Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What goes around ...

Tracy Corrigan over on the Telegraph's comment section, considers the future of globalisation.

It is almost always a mistake, I have noticed, to try to call the end of anything. The end of history, the end of boom and bust – like the musings of happy couples in Hello! magazine, such pronouncements inevitably seem to trigger a reversal of fortune.

Corrigan goes on to suggest that the credit crunch is likely to put a brake on globalisation, but will not bring it to an end. Essentially I agree with that summation, but with caveats.

Like Corrigan, I don't think it is possible to call the end of certain things - particularly ideologies and trends. We thought we'd seen the end of wars in 1918 but twenty years later we were all at it again. We thought we'd seen the end of flares in 1979, but they seem to have made a comeback recently.

I don't believe you can ever say that something has caused the end of something else because, quite simply, I believe that everything is cyclical. What goes around, comes around.

Take globalisation for example. It is nothing new. What was the Roman Empire if not "globalisation"? We might have found a different name to call it, a different way to achieve it or a different method of administering it, but it is still the same thing - empire building.

Globalisation is the same as empire building or, as we tend to call it now, supranationalism, and if there is one thing certain about empires it is that they always eventually collapse. This is why the UN and EU have more to fear from this credit crunch than anyone else because the fundamental reason why empires collapse is economic.

I know that there are many reasons why empires have historically collapsed - wars, droughts, famines, plagues - but they all lead to the same thing. An empire unable to fund it's empire. Once the empire's economy begins to collapse, individual constituent nations of that empire reassert their national independence and the people of that nation become more self-reliant for their needs.

Globalisation and supranationalism are interconnected. You can not have one without the other - nor can you support globalisation without implicitly supporting the EU, UN or any other supranational body of governance because, without those bodies, globalisation can not exist. Similarly, without globalisation there simply is no reason for a supranational body to exist either - so they will wither and die.


Anonymous said...

Adding to that, that most globailsation or empire building is initiated by commercial venture rather than some altruistic sense of bringing civilisation to the savages.

Now, as then, it is corporate consideration of cost of labour that drives companies to "colonise" the third world.

Anonymous said...


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