginning of mankind.
In no way does this post pretend to suggest that globalization is not surrounded by controversy. Not at all! However, if the common ground previously referred to is set as a starting point, most of the subsequent analysis and debates will surely be more meaningful and fruitful.
In conclusion, probably more often than not, the globalization subject tends to be controversial for the wrong reasons. Ideally, many legitimate controversies should be on the table of discussion, but only once the fundamental common denominators have been established and shared. Otherwise, this fascinating subject can easily become a Tower of Babel, as has often been the case.