By Abdoukabirr Daffeh
One of the most intense debates in the contemporary academic field has been the meaning of globalization and its impact on the lives of the peoples of the world. It is without a doubt that globalization is an all-encompassing trap which like the vicious cycle of poverty is slowly but surely catching up with the entire world. Scholars in the work of globalization give different meanings and insights on globalization. Anthony Giddens views globalization as an intensification of worldwide social relations that shapes local happenings by events miles away from them.
This is substantiated by Marshal McLuhan who argued that the world is a global village, based on Giddens and McLuhan’s conception; it is without doubt that the entire world is closer today than ever before. The emergence of the new technology age as observed by Manuel castle in his network society, brought us face with the fact that globalization has aided the intensification of worldwide social relation. David Held observed that globalization is the interconnectedness, widening, deepening and speeding of worldwide relations in all aspects of contemporary social life (David Held 1999).
The technological revolution is one of the greatest boost which give life and meaning to globalization. Today, the world relation seems to be more cordial this is made possible through globalization. Arguably, there is without doubt that the world today is connected at the click of the computer mouse the fact that people in distance places remained, updated and informed about local happenings, brought us to the conclusion that globalization is alive and kicking.
The world today as observed by Giddens is interconnected and globalized which compressed time and space in which every global transaction seems to be taken the same dimension .George Ritzer observed in his MacDonaldization theory of globalization, that the world is driving out the cultural and regional tradition and replacing them with a single homogeneous system (Ritzer:41). Ritzer uses the MacDonaldization theory to explain globalization in the contemporary world. He observed that globalization is the standardization and unification of the worldwide relation giving cognizance to local test and realities. To further expand this conception, globalization in its entity through the eye of Ritzer would refer to the coordination and amalgamation of the world’s socio-economic relations within a common yardstick. It is in the alignment of Ritzer’s theory that the world education, health and cultural systems seems to be operating within a common direction.
Globalization has helped to foster solidarity and made the world to fight a common enemy. Today, the world seems to be sympathetic with each other’s problem. The issue of the Bokoharam, Alsabab and the Alkaida is no longer seen as a threat to Nigeria, Somalia or America but rather a global problem which the entire world is ready to fight. This gives rise to global solidarity and sense of belonging into a global community.
Globalization is also observed as modernization which leads to a shift of the world order and replaced what is considered traditional to become modern. Liberal democracy has been the yardstick to translate the performance of nation states in the global system. The fact that the communist China and Russia are slowly but surely given way to free market policy speaks volumes and affirms the notion of Kofi Annan that globalization has come to stay.
Despite the success stories of globalization as a vehicle for change and transformation of the new world order, critics, such as the Neo-Marxist and dependency theorist, raised alarm of the troubling and problematic impact of globalization on the socio-cultural lives of the people. The Harvard university scholar, Samuel Huntington in his clash of civilization, observed globalization as a clash or conflict situation. Both Huntington and Emanuel Wallenstein (world system theory) show globalization as a conflict phenomenon like Karl Marx in his class theory and exploitation of the weak by the powerful, Samuel Huntington also frown at globalization as a tool for social fragmentation. Through the eye of Huntington and Wallenstein, globalization is nothing but the exploitation of the periphery by the core which gives rise to cultural extinction and social collapse of the downtrodden.
Wallenstein observed that globalization leads to destruction and exploitation of the weaker world by the powerful. He observed that tourism which is a product of globalization has fueled cultural alienation and gives prominence to the core against the periphery .Through global interaction in the name of tourism; indigenous industries are stagnated giving rise to poverty and unemployment in the periphery. Ali Mazrui in a documentary, the Triple Heritage also observed that globalization has mortgaged the local values and traditions in Africa.
Sandu CUTEREL a PhD candidate in national defense university, Carol has observed that globalization has welcomed a shift of social order and erode the powers of nation states. The emergence of multinational industries, regional and international organizations has constraint the sovereignty of nation states. Suffice it to say no single nation today enjoys total hegemony. The recent political saga in the Gambia and the ultimate involvement of ECOWAS as a key player, explains the limit of state sovereignty and the triumph of globalization. It is therefore wise to fathom that while we continue to celebrate the giant strive of globalization as vehicle for change and social transformation, through increase worldwide interconnectedness as advanced by Anthony Giddens, the narrative can differ in the view of the locals who are merely global spectators.
I stand with the dependency and the Neo-Marxist theorist on globalization. It is noteworthy that globalization is more of the game of the powerful states while the weaker nations merely watch the game it has continued to disintegrate nation states and strike exploitation of the peripheral world. The extinction of local industries and culture which came as a result of global tourism and the depletion of the ecosystem is enough to fathom that globalization as observed by Wallenstein and Huntington is tailored towards exploiting the generic livelihood of the weaker states. Today climate change has taken a dramatic interest in global discussion the world is increasingly exposed to the menace of climate change which even though the distance local societies are not a contributor hugely, yet they suffer most as a result of globalization.
Therefore, in other to strike a balance and to champion the welfare needs of the weaker states in this globalized world, the priorities of the weaker states should be given a high premium. The bigger global players such as the America and the west should take a moral obligation to respect the plight and culture of the locals. It is also wise to note that all nations must learn to respect the Kyoto protocol of sustainable development and do everything to enforce it. This will in a way reduce the menace of climate change.
To conclude, globalization is both a blessing and a problem base on the perspective one views it.
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