Michael Battalio

Friday, January 18, 2013

Serious conversations (part 44):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The forty-third through forty-fifth entries deal with globalization, peace, and war.

Last time I discussed why I think global peace is possible. Now to tackle this from the perspective of globalization. Is globalization good, bad? Who does it hurt/help?

        We are kind of at a half globalization currently; most of the middle east and parts of S. America are left out as is pretty much the entire continent of Africa and other scattered Pacific nations. What has it gotten us? We are well connected, the spread of ideas is nigh instantaneous, any good imaginable is easily obtainable, costs of those goods are dropping. From that I can see globalization is a positive thing. But what did we have to give to achieve it? Exploitation is number one. From what is trickling out of China, the conditions there are reprehensible. What companies are doing to workers is more like indentured servitude, forcing them to work overtime for minimal pay. What globalization has done to them is war by another name: economic war. They suffer while we bask in our cheap iPhones. And if we thought the propaganda from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was easily manipulated, that is nothing compared to the lines we are fed regarding what we do to people on the bottom rung of globalization. Granted though, I own a lot of the cheap products that are created by these poor people, and I don’t do a thing about it. A lot of it is because they are faceless, and this is the economic hardship we place on others to serve out capitalistic wants. They are faceless causalities. However, it is true that there will always be the weak, and they will always be exploited. It is the nature of humanity.

        What about the loss of unique cultures as a result of globalization: I agree that it is somewhat of a problem, but I have very little concern for it - mostly because it isn’t my culture being threatened. As I see it, the only way to prevent further cultural loss is for everyone to stop cross-cultural communication altogether, which just won’t happen. Loss of culture has been happening for millennia, and it certainly won’t stop if the entire planet collectively decides that globalization is a bad thing, so I don’t think it is a valid reason to stop globalization.

        Now is globalization going to lead us to world peace? I’m not sure I could even speculate. I suppose you could argue that as globalization occurs large scale war will decrease, but I doubt that small scale war will be solved. There will always be localized conflict (e.g. do you think globalization will solve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict? That will never be fixed unless they both completely lose their cultural identity. That will take hundreds of years at least.) I guess I’m just not thinking about this long term. Given enough time, globalization will help peace because we will become homogenized to the point that there is only human culture. I just don’t see that happening though. In the US there any numerous distinct cultures even though we are the same country. Southern culture is nothing like west coast culture is nothing like northeastern culture. I don’t think globalization will completely solve war.

        To summarize: globalization is good and inevitable. Loss of culture happens naturally anyway, so we might as well achieve some good (peace) as uniqueness is lost.

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