As I gather my thoughts on the controversial concept that is globalisation, I am able to witness first-hand how globalisation is so deeply rooted in our everyday lives. I am constantly surrounded by people from different parts of the world, each one of them with a unique and different story. Hearing their experiences made me think: are we really managing to embrace the true spirit of globalisation?
When we look at globalisation from an economic point of view, we can easily witness our improved interconnectedness. It is possible to purchase goods from anywhere in the world, as it is also possible to pursue a career abroad. This process of globalisation has been significantly aided by technology. Technological developments have allowed capital to move across the world almost instantaneously. Changes in monetary policies, as well as in what is being traded and the importance of capital, have created a global market distinctively different from previous eras.
Before, products and capital were rooted to a particular place. Today, many of the products and services that are traded in the global market (such as knowledge and computer technology to name a few) are extremely mobile and rootless. Technology has also allowed us to move through space far faster than before. Additionally, it has made communication easier and more effective.
However, we could argue that this progress is only confined to the economic sphere, and therefore, traditionally benefits what is commonly referred as ‘the global North’. In other words, the global South is left with significantly less benefits as a result of globalisation. Furthermore, these countries have the additional responsibility of trying to protect themselves and establish their own security. In my modest opinion, I believe that we are still too attached to the idea of Nation-states. We keep our distance by making clear distinctions between “us” and “them”. Instead of embracing different ideologies, globalisation is being used
as an excuse to wage a war between different nations.
Nowadays there is a clear tendency to instigate hate instead of building acceptance; an obvious example being how terrorism is constantly associated with Islam and Muslims. Globalisation outcomes are used as catalyst to separate people in the name of national supremacy and race. National concepts are returning to dominate the political agora of Western countries. In the North as well, people of colour often find themselves being left further and further behind. Instead of learning how to coexist with other cultures and eliminate our prejudices, globalisation is being used to feed into this destructive rhetoric.
Being both a student representative for Amnesty International and a student of international development practice, I believe the role of government in this scenario cannot be disparaged. Discussions and shared ideas within the organisational work and in my own classroom suggest that governments should adopt a proactive role. Instead of avoiding the issue of mounting hatred that we are currently witnessing, governments should engage in rational and thoughtful discussions. In this way, we all benefit from globalisation instead of increasing the risk of marginalising certain groups of people because of their ethnicity, religion, or place of origin. After all, violence only generates more violence and hatred only generates more hatred. We need to remember we all share the same planet, so encouraging a hostile environment is detrimental for the development of all peoples.