By Basil Fernando –
Globalization used to be regarded as one of the greatest opportunities created for economic growth and life-improvement conditions throughout the world. However, COVID-19 has cast doubts about this perspective. COVID-19 demonstrated that globalization can also be a threat. Not just a simple threat but a life- and-death issue to large numbers of people. Entire nations have been brought to a halt and economic life in particular has suffered the most serious set-backs known in this century. Furthermore, this threat is not a temporary or short-term affair but something predicted to last a long time. Therefore, globalization becoming a threat is an issue that can no longer be ignored.
A shift from globalization to isolation
A shift from globalization to isolation is a long jump. And it happened quite quickly and quite dramatically. Everywhere governments warned people to go into isolation and remain in isolation. WHY? The reason being that each person could become a threat to themselves and others. Pandemic means just that. Safety and security depended not on things that were considered in the process of globalization but a turning back from that, by going into isolation. One way of avoiding the deep implications of this shift was: to imagine that the sooner things became normal then the old world pursuit of globalization will move even faster. However, as months have gone by and additional knowledge has been gained about the nature of this virus, this optimism became undermined. When there will be a change in the situation and when “normal” will come back is not within anyone’s imagination as yet. Experts have repeatedly told us that this has come to stay. Understandably, it will be a considerable period of time. And it is most likely that a specific vaccine or another therapy to this problem will ever be found…..
THE THREAT OF GLOBALIZATION IS EVERYWHERE…..
in airplanes, in transport, in working places, in conference halls, in restaurants, in drinking places, in schools, in old age homes and notably in hospitals themselves.
The Exposure of the powerlessness of the powerful
One of the ironies is that those who claim to have the highest achievements in terms of the old notions of globalization are among the countries which are the worst affected. The United States has exceeded its death rate, due to the COVID-19, of over 100,000 while infections have reached over a million. China, the other super power, was seriously affected as the problem continues unabated. The Center of the former British Empire is now a prominent center in the spread of the COVID-19. While globalization was envisioned to bring economic growth to greater heights, particularly to these more powerful countries, what was found instead was a shattering of lives, lifestyles and economies in these countries.
Other Threats created by Globalization
It is not only COVID-19 that regards globalization as a threat. Global warming and climatic change problems are among the highest priorities and main concerns discussed within developed countries. The less-developed countries regard themselves as victims of globalization. It was a significant occurrence when they lost their waterways contaminated by chemicals. This was in the attempt to speed up agricultural production in order to achieve higher growth rates.
Major environmental disasters are happening everywhere.
In short, it is not in the mood of arriving at paradise that people look into globalization now. It is looked upon as a great threat undermining every aspect of life and social organization.
Media as globalized lying machines
Globalization is regarded as a threat from the point of view of the enormous abuses of media freedom. What people get to consume, by way of news, is mostly manufactured to generate an artificial consensus. Everything is advertised !
Claims of all kinds of benefits are nothing more than false promises.
Finding truth now is more difficult than ever before.
The information industry is supposed to bring in information to every room in every house, creating an enlightened people. In fact, it is contributing to the greatest folly and distrust everywhere. These threats are affecting systems of Governance. Democracy is under serious threat on the one hand by those who seek power and on the other hand by the people themselves. A Politician is seen as a human being who consistently generates falsehood. Somewhat of a comic image about politicians has become part of the publics’ perception.
Award winning Kerala poet Sankara Palli catches this aspect of modern media in the following poem.
A mammoth mouth is chasing one and all —
rabid, wolf, virus, JCB, hawker, crocodile
or a similar mouth of death.
Brimming with teeth that smile when not chewing,
with words that hide the hook and net,
songs that aren’t sung enough,
news that aren’t read enough,
ads that aren’t chanted enough,
commands that aren’t roared enough,
arguments that aren’t asserted enough,
lust that isn’t kissed or sucked enough,
tongue that hasn’t craved enough,
foaming with half truths and big lies, and the
14 worlds that can neither be spit nor swallowed.
A global mouth is chasing one and all.
A Comic Situation
Things once considered serious have in fact turned comic. It is the kind of tragedy unique to modern civilization. Not that there was no such falsification in politics in the past. However, in earlier times, there was a belief that falsehood and truth are having a contest. And in the contest, people have the opportunity to discover the truth. Today this belief has disappeared. People do not look at the news media with any kind of trust in finding out what may be true. Society in general does not look at politicians as persons who will SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.
The power holders themselves are not sure whether what they know is true. They are more likely to be duped and pushed into all kinds of games by those who wield economic power. The game of falsification is now in the hands of a few corporations, other richer elements or security agencies. More powerful than the political agencies.
In the end, country political agencies have their values diminished. Again, this just adds to the very comic nature of the present times. Those who claim power are merely puppets of those who manipulate power from within their palatial mansions. Decision-makers on political matters are themselves not in a position to exercise power.
These changes, in the totality of the environment, have begun to treaten globalization not as a dream to pursue but as a bewildering nightmare.