Globalism. You hear it mentioned occasionally on the news or by that one radical friend who claims to know some dark secret about the financial elite. Maybe you first heard about globalism like I did while taking a global economics or international business class in college.
What is globalism and why is it simultaneously feared by some and lauded by others in society? The dictionary definition of globalism according to Merriam-Webster is: “a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence — compare imperialism, internationalism”
I find it interesting that this definition of globalism focuses only on the political influence of a state or national government. In this post I will discuss two types of globalism, economic and political. These two types of globalism are often intermingled and confused because of the names and nature of some of the pro globalism organizations. The International Monetary Fund or IMF is a branch of the United Nations. If you just look at the name you would think this is a part of economic globalism; however, the IMF is more focused on the political side of globalism. There is also the World Bank and World Trade Organization which also sound like forces behind economic globalism but are in fact tools of political globalism.
A few years ago I read a book called The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman. That book helped me understand how modern globalization proliferates especially since the creation of the internet and the explosion of off-shoring of back office jobs.
Economic Globalism is when the economies of nations become interdependent. An example of this is the production of smart phones and most other high-end electronics.
Many countries have companies that make cell phones; however, one of the materials needed to build a modern cell phone is rare earth metals (REM). The primary producer of REM is China which produces about 97% of the world supply. This monopoly on supply causes an economic interdependence between China and the rest of the world. The economies of many first world countries depend on advanced electronic devices.
Without China’s exports the U.S. economy would likely collapse or at least fall into a deep depression and without world demand for China’s inexpensive products their economy would certainly collapse. That is an example of the economic interdependence which is needed for economic globalism to exist. Since economic globalism can be such a destructive force if properly manipulated it is no surprise that governments of the world often use it as a tool of war and as a force for political globalism.
Many people confuse free trade between nations as economic globalization which, in my opinion, is not true. Trade is required for economic globalization but free trade is not globalization.
Free trade is when people from one region or country produce an item that people from other parts of the world want but can not produce or chose not to produce because of limited resources. This item is then traded for an item of similar value directly or through an agreed upon true medium of exchange such as gold or silver which has intrinsic value for both parties.
One aspect of free trade is that the people want the traded items but do not need them. An example would be a company in the Caribbean and a company in New Hampshire directly exchanging coconuts for maple syrup with no government intervention. The people of New Hampshire do not need coconuts and the people of the Caribbean do not need maple syrup for their economy’s to survive, although, the economic growth from the trade is equally beneficial.
The key here is “no government intervention”. Governments intervene by inserting national fiat currencies such as the U.S. Federal Reserve Note (U.S. Dollar) into the trade system or by implementing tariffs, sales tax, import tax, or similar trade sanctions. This injection of government demands and fiat currencies into the trade system is the beginnings of political globalism.
Political Globalism is the forced world wide proliferation of political policies or agenda. Groups of strong like minded nations such as the UN (United Nations), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and a few other lessor IGOs (intergovernmental organizations) make up a large portion of the political globalist community.
There are many other politically charged global organizations closely related to these core groups. Many of these politically active groups front as helping hands for impoverished countries. The IMF (International Monetary Fund), WTO (World Trade Organization), BIS (Bank for International Settlements), and the World Bank in particular tend to work in concert with global political agendas.
In general political globalism is when stronger nations dictate the political systems of undeveloped or underdeveloped countries by means of force or influence. Some of the means of political manipulation are economic leverage, trade regulation or embargo, clandestine support of internal opposition factions, or as a last resort direct military action.
There are many examples of these types of political globalization tools in action such as historical events in Panama, Iran, and Cuba or more recently Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. An interesting perspective on the ways governments use the tools of political globalism is found in a book by John Perkins called The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
Many of our politicians think that the United States should be involved in the politics of other nations. They claim it is for the good of the people of the that nation and the world. They will often bring up situations such as the Second World War when arguing why we must remove a government they deem oppressive.
Political claims of humanitarian necessity are often just excuses to get involved in the most hard core example of political globalism which is aggressive regime change. It is rarely if ever about the actual citizens of the country since they never end up better off when their nation is destroyed by regime changing war or economic sanction. Take Saudi Arabia for instance. The Saudi government is very oppressive by any western measure but they are one of NATO’s allies in the region and allowed to be a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Despite the need to remove our country from acts of aggressive political or economic globalism, there are some extreme examples of when a regime change is needed. For example, the need to remove a truly dangerous political faction from power such as Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich in the early 1940s.
When it becomes necessary to remove such a dictator and his government, the actors facilitating the removal must be careful not to give in to the temptation of inserting a puppet government or crushing the population with unreasonable sanctions or war reparations. This act of political globalism will only create civil unrest, future rebellion, and possibly cause an even more dangerous regime to rise to power.
This is exactly what happened after World War One. Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” and League of Nations led to the Treaty of Versailles which was particularly harsh on Germany and lead to the humiliation and economic collapse of the nation. These events set the stage for the rise and popularity of the German National Socialist Workers Party popularly know as the Nazi Party.
The choice of how to govern a country must fall directly on the people of that country. The Libertarian principle of nonaggression is not just about military action it is also about avoiding political and economic manipulation of both domestic and foreign populations.
Also published on Medium.