Globalization is hard to define from one perspective so I would like to have the point of view of: the technological, the political, the cultural, the economic, and the social. Technological terms: the new communications technology and the information revolution; innovations which do not simply remain at the level of communication in the narrow sense, but also have their impact on industrial production and organization, and on the marketing of goods. In discussions of globalization at the political level, one question has risen: that of the nation-state. Is it over, or does it still have a vital role to play?
Should it be understood as merely one pressure among many on national governments? But behind these debates, I believe we are actually describing the subordination of the other nation-states to American power, either through consent and collaboration, or by the use of brute force and economic threat. There is a new version of what used to be called imperialism. The standardization of world culture, with local popular or traditional forms driven out or dumped down to make way for American television, American music, food, clothes and films, has been seen by many as the very heart of globalization.
At a deeper level, the anxiety becomes a social one, of Which the cultural is merely a symptom: the fear, in other words, that specifically ethno-national ways of life will themselves is destroyed. The cultural issues tend to spill over into economic and social ones. Let’s look first at the economic dimension of globalization, which, in fact, constantly seems to be dissolving into all the rest: controlling the new technologies, reinforcing geopolitical interests and, finally collapsing the cultural into the economic.
Economics has become a cultural matter; and perhaps we may speculate that in the great financial markets a cultural image accompanies the firm whose stocks we dump or buy. Such is the movement from economics to culture; but there is also a no less significant movement from culture to economics. This is the entertainment business itself, one of the greatest and most profitable exports of the United States. It is all too easy to acquaint a non-American public with a taste for Hollywood styles of violence The United States has made a massive effort since the end of the Second World War to secure the dominance of its films in foreign markets.
This systematic US attempt to batter down ‘cultural protectionist’ policies is only part of a more general and increasingly global corporate strategy, now enshrined in the WTO and its efforts. Struggles for raw materials and other resources, oil and diamonds, are still waged in the world; along with the even older, more purely political, diplomatic or military efforts to substitute friendly governments for resistant ones. But it would seem that today the more distinctively postmodern form of imperialism between the various and distinct levels of the economic, the cultural and the political.
The more worrying feature of the new global corporate structures is their capacity to devastate national labor markets by transferring their operations to cheaper locations overseas. The huge expansion of finance capital markets has been a spectacular feature of the new economic landscape. We no longer have to do with movements of labor or industrial capacity but rather with that of capital itself. The United States has resisted the strategy of introducing controls on the international transfers of capital one method by which some of this financial and speculative damage might presumably be contained.
In recent years, however, it has no longer been so clear that the interests of the financial markets and those of the United States are absolutely identical: the anxiety exists that these new global financial markets may mutate into autonomous mechanisms which produce disasters no one wants. At the cultural level, globalization threatens the final extinction of local cultures. But in the financial realm, the aura of doom that seems to hang over globalization’s irreversibility confronts us with our own inability to imagine any alternative.
One further dimension of economic globalization, is that of the so-called ‘culture of consumption’. But perhaps the question is not so much whether the ‘culture of consumption’ is part of the social as whether it signals the end of all that we have understood the social to be. Europe and Globalization The European Union started after the Second World War with the European Communities. The hostility between France and Germany had to be ended, and those days coal and steel were considered vital for the war industry.
And exactly the devastating effects of these two world wars were the incentive to create the European Communities. This new community of six European countries: France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux-countries, turned out to be the beginning of something much larger. This was long before the word globalization came into practice. Gradually a second motive, next to the avoidance of war, became to play a role. The ambition to build an economically strong and democratic Europe to resist communism and to demonstrate that the West European alternative was superior.
Though the Cold War was primarily a military affair, for which NATO was the main instrument, the European Economic Community was considered to be a strong element of the Atlantic Alliance in a broader sense. The European Economic Community was the ambition of the Treaty of Rome. The new economic community matured slowly, both economically and in terms of enlargement. Then a third motive became clear in the eighties. In the beginning of the eighties Europe was characterized by Stagnation and Skepticism. The European project seemed to be paralyzed.
This was partly caused by two ideological debates. The first one was on whether Europe should be an open Europe, or whether it should find its strength in organizing a fortress. The second one dealt with the question whether Europe should be an enlarging market only or whether it should become a social Europe. It took some years and a new president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, to overcome this stagnation. A number of “packages” and enlargement by new member-states gave Europe new strength.
An important motivation in that decade was the wish of the Europeans to face the competition with the USA and Japan. The political will to be successful in that challenge made “the single market concept” (1988 – 1992) a success and when that had become visible, the goal of a single currency ambition became a realistic one. All pieces came together in the Treaty of Maastricht: * the Single Currency with a very detailed treaty (criteria and calendar) to settle forwhat is today the Euro; a Second Chapter (pillar for the foreign and defense policy; with the ambition of a European Defense Identity); * a Third Pillar to realize “une espace judiciaire” for the ministers of justice and the interior; * an Ever Closer Union (as near to the citizen as possible) based on the principle of subsidiarity; * a renewed and intensified ambition to realize a democratic Europe (one of and for the European citizen). People in general are concerned about globalization.
They tend to equalize globalization with a diminishment of quality of life; in terms of unemployment, in terms of income and in terms of welfare. In its meaning of a more borderless world, with more asylum seekers and refugees (political and economic) and all problems connected to that. They consider globalization as a threat. At the same time they fear globalization to be inevitable, a fact of life. There is a good reason to translate the fears and worries about globalization into a new motivation to realize Europe.
The ultimate objective is “quality of life”. To do that successfully a European defense identity is needed and a European foreign policy, not to serve diplomacy but to secure peace, to prevent violence and to push it back where it occurs. In order to protect the European citizens against the threat of globalization, they have to organize themselves as Europeans. Only with a strong Europe, based on values, They will be capable to contribute to values globally. After decreasing the borders between EUcountries, It now needs to give shape and substance to peace.