No one can "control" it although the "New World Order" fans would love to
One of the strange words that has been used many times after the British referendum is "globalization". The New York Times wrote about ‘Brexit’ in America: a warning shot against globalization. Xinhua asked in a commentary: Brexit, a move threatening an end to globalization? The Providence Journal believes that Brexit may mark the start of a rebellion against globalization. The Kansas City Star is already convinced that Britain just killed globalization as we know it. Inquirer.net also wrote about ‘Brexit’ and globalization. Florin Moldoveanu thinks that mass immigration is mandatory because it's a "part of globalization".
Slow down, comrades. None of this stuff makes much sense.
"Globalization" isn't a word that I am routinely using. In my eyes, it was discredited some 20 years ago when I began to see rallies of left-wing lunatics who were described as "activists against globalization". What was it supposed to mean? When I looked what these activists were actually all about, they were nothing else than other bunches of extreme anti-capitalist, anti-trade, anti-corporate left-wing šitheads.
The media have used the fancy term "anti-globalization activists" simply because it sounds better than "šitty Bolsheviks" and the journalists have a certain reason to make these Bolsheviks look better than they are.
Wikipedia defines globalization as the international integration arising from the exchange of products, world views, ideas, and other aspects of culture. That sounds fair enough. It's really the internationalization of ordinary aspects of life. Note that the main definition doesn't include "migration" although the Wikipedia article mentions it later, too.
OK. Is this process taking place? When did it begin? Who controls it? Which laws impose it and which authorities enforce it if any? Is it good? May it be disagreed with? Do we need the word at all?
I feel that the "politically correct" answer is that it is surely taking place, it began at some bright moment a few decades ago when the world became better. All good people and especially their glorious governments control it. It's de facto a part of many laws. It has to be enforced by all police forces because it's the force of the Good. Only extreme reactionaries can disagree with it. And we need the word.
Well, I have problems with every single answer here – every single assumption made by most of those who are using this word.
First of all, is globalization taking place at all? I am not sure. Is the world more globalized than during the Roman Empire? Maybe. It's surely easier to import the Chinese products these days or make a Skype call with Brazil. But the countries or empires were comparably large in the times of Pythagoras or Charlemagne or George Washington or any other time. And the nations were comparably tempting to sometimes adopt ideas and products from other countries but be shielded from them most of the time.
I don't really believe that anything is substantially changing about the people's desire to think internationally. Clearly, progress in communication and transportation made it technically easier to exchange products and ideas. But for years, this technology has been good enough that its limitations have ceased to be an important barrier. The most important barrier to the internationalization of the production and culture and world views is a barrier that has always existed: the people's will to allow this process. People sometimes don't want to import ideas (or even products) from other countries which is the main reason why it's often not taking place!
OK, was globalization taking place in recent decades? Maybe, somewhere, well,... I don't think that the answer is clear. Countries sometimes tended to integrate – and the reunification of Germany, the EU, the annexation of Hong Kong by China, and several other examples exist. Many countries, especially in Asia, became the global hotbeds of exports.
But this is just a part of the story. The opposite process was taking place as well. Both opposite processes were clearly taking place pretty much at every moment of the human history. Most importantly, Czechoslovakia split to two countries. ;-) Less importantly, countries such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have undergone a similar but less amicable evolution. New walls have been erected – also in between different parts of the Muslim World.
So my answer to the question whether the process is taking place at all – at a rate significantly higher than the opposite process – would be ambiguous.
In the same way, my answer to the question whether this process is a "good thing" would be unclear, too. Many different things may be included as "parts of globalization". If people like Florin Moldoveanu include their (hoped for?) Islamization of Europe as a part of globalization, I would obviously consider globalization an extremely bad and evil process. Incidentally, I don't consider mass migration to be a part of globalization. Globalization is about the communities' getting more similar. Mass migration is creating ghettos which amplify the communities' dissimilarities. It's the ideas, ways of doing business, or subsidiaries of companies and McDonald's restaurants that should spread in globalization, not masses of people.
I am a fan of the free trade, an opponent of the mass migration, a friend of the people's knowing something about other countries, an opponent of the idea that the people's identity should be completely dissolved. Where does it put me? Well, I obviously have mixed feelings. In fact, I don't see any good reason to "clump" the very different processes into one concept named globalization. This clumping seems harmful to me. In my view, this clumping is a trick to prevent the discussion about these individual, separate questions. The clumping is a demagogic sleight-of-hand that makes many planned events "unavoidable" in the eyes of many ordinary (and sometimes even not so ordinary) people.
Now, is there a law that codifies globalization? Does someone control it? I don't think so. Globalization should be just an "observation" of what's apparently happening in the nations of the world. I don't think that it's a "political program" of anybody who matters and who is open about it. Now, the previous sentence could be overinterpreted. There clearly are people who want the world to be globalized: the leaders and fans of the "New World Order", if I borrow a term from the conspiracy theorists.
Some of them have a lot of power but I don't think that either of them – or their union – have enough power to really control most of the decisions that affect "globalization", whatever our interpretation of the term is. Brexit was up to the British voters' decision that was made on Thursday. It was about their free will. The decision couldn't have been pre-programmed. Whether the voters liked or disliked globalization and whether they thought it was important for the question of Brexit was pretty much irrelevant. They were deciding a somewhat more well-defined (but not quite well-defined) question whether the U.K. should continue as a member of the ever closer European Union. The answer of the majority was No.
For all these reasons – because the globalization is neither unambiguously real, nor unequivocally good, nor characteristically associated with our epoch, nor a helpful umbrella term, ... – I think it's counterproductive to use this term at all. It's my feeling that the term "globalization" is either used by those who want certain processes to be unavoidable or indisputable – who want to restrict the people's and nations' freedom to decide; or by those who want their discredited, e.g. anti-capitalist, views look "more modern"; or by those who are just way too superficial.
To mention an example of the last group, let me say that Fox News mistakenly reported that the U.K. has decided to leave the United Nations (instead of the European Union). It's funny but one must understand where they're coming from. Both U.N. and the EU are sort of similar politically correct institutions promoting "something like globalization". The similarities between the EU and the U.N. are the reason why e.g. Sarah Palin has recommended the U.S. to withdraw from the U.N.
The British voters' decision doesn't mean that the international trade or exchange of ideas will suddenly start to drop or that the world will enter a radically new epoch from any viewpoint. But if you ask whether the Brexit decision means that the "globalization" will cease to be an omnipotent force that always prevails, well, it surely won't be omnipotent anymore. Those who believed that similar processes (and their supporters) were omnipotent or unstoppable should be kindly informed that they were never omnipotent and unstoppable.
People who disliked many things about the European Union in recent years and many aspects of the politically correct ideology and the oppression by various other groups – that people generally don't quite agree about – were genuinely dissatisfied and really decided to do something about the trends they didn't like. If some fans of international organizations, political correctness, bureaucracy and ever greater regulation and surveillance, feminism, forced migration, and other things believe that they're omnipresent, let me assure them: You may be proven wrong much more assertively and physically than the EU fans in the U.K. have been.
No one can "control" it although the "New World Order" fans would love to