Globalization Has Not Had its Day

The misguided idea that globalization has had its day has come to the fore (again!) because of such recent global events as Donald Trump’s “American Firstism”, the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, and the increased strength of the European right. While all of these developments are important, they must be viewed in a broader context of changes in the worldwide multidirectional flow of people, information, ideas and objects. Those flows are sometimes expedited, but at other times they are slowed, or even blocked, by barriers. They have been expedited for decades, but a counter-reaction has arisen due to the excesses, real or perceived, of the growth of openness to such flows. That counter-reaction has gained notoriety leading to some real changes (e.g. Brexit) that will impede some global flows. However, much of the counter-reaction has led to little change (e.g. the American Congress’s refusal, at least thus far, to fund Trump’s proposed wall between the United States and Mexico).

While the counter-reaction against “globalism” can still have a great impact, it is not going to end globalization. Globalization is multi-faceted. While some elements (e.g. the flow of people) may be slowed in some parts of the world, many others (especially the flow of information and ideas through such internet sites as Facebook and its almost 2 billion active users worldwide) are accelerating by the day. That these are unstoppable is clear, among other places, in the failure of the Chinese government to close down access to Google. Each new effort is countered by Chinese citizens who quickly find a new way around the most recent barriers.



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