Engines of Globalization
Updated: Jan 20
Globalization is a phenomenon which has captured the attention of many thinkers and commentators. Perhaps one might claim that, after Trump and the Brexit saga and the rise to power of extreme right and nationalist parties across the planet, globalization is in retreat or even badly defeated after suffering a major strike. Often the consequences of globalization and its impact on all aspects of life and work including politics, economy, culture, technology and even identity are highlighted.
But the leaders of globalization have been investors and traders and therefore the factors related to commerce and workforce mobility were given much more importance. We cannot deny the tendency among all dominance seeking ideologies towards globalization of their preferred future. Yet the reality is that what we call globalization is guided by the Western civilization and the capitalist establishment.
Other rival ideologies create other terms such as neo-colonialism to describe the current process to take an anti-globalization position and are in search of forming alliance with leading nationalist movements inside the Western countries to undermine that process.
We can, of course, shed light on all the advantages and disadvantages of globalization. For example, by listening to other voices advocating alternatives such as a planetary era which is leaded by cultural experts and intellectuals and scientists instead of traders and investors. Such a vision is more described in details in my book titled Alternative Planetary Futures.
What is often overlooked is paying attention to a wide range of perspectives covering theoretical and practical dimensions of alternative globalization. Among those perspectives and backgrounds we can investigate the female imaginary and visionary capacity and in particular women of the Middle East and North Africa.
Women are not a uniform group or class and their position and challenges are different across the planet. Even in the Middle East and North Africa region we do not observe a uniform situation. For example, the rights and the positions of women in North Africa with ties to Europe is distinct from that of women living in the Arabian Peninsula and the neighboring areas which are under the heavy influence of its religious and identity systems.
It is doubtless that the technology revolution with global scale and impact is largely driving the skill landscape of the future towards a largely female world. After automation and robotic rise we should expect that male and physical abilities will becoming increasingly less relevant. Therefore, the landscape of the jobs of the future will demand more software skills and non-technical capacities like imagination, cooperation, and empathy.
Wealth generation by and for women because of the less rigid national boundaries is a key advantage. Oppression and purposeful weakening of women in its different forms are related to their lower economic position. On the other hand, the world laws and regulation instead of local or national ones are good and promising news for women in general. Because the basis of world laws are closer to the universal declaration of human rights than the historical local traditions of the native cultures characterized by reactionary ideals and even sometimes outrageously against the basic rights of women. Those traditions see and treat women as a factor of reproduction, sex object, or cheap support labor in the society rather than a driving or leading force.
Globalization, or as I prefer to present it as the planetary era, in itself is neither harmful nor useful. It depends on how smart we are to employ it. But we should remain hopeful that through more participation of women in the Middle East and North Africa, and of developed countries as well, the navigation of the spaceship will be no longer in the control of men only. Empathy, mutual understanding, collaboration, and ethical codes which are based on them, are required elements in an effective and desired globalization, and clearly a common feature of a feminist or non-patriarchal mental and cultural mindset.
Our focus should be that instead of putting an emphasis on free flow of goods and services, capital, workforce, and free trades across borders, we aim for a new agenda under the leadership of women that will have its planetary focus on caring for the ecology, natural resources, and environment, as well as peaceful initiatives and diplomacy instead of weapon production and war planning and preparation.
At the moment globalization is facing barriers such as extreme right that advocates anti-immigration or anti-EU through nationalist and populist political platforms. However, any leadership vacuum by the Western world can be filled entirely and rapidly by the horrible alternative which is a stronger China. That will bring totalitarianism and centralized government to a new level and will destroy all the returns of liberal democracy.
We can think positively and interpret the Trump phenomenon as a temporary wave or force which will push back the rise of China. When the power of China in the world arena is balanced in areas such as economy, power, and culture, then we can put the brakes on the vehicle to avoid a fast move towards the cliff which falls into the closed and the uniform space desired by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Only after that we can reignite the engine and move in the direction of the bright future which is characterized by more planet-wide welfare and freedom. This stop and new drive should be of particular value to women. They can prepare themselves in the meantime to take the steering wheel of the vehicle and hopefully ride it for a longer time.