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Globalization, Part 1

October 29, 2017

World map showing advanced (dark blue), transitioning (light blue), less (orange) and least (red) developed countries, Author Sbw01f, Source CIA World Factbook (CC Attribution 3.0 Unported)

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared.  This is how we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2: 18).

There has never been globalization on today’s scale.

Many Christian eschatologists interpret Scripture as predicting a despotic New World Order under the authority of Satan, the Anti-Christ, and the False Prophet in the last days.  Globalization for that reason takes on special dread for Christians.

Even setting aside end time prophecy, however, globalization has not delivered the rosy outcomes its proponents promised.

Military Empires

Military empires of the past came closest to this model, merging cultures and facilitating the movement of goods.  The Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire, and the more recent USSR are examples.  Since these empires were by definition held together with force, the merging of cultures and movement of goods were never entirely “free” or painless.

Commercial Interests

The current globalization movement has not been prompted by a desire for peace or brotherhood either.  It is commercially motivated – implemented by nation states, to profit their powerful corporate citizens.

Mutual commercial interests have been a reason for treaties since time immemorial.  The brunt of modern globalization has, however, been borne by individual employees – the flesh and blood citizens of industrialized nations (now required to compete with those in pre-industrialized nations paid a great deal less).

Unemployment and Underemployment

Large-scale corporations have simply shipped their manufacturing operations overseas and reaped the rewards.  More often than not, they have actually been incentivized by government.  The result has been significant unemployment and underemployment in industrialized nations [1].

This has to some extent been offset by the efforts of individual employees to re-educate themselves for alternative employment, and the availability of alternative employment in relatively robust free-market economies [2].  Government has – as usual – been slow to respond.

Unfortunately, robust economies sufficient to provide alternative employment, when manufacturing jobs are shipped en masse to emerging countries, are not guaranteed.

They are especially not guaranteed when economies worldwide are linked in a daisy-chain headed over the same cliff.  We saw this in the Great Recession of 2008.

Flawed Model

One of the problems is that the model is flawed.  Massive profits to massive corporations do not ensure a basic standard of living to those employed by such corporations.  The failed theory of trickle-down economics should have taught us that [3].

[1]  Foreign Affairs, “Globalization and Unemployment” by Michael Spence, July/August 2011 Issue, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2011-06-02/globalization-and-unemploymentInternational Labour Organization, “Enhancing the Employment Impact of Globalization”, 11/2-11/3/04, http://www.ilo.org/integration/themes/pci/international/WCMS_084539/lang–en/index.htm.

[2]  The invention of a revolutionary new technology could once have impacted this scenario, offering the employees in industrialized nations new opportunities.  But the advent of revolutionary technologies cannot be predicted with any certainty.  And developing nations are now capable of providing the high value components formerly exclusive to advanced nations.

[3]  The laughable excuse for “customer service” drives home the point.  Global corporations have little reason to provide their customers with acceptable service.  There are countless other customers to be had.

This series will focus next week on the developing world

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4 Comments
  1. I really don’t mind a more globalised economy, but you’re right Anna it doesn’t solve our problems and instead it creates a number of them. I think there’s a danger though in isolating ourselves, and becoming too protective.
    I think one of the positives of greater globalization is a greater appreciation for other cultures and viewpoints – if that takes place. Peace.

    • You’re right, Nicodemas, that isolation offers no safety. Sadly, I don’t think we have it in us to achieve a lasting peace.

      • Perhaps not – due to human nature, and the current leadership, however our Creator knows, and we can always pray.

  2. you have hit the nail on the head…

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