A critical Analysis of the Security Implications of Discontent about Globalization in Industrial & Post Industrial Nations
Today, more than ever before, it has dawned on many political systems across the world that globalization is a non-stop economic system fueled both by deep-seated economic policy shifts by individual governments and the convergence of technology (Kirkegaard, 2008). Indeed, at the heart of most capitalist economies is the conjecture that globalization will persist to be the prevailing force that shapes global economy.
However, many state actors are now forming a negative perception of globalization, and some are even contemplating and canvassing about an extreme possibility of an all-encompassing collapse of globalization while others are advocating for a less globalization-friendly economic and political environment.
A critic of this school of thought would always like to know why the sudden policy shift, but he is likely to find answers by critically evaluating the security implications of discontent about globalization in industrial and post-industrial nations. This essay attempts to evaluate the implications.
A major source of discontent about globalization is coming from the fact that post-industrial countries, which were in the recent past viewed as major sources of and demand for a mounting numbers of products and services, are now playing in the same league with industrial nations as ‘equal partners’ by making use of the globalized economy to enhance their competitiveness (Kirkegaard, 2008).
However, the truth of the matter is that some rapidly emerging economies such as China feign fairness while competing on the global stage, but end up using underhand tactics to gain top-secret information about their competitors, which could in-turn compromise state security (Freeman, 2009).
The sale in 1995 of the Valparaiso factory to Chinese interests under the auspices of a globalized economy and its subsequent closure in 2006 triggered utter discontent about globalization among U.S. citizens and heightened security concerns especially after the realization that the company was being sold to a potential rival despite the fact that it dealt with products used in military applications (Freeman, 2009).
Such arrangements that are ostensibly powered by the globalized economy have made many players from the developed world to start questioning about the real benefits of globalization, thus the discontent. Here, the security implication is clear – globalization enhances exposure of developed countries to both external and internal security threats.
In line with the above, it has been noted that some actors, especially in the developed countries, are scared by the security implications of the ensuing shifts in economic power judging from the fact that globalization has over the last couple of years being highly successful in producing new actors to compete in global markets.
Here, the discontent is arising from the fact that globalization is transferring too much power and wealth to countries that may in the long run use the wealth accrued to destabilize the developed countries (Kissinger, 2008; Kirkegaard, 2008).
For example, a globalized economy has assisted emerging economies such as Iran and Libya to trade their huge oil reserves for American dollars or British pounds, but the same regimes use the wealth accrued from globalized sale of oil to train terrorist networks and build nuclear reactors with a purpose of enriching uranium to build nuclear bombs.
Such developments do not only bring discontent about a globalized economy, but they also raise critical security concerns that may be relevant to not only the U.S., the U.K., and other developed countries, but for the whole world since terrorists and nuclear bombs have no respect for physical boundaries.
Players, especially in the western developed countries, continue to display their discontentment with globalization in regard to massive job losses to developing nations. The Valparaiso factory sale to Chinese interests reveals how the U.S not only lost 225 jobs to china, but also how it lost its know-how in products used in military applications and, more importantly, how it compromised its national security (Freeman, 2009).
The U.S. lost in the whole debacle while China emerged victorious, implying that globalization must involve winners and losers sieved under the lens of competition (Freeman, 2009).
In practice, however, the public in most developed countries view globalization as an unfair transfer of existing careers, know-how and wealth from industrial nations to the budding and rapidly growing economies, thus the disgruntlement (Kissinger, 2008).
No individuals, in their sane mind, would truly encourage a typology of economic change that clearly involves enhanced competition for their own jobs from other quarters that only hope to use a globalized economy to benefit themselves.
Here, it is imperative to note that the security implications arising from discontent may entail engaging in acts aimed at hurting the other group perceived to be taking undue advantage, frosty relationships between the two countries as it is usually the case between the U.S. and China, and a general lack of trust for each other.
To remain economically competitive at a global level, most political systems chose to abridge their social legislation, leading to massive complaints and protests from the public (Kirkegaard, 2008).
The protests are themselves a process of ventilating anger and disapproval for a global economic system that seems oriented to benefit new and emerging nations such as China and India at the expense of the most developed nations. As observed in many countries, mass demonstrations have the capacity to not only affect the political environment, but also the economic and social aspects, hence the need for concern (Kissinger, 2008).
Indeed, it has been observed that the process of globalization and related issues/consequences put to test a nationalism that broadly threatens its fulfillment, thus eliciting security concerns.
A large portion of discontent about globalization experienced in developed countries is largely attributed to a clash of cultures as the emerging economies attempts to fill the menial jobs found in developed countries (Kirkegaard, 2008).
A clash of cultures will undoubtedly generate the needed impetus for enhanced political tensions that may end up risking the stability of some developed countries, especially in instances where the development is uneven and uncoordinated.
Consequently, people, especially from developed nations, may revolt against the system despite its capacity to create wealth and spread prosperity to emerging economies such as China and India, qualifying it to become yet another security implication of discontent about globalization.
It is important to note that globalization issues has on more than one occasion forced western economic powers to advocate for exclusion in the face of transnational companies from emerging economic blocks, who end up discouraging major players by advocating for free trade and free movement of capital but continue to use unfair means to achieve their outcomes (Kissinger, 2008).
Such issues are of germane importance since sustained discontent among major players may compromise security by fuelling undesirable outcomes.
Globalization has been positively correlated to increases in inequality between individuals, groups, economic systems, and countries (Kissinger, 2008). It is indeed true that inequalities witnessed between individuals or trading blocks fuels a lot of discontent from members who may feel that they are being disadvantaged by the system.
This, in most occasions, have resulted in trade embargoes that only serve to heighten global political temperatures as some political systems may perceive that they are being unfairly targeted for engaging in a fair practice.
In more than one occasion, we have witnessed raised political temperatures whenever the U.S. takes on China for embracing trade practices that enhance inequality under the guise of globalization. Such heightened political temperatures have obvious security implications.
Lastly, it is evident that the demand for certain products, such as gold, diamonds, and drugs, on a global scale has created a framework through which funds can be collected to buy weapons and sustain wars over a long period of time (Freeman, 2009).
The Al-Qaida terrorist network, for instance, has been known to use global distribution networks to facilitate the sale of opium, which is sourced from Afghanistan. The money received is used to wage wars against U.S. citizens and key installations, thus compromising national security issues.
In equal measure, convergence of technology has not only been successful in spreading good governance and human rights values, but the same platforms are now being used to propagate intolerance and bloodshed, not mentioning that they have become conduits for diffusing information critical in building weapons of destruction all in the name of a globalized economy.
Surely, there exist sure winners and despised losers in a globalized economy (Freeman, 2009).
Freeman, Charles. 2009. “Remember the Magnequench: An Object Lesson in Globalization,” The Washington Quarterly 38, no. 4, 61-76. Web.
Kirkegaard, Jacob Funk. 2008. “Perceptions and Realities of Globalization” Peterson Institute. Web.
Kissinger, Henry A. 2008, June 3. “Falling Behind: Globalization and its Discontents” The International Herald Tribune. Web.