Globalization And the Incoming World Order; The Realistic Views of World Power


Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. Globalization has accelerated since the 18th century due to advances in transportation and communication technology. 

This increase in global interactions has caused a growth in international trade and the exchange of ideas and culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of interaction and integration that is associated with social and cultural aspects. However, conflicts and diplomacy are also large parts of the history of globalization, and of modern globalization.

Economically, globalization involves goods, services, data, technology, and the economic resources of capital.

 The expansion of global markets liberalizes the economic activities of the exchange of goods and funds. Removal of cross-border trade barriers has made the formation of global markets more feasible.

 Advances in transportation, like the steam locomotive, steamship, jet engine, and container ships, and developments in telecommunication infrastructure, like the telegraph, Internet, and mobile phones, have been major factors in globalization and have generated further interdependence of economic and cultural activities around the globe.

Though many scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history to long before the European Age of Discovery and voyages to the New World, and some even to the third millennium BC

 The term globalization first appeared in the early 20th century (supplanting an earlier French term mondialization), developed its current meaning some time in the second half of the 20th century, and came into popular use in the 1990s.

 Large-scale globalization began in the 1820s, and in the late 19th century and early 20th century drove a rapid expansion in the connectivity of the world's economies and cultures.

In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.

 Environmental challenges such as global warming, cross-boundary water and air pollution, and over-fishing have been linked to globalization.

 Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, sociocultural resources, and the natural environment.

 Academic literature commonly divides globalization into three major areas: economic globalization, cultural globalization, and political globalization.


Idealists such as P.R. Sarkar, Charles Paprocki, R.G.H. Siu, Robert Muller and Titus North believe that a parliament of humanity or a world government democratically constituted by world citizens is humanity's natural progression from barbarism to civilization. 

Only internal fear, greed, hate and other emotions have kept humans from achieving this goal. The UN will realize its true mission as humans themselves move towards perfection. This is fundamentally the moralist-idealist position adopted by humanists, utopians, and spiritualists.

The future world is a mixture of sensate and ideational civilizations; an integrated world that is holistic, wherein there is economic balance between regions, between city and rural areas, between genders, and within the minds of each person . 

Individuals themselves have found a balance between the materialist and spiritual tendencies within themselves. In this vision of the future, nations gradually disappear and identity is reframed around bio-regions and other more rational, less sentimental (not religious, national, racial, territorial) forms of social organization.

Less inclusive is the Western liberal view of the long linear march of democracy; the perspective that democracy is the highest form of human social organization. The role of the UN is to facilitate democracy throughout the world, stamping out the structures and ideologies of feudalism, fascism, totalitarianism and racism.

 Democracy, however, is contained within the nation state. The United Nations stays primarily an organization of nations. People are collectively best joined within the nation-state rubric. Nations, however, can and should, join together to create a parliament of nations thus ensuring collective security.

Within the UN itself, within the framework of the nation-state, hierarchy of power is desirable since there are the wise and the foolish, the rational and the irrational, and the parent and the child. Eventually power and responsibility will be shared once the foolish change their ways and children grow up, once all nations become truly democratically representative.

 This has been a pervasive American model, democracy having originated in Greece and passed through Europe to finally rest in the US, it is believed. Now that communism is dead, it is only the chaos of the Third World that needs to be managed; that is, world order is primarily a function of implementation, merely a technique, to use Focauldian language.

 The image of the emerging world order is one where the principles of the European enlightenment and further articulated by the US State department are realized. The UN would ascertain that universal human rights are respected, that nations follow liberal models of economic growth, and that territorial boundaries are honored.

Achieving World Government; the Possibilities:

Because of the failure of the League of Nations to become a supernational authority, the UN was less idealistic in its goals, eventually focusing not on becoming a supernational authority but on developing mechanisms of regulating the balance of power between the two world blocks. 

As a result, general universal notions of justice or peace, behind the idea of collective security, were in practice abandoned, argues Satti. As a consequence, UN meetings became focused on theatrics of mass consumption in the home nations of leaders.

 However, with the end of the Cold War, the UN is once again at a transition phase, most argue. What type of UN results in the near future is dependent on a range of variables, including world geo-politics, the growth of the world economy, technological advancements, and the globalization of culture. In any case, the expectations of the UN are higher now, having reverted to an idealistic phase, at least towards the vision of global governance if not world government.

Radical reforms, for example, call for a consensus on global human rights, on denying sovereignty of criminal nations , for a world militia, that is, a UN organization which is more than the United Nations. Clearly, unlike the 1930's during the demise of the League, the UN is not irrelevant. As Boutros Boutros-Ghali has remarked, "The United Nations has almost too much credibility."

Given that the emerging world order is believed to be fraught with local and regional ethnic and religious conflicts, usually carryovers from colonial and communist days, the UN must expand its functions. 

The task of the UN now that the world is no longer bipolar is to expand peacekeeping and peacebuilding, to gradually move towards world governance on issues of ecology, development, human rights and other problems that no one nation-state can individually tackle. The goal of the UN is to aid in the original goal of the creation of a community of nations.

Realist view of world Governance 

From a realist view, critics such as Coral Bell, Keith Hindell, Frank Ching and Wang Kan Sang argue that any future of the UN must deal with the fact that it is primarily one-nation run and that all nations use it when it is to their political benefit. 

Thus, even though the actual balance of powers has shifted, governments remain committed to national self-interest. The realist discourse continues to dominate with global justice applied equally to all nations remaining an elusive, if not impossible, idea and reality. 

Thus the idealist future does not deal with the resentment small nations might feel toward big power hegemony. How will they find a voice in the UN as it becomes more active, remains the operating design question? If they cannot, then we should again expect to see the euphoria surrounding the UN transformed to the realization that it is merely a branch office of American foreign policy, argue critics.

In this realist position of the UN, the image of the future world order is that it will be primarily dominated by a few nations, those currently wealthy and having nuclear advantage. The UN will be used on a case by case basis to press military, strategic, economic and cultural advantages.

Alternatively, instead of a unipolar world, there is evidence that in terms of relative power (since no nation has economic, cultural, military and territorial domination) the most likely world future is that of a multipolar world. This assertion can have a range of consequences. 

First, instead of the assumption that the UN can easily restructure, now that traditional bi-polar tensions have diminished, it could mean that there will be more tensions, as not one but multiple hegemonic powers vie for who gets to run the world. Galtung argues that we might have an emerging Islamic power (two or three generations hence), India, China, Japan, and three Western (US, Europe, and Russia) hegemons. 

However since zones of power are clearly demarcated in this multipolar world order, structural reform of the UN might indeed be possible. There is a range of potential conflicts ahead which the UN must prepare to handle: (1) within spheres of interest; (2) between two hegemons and in border areas; (3) multipolar (uniting in pairs or other variations); (4) a coalition of hegemons (as in against Iraq); and, (5) a coalition of peripheries (they of course will not gain UN legitimacy since they were not victorious in the second world war).

Thus we would expect the UN to play a different role as it tries to accommodate the cultural and governance assumptions of these very different world powers. In this model of the future, we would expect continued efforts of India and Islamic nations to gain full-time Security Council membership, thus joining the US, France, England, Russia and China.

In any case, the guiding assumption is that the UN has come about for various reasons and its structures reflect these reasons. 

There is no grand march of history, no Geist, no divine force leading humanity to progress, to civilisation. Nor is there any a priori reason that nations should peacefully coexist. Power and its pursuit, in contrast, are natural. The Prince must rule, whatever guise he decides to use.

 Writer: Obinna Pascal Amajuoyi

Binnabook Publisher

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