Sunday, January 21, 2007

Final Globalization rant....

One exam down now and two to go. I've now completely finished a unit that went by the name "Globalization in an era of International Relations". I was warned when I first began this course that this name "globalization" will be one that appears frequently throughout my course. It has indeed and I absolutely detest the term and all it represents. I have truly tried to be objective and learn something from the units where it is claimed this subject is central and indeed I have.

The discourse on Globalization is actually a continuation of that on modernization. It's discourse comes from the same vantage point as ideas of liberal internationalism and the idealism that existed after the First World War and it offers you a pretty well packaged interpretation of historical events which serves as the orthodox version. It is as one critic called, "Vegetable soup" into which you can put absolutely everything. That doesn't make it something new, nor is it of itself, inherently good, bad or anything you make of it. It's a massive label for cultural, political, social and economic interactions and influences which existed at different levels 500 years ago and will exist 1000 years from now. I've read entire chapters on the subject and come out of them with nothing new added to my knowledge. Studying Globalization is like spending your whole weekend playing video games, you get a super high-score or online ranking, bigger and better weapons as you advanced further and cooler graphics. By Sunday night as you get ready to go to bed ready for another week of work you realise it was actually a waste of your time.

"Scholars" and "experts" on Globalization are like the high priests of the video game world. They sound and look impressive when you see them doing it, but once the Playstation is off they're back to being pimply faced geeks who have never lost their virginity and have no way of relating with anything to do with politics, reality or culture. The only way to keep the illusion up is create bigger and weightier tomes, add more factors to consider in Globalization and pretend to know something about economics, history and politics. They feed you optimistic talk of what is happening around the world, but once the high wears off they become depressed because underneath it all Machiavelli, Hobbes and Morgenthau have always been right. They still refuse to accept that, so they continue producing yet more weighty tomes on the subject and "studies" until the sheer weight of nonsense written about it exerts its own legitimacy on the matter. Heaven forbid somebody try reading it and making sense of these mumblings so they use complex sentence structures and big words because they are "scholars" after all.

There is also evidence for this too: everybody wears jeans; everybody has TV's and is exposed to Western culture; everybody wants a green card and we all have curry houses, chinese takeaways and.....the internet! Yes truly these are all signs of globalisation, the world is becoming a global village and a truly "global" civilization with global values can emerge. Remarkable, until you realise that this process is not new and the factors which make it up have always been there. Also....the problems we face are still the same. You are back exactly where you started with Globalization and just relable everything with a new nomenaclature. Can you really not just say that the poor in one country are only made to feel rich at the expense of making the poor in a weaker country even poorer? Is it so hard to say that there are some people who are so fabulously rich because they squeeze poor people for all they are worth simply to stay on top? Is it impossible to conceive that leaders of certain industrialised countries can quite calmly discuss the best method of inciting ethnic violence in a country they invaded for its natural resources and now need the perfect get out excuse because its cheaper than a continued commitment of troops and resources? Or is it cheaper to pull the troops out considering they are made up of the poor and unemployable ethnic minorities of your own country? Maybe they should just send in more? Do you really need new labels for all of this or a study on Globalization and how democracy can be spread when the master copy itself is deeply flawed?

For our video game heroes interested in saving the world, the answer lies in another book on "Globalization" or so they would have you think.

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