The Globalization of Education

Global education

Globalization has had an uneven development in different areas of human knowledge. In some fields, globalization has advanced more thoroughly; like in commerce and trade,technology, sports, and art. Even in the education field, globalization has already made huge strides.

Standardizing education to fit global standards has been an age-old practice that has had spectacular developments in the recent decades; for example, the International Baccalaureate program at the high school level. This program has been increasingly popular and demanded among students and teachers around the planet. This is a most evident manifestation of a successful global effort. There are no losers here, only winners.

At the university level, the globalization of scholars and students is amazing. They come and go to and from all over the world. The political and the academic world have strong ties and continuous exchange both, of ideas and people. It is very common to find former Presidents and Prime Ministers in the academic world. The process also works in the other direction.

Universities have increasingly realized the great opportunity that a fairly open world represents; and in recent years, some of them have been developing upon this very welcome premise. Numerous major universities have been opening up campuses in different countries around the world.

Carnegie Mellon University opened its Qatar campus in 2004 and has been temporarily leasing part of its space to Northwestern University, while its own facilities are completed, in 2014. NYU opened its Abu Dhabi campus in september 2010.

Even relatively low-profile, public institutions have a campus abroad, like Miami University –from Oxford, Ohio– has a small, though vibrant campus in Luxembourg since the early 70s.

The University of Utah (U of U) has a partnership program with Zayed University, a national university of the United Arab Emirates with campuses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Several faculty members from the U of U have been teaching courses in Zayed University’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program and consulting on program development and curriculum. The U of U also has a partnership with Hainan Province China, Hainan University, and the China University of Political Science and Law.

In September 2006, the U of U Abu Dhabi-based EMPA program started to operate in conjunction with the U of U College of Social and Behavioral Science’s Institute of Public and International Affairs, the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Those instances are only a small sample of the myriad of universities increasingly engaged in active global education efforts.

A few decades ago, universities from the Netherlands were the first non-native English speaking institutions that presciently decided to teach a majority of their courses in English, thereby substantially widening in a stroke the universe of foreign students interested in attending their universities. At present, well over one quarter of their students are from foreign countries.

Thunderbird, the prestigious Glendale Arizona graduate school of global management was one of the first universities to detect the incoming acceleration in global thinking and practice in the coming decades, changing its focus from  being “The American Institute for Foreign Trade” (the name it was born with, in 1946), to “Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management” in 1968. More recently, in 2007, it changed to its current name: “Thunderbird School of Global Management”.

Monash University, the largest public institution in Australia by enrollment, has been very active in its Asian expansion: Malaysia in 1998, South Africa (Johannesburg) in 2001. Also in 2001, Monash opened a research and teaching center in Prato, Italy, in an 18th Century Tuscan Palace.

Monash has just been granted a licence to operate in China, including the first graduate school. The University of Nottingham, the University of Liverpool, Duke University and New York University are likely to be granted licences soon.

The globalization process is not only unstoppable, it has continued to gain more traction than ever. The academic sphere is just another very visible manifestation of it.


Will Mobile Money Revolutionize Commerce in Developing Countries

Mobile money in the world’s developing and poorest regions is transforming lives and transitorily eliminating the need for checking accounts, credit cards – even cash.

In Niger the poorest families are lining up to get free mobile phones from the Word Food Programme. Through these phones the WFP will be distributing the equivalent of $65USD per month to help needy families survive the hunger season — families like Mamoudou’s.

Now her five children won’t go hungry when food is scarce or inaccessible. She tells AlertNet, “This is what my family needs.”

Funds transferred and used for commerce through mobile phones is called mobile money and is a “game changer,” as Citi CEO Vikram Pandit told a recent USAID Frontiers in Development forum held at Georgetown University. He explains that mobile money has “the potential to improve lives, create jobs, catalyze new enterprises and expand financial inclusion, particularly in the emerging markets that are critical to the growth of the global economy.”

Niger is just one example where mobile money technology has been applied intensively in poor nations, more so than in developed ones, because financial systems are underdeveloped in these countries.

In third-world countries most people don’t have basic checking accounts. As a result, using technology to transfer money through mobile phones, people otherwise having no or very limited access to technology are suddenly immersed in it.

This type of technology and access to money begins to equalize societies and breaks barriers where, otherwise, families like Mamoudou’s would not have survived the hunger season.

Interestingly, news of improving life in the third-world is good news, and it’s evidence that the time has come for programs like my Turbo Charged Global Project to be embraced.

Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction

positive effects of globalization

The original concept of creative destruction was introduced by the German economist and sociologist Werner Sombart (1863–1941) and developed and popularized by the brilliant Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942).

From Schumpeter’s perspective, the process of creative destruction refers to disruptive new business platforms, methods, processes, products, and services. Once significant inefficiencies and gaps in the status quo have been identified in any economy, the new developments replace the old, obsolete schemes. The new platforms come to life, invigorating and re-energizing society. Fortunately, much more is created than destroyed, that is, there is a substantial net gain involved; otherwise, the creative destruction process would not constitute a self-sustaining mechanism. In short, despite the unquestionable negative side-effects, on the average, by and large, the net effect is positive globalization.

Sadly, there rarely are any halfway measures for these cases; the usual situation is total substitution which, understandably, creates a painful disruptive impact for employees, suppliers, and investors of the industry or sector under transformation. There are countless examples of this phenomenon. Let’s mention three:

  • The substitution of vacuum tubes for transistors.
  • The introduction of automatic telephone switchboards to replace manual plug-in systems.
  • A relatively recent example of creative destruction has to do with newspapers and print media in general.

Let’s draw out the most recent example of creative destruction. For a few years already, there has been a systematic, and at times quite dramatic, decline in printed materials, more so in developed countries. The whole world is pointing in that direction, as the Internet provides free information and eases the process of electronically subscribing to newspapers and other media services. Subscription rates for electronic devices is substantially cheaper, not to mention immediately delivered, than printed; readers have, therefore, increasingly leaned towards the e-devices, using their tablets, mobile phones, or computers, rather than physically turning the pages of a printed newspaper or magazine. In addition, free newspapers have entered the market – yet another example of how technology is changing habits for the better. Of course, that cannibalization of print media in favor of e-reading has its limits. Print media is not going to vanish; however, the new equilibrium in print media is going to be found substantially below to what it was before.

In fact, creative destruction is society’s primary growth pattern. Fortunately it tends to be much more creative than destructive. Undoubtedly, one of the most typical mechanisms of positive globalization.

Unfortunately though, the destruction is inevitable. Operations that become obsolete sooner or later are affected by a wave of renewal, and eventually disappear from the market or will be minimized. Mahatma Gandhi’s dictum “Do or die” illustrates the phenomenon quite well.

Free-market mechanisms have proven to be the best instruments to add value to society despite the often rude lessons they inflict, such as the never-ending creative destruction processes inherent to them.

Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations and Globalization

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) was the original title of the seminal book that lay down the conceptual framework for modern Economics. The book is commonly known as The Wealth of Nations; it was written by the Scottish Adam Smith (1723–1790). The impact of his brilliant work in the following generations has been such that Adam Smith is indisputably considered the father of economics.

I fully agree with many other economics practitioners that the book is the work of a genius. Adam Smith had an extremely perceptive mind –a lawyer by training– that was able to synthesize and explain the major foundations of the nascent discipline.

In addition to emphasizing the free market and the very apt invisible hand metaphor to illustrate it, among many other concepts, the title itself is very profound and relevant. So much so that, very sadly, the title continues to be a valid point nowadays: “… the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”.

In fact, that very same idea led me to look for a workable solution to the brutal disparity in output and income among nations, as a conclusion to my book Globalization. That brutal disparity in production can be very easily visualized by having in mind that, during 2011, the 22 richest nations on earth, comprising 13% of the world’s population, generated 46% of global output, whereas, at the other extreme of the spectrum, the 45 poorest nations on earth, comprising 19% of the world’s population, generated only 3% of global output! The weighted average of those two extreme groups results in a ratio slightly over 28 to 1 in production capacity per inhabitant. Granted, there is no way on earth to avoid a disparity –even a large one– between those opposite groups. Nonetheless, a 28 to 1 competitiveness ratio is obscene. A clear manifestation that something is profoundly wrong in the world’s current socioeconomic system, that requires to be fixed.

Smith’s effort is second to none given the extreme limitations in the tools and information that were available over two centuries ago. In contrast and very fortunately, 236 years after Smith published his seminal work, the current tools and means available today –particularly including a great deal of practical experiences– make this challenge a very manageable one. Moreover, the conclusion I have reached could not have been possible without the excellent foundations laid down by Smith and many other superb socioeconomic achievements afterwards. Furthermore, in the recent past, there have been numerous profound transformation cases of countries moving from rags to riches in just a few decades. Hence, from my personal perspective, all major elements to solve Smith’s challenging inquiries –over two centuries later– are finally in place and ready to be materialized. It seemed to me that all that it required was an appropriate final process of connecting-the-dots.

In The ABCs to a Global Social Revolution page there is a summarized version of my analysis and initiative regarding how to begin closing the humongous economic gap between failed and developed nations, in a systematic and massive way, which was originally presented in Section 3 of my book Globalization.

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