Why The Diversity of Opinion Across the Political Spectrum on Globalization?

You have people on both sides of the so called political spectrum that oppose ‘globalization. Similarly, you have people on both sides that support it. A lot of the seeming strange bedfellows has to do with the definition of globalization itself or specific aspects of the total issue. There are dozens of variations of the definition of the term, “globalization”. The Merriam Webster online dictionary[1] gives us one that mostly limits globalization to an economic concept.

“: the act or process of globalizing : the state of being globalized; especially : the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets

Wikipedia refers to the term in a broader meaning that includes the concept of integrating world views and ‘other aspects of culture. [2]

“Globalization (or globalisation) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture”

Much of whether one supports the concept or opposes it depends upon the definition one uses however there are even iterations of globalization that are desirable and/or detestable.


It seems to me that it is unquestionable that the economies of the world are ever increasingly integrated and that such an integration is inevitable, if not beneficial to the overall health of the species. Competition between nations, when restrained from engaging in theft and violence, creates more incentive to produce more with less. It also taps into the huge diversity of skills and underutilized human capital. The global supply chain that has developed slowly since the time of the Silk Road onward eases human suffering by dispersing raw materials in abundance in one area to others where they are scarce. It could be argued that it also has led human being to populate areas that ought to have perhaps remained without human population and to raze resource that can not be renewed. Still it is undeniable that the current human population could not exist without the global supply chain. The spread of knowledge and the spark of human competition that global manufacturing and competition provide constant pressure to do more with less, to maximize resources. The peaceful exchange of goods for currency that allows a wide variety of selection helps establish relative values that ultimately tie to real world scarcity, which is the true measure of economic value. When lightly regulated and allowed to seek it’s own balance global trade eliminates many of the causes of global conflict as it shifts want and need to an arena of creative, hard work where status, comfort and life itself can be maintained without plunder. A world that is tied together by mutual interest in production, and progress and has a means of obtaining goods and services without conquest is going to be more peaceful than a world that relies upon great and pompous assemblies of angling leaders.


Given the advance of instantaneous, often peer to peer communications and fast transport, social integration seems to be nearly as inevitable as economic ingegration. Social integration is messy and sometimes seems dangerous however it ultimately results in better understanding, the triumph of good habits over bad habits (or at least useful habits over habits that are not useful) or at least serves to allow a familiarity that makes it easier to dislike but harder to hate. Initially there seems to be a period of increased hatred and anger when groups once separated by distance are now able to communicate. When two xenophobic mirror images face off on social media whilest sitting in their underpants it’s likely to facilitate the head butting that might occur when two rams first meet in the midst of a pasture but without the ability to kill or maim. We are in the early stages of global social integration but there seems to be the beginning of a mellowing out and in some cases the retreat back into national social groupings as we go progress from the novelty to the daily reality of a globe where communications, including video as well as textual and audio, are instantaneous . It could be said though that the worst aspects of human nature and specific social groups end up dominating the exposure of one group to another…the old, ‘water seeks the lowest level’ adage. There is probably some truth to this but that dive to the bottom of the moral pit is often followed by a rebound to higher levels when people have expressed long pent up hostilities and confronted negative stereotypes and either debunked them or confirmed them.


Political integration is a different matter and of extreme concern. Political integration isn’t the spread of ideas but the consolidation of power and the de facto suppression and substitution of ideas. The United States, and to a lesser degree some other industrial nations, were founded with the principles of individual inalienable rights that must be off limits to the collective power of government. This was hardwired in our Constitution which prohibited all but a small list of enumerated powers to the federal government. 50 separate state constitutions were fashioned thereafter with the goal being to keep as many choices in life as close to the individual as possible. Sometimes we have dangerously eroded those principles but nonetheless they have always been subject in most part to our electorate.

The danger in globalizing political function, that is creating fiat laws by treaty or resultant international organizations instead of by representation at the most local level, is that in fact most nations do not recognize or abide by our traditions of inalienable rights. Instead they adopt the principle of majority rules in any aspect of life. This means that when a majority of nations decides to redistribute the wealth of a minority of nations then they can do so if the organization to which they belong allows such by treaty or charter. They can also affect the internal political structure of a nation or the moral codes by a majority vote and even apply such effect to specific nations. In fact that principle, the removing of decision making not just from the community to the state house or the state house to the national capital but from the national capital to a distant and often hostile foreign city, is contrary to all we have learned in hundreds of years of political evolution and experimentation. Globalized political integration is not progress in good and fair governance but a regression to the principles of might or in this case majority make right.


Not all nations are equal in their self-limitations on government overstep, responsiveness to their citizenry, and ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­their acceptance of inalienable rights. Why should we allow a majority of nations that bear us ill will or do not share our values to dictate to us the internal functioning of our very lives or even our access to willing markets in the form of internal restraints imposed by foreign majorities? When a nation agrees to do a thing by treaty for social benefit to another nation rather than removing barriers to trade, efficiency and commerce it is simple theft by majority. When a nation agrees to do restrict thought, speech, or freedom of conscience because of adherence to a compromised social agenda it loses local sovereignty and the richness of human philosophical and cultural diversity. When an international social system is cobbled together rather than allowed to develop by the competition of ideas and methods it stalls the engine of creativity and smothers the human spirit. When a nation agrees to transfer some portion of its sovereignty to an international body in which a majority of the participants may use that status to overcome the rights or wills of citizens within that nation it is a negation of individual rights and self rule.


Globalization is a very real fact of life and short of severing the connections between people in a biblical Tower of Babel fashion or withdrawing into a fortress of isolation then it is inevitable. As transportation capabilities and logistics become better able to transport not just bulk raw materials but manufactured goods between countries, as general peace prevails and the exchange of currencies becomes more stable, as communications become practically instantaneous, as capital (both human and monetary) increases in nations at the lower end of the human development scale then globalization becomes greater and greater. The trick is to allow natural competitiveness to develop and the natural flow of money from one nation to another to occur without allowing government interference or hastening. It is also imperative that the sovereignty of nations is preserved. It seems a logical step to begin the globalization of government however most of the world’s governments do not have the stringent safeguards of individual liberty that we do and the further government moves from the governed the less responsive it becomes. Additionally the more centralized is a government the more powerful, the more attractive to those seeking to abuse the power and the more dangerous.


The U.S. and other developed nations will lose comparative economic advantage as globalization continues. That is natural and in the long run good. We are moving from being in the position of just mining or extracting raw materials from other lands and bypassing their populaces except for a few created or courted oligarchs. We are moving from the only value of interaction with the populaces of lesser developed nations being the market for our products that they purchase. We are moving towards the point that the populace of those nations, as they become better fed, better educated, begin to exert control over their political process. We are moving towards the under developed nations creating the capabilities to use their, and even lesser developed nations, capabilities to produce manufactured goods of their own. We are moving towards the point that they will create better opportunities for capital from other nations to return yields. We will see our domestic competitiveness challenged and in many case lose to those newly developing nations. We will see our ability to be wasteful and leisurely lessened in the new global market as our profiting from monopolies and leveraged buying natural deteriorates.


It is a knee jerk reaction for Americans to want the government to stop the competition and preserve the lifestyle our fathers and grandfathers enjoyed.

Politicians will come along and stand in front of shuttered and rusting factories and lash out against the evils of globalization, against the evil foreigner to whom greedy capitalists have transferred our wealth. They will vow to initiate taxes on foreign goods, penalties against those American companies that shift manufacturing to other countries in order to remain competitive.

Rather than retooling, rather than restructuring our pay and retirement systems, rather than cutting much of the waste in our lives to which we have become beholden and which makes us demand income that we can not bring in with our loss of competitive advantage we will vote for those politicians who will instigate those protectionist policies. Now initially those protectionist policies will put millions of Americans back to work creating goods that are considerably more expensive and ultimately of lesser quality. The market for those goods will dwindle and the quality of those goods will be decreased again and again in order to save money. The factories will once again be shuttered and this time even the small businesses and services will be lost. After a knee jerk interference by government, American companies will not just flee to cheaper labor countries and then sell their wares in the US. Instead they will flee the US altogether or perish because they did not face competition honestly and head on. Globalization is an inevitable and positive force if government remains local and the only protection is protection of individuals from violence or theft rather than protection from better ideas, protection from better methods, or protection from a comparative willingness to work harder. [1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/globalization [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization

Updated: May 10, 2017 — 6:14 pm
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