Before wondering whether globalisation is edging towards an end, let’s leap back in history. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic attributes of globalisation: trade and transactions, capital movement and investment, migration and the movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.
While many scholars track the origins of globalisation back to modern times, some of them attribute its start to the Age of Exploration that saw the Portuguese nobleman, Vasco da Gama, open up a sea route to India to meet the rising demand for spices in Europe at the end of the 15th century.
It was the contact between distant civilisations from the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa) and the New World (the Americas and Australia) that led to the Columban Exchange, which saw, for the first time, a wide transfer of plants, animals, food, human populations, and culture between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. While the encounter worked miracles for global trade, it also led to the propagation of diseases that decimated populations with no immunity to Eurasian and African diseases. Meanwhile, the enslavement, exploitation, military conquest, and economic dominance of European peoples over native populations flourished.
Nevertheless, the 19th and 20th centuries saw an acceleration of globalisation through the invention of the steam locomotive, jet engine, steamship and container ship, as well as developments in telecommunications infrastructure (e.g. the telegraph, the Internet, mobile phones, etc). But these have only proliferated globalisation due to a growing interconnectedness of national economies and decreasing barriers to trade due to multilateral trade agreements backed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
At present, the pace of globalisation has flattened out, with some even arguing that it went in full reverse given the growing friction between the US, Europe and China.
Taking into consideration the global outlook, do you believe globalisation is dead?
If yes, do you believe the trend towards Balkanisation is irreversible or just a fad?
What are the economic and cultural consequence of a world defined by Balkanisation?
How would Balkanisation tie in with the threat of a bifurcating internet?