What is Meant by Speaking of Globalization

It is no longer the view of international theorists that globalization is a single process. Rather, several changes have taken place. First, there is a return to the pre-1914 situation of global trade, capital mobility, and immigration. It is not exactly the same, but the trends point to a rough similarity. In particular the mobility of capital is now very great, as it was before 1914, but on a much vaster scale. Second, there is a series of processes, including flows of information, capital, etc., which exacerbate many local political, social, cultural, and economic tendencies to breaking point. These flows do not amount to a "global process" - globalization is not a demonic external force - but they do produce a crisis for political life in many regions of the world. Putting it another way, what has happened is that political forces in many societies have devalued the legitimacy of the modern state. Globalization has helped that, but the process was underway in any case. Much of the political legitimacy built up between 1945 and 1980 in non-Western nations that had gained political independence during these years was very fragile at best, and in Western democracies in this period the power of the state overreached itself. The secular ideologies of socialism were very strong in the period 1945-60: Ben Gurion in Israel built a secular,

Israeli state, with kibbutzim as the great vision of the future; there were similar commitments in India with Nehru, Nasser in Egypt, and Nyerere in Tanzania. Most of these saw little relevance in religion except as a private matter (Nyerere was an exception here). These political movements were overambitious and by 1990 were shattered, both economically and in terms of ideology. Third, there is an awareness that cultural patterns and flows now reach across the globe, even if again it is a mistake to speak of global culture. This spread is combined with enormous and desperate poverty for some people who live in the growing sprawl of cities across the developing world. However, here again there has been to my mind persuasive criticism by Hay and Marsh (2000) of the unwarranted determinism of a neo-Marxist reading of what is in fact contingent, local culture, even if it is affected by patterns which are replicated across the globe. There is no determinism in the development of nations, nor of their citizens.

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