Globalization against Globalization: A Punch from the Inside!


Many people develop a strong argumentation that the world we live in today is better, than the world we used to live in years ago. We are healthier and lead generally better lives, than those people led in the past decades, or even centuries. 

And it is true, as technology made huge steps in the service of humanity, many people even in Asian or Sub-Saharan countries accessed the middle class, and people are better educated? or informed? than they were in the past...

So if this is the case, then why so many people around the world are so angry against the system and globalization and the political leaders of their countries? Never before in history, have we seen so massive demonstrations taking place simultaneously in so many countries, showing despair and disappointment against the political order!

Could the answer be just as easy as to argue that we go through an unprecedented transformation period,  a period of disrupt considering the order of political values as we used to know them and that the factors responsible for this global transformation and prosperity are also responsible for generating fear? That is ofcourse part of the answer but it is not enough!

We don't just have to cope with a transformation period that is responsible for all this unrest and despair. But we have to face uncharted areas in a way, and in a rhythm that it never happened in the past, and at the time when so many crises take place globally, it is almost intangible to additionally handle an uncharted future global scenario. And this future scenario is unpredictable, as we no longer live in a world where free market sets the pace! Things changed! It is politics that play a decisive role and even influence the factors upon which the global market is based. 

And if politics set the pace, then we should take a closer look to what that means! International politics used to represent a notion of interaction and a sense of institutionalism in the ways decisions used to be taken. But is this the case nowadays?

The answer is no! And that is because we live in an era when we face a geopolitical recession. After the financial crisis of 2008 the world is not as we used to know it and it will never turn back again. Free market is not anymore the main reason of economic uncertainty for the future, geopolitics are! Relations among governments, alliances and institutions have all collapsed! This geopolitical environment is much more risky and unpredictable than that of an economic recession. Because political recessions tend to last longer and cause global instability and lack of potential for cooperation and majority decisions based on transnational level!

In this scenery of political recession, we should add also the rise of China as a country of immense potential, the end of U.S. supremacy as we knew it, a European continent where populist parties thrive, a Middle East in explosion and a record of more than 70 million refugees worldwide. With governments showing an unprecedented lack of trust between them, those crises are unable to be handled on a national level!

Until recently there was no point in thinking that the disruptive technology we are so much familiar with, is made in India, or that every single material we almost use everyday is made in China..., we are all well integrated in that market that it is pointless to pay attention who produces what.

But that changed!!!

Now politics play the biggest role, and define the future of economy! China which is soon to be the biggest economy in the world is not ruled by market-driven forces but by state capitalism, which means that capital is directed by policy makers to whom they want. And this is a change we haven't considered so far! We haven't even realised it is here!  We still live in the world where market defines the scenery, but that is not happening! 

Politics and political recession has turned against globalization. The fact that China as the upcoming biggest economy, changes the context by bringing in state capitalism, is surely a huge challenge, because the global economy seems to still work, but with so many crisis on international level and maybe worse economic indicators in the forthcoming years, political recession may prove to be a destabilizing factor with consequenses that will remain for years. And this lack of trust on international level, and unilateral decisions with the priority of protecting domestic issues, is a punch to globalization!

And the real question is what is next? And why should we rest upon the glory of the so called prosperity we enjoy today?

                                                  written by Themis Panagiotopoulou, PhD in Political Science  

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