Discussion: Is the world drifting towards Balkanisation?

Hello Pynksters :wave:

Before wondering whether globalisation is edging towards an end, let’s leap back in history. :nerd_face: 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?


It seems to me globalization is fading away. Countries want to be in control and leaders want to exercise their power more than they want things to run smoothly. Instead of working together to make the world a better place, some don’t see the big picture. One example is coming up with their own Crypto coin, rather than a global coin. I think Trump has made our situation in the US worse and hopefully he isn’t re-elected and Biden can turn things around.


This seems to have been accelerated recently with things like the UK leaving the EU, trade tensions with China, US and Europe and now Coronavirus. The feeling in many countries seems to be shifting more towards nationalism during these troubled times.

I think there will always be some form of globalisation from the people who support it, and it will probably come back into fashion at some point.


Hi guys!

Unfortunately it seems very much so.

i think that every process is reversible so, why not?

Look, both balkanization and globalization are extremes that can only be detrimental in the long run if taken as a dogma. A world defined by balkanization would be like living in a big hotel house where every family looks just at its own interests without careing to what happens to the family next door unless they can take advantage from them (which is very much like it is today in Europe). In the long term economy can’t prosper in such environment and citizens behave would go along with that.

That could only worsen the balkanization process.

In the overall picture I must say that all the Covid situation is just accelerating the Balkanization process under many aspects.

It could also be, under an evolutionary point of view, that we were going way too much toward the globalization paradigm and by experiencing the opposite and its dark sides, as humanity, will help us to find the right balance.
It is true that in the past, not even so remote, humanity was already well balkanized and divided both culturally and economically but it was a FORCED condition. We had not the means to choose which way to go.

It was obvious that with the new communication high techs of the latest 40-50yrs our civilization was like absorbed toward the globalizarion paradigm very much like a children able to play a new game.

In the end we advance by doing trials and tests, social engineering, and because even our environment is dynamic and everchanging (look what happens with covid) it’s hard to find an evergreen solution to a reality which is so imaginative. :grin::grin:


I wouldn’t look at balkanisation as something strictly bad since it’s end goal is more fairness.
It’s not about wanting to stop trading with someone or wanting to get rid of someones culture or religion, all that was here before and stayed after. It is about having right to have your own national identity and better deals.

That is why I wouldn’t neccesseraly connect balkanisation with ending of globalisation since they don’t interfere with any of IMF attributes. Most Balkan countries had big disagreements for a short period of time but later they worked it out and work closely together again. There are always some people who don’t want that, but majority don’t see any problem.
Other reason is that they are all in European Union and want Euro or trying to get into EU. Because they know they can’t go by themselves and need to be in good relatioship with neighbours and everyone else.
When there is money included we don’t look where is someone from and what does he looks like.

Economical cosequences of balkanisation are big and bad but later it becomes better. For example Croatia reached it’s GDP it had before war after 10 years. Trading goods and services with opposing country didn’t completely stop even during war.

I would even say that balkanisation can sometimes go along with globalisation since both need/want the same thing, better treatment from the “stronger” side and more fairness. Something like wanting more social responsibility.

It’s hard for me to be objective about this topic haha


I think I’m going to buck the trend so far on this thread, I don’t believe globalisation is dead at all :man_shrugging:

If anything, I believe globalisation is in fact not only accelerating, but becoming centrally more omnipotent.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) , an “independent” collective of over a thousand corporate, political and academic leaders are pushing for The Great Reset as outlined in the Davos 2019 forum.
This would require all signatories to align themselves to the plan, globally.
The underlying agenda is to create a stakeholder capitalist society (call it what you will, it’ll just mean corporations dictating most of the aspects of your life…“for your betterment!” :dizzy_face:) We’ll have a better picture after the Jan 2021 Forum.

Then there’s the UN’s Agenda 21, a forty chapter in depth blueprint for global sustainable development set out at the Rio Summit in 1992, which, if you get past chapter 5 or 6 your doing well…it’s looong!
Implication of it’s policies have been on-going since, each state/region encouraged to formulate it’s own Agenda 21 on a local level.

Regardless of conspiracy theories surrounding the Agenda, it does still strive for a more globalised over view of government and corporation collaboration.

Here, even though I chose no, I feel more on point with @predictor when he said :

This is on point, balkanisation doesn’t really affect globalisation merely the the state/region that has broken apart. Inter trade between the region may be adversely affected if the split is caustic as it was in former Yugoslavia, but trade and favour will still be sought further afield.

I think more and more countries will attempt some sort of breakup as the Nationalist narrative grows amidst the economic climate now and more pertinent in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised if China as it is, breaks up from internal strife if or when the CCP loses power in the coming few years.
Europe as a union I think is definitely going to fracture when Deutsche Bank goes down.

I don’t think Balkanisation as a fad, more of a “natural order reset”, returning to the state of the international communities before annexes or unions, forced or otherwise.
It’ll work for some states and maybe not for others, but even if we see multiple examples of Balkanisation, it still won’t stop the spread of Globalisation.


I think that the world is drifting towards balkanization in the sense that spheres of geopolitical influence are shifting (as always) and now it looks like what is happening is more about the diminishing old geopolitical blocs than the expansion of new ones. It seems political fragmentation is where we are headed for the moment.

However, here I agree with @stackem and @predictor, I don’t think globalization is dead at all because the interconnectedness that we have achieved in terms of movement of people/knowledge/trade has been more about technological progress or evolution (if you may :grin: :grin:) than the result of political progress, which to be honest has at times hampered globalization and will keep doing so at some level. But overall, globalization is not something that is going away because of a new conflict between the West and China… on the contrary, it will keep pushing forward.

It is not irreversible

With balkanization it is sort of everyone looking after their own interests, and economically speaking, I would guess it is probably not optimal for “the markets”. Also, I think it might hinder some of the progress that has been done in the last century or so in terms of non-discrimination, integration, LGBT rights, etc.

The bifurcation of the internet would go hand in hand with balkanization


I agree with @stackem here. I think globalisation is far from over, quite the opposite. It’s easy to cherry-pick certain situations - world leaders, individual countries etc who seem to be moving towards a more insular society and assume that’s a global trend, but I don’t think it is.

Let’s take the most obvious example and pick the current President of the US. I think Trump is something of an anomaly. America’s great advantage over other nations has always been its ability to galvanise and influence other countries. To lead coalitions and groups of nations. It’s one of the reasons I think he is more dangerous to the US than many people even understand and I think that whoever succeeds him will likely move back towards a model of international cooperation, at least I hope so :upside_down_face:

So in short, I do believe that any perceived trend towards Balkanisation (great word, by the way! had to dust off the old dictionary for that one! :grin:) is temporary.


I personally believe that globalization which involves the spread of products, investment, and technology across national borders and cultures has somehow mutually benefited every country participating in. The world’s economy is too interdependent to one another to be eliminated considering the comparative and absolute advantages of producing commodities that may differ from nation to nation which leads to cost minimization and efficiency in the part of the countries engaging in exchanging of goods and technological ideas. It greatly promotes economical progress and cultural/technological influences among nations.


I believe that it is absolutely early to talk about Balkanisation, since the European Union has recently united, America is striving for globalization and is increasing its influence through the outbreak of new wars and the use of European lands as army bases! The American population is being fed with fast foods, bombarded with drugs and creating a degrading population, while the level of education falls and education becomes more expensive! Drugs, education and partly food are the same in most European countries! Turkey dreams of the restoration of an Islamic superpower, and so on, and even more and worse! Balkanisation requires an educated population, a global Internet, complete economic balance, as well as a life without wars, which is also real, but is it beneficial for America, Europe?


No I don’t believe globalisation is dead. Countries have become more dependent on each other more than ever for resources, cheap labor etc. It will be misplaced in my opinion to say it’s dead.

Some countries have tried to go down this path but it didn’t work out. Economically, I believe they will struggle especially when the country depends a lot on imports. You must be self sufficient to go down this path.

I wouldn’t tie Balkanisation to bifurcation of the internet but instead, I will tie it to globalisation. Globalisation is also about building influence and countries are looking to be influencial in all sectors including the internet.


I don’t think that globalisation is dead, but everything in life is about cycles, and now I believe that we are going to the individualism extreme, so it is time for the growth of Balkanisation. I have no idea how long will be the cycle.


Seems like in the run up to the election that Trump is planning to ramp up the anti China rhetoric


His latest is to ban the use of the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ label. As they are no longer considered ‘autonomous enough’
I can’t really see how that’s going to help the people of Hong Kong? 🤷


Helping people of Hong Kong has never been on Donald Trump’s radar: majority of his voters don’t know where China is on a map, let alone where Hong Kong is :angry: :nauseated_face: :grimacing: