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Globalization is an ideology that promises empowerment of people across the world, since humanity has been facing common problems in economic, political, and social spheres.
Basic ideology of globalization is to enhance global markets through liberalization of trade and integration of free markets so that services, goods, and capital can move freely across the borders. Due to the problem of economic inequality in the developing and developed countries, liberalization of trade and integration of free markets offer improved economic solutions.
It means that globalization enhances devolution of economic resources since free markets attract and allow free movement of services, goods, and capital. Given that economic ideologies of communism restricted and controlled trade, globalization is in tandem with current economic ideology of capitalism, which allows liberalization and integration of world’s markets, thus a gateway to economic freedom.
According to Saul, the globalization ideology promises that, economic freedom, not political imperialism, is a determinant of human events and destiny (34). In this view, globalization forces emanate from economic factors that undergo self-regulation without any human interference; thus, no one can claim to be in charge of globalization. However, despite the imposing ideology of globalization to free humanity from economic and political imperialism, it has changed its course from market globalism to imperial globalism.
Globalization has changed
The basic ideology of globalization is liberalization of trade and integration of free markets to enhance social, economic, and political stability across the world. As aforementioned, globalization aims at creating lucrative and free markets that allow free movement of services, goods, and capital cross all international borders, thus equal distribution of economic resources.
Globalization provides a stable economic environment that favours growth of trade and commerce in capitalism economies that have pervaded almost every country across the world. Therefore, to attain globalization objectives of liberalized trade and markets, countries have to let market forces of capitalism to self-regulate.
Unfortunately, given that the United States is a super power and wants to maintain superiority and shape the destiny of the world, it has usurped globalization as a means of achieving political and economic dominance. Steger argues that, after September 11, 2001 attacks, the ideology of globalization shifted from market globalism to imperial globalism for the United States merged world’s markets and security to become one thing (34).
The United States holds that, liberalized trade and free markets are indispensable to national security for they play a pivotal role in combating terrorism. Given that Middle East countries had resisted globalization and purportedly hosted terrorism networks, the United States decided to use ‘aggressive’ forces to open up the ‘Arab’ world and create free markets as means of combating terrorism, thus changing the essence of globalization into imperial globalism.
Liberalized trade and free markets are basic principles of attaining globalization; nevertheless, the way of achieving them has perplexed many since globalization is a natural process that depends on market factors. Proponents of globalization envisage that global markets are self-regulating mechanisms of trade that are free from any human intervention, and thus provide a stable market environment that favours none.
Proponents of globalization further describe globalization as ‘leaderless’ meaning that no individual, institutions, or nation have the capacity to influence it, except market and technology trade factors. However, in the wake of the 21st century, the globalization ideology of ‘leaderless’ shifted to leadership driven globalization.
According to Steger, George Bush, during his presidency, held that humanity has the ability to achieve economic and political freedom through liberalization and the United States had a moral responsibility and capacity to show leadership (36). The assertion is contrary to globalization ideology of ‘leaderless’ implying that the United States has shifted globalization from a market perspective to imperial perspective.
In the current world of capitalism where unequal distribution of resources and restricted markets hinder economic growth and development, globalization seeks to create free markets to allow free movement of resources. Hence, the creation of free markets and opening up of international borders, due to globalization, will benefit every individual and country across the world.
The supposed benefits of globalization include the creation of larger markets, increasing of investment and trade, distribution of resources, proliferation of jobs, technological innovation, and rapid flow of information.
The above benefits are mirage to developing countries, since such countries do not have the capacity to compete effectively in the global market that is constantly facing economic crises. Moreover, since resources follow market demands, free trade and markets have led to unequal distribution of resources that favour the developed countries while exposing the developing countries to vagaries of economic crises.
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According to Saul, free trade and markets cushion the developed countries from economic crises and make developing countries become particularly susceptible (38). Realizing that globalization has more economic and political benefits, the developed countries like the United States embarked on imperial globalism as means of enhancing globalization and benefitting the society economically.
Although globalization started as an economic ideology of empowering people across the world, it has now changed and become a powerful political ideology that also connotes democracy. Economic experts have argued that economic development in a country correlates with political stability of a nation, in which democracy offers the best form of a political environment.
Earlier, globalization envisaged economic driven destiny of the world, but due to changed vision of globalization, it has led to political driven destiny, hence emergence of imperial globalism. Steger asserts that, political freedom and democracy are integral components of market liberalization, which has made the United States use imperial powers to gain political dominance in the world (39). Thus, globalization has become political ideology of expanding democracy and liberalizing markets through imperial means.
Since globalization has proved to have significant benefits to economic growth and development more so in the developed countries, it has become a mandatory ideology that every country must follow or risk facing economic restrictions. Powerful countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are ready to impose any economic restrictions to countries that seem not to be in tandem with globalization trends.
Anti-globalization forces such as terrorism and isolated countries are facing threats that compel them to comply, thus imperial globalism. Saul argues that, globalization is gradually becoming an imperial force of the United States since the former secretary of State, Collin Powell, affirmed that the US is going to fight terrorism alone if other nations are not willing to support (42). Therefore, the United States has imperial powers to impose globalization by breaking up closed markets, creating free markets and expand her economy.
Although globalization started as an economic ideology of empowering people and nations to work cooperatively, it has metamorphosed into political ideology that seeks power and influence. The essence of globalization was to empower the developing countries to gain access to closed markets, enhance equal distribution of resources, create free markets, and allow proliferation of employment opportunities.
However, powerful countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have changed the objective of globalization and made it become a powerful political tool that wields imperial powers against perceived political and economic enemies. Hence, the contemporary powerful countries have the privilege of invading, attacking, or imposing restrictions to other countries so that they can permeate into every aspect of humanity using imperial globalism.
Saul, John. “The Collapse of Globalism and the Rebirth of Nationalism.” Harper’s Magazine, 2004: 33-43.
Steger, Manfred. “From Market Globalism to Imperialism: Ideology and American Power After 9/11.” Globalizations 2.1 (2005): 31-46.