Well! to start with, I would say, there are obviously no prizes to be won by anyone, if they were to guess correctly that, whatever we have come to know as global order is now going through, what can only be described as disruption. And this disruption is creating a lot of chaos as evident from what’s happening within our society and also at the larger stage of global geopolitics. You just have to watch the daily news headlines to make that conclusion for yourself. So all that is quite well understood now as a narrative.
And the debate about just how did we get here is ongoing. But the answer to that question I am afraid is not quite complex as some of us would like to think. The basis of their argument tends to be somewhat backward looking, in other words, in a quest for a simpler answer, we are probably intentionally ignoring to notice the big picture. To my mind at least, and as I am seeing it, none of what the world is going through today somehow just happened out of the blue. From what I see, we are simply seeing or witnessing rather, the feedback of our actions and inactions accumulated over decades and millennia now play out in the open. So in short, almost all of it, is of our own creation.
We built an economic system that wasn’t designed to last forever, and the inherent design flaws are now increasingly becoming more and more evident as the global human population grows and the economy gets ever more complex. Our existing economic system isn’t working well for a large part and section of the society, and that’s why there is a strong push back against the status quo from within the society. And the policy makers are now clearly playing catch up, but quite obviously not doing a good job of it. We are seeing a significant rise in emotionally charged response, as possible solutions to a very complex problem. The discussions and also the overall discourse are no longer focused on understanding the core issue with a pragmatic mindset, but on finding a quick fix, and someone or something to blame.
And therefore some of us are finding it easier to blame globalisation, and of course each other. When the fact of the matter is, the answer isn’t more or less globalisation, but the right type of globalisation. We do live in a global world, and going back in time has never been a solution to any of our problems. Even if it may sound tempting to many, I am afraid the disruption will carry on for a while. What we are going through is a grieving process. In my own view, it is right that the global trade and order is being disrupted, because the distribution of the overall benefits of globalisation has been quite choppy, and only a handful of countries have benefitted from it.
Here is why I say it, so we found a way to export inflation from the developed world aka west to economies like China, by making the country a factory of the world, and then exporting the cheaper products to the developed world. And it did work for the developed world as well as China for a while. It was an arrangement of mutual convenience. But in doing so, we also conveniently positioned globalisation in a way where its benefits didn’t get distributed across the global human society organised under various nation states. To get a context, let us Imagine globalisation being the blood and the human body as the global economy, now any restriction of the blood flow ( benefits of globalisation ) will eventually harm the human body ( the global society ). Current model of globalisation also lead to uneven accumulation of abundance, and that process obviously has had side effects, be it in the form of pollution and climate change, or a widening gap in income inequality within the human society across the globe.
The existing globalisation model was designed with an aim that global corporations will truly become global engines of economic growth, and the wealth created from that economic growth will trickle down to the rest of society. But instead, the policies have enabled accumulation of disproportionate wealth at the very top, and more people across the world today are struggling to see any real benefits of globalisation. Also people aren’t protected from a global crisis event as evident from the financial crisis of 07/08. While the economies have recovered people are still struggling. They continue to feel isolated and eroded. And some commentators would rightfully argue that increased inequality and poverty are somewhat intrinsic to the current model of globalisation, and without adequately addressing the inherent design flaws of the model, globalisation might get rejected by the masses, and leaders who oppose globalisation will continue to find support.
But having said that globalisation is not the only issue we are dealing with as a global society. We are yet to fully address the threat and disruptions from terrorism and the continuous battle for supremacy in terms of geopolitics. And again, the answer isn’t simple as some of us would like to wish or pretend. There are things we consider sacred, and once we give our beliefs and ideas a sacred value then, we tend to become somewhat irrational. Take for example for some of us, the idea of a nation state is quite sacred, because that’s what we have been sold, and therefore a narrative of America first will easily resonate with those who firmly buy into that idea. And to some extent the same applies for the UK, especially to those people who feel that they do need to take their country back from an organisation like European Union. Because for them the idea of UK is quite sacred. There is a scared nostalgia for the part glory. So, it is not at all difficult for someone to use the concept of sacred value to push a cause and in doing so divide the society from within.
Another example for the sacred value narrative being used to push an issue is the ongoing fight for Palestine. It has now become a sacred fight for many. And all sides have entrenched themselves to protect the sacred value. The same goes for the fight in Syria, Kashmir or other places of conflict around the world. For some people, what is sacred has more value than a human life. And therefore, to them taking a human life in order to preserve or fight for what’s sacred is quite justifiable. So protecting and preserving a holy land from foreign invaders for some is a sacred call, and they are willing to die for it. It is this idea of sacred value that terrorists organisation use to do recruitment, and inflame hatred in the society. And for some of us dying for a country is also a sacred cause. The concept of sacred values has been quite clearly designed to be above everything else. A human being to surrender to whatever is sacred, and through this sort of conditioning of a human mind, people can be asked to give their lives for a sacred cause, making it a generational issue. A baggage that the next generation is always asked to carry in the name of a sacred value.
It is not just religion or the idea of God that is scared, the economic interests of a nation state is also considered sacred. And people are conditioned to fight for preserving the status quo especially if they feel that, a change in status quo will undermine their economic supremacy. And this is at the core of some of the ongoing disruption in the world of geopolitics.
But thankfully nothing is designed to last forever, and therefore, no matter how hard any of us would like to try, eventually the status quo will give way. There will be earthquakes, and the earthquakes will continue to cause damage and disruption. It is by shifting of the tectonic plates that the earth’s landmass releases the stress and built up pressure within the system. A functioning earth needs processes like earth quake to keep itself sustainable. That’s the geological design to keep the system sustainable.
And in the same way, there will be disruptions in a human society and how that society is being governed. No order is permanent, so a change in the existing world order is inevitable. If only we could learn to agree that, humanity and human values are worth categorising as sacred values then, we maybe able to solve most of our conflicts. And in the process design a global order that may not require continuous corrective disruption. Now some would rightly argue, it’s probably a utopian thinking, but we aren’t going to solve our ongoing conflicts and problems by continuing to restrict and limit our thinking to my own self interest and what’s in the interest of my tribe. Its not utopian thinking but a pragmatic forward looking view.