The Great Globalization Debate

I came across this post “The Case Against Globaloney” and couldn’t help but make a connection to the Sparks piece, What’s Wrong with Globalization? that we discussed in class.  In it, the author discusses Pankaj Ghemawat’s book World 3.0.  I imagine you can glean from the title of the blog Ghemawat’s opinion of globalization.  In his book Ghemawat argues that “we live in an era of semi-globalization at most”.  As does Sparks he then selects specific aspects of society and demonstrates with statistics that claims of world-transforming globalization are exaggerated.

For example:

“Only 3% of people live outside their country of birth”

“Only 7% of rice is traded across borders”

“air travel is restricted by bilateral treaties”

However, just as in the case of Sparks, I feel like Ghemawat’s measurement is somewhat selective and just as we found areas where we could argue with Sparks there seem to be many areas we could question Ghemawat’s analysis as well.

But most of all, these critiques of globalization seem to indicate that globalization is still very much a hot topic.  People are still insistent on measuring its effect and the amount it has saturated a given aspect of society or proving that it hasn’t.  Professor Hayden asked us in class why it is important to study globalization, a hard question to answer for our generation since it seems to be our reality rather than a new phenomenon.  But the fact that there are still skeptics and still statistics of where it hasn’t occurred makes it still an important topic to be studied and discussed.

To me globalization – whether a new phenomenon or a constant process that is only recently increasing in intensity and extensity –is significant in the shift in consciousness it has produced.  It is important to analyze and understand globalization because it defines how we view the world and being aware of its extent or lack thereof is crucial in the decisions of TNCs, national governments, NGOs, international organizations and individuals.  Whether or not we believe globalization has fully saturated all aspects of society or just some, we can’t deny that the countries on this planet are interconnected in some very important ways.

Two ways that immediately come to mind are environment and health.  It is hard to argue our level of interconnectedness when it comes to our shared planet.  One nation’s actions can have serious consequences for all and thus protection of the environment becomes a world responsibility. Although this has always been the case, I think we are becoming increasingly more aware of that fact. The level of world cooperation may not be where we would ideally like it to be, but there is certainly a developing awareness that the environment can’t be thought about in terms of one nation’s actions or problems only.  Public health is another area that for me, whether nations want to cooperate or not, they must.  One outbreak of a disease in one country becomes another country’s problem and potentially a world epidemic now that world travel is so frequent and widespread.  AIDS started somewhere, but became a problem everywhere.  True that there will always be someone who can find an example of a case where globalization hasn’t reached the level many claim it has.  But, then again, there are also cases where it is difficult to argue our interconnectedness, sometimes whether we like it or not.  To borrow from the phrase, when the US sneezes the world catches a cold, right?



One thought on “The Great Globalization Debate

  1. I really like your arguments and totally agree that there are areas that make if hard for anyone to deny that globalization exists in. In addition to environment and public health, I think another good example is nuclear proliferation. With nuclear power, what one country has effects pretty much everyone else and it is up to countries to cooperate and make sure that nuclear threats don’t see the light of day. World safety depends on this kind of global communication.

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