Should Globalisation Get Pulled Over for Speeding?
September 9, 2016 § 1 Comment
BY TIM MARTIN AND NATASHA MARTIN
If you’re reading this, your life is probably better because of globalization.
Consider the device on which you are reading this post. For the first time in human history, most of us on this planet are touched by people, ideas, work and products from everywhere. The miracle of cheap airfare takes us to the remotest corners of the earth. We know more and are more interested about people who are different from us.
For both of us – father and daughter – our careers, friendships and hopes depend on an open world. A globalized world. Both of us still believe this is where our future opportunities will be found. We think this is true for everyone on the planet.
We are worried that this system is crashing.
Globalization is crashing into old ideas and ugly prejudices. More than that, it is crashing into politicians without the creativity to govern the new transnational spaces where globalization happens.
Don’t get us wrong. The problems are real, too. The Great Recession of 2008 was thanks to over clever avarice of unregulated financiers. BREXIT, sold with false information and emotional cheap shots, is a now reality. The country that dominated the planet for centuries lost its patience for a few decades of regional cooperation. Seriously? The World War of Terror has ruined millions of lives and is invading the western psyche (in case you are worried about being a victim of terror, please note that a total of 32,675 Americans died in motor vehicle crashes in 2014).
These characters bidding to shape our future, like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders and Marine La Penn want to drive ships of state their eyes firmly fixed on the rear view mirror. Their ideas come from the bottom of the brain stem where the fight or flight instinct lives. To make things worse, today’s evil supervillain, the self-appointed Caliph al Baghdadi and his so-called Islamic state are trying and succeeding to scare us out of our wits.
If they win, walls are going up. Opportunities that you may take for granted – like global backpacking and international consulting – these may start to disappear.
Globally, divisions the size of mountain ranges are rising between those who gain from globalization and those that are left behind – or hurt. But globalization shouldn’t and needn’t be a zero sum game.
We need globalisation to move at a speed we can understand and talk about. We think that it is time to talk about the attitudes we need to protect the promise of globalization and its potential to build a better future for everyone from freelance programmers to prairie farmers to Himalayan Sherpas.
In our next post we will talk about these attitudes: putting our democracies to work; better accountability for global business; calling out racism and religious intolerance and; giving peace a chance.
Both positive and negative impacts of globalisation, some perceived, some real, are clearly at the centre of the crisis we find ourselves in – politically, socially, and still for so many, economically. Your post is timely and gives us an opportunity for this important discussion. Although numbers like those living in extreme poverty are said to be in decline [World Bank says it fell from 902 million (2012) to 702 million (2015)], there are still so many people living in terrible conditions, with little opportunity for mobility. And at the other end of the spectrum, extreme wealth continues to be concentrated with the top 1%, holding more wealth than the remaining 99% of the world. It’s just wrong. The excesses of greed and accumulation of wealth (corporate and personal) are off the charts. This can only breed discontent? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on better accountability for global business, in this respect.
Connected to this, perhaps predictably (?), is the rise of intolerance – racism, religious bigotry, and the growing isolationist attitude that is being spread with the help of ignorance. I’ve watched, and have been surprised, at the vehemently anti-immigration attitude here in the UK, before and subsequent to the BREXIT debate. How can it have sunk so low?
And on that happy note …. Would love to read your ideas on how we’re going to get out of this mess! Is it really possible to put the brakes on globalisation? Is there a small shift in corporate culture that could be tapped in to, daresay, to start the discussion on a more equitable distribution of wealth?