There are two ways of looking at globalisation.
One is an imperial way, which is more common: This is about some country or the other ruling the world, one culture or the other being in ascendency, one way of doing things being better than another way of doing things. This is indeed the predominant way of thinking about globalisation, which we can call globalisation-as-dominance. This is the way most people think, even the ardent globalisers. True, they are slightly embarrassed by their own views, and therefore, they would usually highlight the impermanence of such dominance, pointing to the ongoing dynamics of the global equation, but accept dominance nonetheless as the way of things, as it always have been.
But, then, there is another way of looking at things. This, perhaps less articulated, view of globalisation is less about dominance and more about connection. This is based on a more optimistic view of human beings, perhaps something which we lost touch with. This view may be obscured by the way we read history, which is almost always celebratory of the powers of the victors. This view of globalisation is from the vantage point of the subjects of globalisation, from those people at the frontiers of globalisation, not necessarily the vanquished, but its actors. It is about those merchants who sailed, the executives who came to another country to work, the writers who sought ideas and stimulation in a different locale, or perhaps more mundanely, the tourist who fell in love on the way. This is the human view of globalisation, which centres around our wonder that there may be people in another part of the world with a different culture but a similar sort of disposition and emotions as us. This is not an anti-global view, because none of us need to fear connection as we do of dominance.
But this second way of thinking about globalisation makes globalisation different. Because this is not about imposing any one correct view, this allows for the diverse. And, if one is to think that this is a touchy-feely nonsense, and the globalisation as view around dominance looks right in theory, one must open their eyes and see that globalisation as connection and interaction looks more real in practise. Despite some people thinking that the world speaks in English, shops in Amazon and keeps in touch on Facebook, this is hardly true. If anything, the world still resembles the tower of Babel, with local prestige and sensibilities ascendent with a new sense of perspective and confidence. The locally responsive services are springing up everywhere, where consumers take pride in buying from them. The local has become universal and not the other way round.
The anti-globalisers may not agree, but the globalisation is not apocalyptic. In fact, it is one thing that pro-globalisers and anti-globalisers seem to be in agreement on, but both are equally wrong: Despite the spectre of uni-polar world, no one seemed to have won hands down and the world has not become a drab monoculture. The globalisation that we see are diverse and resplendent with conversations and connections, a delicate game of negotiation and assimilation, rather than dominance and dependence.
Seen from drawing rooms of the Rich, lobbies of the five star hotels and through the prism of European language media, this diversity may appear much reduced, but that does not make it any less real. And, besides, this is what makes globalisation exciting, worth engaging into: If our brains are built for culture and connections, this is exactly the sort of stimulation it must crave for. But even if this sort globalisation is about harmony, and peace and connections, this is still deeply disruptive. Because the doctrine of dominance and fear of the others is central to the way our societies are structured, giving our elites the sole rights to negotiate with the unknown and profit from it. This grown-up view of globalisation, one that is based on shared humanity and possibilities that prosperity can be built together, remains excluded from common imagination to maintain the power plays that keep us in our place.
However, increasingly, the frontiers of value creation is shifting from local to global domain. The less we do with hands, turning our natural resources into usable commodities, and the more we do with minds, turning our ideas into valuable something, it is that connection with others, the ability to transcend the parochial and being able to engage locally many places at a time, become ever more important. Partnership, not dominance, remain at the core of this new agenda. This is not about government mandated ways of doing things, not designed by the power elite, but this is about tapping into the possibilities of human networks and to find purpose in making the relationships work.
Unfortunately, as globalisation changed, the elite enjoying its benefits, everyone else abandoned it: The internationalist heritage of the workers subsided and and instead, work became parochial. This is a mistake. This is not just a failing attempt to go back in time, but indulging in fratricide among the working classes by turning against the humanist globalisation that made their politics possible in the first place. It is about giving in to the agenda of the power elite and its theory of domination, rather than freedom. It is against the grain of the change, against the power of the technologies and against human nature: It is one way to exclude the the working classes from everything of import today. It is just too critical for their view to be on table to drive responsible discussions on environment, work, capital and human dignity, to solve the big problems of poverty, disease and fanaticism which can hardly be solved locally. By turning anti-globalisation, the working classes handed over all the crucial policy issues to the 1%. It is time to discover the other, human, globalisation for the sake of the other 99%.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
A week into lockdown and things are beginning to change. Mornings are late, afternoons are lazier and evenings never end; meditations are filling out the time for Yoga routines and Netflix profiles are strewn with half-finished movies. This state-mandated, state-funded period of idleness is being likened to being called up to serve, but is nothing like that: Such a comparison is really an affront to the idea of service. Instead, this is just one long streak of panic; of the centre not holding and life not going on as usual. With the usual patterns and rules in suspended animation and business talk - and business - being rendered meaningless, space is opening up for unusual questions: Is Capitalism about to end? Is this the death of globalisation? Does it get uglier from here? My grandfather's generation would have scoffed at us. They saw through wars and pandemics. But, in fairness, we haven't had a life-ending crisis of our own. Notwithstanding the experiences of th
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.