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Defining Globalism 657

(Third of a series). Globalism is the biggest idea in the world right now. The French call it Mondialisation, the Germans say Globalisiening and throughout much of Latin America, it's called globalizacion. WTO talks and demos are underway in Japan this week. Even though globalism has many humanist advocates, much of what we used to call the political left hates it. So do religious fundamentalists and extremists like the Taliban, who equate it with godlessness and blashphemy. I've been writing about it for years, and got more than 2,000 responses and e-mails about it from some columns here last week, but you know what? I still couldn't tell you exactly what it is. "It's the biggest evil facing the world," e-mailed JDRow. "It's the only hope the world really has," messaged a professor from Amherst. Neither could say what it was. Can you?

Sometimes things are easier to grasp by defining what they're not. The e-mail and posts last week were about equally divided (apart from the usual flaming yahoos) over whether globalism marks corporate evil or global modernization. Most were agreed that globalization isn't about buying computers and TV set. It's about what sociologists like Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics call living in a "runaway world," a period of enormous transformation, affecting almost every aspect of life from technology to how government functions to employment to personal values. Globalization is spreading all over the world, yet nobody is in charge of it, and there isn't even much consensus about what it is, an economic system or an ideology.

Generally speaking, globalization today is a Western idea (although other, earlier cultures took some shots at it), fueled most recently by technology's forging of a global economy. It's a powerful offshoot of capitalism and popular culture, yet it's being debated in almost every country, and it's become almost impossible to hear a major political speech that doesn't mention it.

The subject arouses strong emotions. Directly or not, globalism is at the root of the terrorist attacks on September 11, and the resulting conflict between the United States and Islamic fundamentalists, who are articulate and open about their hatred of the changes sweeping their cultures. Every business is obsessed with it.

It's getting hard to find academics and other members of the intelligentsia who don't mistrust it, equating it, somewhat justifiably, with corporatism and the rise of the multinationals. Surely, there are more reasons to mistrust the multinational corporations who advance globalization than I could possibly list here.

But globalization is an elusive notion. Skeptics argue that it's a highly exploitive western force and profit center that represents business as usual for corporatists exploiting new worker pools and marketing possibilities, and for despoiling the rest of the environment.

Some economists argue that globalization is an old idea, similar to the way world economies operated centures ago, from the Romans to the Venetians. Those civilizations didn't have an e-economy and the Net, of course, and couldn't transfer cash all over the planet in seconds.

And there are clear differences. Globalization seems to erode the longtime primacy of the nation-state, already undercut by networked computing, which changes the potency of boundaries and enables people, businesses and banks to talk directly to one another rather than through surrogates. It also undermines dogmas, both political and religious, some of which greatly fear environments that permit the free flow of ideas. It's hard to preach a monotheistic view of the world if all sorts of ideas are available to your kids online and via TV, music and film. And the new global electronic economy -- involving fund managers, banks, corporations and millions of individual investors -- can transfer vast sums of capital from one part of the world to another in seconds, quickly stabilizing or de-stabilizing economies, as has happened recently in Asia.

Electronic information has also fueled globalism and its consequences. The World Trade Center attacks were a global, not a local event. When Nelson Mandela was released from a South African jail, he was watched by the entire world. So is the American bombing campaign against the Taliban. This kind of internationally-transmitted imagery doesn't just provide external information, but affects the internal politics and reality of our lives -- our family and religious values, our perceptions about the world. When hundreds of teenagers stormed the Berlin Wall and began to tear it down, the first thing many of them did was run to music stores and buy the videos they'd been secretly -- and illegally -- watching on MTV. And "Baywatch" remains the most popular show in Iran, to the despair of the religious leaders running the country.

Primitive cultures like the one running Afghanistan don't accept the inevitability of globalism. Most other governments do, perhaps the primary reason the Arab world isn't actively resisting the much-resented United States in its new war. Countries that don't want to join in may end up like Afghanistan, beset by tribal conflicts, cut off from capital development and economic opportunity. Would investment from multi-nationals help or harm a country like Afghanistan, where one kid after another says in TV interviews that the only available job opportunities involve shooting people?

Whether it's a good witch or not, globalism is much too big and pervasive an idea to go away. For all the media hysteria about bio-terrorism and other dangers, it seems probable that the United States will ultimately destroy the Taliban government, and the first such conflict of the 21st century will be over. What isn't as clear is whether this will mark the beginning of a war or the end. Or whether anybody will ever come up with a widely-accepted definition of what globalization really is.

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Defining Globalism

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  • by Calle Ballz ( 238584 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:05PM (#2558520) Homepage
    lobalizationgay in piglatin
  • by andres32a ( 448314 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:06PM (#2558524) Homepage
    The main problem with Globalism is that everyone has their own idea of what it means. And most people tend to use the word as something that names what they like or dislike. In consequence, most people have an inmediate, non-analitical, and almost violent reaction towards the word "GLOBALIZATION". (At least JonKatz seems to...)

    There is something that can be said about Globalism... Dont trust anyones definition on that word, specially when their definition is full of generalizations...

    Having said that it can be argued either way if Multinationals have hijacked or not globalism. But you see, this is totally relative to the multinational at hand.

    Investors from different countries tend to behave in different ways, frequently reflecting the different kinds of capitalist systems they come from. The most striking differences among foreign direct investors in the U.S. economy are found between West European and Japanese entities. Investments by the former are heavily concentrated in manufacturing and R investments by the latter are more evenly split between manufacturing and R&D facilities on the one hand and distribution networks on the other.

    The bottom line is that international organizations today are fundamentally political, not legal or judicial, entities and will remain so into the policy-relevant future. Their staffs, moreover, will long be composed of foreign nationals dedicated to pursuing their own countries' interests. These organizations are certainly capable of fostering significant degrees of international cooperation in the technology field and others, but as is the case with issues involving globalization, interdependence, and cooperation, member states will constantly struggle to secure the best possible terms of cooperation. National representatives will continue to battle over questions such as: Who pays? Who benefits? Who benefits the most? Who is in charge?

    You can't except organizations that are created for the purpose of making money (and the goverments sponsored by them) to behave otherwise. What you can hope for is that competition created by "globalization" will give consumers better products and that the free flow of technology and information within the "global village" will give people more an more choices.

    "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."

    Rich Cook.

    • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:40PM (#2558762)
      Trade-based globalization will result in the shifting of power from cultural states (i.e. countries), to economic "states" (i.e. multinational corporations), transcending national law, and a lot of the social reasons governments are formed, and law is written in the first place. We need then to fill this vacuum with strong international law and cooperation of the peoples of many nations. Otherwise we are just going to end up with a cabal of extremely wealthy and exploitive corporations with no allegiance to any particular peoples, exploiting and oppressing for profit.

      It's probably too late to reverse globalization(understatement of the century), both economic and cultural/social, but we can at least try to keep it on track and make sure it looks out for the many instead of just the few entrenched players.
      • > Trade-based globalization will result in the shifting of power from cultural states (i.e. countries), to economic "states" (i.e. multinational corporations), transcending national law, and a lot of the social reasons governments are formed, and law is written in the first place.

        Rather like Snow Crash and the concept of "franchulate"; you signed up with a government-of-choice, and when you needed services, you went to the consulate for your government, which was operated on a franchise basis.

        > We need then to fill this vacuum with strong international law and cooperation of the peoples of many nations. Otherwise we are just going to end up with a cabal of extremely wealthy and exploitive corporations with no allegiance to any particular peoples, exploiting and oppressing for profit.

        If I put my left-leaning liberal hat on for a moment, how would this differ in any way, shape or form, from the way things are now? Isn't this what "the left" is constantly carping on?

        Oh, I see. By having one huge-azz government, to whom all the world's corporation are belong, we avoid, umm, the problems of how the merely big-azz government of the United States, and the multinationals stationed there, are responsible for all the evils of the world?

        Y'know, given the choice, I'll take the franchulates.

        • If you look as corporations as an individual person - then the act of turning to a coporation for "governmental sevices" is pretty much equivalent to paying Vito and his buddies a monthly fee to not 'bust up your place'. It's anarchy.

          The first duty of a government, ANY government, is to protect it's people. Whether it's from a gang-operated protection racket, or whether it's from profit-driven exploitive multinational corporations.
          The difference between a GOVERNMENT and a GANG, is that the GOVERNMENT (at least in a democratic society) is accountable to it's people. The money this government extorts is supposed to go to provide the goods and services it's people need, and the information about that money is mostly publicly availalbe. Accountability. If you pay Vito $100 per month not to hassle you, (or if you pay SecureCorp $500 a month to provide "security services" to your home, in absence of a governmnet -funded police force) - you have no idea where that money's going. Is Vito's $100 going to pay for a couple of young punks to stand outside your restaurant to make sure nobody from any rival gang comes along? Or is it going into Vito's pocket for his next snort of coke? Is SecureCorp's $500 going to pay for well trained well armed security patrols in your neighborhood? Or is it going to pay for the CEO's teenage daughter's Lexus?
          At least when I pay my taxes, I know where most of it gets spent, even if I disagree with some of it, I have a right to VOTE.
          In an unrestricted market economy - SecureCorp might even become a monopoly. "Vote with your dollars" doesn't work. Basically, without the government regulation to prevent monopolies or their abuses, what your "free market" is, is anarchy.
    • by Bouncings ( 55215 ) <ken.kenkinder@com> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:46PM (#2558797) Homepage
      I think the mention of Japan is important. Japan, and what has happened to it over the past fifty years is the image of globalization. From competing with western industry in production of cars, to the integration of cultures. A few things to consider...
      • Japan, although it has a suffering economy, represents a very strong concentration of economic power for such a relatively small country.
      • Japan's old culture has certainly not been destroyed. Many anti-globalization voices argue globalization destroys cultures. Not exactly. Japan's old culture, old values, have been mixed and integrated with western ones. Anything American sells well in Japan, while Japanise cartoons sell well in America. The key issue being, both were altered in the process of being exported to another culture.
      Japan has become modern, industrial, and an ECONOMIC superpower. Japan is the face of globalization. Thanks to billions of dollars in aid and reconstruction from the US, it has mostly avoided the negative backlash to globaization some developing countries see.

      You might note that few would say American industry has exploited Japan and its workers, infact American industry has been damaged by competition. The idea that globalization has anything to do with exploitation should take note of this.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:57PM (#2558875)
      Slashdot, the way I see it, is a site for nerds to talk about science, technology, games, and toys (like legos). Politics are only discussed when something drastic happens (9/11, and war, for example). Jon Katz, a journalist with no technology background, has proven time and time again that he can't hang with the "technology" crowd, so he starts to write about topics he knows (like politics). This has no place in slashdot (nor does most of his writings). As proof, I present this article [] on kuro5hin about OSDN getting rid of kuro5hin.
      In this article, Roblimo states : Kuro5hin's emphasis has changed since we first started working together. It is no longer as focused on Linux, Open Source, and Internet tools as it was a year ago. Kuro5hin is still great, but it is no longer a good "fit" with other OSDN Web sites. I ask this, How does Jon Katz fit with Linux, Open Source, and Internet tools?

      Moderators, please consider what I said before modding me into oblivion.
    • One of the problems people trying to define Globalization have is that they try to narrow the defition of Globalization down to one apsect. Globalization is not about economic or cultural effects. Globalization is the interaction of cultures, trade routes, economies, governments, ideas, ideologies, people, small businesses, religous beliefs, and large mega corporations on a world wide scale. A lot of peopel try and say it is one or the other, but you can't completely narrow it down. The whole things is twisted together in many ways. For example, Islam is not just a religion, it is also a culture (a complete way of life), and thus you can't just say 9/11/2001 was about cultures butting heads.
      In order to get an accurate picture of what globalization is, you would have to discuss all of it's aspects and how they interact with each other. I have not seen that many people do this. I have seen a lot people focus on small portions of it--such as the econimic aspect or the trade aspect.
      Thus an accurate definition of globalization must be generalized to cover all of its aspects, and then each aspect further expanded upon in more detail later on.
  • At least thats what it means to me when I hear it. We are basically talking about US-centric ideology and economy. It means that things like this invasion of Afghanistan should be accepted by the rest of the world, because sooner or later it may happen to them. Forget that nations have their own sovereign right to determine their own internal affairs. They only have that right insofar as the US does not feel the need to interfere. And this does not apply equally across the board. Would we allow France to bomb our cities because we are harboring a political fugitive they are seeking? Would we allow Russia to arm and finance groups in America that advocate overthrowing the US government? Yet that seems perfectly acceptable for the US to do in other countries. Of course when the US does it, its not called "state sponsored terrorism".
    • The most basic right a country has is to defend itself. In fact, that is the #1 reason to have countries. If the world was a nice happy fun place we wouldn't need borders. But evil people--people who want to kill you, take your land, all your stuff, and rule you, these people still exist.

      >It means that things like this invasion of >Afghanistan should be accepted by the rest of >the world, because sooner or later it may happen >to them.

      Please. We could have taken over most of the world years ago if that was who we are. The Western Hemisphere could be easily conquered in a few months. But if you attack us, the gloves are off.

      >Forget that nations have their own sovereign >right to determine their own internal affairs.

      No. Nazi's do not have the right to kill Jews. Serbs do not have the right to kill Muslims they don't like.

      Oh, and by launching an attack on us, bin Laden and the Taliban have affected OUR internal affairs.

      >Would we allow France to bomb our cities because >we are harboring a political fugitive they are ?>seeking?

      You tell the children of the WTC that bin Laden, who is on tape admitting the attack, that he is just some "political fugitive".

      >Would we allow Russia to arm and finance groups >in America that advocate overthrowing the US >government?

      The former USSR funded many groups for this purpose. See the US Communist Party.

      >Yet that seems perfectly acceptable for the US >to do in other countries.

      You have absolutely no moral compass, except to say that the US is bad and the non-US is good. Sure the US is not perfect, but we are the best this world has got.

      Brian Ellenberger
  • by jsonic ( 458317 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:08PM (#2558546)
    Neither could say what it was. Can you?

    Globalization can be classified as a polarizing issue. Often seen in politics, it is simply an issue that one can use to easily separate people into two groups; those for, and those against.

    Somewhere in the middle exists a rational argument, but either sides probably aren't interested in hearing it.

  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:10PM (#2558557) Homepage Journal
    Globalism means I'll be dodging rubber bullets and tear gas on my way to work Friday.
    The major Ottawa bus routes (Transitway) come within 100m of the conference center where the G20/IMF summit is held.

    Info: Global Democracy Ottawa []

  • Globalism (Score:4, Funny)

    by thesparkle ( 174382 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:10PM (#2558560) Homepage
    " Neither could say what it was. Can you?"

    It is either a floor cleaner or a dessert topping.

    Don't worry, it's both!
  • Concerns (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:11PM (#2558569) Journal
    My big concern about globalism is that it doesn't define the end-user as a global citizen but as a global consumer.

    Also, why doesn't it show a myriad of global companies instead of today's fewer and fewer multinational companies?

    The recent dotcom era went in this direction but soon became suffocated by these few majors.

    When the concept of globalism will make abstraction of this centralism we might switch to an era of global equity but this will only occur if the press frees itself from the economical interests that endanger its objectivity and favors the actual monolithic global model.
  • "Interconnection". That's all globalism/globalization is. Everything else is circumstantial, meaning it depends on the particular implementation or course of history or time-space continuum you happen to live in or whatever. ;-) So no, it is by no means inevitable. Presumably, one could find an island (physical or metaphorical) that allows total isolation from the rest of humanity. It is, however, worthwhile to note that known human history shows a trend vastly in the opposite direction.
  • by tcd004 ( 134130 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:11PM (#2558573) Homepage
    I work for a magazine called foreign policy. [] Late last year we did a very interesting set of rankings [] that rated how "global" different countries are. We worked with AT Kearney to develop a system to measure and compare things like, # of secure interent hosts, amount of foreign direct investment, # of long distance telephone calls. The results of the study were interesting and suprinsing. This year we'll be publsishing the same report in January.
  • standardisation and centralisation of policy for reasons of convenience, all at the expense of diversity, freedom of choice and (therefore) long term darwin-style improvement of policy.
  • Amherest (Score:2, Funny)

    by dawg ( 18967 )
    Don't trust professors from that "Amherest College." It's no good. Neither is Amherst.

    - Williams '01
  • the scariest thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nate1138 ( 325593 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:12PM (#2558583)
    The thing that really scares me about globalization is the homogenization that follows. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some extremist or religious nut. But every nation being different is what makes it so interesting. Once there are McDonalds on every corner, and the whole world shops at The Gap, this place will be so boring it will drive me mad. On the other hand, if you go too far protecting your national identity, you end up like the french, with their laws preventing social dilution at the expense of personal freedom, or like the Taliban, so scared that people will see western ways and abandon their twisted interpretation of religion that allows them to keep control. It really is a fine line.
    • by elefantstn ( 195873 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @01:52PM (#2559236)
      Actually, as far as I can tell, it's exactly the opposite. Take as an example the restaurant business. Fifty years ago, for the majority of Americans, restaurants consisted of diners, hamburger shops, and upscale American-style places. Now, in the relatively small town in which I live, I am within easy striking range of multiple Indian, Japanese, Chinese (Szechuan, Hunan, etc), Italian (Genovese, Sicilian, Neapolitan, etc), Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, and many other restaurants. And I'm not counting Olive Garden/Chi-Chi's-style ethnic food ripoff places, either -- these are restaurants owned and operated by immigrants who are cooking and selling authentic cuisine.

      Globalization is not a one-way street; the cultural exchange goes both ways. The aforementioned restaurant example is not the only area this sort of thing is happening, either. Commercial diversity is rapidly growing, and globalization means that the barrier to entry to become an international business is much lower. There is a myriad of places I can go to import things from overseas now that I couldn't even five years ago.

      I really don't understand the globalization=blandness argument that comes up so often both here and elsewhere. In my experience, globalization=diversity.
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @02:03PM (#2559315)
        A good example of something that has been 'imported' for eastern cultures, so to speak, on a large scale receantly is Buddihsm. It's still a small religion in the US, but there are sure a whole lot more Buddhists here today than, say, 1901. I read an article in a journal awhile back, I don't remember which one, about the rise of "alternative" (in this case basically meaning non-western) religions in the US in the last 30-40 years. This is a good example of culture and ideas flowing back into the US. However I certianly don't think it is destroying us as a nation, killing our national identity, making us bland or any of the rest of that nonsense. You can be American, and Buddhist too.
  • ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Acheon ( 122246 ) <martin001.girard ... a ['ati' in gap]> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:13PM (#2558584) Homepage
    Globalism is, among other things, the only way for local markets to keep expanding. Since there is nothing left beyond the world for now, I guess this is the last phase until the end of the old world and probably the beginning of a new middle age.

    Don't get me wrong. Globalism in itself is the negation of any kind of territorialism being used as forms of abuse -- the fall of barriers. But those barriers still want to survive on their own ; if they're going to disappear, they may try not to go down alone and take a part of the world with them.

    Therefore, any side-effect of globalism should not be attributed to itself. It is rather an opportunity to get rid of systems that do not have any use anymore, that will crash anyway on their own, and that can blow us with them if we do nothing. If we're going to globalize anyway, let's not do it half-assed.

  • Globalization is one of the finest things that can happen to human race, if it's done the right way. It means a world without barriers, but since human stupidity makes ppl try to push their own ideas down other ppl throats, that's what is going to happen. Furthermore, it's interesting how globalization is always shown connected with world economy, instead of being defined as a massive cultural exchange. Of course... the greedy capitalists out there have a focus on this matter just a 'little diferent' than we do :)
  • by mikeage ( 119105 ) <> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:15PM (#2558599) Homepage
    globalization is what JonKatz (tm) is/was/will be against. What more do we need to know?

    Of course, I thought it was one of the following:
    a. jocks
    b. columbine
    c. censorship
    d. hollywood
    e. republicans
    f. religion
    g. me
    h. democrats
    i. microsoft
    j. short articles
    k. cowboyneal
    l. all of the above
    m. all of the above and then some

    +1 True
    -50 moderator didn't like it)
  • Greed Theory (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wren337 ( 182018 )

    Globalization is, to me, the process whereby third world countries are modernized (using crushing WTO/World Bank debt) until they are suitable for use as cheap labour.

    History has shown, however, that eventually the labourors will demand better conditions, either through gradual reform or revolution. So while the short term goal is exploitation, the changes put in place to facilitate that exploitation will lead to improved living conditions.

  • German (Score:2, Informative)

    by 4im ( 181450 )

    the Germans say Globalisiening

    Dear John Katz,
    can't you please look up your stuff a little bit better? It's Globalisierung. Not that difficult, is it? I guess /. needs not only a spell checker, but a decent translator? Don't tell my your OCR software mistook "ru" for "ni". It's christmas soon, so let's write up something for your wishlist for Santa Claus.

  • Globalization is the natural progression of the age in which we are living. We have the ability to communicate with anyone on earth in a matter of seconds, and modern jetliners and bullet trains allow for face-to-face contact in a matter of hours. This is the first time in human history that it has been possible for corporations to maintain well organized presences on multiple continents. Globalization is nothing more than the natural expansion of existing commerce.

    Furthermore, it takes an enormous amount of time and resources for a corporation to become globalized. All businesses start out as a small mom-and-pop shop, and either expand or fail. Today's globalized corporations are merely the most sucessful of the previous generation's small town shops, and you don't become a huge multinational conglomerate by screwing over your customers. Companies like Wal-Mart, Montsano, and Coca Cola got where they are today by offering superior products and services than their competitors. Years of hard work got them where they are today, not some government Trilateral Commission conspiracy. It's free-market economy at it's finest, nothing more.

    • > Globalization is nothing more than the natural expansion of existing commerce.
      I really hate it when people assume that however things are going now, it's the natural progression. It's that linear view of history that pretends we can only go forward or backward.

      No. It's not the natural way for things to progress in a vacuum, it's the PRODUCT of a very specific politico-economic situation. It's the product of the laws that have been put into place in the dominant western culture. Certain people have chosen, over the course of a few hundred years, to produce this situation. It's artificial, human-made.

      Historically, it's been an abandonment of governmental responsibility. It started with the monarchs of Western Europe choosing to get out of the way and let their merchants have free reign, eventually giving way to democracies. Now we've ended up at the point where the democracies are giving way to transnational corporations. It's based on what makes the most money for those in power.

      If it's a natural progression, it's simply the progression of what used to be capitalism, and has now reached a new form based on investment and globalism. Capitalism required finding new markets for expansion, and that's the only thing that hasn't changed much.

      > All businesses start out as a small mom-and-pop shop, and either expand or fail.
      No, that's wrong. First of all, many businesses are started by other corporations or by entrepreneurs with enough backing to start out big.
      Besides, the common theme is for businesses to get bought out by a big corporation before they reach maturity--that's how companies like MS stay on top. So the idea of hard-working mom-and-pop operations turning into transnational corporations is a complete fantasy.
      > don't become a huge multinational conglomerate by screwing over your customers. Companies like Wal-Mart, Montsano, and Coca Cola got where they are today by offering superior products and services than their competitors.
      If you honestly think that companies succeed by offering the best products, then you have probably read too much economics and too little marketing theory. Much of economics rides on models of rational actors that are completely blown away by modern industrial psych and marketing.

      Coca Cola is a perfect example of a company that is ALL marketing. What do they sell? Syrup, which other companies bottle and turn into something that's awful for you.

      Ah, but you say it must taste better than the competition, which is why people buy it? Nope. In taste-test trials other soft drinks beat the crap out of Coke. Why do people buy Coke? It's exclusively because of effective marketing. Coke has become about as American as apple pie, and it's all through marketing.

  • by remande ( 31154 ) <> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:20PM (#2558637) Homepage
    I understand globalism as a tendancy towards fewer and larger soveriegn governments. I see two problems with the concept. One is a problem with the theory, one is a problem with the way it is currently practiced.

    The first problem (the one with the theory) is an attempt to homogenize culture. Face it, most people like their culture, no matter what it is. Culture is usually not prescribed by the government, but is certainly influenced by it. On the other hand, cultural homogenization may be inevitable--more influenced by cheap transportation and communication than any political actions.

    The second problem has to do with the way globalization is being done. I am a US citizen, and consider having a say in my government to be a divine right. Current globalization efforts include, IMHO, the UN, the WTO, and the EU. These agencies, these super-governments (for lack of a better term) don't answer to people, they answer to governments. This removes the person further from the government imposing laws on him or her. I don't swear allegiance to the UN, I am not permitted to help elect its members, why should I answer to it? Why should my country's business laws be prescribed by the WTO, when I have no opportunity to vote the bums out?

    This looks like a pure power steal. Global agencies are not directly accountable to people. If they were, if I could protest their policies peacefully at the ballot box rather than violently at protests (the only option we now have), I would have more patience with them.

    • "The first problem (the one with the theory) is an attempt to homogenize culture. Face it, most people like their culture, no matter what it is. Culture is usually not prescribed by the government, but is certainly influenced by it. On the other hand, cultural homogenization may be inevitable--more influenced by cheap transportation and communication than any political actions."

      I completely agree that corporations want to homogenize culture because it helps their profit margin if one corp can sell the same thing to everyone. But it doesn't have to be that way-- as somebody posted earlier look at Japan, they have blended their old culture with a modern one.

      Oddly enough I'm not sure if Jon Katz is against this or for this or if he's posting because stories on /. make him feel good. I guess he's for homoginized culture with statements like Primitive cultures like the one running Afghanistan...

      Maybe he meant governments... but I don't know I don't think he has much right to call one's culture primitive.

      P.S. I like your sig.
    • While it may be difficult to trace a direct relation between your vote and the WTO et al, feel comfortable knowing that your government will generally get preferential treatment due to economic might. The WTO and co may be the super-governments in name, but like NATO, then the shit really hits the fan, it's US still has the most to hold over anyone's head. Not a dig, not a troll; but it's what I see! :)

      BTW, your paragraph about cultures is spot on. I read an interesting article where it pointed out that the supposed globalization resulting from technology and free trade is not resulting in increased trade all-ways, but rather resulting in a kind of corperate centralization where by its easy for national corperations to 'promote' themselves to the states (for economic reasons, obviously) once they become big enough. To this end, I'm terribly frightened that the world will end up as the US being the seller, and the rest of the world ending up as buyers only. I think much attention should be payed to this by the US itself, even going so far as to reject foreign investment as a means of ensuring that the rest of the world doesn't end up as a consumer that blows the last of its money sometime in the future and suddenly realizes that they don't have enough domestic industry and export trade. I'm afraid countries will end up BEING the retail outlets for large compnies situated in the states; and when business slows, the population finds out that they're both the consumers that the market is depending on, and the first to be let go from Parent Co, USA for lack of profits. The potential for economic short circuiting is huge, in my opinion.
  • by imrdkl ( 302224 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:25PM (#2558672) Homepage Journal
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  • obviously (Score:4, Funny)

    by bindo ( 82607 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:26PM (#2558673)
    And "Baywatch" remains the most popular show in Iran, to the despair of the religious leaders running the country.

    Any leader who's country's most popular show is bayatch should be in despair about his people...


  • by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:26PM (#2558675) Homepage
    Well, I consider myself to be pretty far left, but I don't understand the big deal about globalism. It just seems like an excuse for some people to riot. Perhaps I just don't understand seems like people are upset that loans to poor countries aren't being forgiven. Since they were loans and not gives, that seems like its expected.

    I'm sure its much more complicated than that, but whatever their message is it isn't getting out. Protestors in seattle just looked like hooligans.

    • > but whatever their message is it isn't getting out. Protestors in seattle just looked like hooligans.

      Yes. Entirely true. Everything from CNN to West Wing protrayed them as a bunch of clueless whining disorganised morons. But, do you remember seeing an interview with any of the protestors' spokesmen on mainstream media, or did you just see a bunch of studio jockeys vaguely paraphrasing what they were unhappy about. Did you actually see any air time given to someone explaining what they were unhappy about and what they were trying to achieve ?

      The media always portrays it as: look at these silly people, they don't understand the benefits of free trade.

      Consider the possibility that the people who went to all the trouble of travelling to Seattle, risking arrest, etc, have actually looked into these issues rather more carefully than the average couch potato. Then the media invites all "regular folks" to feel contempt and scorn for these ignorant fools.

      So, your impression is perfectly understandable, but you have probably only heard one side of the story. Or, more accurately, you have heard various conflicting opinions on one side of the story. To get another side, try here: ht m
  • Pick one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LazyDawg ( 519783 ) <lazydawg AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:27PM (#2558685) Homepage
    Globalism is:

    1. Putting all your eggs in one basket.

    2. Trying for harmony when everyone sings the same tune.

    3. Letting everyone make the same mistakes, all at once.

    4. Making sure the free market never decides anything.

    5. Saying "Businesses have been a discriminated minority for too long."

    6. Trying to disprove the myth that humanity doesn't scale.

  • It is the consolidation of global power into fewer and fewer hands.

    If there is any one lesson that mankind should have learned from its history, it is that power corrupts.

    More power == more corruption.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:28PM (#2558693)
    I wonder why? I suspect because wars on self-defense or different-ways of thinking (drugs) make governments more-powerful. What did the Taliban first do? Take all the guns. What will be the US/UN's first objective? Take away all the guns from individuals. It makes taxation easier, and the constituency is 100% for that in the UN or any group of thugs who want protection-money. I'm sure this comment will induce whines from lefties, but they NEED to whine! gets me. gets my viewpoint on gun control.
  • "...and there isn't even much consensus about what it is, an economic system or an ideology."

    Throw in military protection and I believe what you are describing is a government. This is the beginings of a world government, and we should be electing a seperate offical to represent us for it. Perhaps even voting in a presidential like election as well. Anything else is a wasted opportunity. We have the opportunity to inspire/republics and democrocies in countries that have never seen them before. It has the opportunity to civilize a variety of governments by having their citizens participate in a new and wonderfull process. Unfortunatly greed seems to be the order of the day with the current system in the US and the WTO meetings are just a easy way for presidents to pay back campain contributions with favors.

    Our government is a slave and our press is their masters. Ben Franklin's fears about copyright have been realized. If US officals really cared about democracy they would create one limited over-government for the world and give up their some of their power to the peoples choice. Hopefully enough of the non-US goverments recognise the civilizing power of such an orginization and work around our currently undermined state.

    Good luck to them.

  • Here we go:

    globalize (glb-lz)
    tr.v. globalized, globalizing, globalizes
    To make global or worldwide in scope or application.

    In this case it means trade and government.

    Now that wasn't so hard, was it Katz? Did it really justify an article this size?

    -- iCEBaLM
  • by Chocky2 ( 99588 ) <> on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:31PM (#2558714)
    Too often people (governments, coporations, etc) attempt to employ the drive towards globalisation as a means to achieving particular ends, rather that accepting that stable globalisation only comes about as a consequence of other factors.

    Whilst the dimmishment of the powers of centralised national governments, in favour of more decentralised power structures, may be a positive factor in the continuing development of advanced liberal democracies, for weaker and less prosperous nations it can be disasterous and is too easily perceived as an attack on their sovereignty. Similarly, the enforced acceleration of the economic development of weaker nations, without regard for the resources and equity of those nations can have terrible consequences on their lon term ability to survive independently of the international community (ie - for poorer nations the journey to a globalised community is one way).

    You only have to consider the different manners in which Russia and China have responded to the West-driven globalism to see (relatively) how much better (stable, prosperous) China will be in the near future than Russia; Russia dove headfirst into westernised democracy without the social and economic infrastructure to support such liberalised globalism, China however, though it's record in many areas is wretched, has been focusing more on developing it's social and economic infrastructure, so that as it progresses a culture that can support liberal globalism will arrise naturally.
    • "in favour of more decentralised power structures"

      I'd argue that economic globalization (i.e. WTO) isn't "decentralised" and is in fact much more centralized, except at a level *higher* than nations. Multinational corporations have more power than the UN and have more wealth than hundreds of nations combined, and are not accountable to anybody. That is not decentralized. That's centralized in the worst manner. Unfortunately since economic globalization is such a big win for these corporations, they have been the ones writing the laws and defining this brave new world in their own interests, instead of real people under real elected governments.
  • 1. A major component of globalization is free trade. That means there are no "duties" or taxes levied by countries importing goods.

    2. International law and international courts are another component.

    OK, those are facts that are hard to dispute. Here's where my opinion comes in:

    Globalization, as defined above is bad because...

    1. Advocates for globalization are always saying that free trade is needed to spur economic development. The first major problem with this is that once trade is totally free, it can no longer be used as a tool to spur growth. If the cause for economic problems comes from some other area, they will eventually exhaust this resource and because they devoted so much effort to it, other potential resolutions will be neglected. This is similar to the interest rate problem with the Japanese economy. Another major problem with free trade is that there are hidden costs. For example, sea creatures carried in the holds of ships have had a devestating impact on the ecology of the Great Lakes in North America. Similar ecological problems have arisen with fruit flies, tree fungi, and various other pests. A tarrif is a logical way to protect against these issues because the revenue generated rises in proportion to the problem. The foolish assumption of free trade is to either ignore these losses in the economic equation or to assume that revenue to solve them can be readily obtained from some other source. This is no new problem. Expanded trade is widely credited for carrying the rats that spread black death throughout Europe in the middle ages. A tarriff to fund rat extermination at the port would have been a fantastic and foresighted action.

    2. Global law is bad because it erodes the sovereignty of nations and deprives the citizens of a vote (where they have one). This could also lead to a "no where to hide" syndrome where legitimate dissenters cannot take refuge. In the 80s, the Shah of Iran took refuge in France. What if an international court had been required to allow him to be tried according to Iranian revolutionary laws? It doesn't take too much imagination to see such things being used to persecute all kinds of people.

    In general, globalization is bad for the same reason that monoculture crops are bad: If The One System gets a disease, then the whole World gets a disease.

    With multiple systems, one "diseased" country cannot infect the others too quickly. What if there was a world government, and it got taken over by Taliban?

  • The way I see it, globalism/globalization is all about potential.

    On the one hand, it has the potential to drop barriers and unite humanity into a complex, but harmonious web of inter-connected local governments. It has the potential to open the world up to new cultural ideas (Not just American ones. In this global community, everyone speaks). It has the potential to bring freedom, liberty, and higher standards of living to the globe. /optimism

    On the other hand, it has the potential to bring an American corporate ogliarchy into existence. A homogenized, processed, company-approved world where everyone is a consumer rather than a citizen, the law is based on the "needs of the company", and everybody's rights are defined by EULAs. /pessimism

    Of course, these are two extremes, and it's more likely the true result will be somewhere in the middle. Hopefully leaning toward the first paragraph, but somewhere in the middle.

    Damn inflation! It costs a buck and a quarter to get my two cents in . . .
    • I completely agree, and this also to some extent explains why so many extremely disparate groups almost all contain movements that are both for and against globalization.

      Katz mentions the political left, for instance, but at the same time as the political left is relatively united against globalization in the form the fear it will have when led by WTO, IMF and the G7 powers, the very same political left contains a lot of groups that have been postulating a different form of globalization as critical for the emancipation and liberation of the working classes all the way back to Marx.

      In many ways, people that are against globalization will be against it in the form or shape envisioned by some group they fear or loathe.

      Many of the same radical groups that oppose globalization as envisioned by most Western governments embrace Marxist-Leninist concepts such as the abolition of the nation state, binding world-wide treaties on protection of the environment and human rights, or support wider flow of information about other cultures or languages, all of which in some form could easily be said to have something to do with globalization.

      In the same way, while many muslim groups may oppose globalization as envisioned by Western politicians, the same groups would in many cases be happy to embrace concepts of globalization based on Islamic law, culture and religion.

      This is a classic struggle for control over the meaning of a word, and what globalization will depend on who does the best job at "marketing" their ideas.

  • by Goronguer ( 223202 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:38PM (#2558753)
    . . . to any meaningful debate on the subject. Those who are in favor of globalization seem to define it in very different terms than those who support it. This is an issue that those who have protested at recent WTO meetings have failed to adequately address. They have successfully conveyed their message that "globalization is bad," but without further clarification, this will strike different audiences as either self-evident or as an absurdity, since "globalization" means entirely different things to different groups of people. If you take it to mean the exploitation of indigenous peoples by large multinational corporations, then of course it's bad. But if you take it to mean greater mutual understanding among people of different nations, it is long overdue. The problem is, globalization can, but does not necessarily, encompass all these things, and a lot more.

    Globalization may well be inevitable, as Katz correctly points out, but what form it will take is yet to be determined. Therefore, rather than getting into a shouting match over whether globalization is Good or Bad, it would be much more productive to discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities that globalization presents us while avoiding the the dangers it presents. This is the challenge for our age.
  • by darkov ( 261309 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:39PM (#2558757)
    Namely peace and prosperity. Commerce and communication have essentially brought us these. People who aren't hungry and have jobs tend not to fight each other. Knowing the facts and understanding what's going on around you makes you less able to be manipulated by leaders with their own agenda. It may sound stupid but TV has actually brought around world peace. It's reduced ignorance and brought new points of view to poeple who might not be exposed to them, and along with that understanding.

    Globalism is merely more of the same. More commerce and more communication. It means that countries left behind by the prosperity that has benefited the west are more likely to share in it, even if the west gets fatter in the process.

    There is of course the dark side of globalism. MacDonald's and any other given multinational, /bin/laden calling for death to the infidels, but how can you fault the benefits? I shake my head when I see people protesting against globalism. Largely they are healthy, middle class youths. Wearing Nike sneakers, Levi jeans and driving to the protest in Fords, etc. If they are serious, why aren't they living in caves, growing their own vegetables?

    Globalism is here. We should stop talking about wether it's good or bad and start asking how we can reduce its bad aspects and increase it's benefits.
  • Being against certain policies of the WTO, GATT, World Bank and so forth does not equate to being against global trade, or cultural cross-pollinization. For example, the globalization crowd is trying to push something called FastTrack through Congress. FastTrack is a law which says so-called free trade agreements can not be debated in our Congress any more. That's about as disconnected from democracy as you can get. They want FastTrack passed so corporations can hash out the agreements and not have to deal with what the American people think. Congress isn't the ideal place to have trade agreements fixed, but it's a hell of a lot better than just having a bunch of corporations write the whole thing.

    Most of what GATT/WTO/World Bank wants is the same thing in other countries. They want to take the desire of the people, through their democratic governments, out of the globalization process.

    Most people around the world aren't against global trade or cultural cross-pollinization, just certain aspects of them. For example, the US had GATT force Thailand to allow tobacco into their country. So we're forcing them to sell a deadly drug in Thailand, and they don't even have warning labels on the packs outside the U.S. We'd be better off forcing marijuana on them, at least marijuana isn't deadly. It's the same junk as a century ago when England and the US fought against China in the Opium Wars because the Chinese said opium and heroin were ruining their country.

    That is what globalization is. Pushing deadly drugs without warning labels on kids in Thailand against the will of the Thai people. There are many examples like this but this is just one. Sweatshops in third world countries is another one. Yes, corporations can trade globally, but we also have to allow the democratic process in all countries to have a say. When you don't have that, people get upset, and sometimes react violently because of their resentment against the US.
  • by jenniedo ( 536281 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @12:47PM (#2558802)
    I understand the point Jon Katz is trying to make, and to be perfectly honest, I don't even disagree with it. But he'd make that point a lot better if he didn't try to pretend he knows something about Germany while making it. First of all, it's 'Globalisierung', not 'Globalisiening'. Second, "hundreds of teenagers" did not "storm the Berlin Wall and bring it down" -- if you'd taken a mean age of the folks dancing and drinking on and around the Wall on November 9th, 1989, they'd probably have been somewhere in their mid-to-late twenties. Third, these "teenagers" did not all run first thing to music stores and buy videos on the morning of November 10th when the shops opened in West Berlin -- most people went instead for things like bananas and kiwifruits. And fourth, even those who *did* run to music stores weren't gung-ho about buying "the videos they'd been secretly watching on MTV". MTV is an American channel which even twelve years later is only available on cable television in the now-unified Germany, and certainly was not watched by *East* Germans *before* the fall of the Wall. Mr. Katz, you're a very good writer. You really are. But I'd like to see you use a little more of your brain and research skills behind that rhetoric instead of making things up on the spot just for the sake of being able to embroider detail onto your arguments. -J
  • After the death of Carlo Giuliani (related to the mayor of New York city?) and the mass demonstration in Genoa the following day I had the same question: "What is globalization and why are so many people against it? Are they against free trade? Sounds strange to me."
    These columns [] gave some insight in what globalization as defined by IMF and World Bank mean in real life. It's not really free trade. In many aspects it is the opposite and I don't think it's very healthy. This year's Nobel prize winner for economics, Joseph Stiglitz, seems to be of the same opinion.
  • Now then,

    Globalization is nothing more than the results of the emergence into world-affairs of a set of new actors not previously counted as "players" at that level.

    Classic theory holds that nation-states are the players at the level of world-affairs. This is a small, relatively stable set of players. Technological advances have increasingly opened that most exclusive game of international politics to a whole host of new players. And even more importantly, technological advances in combination with a hightening of personal-empowerment and a spread of democratic government, has created a set of active spectators to world-affairs that has never existed in recorded history.

    While the recently-begun information revolution has added new players to the game of world-affairs, these players are still a select group. Multinational corporations and the associated bodies (governing organizations, interest groups, etc) mainly comprise this category, and while the ideological makeup of this group is both interesting and largely homogenous, the impact on the game of world-affairs is probably quite predictable.

    Side note: As the most visible, and most active group to affect world-affairs during the information revolution, the group arising from multinational corporations is viewed as most threatening by non-wester societies. The predominantly western and first-world ideologies of these multinationals will eventually shift the ideological basis of the game of world-affairs. This shift is something threatening to proponents of non-western ideologies as it would decrease the effectivness of entities holding those ideologies in the game of world-affairs. Additionally, as these multinational corporations enter the game of world-affairs, the backing ideology will act to shift the playing-field (in terms of law and treaty-agreements between actors) of world-affairs to one most suitable for the western ideologies they represent. Specific instances of this are observable in various trade-treaties and resulting laws that exist today.

    While the multinationals are by far the most visible of the new actors at the level of world-affairs, they are not perhaps the most numerous of new actors, and they are quite probably not responsible for the general acceptance that a process called "Globalization" is occurring.

    Technological and resulting informational advances have begun to allow individual citizens of many nation-states to observe the game of world-affairs in a capacity they were not previously affoarded. Much as radio and television brought spectators into the realm of sports (and thereby increased the spectators role in shaping the world of sports) television and the internet are bringing individual citizens of participating nation-states into the realm of world-affairs.

    Polls, audience-participation, and the ubiquitous internet forums (*grins* go /.) have led to a class of empowered spectators to the game of world-affairs. When these empowered spectators act to bring about changes through the spreading reach of democratic government new players are advanced into the realm of world-affairs. These types of players, citizen's groups, international interest organizations and the like provide yet more complexity to the realm of world-affairs.

    In addition (see the side note above), the concentration of these empowered spectators is much higher among groups with predominantly western ideologies.

    In sum, globalization is causing an increase in the number of players in world politics who advance a western ideology. This increase is fueled by technological changes and market cost-pressures. Eventually it does point to an increase in the acceptance of a western ideology.

    This probably does piss off pretty much anyone who proposes a different ideology.

    So what.

  • All of which are good things.

    Control being the issue the leftists are up in arms about. It's pretty hard to maintain control over people and groups of people (ie, businesses) when they have the option to walk away from power-hungry governments. You can't just throw up a Berlin Wall or Iron Curtain anymore. If governments don't play nice with their people, their best and brightest will walk.

    Globalisation is a natural counterweight to tribalism. Playing "us" vs. "them" games becomes increasingly difficult when everyone works with people from all over the world. And darn, there goes that control again. bin Laden is cranky about that.

    Same goes with the abuses of nationalism. We're seeing a partial remission of nationalism after the 9/11 attacks, with the move towards unification of the civilized world against barbaric tribalists. The positive side of nationalism, the unification of a people against a common enemy (red white and blue everywhere!), has surged nicely, and that's good.

    What remains to be seen is whether the people living in nation-states that have resisted joining the civilized world (say, your average dictatorship that uses anti-American propaganda to unite their citizens against an external "enemy" to deflect criticism from their own incompetence and illegitimacy) will be able to change the course of their nations, or even learn that that would be a Very Good Idea. And does the civilized world have the confidence to help them?
    • Uhm. While some groups that are placing themselves on the political left may be quite totalitarian (the same is true for the right), many of them are also extremely anti-totalitarian. Some to the extent where they see the nation state as too oppressive, and want to abolish it, to give one example.

      The "left" isn't one cohesive group. On the contrary, the political left is extremely incoherent, because so many of the groups on the left consists of people that are extremely antiautoritarian and extreme individualists - it's hard for people to build cohesive movements from people like that. And you'll find that a lot of these groups will have dramatically divergent views on what globalization is and why you should be for or against it - just like in the rest of society.

  • Globalization is the process by which the bankers and the financial elite mean to control the world through unprecidented totalitarian steps. Slowly but surely, every government is selling out their people and giving more and more power to the countries that are controlled by capitalist governments, who are in turn controlled by corporations.

    Bilderbergs. The Trilateral Commision. Ring any bells? Conspiracy theories quote them, but you should do the research yourself. Look for David Rothchild quotes.

    We are controlled by money. An oligarchy of the rich is approaching, and we're kissing their hands for doing it because of our own greed. I believe in true capitalism; bribery of the government doesn't fit into that.

  • CRAP

    This world trade is baloney. It just gives multi-national corporations the rights of actual human beings (the purpose of the WTO is to change law in favor of the rich).

    Grow up.

    You are employee number 14yu39423813y4... shut up, and take it like a pile of dung.
  • ...everyone's fears about the future, among other things.

    I don't believe that it will "make everyone homogeneous." The next town over from me is already so different, I doubt that cultural ideals will magically homogenize worldwide.

    I don't believe that it will "make the rich profit off the poor," any more than it already happens. Foreign investment in a local economy always helps it, even if the investors profit more proportionally. Hello, capitalism...

    But essentially, what I DO believe is that political, social, religious, and intellectual ideologies and institutions that have depended for so long on the restricted flow of information and/or goods, will not survive whatever "globalization" is. And that that transition will be painful, and will result in the short term with much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and planes flying into buildings until people get used to the idea and stop fearing the future.
  • My own view of Globalisation can be put quite simply.

    It is the tendancy for people in all parts of the world to aspire to the same things, to buy, wear, eat and produce the same things. No longer do the dutch wear clogs, the german wear laderhosen and the scots wear kilts - we all wear Nikes and Levis. How long until the Afghans, the Eskimos, and those funny looking people in Wales will follow suit?

    It is the tendancy for a single dominant brand of shoe, bread, chocolate, baby food to be available, and market leading in every corner of the world. It is nowhere near as much fun to visit a French hypermarche now as it was 10 years ago - so many of the brands are the same.

    This is neither a good or a bad thing - it is just a thing. If everyone ends up eating McDonalds then its a bad thing, because I don't like McDonalds. If everyone ends up eating good pizza from a wood burning oven its a good thing, because thats what I like.
  • Here's my take on the definition, in a rather roundabout form.

    For most of human history, if you didn't like things (government, economics, society) where you were, you could (at least in theory) walk a few hundred miles and find something completely different. A wanderer could, during his lifetime, sample dozens of entirely novel and separate ways of living. Renegades and outcasts could hope for a new home and a new start away from the powers that oppressed them.

    Globalism is the end of that possibility. A uniform global economy and society erodes cultural differences and leaves no alternatives open to those who dislike the single society that remains.

    The positive side of globalism is that it offers opportunities to those previously trapped under sadistic or merely uncaring domains. Globalism is slowly wiping out e.g. female genital mutilation, which is certainly a very good result.

    The negative side, beyond the abstract harm of having no alternatives for the misfits, is that we become a monoculture in the biological sense, losing our memetic diversity and thus being more prone to societal "disease". A varied pool of cultures has more chance of weathering unexpected stresses than a single culture.

    Anyway, that's my take on the issue. The other positions posted on this thread have also been intriguing.

  • globalism (glb-lzm)
    A national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence.
  • You know, I was just going to overlook this as more Katz-tripe, but then ...

    Globalism is the biggest idea in the world right now. The French call it Mondialisation, the Germans say Globalisiening and throughout much of Latin America, it's called globalizacion.

    Guys, stop ragging on poor old Jon Katz. He had the initiative to look up 'globalization' in THREE LANGUAGES! Bless his journalistic soul.

  • Globalism is allowing an independent entity to control or influence governments. They're usually corporations, but always an entity with vast buying power. Influencing or controlling governments gives these entities two very important capabilities.

    1. The ability to dishonor contracts, commit fraud, and otherwise violate the law without fear of repurcusion.
    2. Control of government resources, including by not limited to their police and military, for their own ends.

    Many cite globalism as a flaw in capitalism. I disagree. Destructive people exist in all walks of life, in both corporations and in government. You could blame capitalism for this, but you could also blame the government that sacrifices its principles after some key officials have been bribed. Do you blame Chiquita banana for its slave labor camps, or do you blame the governments that direct its soldiers to force people to work for Chiquita banana in exchange for bribes?

    Capitalism abhors globalism as it disrupts market forces and rewards undeserving businesses, not to mention infringes on the essential rights of individuals. Globalism boils down to petty bribery, but it is committed on a level far above what law enforcement can address.

    How did I do?

  • Take the following topic, generalize it to include humans [], and you have your answer.

    "Winners and Losers in a Changing World: Global Changes May Promote Invasions and Alter the Fate of Invasive Species"**
    by Yvonne Baskin*
    BioScience v48, n10 (Oct 1998)

    "Although biologists have worked for several decades to figure out what makes some plants and animals good 'weeds,' and what makes some habitats more vulnerable to weedy invasions than others, there are no consistent answers. But the need for answers is becoming more urgent as scientists are being called on to project how native species and ecosystems will respond to a bevy of predicted human-driven disruptions now lumped together under the phrase 'global change.' These disruptions include continuing changes in the composition of the atmosphere; shifts in temperature and rainfall patterns that are expected to result from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; changes in land use that replace, fragment, or degrade natural ecosystems; changes in the frequency or intensity of natural disturbances, such as fire; rapid growth in world trade and travel; and the accelerating loss of native biodiversity."

    "In addition, the increasing pace of species invasions is itself considered a key aspect of global change - one more visible in most regions than the extinction crisis. 'Exotic invasions are the number-two threat to native biodiversity [behind habitat destruction], but that just doesn't say it all,' Stanford University ecologist Harold Mooney told his colleagues at a meeting near Stanford, California, last spring. 'Invasions are the number-one component of biotic change in the world today. The number of extinctions pales beside the number and impact of biological additions, at least for the present.'"

    "Spurred by the Convention on Biological Diversity and growing international concern, a number of agencies and groups around the world are developing strategies to curb new invasions and prevent further damage by established invaders in wild as well as managed landscapes (BioScience 46: 732-736). That task is complicated, however, by continuing shifts in climate, land use, avenues for invasion, and other factors that affect the fate of potential invaders. Furthermore, invasions that alter the biological landscape feed back to drive new changes in the atmosphere, climate, and natural disturbance patterns."

    "At the Stanford meeting, two dozen scientists led by Mooney gathered to take a preliminary look at the direction in which various global changes are likely to drive the fate of would-be invaders, including exotic species, such as the sea lamprey and spiny water flea, that already lurk like time bombs at the edges of many systems."

    The general consensus of the workshop participants was evident from the start: 'Without question, global change is going to exacerbate the invasive problem,' Mooney said. But not all types of change have equally strong or unambiguous impacts. Workshop participants found that two global trends consistently and strongly encourage invasions: land-use change and the proliferation of vectors that promote species movement, especially those created by the growth in world trade. A number of other global changes, they concluded, have less consistent impacts but still play a role in influencing invasions."

  • There is a very good book called NO LOGO (by Naomi Klein) which is essential reading for anyone who wants to have an informed opinion on this.

    Essentially, the idea of globalism is that technology and wealth will gradually trickle down from the first world nations that generate (and dominate) them to the third world nations which need them so badly. But the problem is that large multinational corporations have hijacked globalization for their own agenda.

    They sequester themselves in Export Processing Zones where they pay no taxes to local government and no overtime to workers who put in 16 hour days at least 6 days a week. They bribe local governments to lift restrictions on destruction of the nation's natural resources with no promise to compensate.

    For the last 5 to 7 years (coining of the phrase globalization) third world nations have been getting POORER at a steady and alarming pace. This is WHY they hate us. They don't hate American citizens who go about their daily lives with no involvement. They hate the multinational corporations who root themselves in the US or other first world nations and then drain developing nations of their resources while violating their labour laws without fear of reprisal.

    These are just a few of the shocking truths you will find in NO LOGO. You will also discover how the same multinationals have been dupping you for years. You will learn that the shirt you paid $40 for was made in Honduras by people getting paid less than a 20 cents for 16 hours of labour.

    The facts in this book is an eye-openning experience for anyone who thinks they understand this issue. There is so much going on in the world that we are not told about. Isn't it we started paying attention?
  • No one has pointed this out yet that I have seen (at +3): Globalism and Globalization are two completely different things!!! They are not interchangable words! Globalization is the economic and legal process of reducing barriers between nations so that corporations can more easily market goods and services internationally. (Actually, generically, this just means to make global in scope.) Globalism is a political or social philosophy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence. That said, they are both important aspects of life in these times, but no more important than the notions of "world government", "unity in diversity", and "environmentalism".
  • Globalization comes down to one thing: money.

    • Cultural globalization occurs because large corporations keep expanding their target market, eventually seeing the entire world as one homogenous audience. We all see the same TV shows and commercials, and eventually start developing the same ideas about the world.
    • Governmental globalization occurs because the more powerful governments know they can do better on the "world market" when foreign governments have similar political views to their own. So, countries like the US and Britain manipulate the politics of the world to their financial ends.
    Past globalization attempts have been based in religion (crusades, jihad, inquisition, etc.) These have been for the most part ineffective.

    Good or bad, the current globalization that is changing the world now is all about money.

  • I know very little about the politics of he "globalization" issue, and I hope I find a chance to learn more about it. Definition of concepts is always difficult and usually you just have to accept it. Context-sensitivity of words is very common.

    One interesting point of view might be mathematics, or more exactly, studies of complex nonlinear systems (you know, the freaky chaos people).

    There are numerous studies concerning the behaviour of complex nonlinear systems interconnected in different ways. The research of Stuart Kauffman (a theoretical biologist) is perhaps the most well known, as well as other research from the Santa Fe Institute [].

    One aspect is simply evolutionary - globally interconnected systems tend to converge fast, while sparsely interconnected systems (such as 2d-lattices) tend to converge slower, but they have higher diversity, which often results in better overall solutions.

    Also, highly interconnected systems are rigid because each connection is also a constraint. I don't really know how to apply this to economical globalization. The problem is that the human culture is interconnected in so many ways and on so many levels. Globalization might force a radical self-organizational change in the connectivity structure of humanity, by reducing connectivity in many aspects, or in other words, reducing diversity.

    One significant problem in many complex systems is that simple changes at a lower level of a system (in parameters or laws) can result in emergence of totally unpredictable and often undesirable effects in large scale.

    Some call this "the invisible hand". It's a pretty well-known concept in many scientific fields, especially the science of finance and economy.

    For example, globalization of economy forces countries to compete with their laws to get foreign investments and workers. The result is that companies control laws very effectively. Sometimes this may be good, such as for preventing wars, but quite often not. For example, countries that have stonger social balancing system may suffer in short-term economical competition, as their taxes can be forced to too low level.

    Unfortunately, just like the watchmaker of biological evolution, the invisible hand of market economy is blind. Just like other nature, it doesn't have ethics nor does it care anything about humans, and is thus sometimes undesirable.

    I mean, corporate life, it will find a way, and then comes the running and the screaming.

    I'm not sure if this helps the terminology issue much, but hopefully it gives some directions.
    • the invisible hand of market economy is blind.

      Obviously, the invisible hand of the market economy needs to go jump in a toxic waste pool [] so it can see better.

      I'm not sure if this helps the terminology issue much, but hopefully it gives some directions.

      Mixed metaphors often do. The shortest distance between 2 points is off the wall, I always say.

  • It's different things to different people.

    One problem is that media hacks (like Jon et al) want to describe it as one thing. But it isn't.

    The Bush admin and FOBs would describe it as a method for reducing their ability to move capital without boundaries, but keep labor and environment separate, so that capital owners can maximize returns by playing countries and regions against each other.

    Bill G and other large corporate owners would describe it as lowering the regulatory constraints and allowing them to sell one product to the whole world, with differential pricing to maximize the return based on the consumer base in each country. And the removal of pesky laws that reduce their capture of IP rights at the expense of other nations.

    Pharmaceutical companies would describe it as the extension of the optimal patenting and trademarking systems to their advantage, and the removal of "fair use clone" drugs that compete against them.

    al-Queda would describe it as the use of the media and marketing to impose one set of values (Western ones) upon the entire world and using it to trample their values (which are a myth, but they think they are real).

    I would describe true globalization as being the ability for capital, labor, environmental constraints, and IP/fair use rights to be increased to the highest level worldwide, instead of lowered.

    And we are all right.

  • Globalism is when I make the rest of the world become like my society, which "everyone knows" is the best society.

    Oppression is when someone else makes me and the rest of the world become like their society, which , we all "know" is evil and deserves to be wiped out.

    War is good when I do it to you for my just and righteous cause.
    But War is violence and depraved, even terrorism, when you do it to me for your just and righteous cause.

    Open mindedness is you seeing my point of view.
    Your point of view, being "dogmatic" and "fundamentalist" is intolerable, and must be stamped out. Don't worry though, once we have wiped out your point of view, everyone will be "openminded".

    Tolerance is when you learn to tolerate me, no matter how much my idiocy offends you.
    Your idiocy on the other hand, can not be tolerated and as such must be wiped out. It's the only way to achieve tolerance you know.

    Respect is when you respect me because if you don't, I will rain bombs down from the heavens on your people, and impose sanctions that result in the deaths of a million of your countrymen.
    It's terror, on the otherhand, when you make me feel scared that you will make planes fall from the sky and poison 20 people with anthrax.

    A democratic nation is not one, contrary to popular misconception, where the people choose their leader. If that were the case, then we would have violated the rights of a free and democratic nation when we removed Milosevich from his term which he was democratcily elected to.
    No, democracy is any government which has elections, AND does that which pleases our government.

    I hope these new definitions will help some of you out there who are still confused as to the apparent hipocricy. It seems, our leaders found the laws they see fit for us as too restraining for themselves, so they were forced to change definitions to allow them to do that which they please. You and I on the otherhand, will be expected, like good little Nazi's, I mean patriots, to live up to the ideal that they themselves don't even bother trying to achieve anymore. But God damned those pot smokers, throw those sick criminal mastermind bastards in the pen, and let those poor misunderstood rapists and child molesters go to make room for the evil dope smokers.

    "But there's worse places on earth to live."
    Yeah, but that doesn't make any of these things right. If I stood before a judge for growing marijuana, and pointed to a rapist and as my only defence of my crimes said "well, I'm not as bad as him.", do you expect the judge to let me off? But this is the argument unthinking and emotionally driven "patriots" use to justify the crimes of their country. I love my country, just as I love myself, but just as I am not a blind fool when it comes to my own imperfections, neither am I one when it comes to my nations. Open your eyes, the light hurts only for a brief moment, and then you grow accustomed to it.
  • Primitive cultures like the one running Afghanistan don't accept the inevitability of globalism Jon Katz, you ignorant slut! Primitive cultures don't know anything about how to fly airplanes into buildings, evade Interpol/FBI and advanced money laundering techniques. This particular part of the world has been civilized for far longer than most of the rest of the world (y'know Iraq, craddle of civilization, that stuff?). While they may or may not agree with the inevitibility of Globalization, they are certainly not primitive. If anything it's dumb old American who don't know shit about global politics or their own xenophobia who might be thought of as primitive.
  • "The victors write the history books."

    It is all well and good for Jon Katz to challenge us to find a definition of globalization that isn't primarily about economics. Greater minds than ours have given it their best shot. Anthony Gidden in the 1999 Reich lectures [] produced a well-nuanced description of globalization. It took him five lectures to do so. A summary definition of Gidden's globalization might read: The process of global modernization, risk assessment particularly in response to human created problems including nuclear weapons and global warming, and global democratization emerging in an anarchic, haphazard, fashion, carried along by a mixture of economic, technological and cultural imperatives.

    But the process is larger than any of us. We are not even major players. Only in retrospect will we be able to write a good definition and we all know that victors write the history books.

    If my friends and I were able to write the definition, I'd be all for globalization. With the G8, WTO, Worldbank, USA, EU, et al in charge, the best we can do is provide the occasional dissenting voice.
  • by Wesley Everest ( 446824 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @03:12PM (#2559679)
    The problem isn't globalization. What's wrong with people from different countries trading, communicating, and working together? Nah. The problem is that "globalization" is being carried out by unelected bodies of government appointees and corporations.

    It's like saying leftists are against the idea of cities just because we think mayors should be elected by the people that live in them instead of appointed by General Electric and Microsoft.

    And then, of course, there are the results of corporations determining the course of globalization -- "free trade" means corporations are free to go whereever they want and do nearly whatever they want, but the people who work for them get stopped at borders and are forced to endure corrupt, despotic governments that limit their actions. Corporations can shop around for the country with the lowest wages and oppressive anti-worker laws, but the workers in those countries are forced at gunpoint to remain.

    And anyone that knows anything about how a "free market" works can see that this is anything but a free market. Given that corporations have the right to move into any country regardless of human rights, and given that all other countries are forced to accept the products, you have a situation where corporations are always seeking more and more oppressive and corrupt governments, and have a financial incentive to make them worse. Government leaders, on the other hand, have a financial incentive to cooperate. And when a worker in one of those countries tries to improve their situation, by moving to a better country, by organizing a union, by trying to change their government, etc. they are met with soldiers with guns keeping them back.

    Final result -- lower wages, longer hours, and less rights for everyone around the world, higher profits for corporations.

    Now what would happen if globalization was controlled democratically by the people whose lives it will affect? Short of revolution, we won't know.

  • "Globalization" means that capital can move where it wants, but labour (ie, you and me) are constrained in where we can emigrate to in order to follow the money flow. Borders restrain and impede people searching for better standards of living while being deliberately porous for capitalists.

    What exactly is "globalization" all about? The IMF/World Bank/WTO knowingly bribe local officials to sell off national assets cheaply, deliberately push people into the poverty trap to inflame "social unrest" so that Western companies can buy assets cheaply during the ensuing panic, and "condemns people to death".

    But it's not just me saying that. Or those rather smelly anarcho-crusties swinging their dreads forlornly. It's all in the words of Joseph Stiglitz [], current Economics Nobel winner and former chief economist boffin at the World Bank. He seems to have done a Vadar and come back from the Dark Side.

    Just how badly has globalized moneterism failed [] to achieve universal prosperity for all?

    In the United States, the median real wage is about the same today as it was 28 years ago.This means that the majority of the labor force has failed to share in the gains from economic growth over the last 28 years. That is drastically different from the previous 27 years, during which the typical wage increased by about 80% in real terms. Trade has doubled as a percentage of our economy since the early 1970s, and there is no doubt that globalization has played a significant role in the worsening distribution of income here.

    Now, international trade per se is obviously not the issue here, it's international trade under the deliberately poverty-inducing stategies of the IMF-led cartel. International trade could be defined and regulated in such a way as to promote prosperity of ordinary people within economic areas:

    Globalization is no more natural or inevitable than the construction of skyscrapers. The globalization we have seen in recent decades has been driven by a laborious process of rule making. It is the establishment and enforcement of these rules that allows Timberland shoes, for example, to make their product in China at wages of 22 cents an hour, and then sell it at the local suburban mall. Advances in transportation and communications did not determine this result. Our leaders have rewritten the rules of the game in a way that has driven down wages for the vast majority of American employees. One may agree or disagree with this policy, but it should be understood as a conscious political choice.
    The same thing could have been done to the salaries of doctors, for example. With much less effort and expense than it has taken to negotiate investment and trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO, we could license and regulate the training of doctors in foreign medical schools. By allowing these doctors to practice medicine in the United States, we could lower the salaries of doctors and greatly reduce health care costs, without any loss of quality. Interestingly, the savings to consumers from reducing American doctors' salaries to even those of Europe would be enormous: about $70 billion a year.

    This is about a hundred times more than the gains from tariff reduction in our most comprehensive trade liberalization agreements, such as the one that established the WTO five years ago. Huge savings could also be achieved by introducing international competition to the practice of accountants, lawyers, economists, and other professionals. But it is unlikely to happen, because these professionals -- unlike the majority of the US labor force -- have enough political clout to protect themselves from international competition.

    This Economist article [] is well-reasoned. But it ignores the underlying fact that globalization means the increasing freedom of movement of capital without complementing freedom of movement of labour, has led to a massive democratic imbalance in the world.

    This is because Corporations have lobbyists and expense accounts whereas poor people can only throw rocks.

    Corporations prosper while working people are denied freedome of migration and emigration and suffer and end up rotting in huge unemployed pockets of poverty. This is not right and leads to the kind of tensions that I see expressed as fundamentalism in Muslim countries and riots by rich Western kids in Genoa.

    Apparently, "unbridled laissez-faire" has got us into this predicament. Maybe it's time to restructure international trade [] to prevent plunging so many countries into IMF misery?

    This is not unprecedented. Before World War One the global economy was very tightly knited together. Unfortunately, this imperial, colonialist and racist system massively benefitted certain countries at the expense of others. What we call today's "laissez-faire" is in fact nothing of the kind but a complex regulatory system designed to perpetuate Western Hegemony.

    I benefit greatly from this, getting to eat candies when I want and buy cheap shoes at Payless. But if I had to settle for less candies and knew this was in some way reducing the risk of a suicidal airliner dropping on my head then I'm all for it.

    Maybe it's time for a Tobin Tax []? Make all those currency speculators produce something worthwhile from their mindless machinations. Donate the proceeds to developing world educational programs....
  • Bullworth said it best:
    "Let's just keep fucking eachother until we're all the same color!"
  • But globalization is an elusive notion.

    "Globalization" must constitute an elusive notion: Katz utterly fails to provide even one definition in his article, ironically entitled Defining Globalism.

    Come on, Jon. Give it a shot. Try to provide a three sentence or less, dictionary-style definition of one or more meanings of the word "globalization".

    Gee whiz, at least try to distinguish between "globalISM" and "globalIZATION"

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.