Bright and Geyer say that it’s misleading to say the world is undergoing the process of globalization, while they continue to list multiple affects of globalization. Globalization is not just something that large powers partake in, the growth of business does as well. They prove this in their statement “that relocates the centers of poverty from the countryside to the slums of megacities” (p.295). That is a worldwide affect of globalization, this affect occurs in two ways. In developed countries business pulls out of big cities to find cheaper labor in less developed countries. This leaves the people in those cities without jobs and leaves the area in poverty. On the other side of the situation in less developed countries sweatshops are built in cities where a large amount of workers can be hired while being paid less than a smaller amount of workers in any developed country. The situation leaves both areas impoverished while the business grows exponentially.
Another resonating issue that is growing in connection to what Bright and Geyer explain as Globalization is the struggle between people, many living in the same geographic regions, to continue participating in the same market while allowing cultural divides to dictate economic drive. A few examples of these include areas all over the world including many large midwestern cities in the United States such as Chicago, as well as other major population centers throughout the world that exist with significant socioeconomic divide and a disappearing middle class. Combined with growing nationalism as also mentioned due in part to growing isolationist tendencies as an attempt for individual nations to protect their dwindling middle classes, it is clear that the fact that the world, especially in an economic sense, is dependent on each other and only a select few have been able to truly benefit from this new system. Thus the effects of not benefitting from this system combined with the eventual social issues that arise from the response to these issues explain many of the issues we see today.
Throughout the centuries a rapid increase in technological advancements has brought about the separation of classes and wealth. This surplus of profits then became generational leading to a separation between cultures. However, the power of technology is heald within the power of education, which is held within the power of wealth. As time went on, and manufacturing costs decreased, the lower class now had access to this education as a result of this global entanglement. This notion is even more prevalent in the 21st century. This access to technology leads to the access of education, bringing together this interconnectedness that we see today, in our globalized society, for better or for worse.
Near the end of the summary the word “survival” is used to imply that the world in general is struggling to face global entanglement as if it is necessary to continue progress, reassimalation and innovation. However, I believe the word “stress” is more appropriate for this topic. Nations, states and even individuals do not necessarily need to improve themselves as they stand but it is the “stress” that comes with comparing themselves to something better, efficent or ethically right that brings the real struggles to face global entanglement. In my mind the word “survive” is used when a thing is acheiving the bare minimum to function without any kind of luxury or surplus of it needs. However, what is seen with every civilzation is the “stress” for improvement whether it is from an outbreak of a disease in which an antidote can be made to save more lives or increase in technically to reduce the “stress” of hard labour. In capitalism it is a known fact that competiters are required so that companies have a need to show that they are better than their competiters.
The idea raised by the authors that globalization is not a quantified thing that increases or decreases, but more or less a static condition that was established in the second half of the 19th century is interesting, if somewhat questionable. The authors contend that strategies for dealing with the reality changed, but not the nature of globalization itself. A close examination of the history seems to yield conflicting results: the idea of changing strategies in a globalized world seems like a much better interpretation than the extremely linear approach of insisting that strategies “evolve” and that the Europeans always come up with the next one fist, with the rest of the world trying to catch up. However, technological innovation and population growth have increased individual interconnections, in the sense that it is now possible and even easy for some people to travel between continents in the space of 24 hours and for people thousands of miles apart to communicate effectively with only seconds of delay. In this sense, globalization has ‘increased’ – individual connections are closer globally. One could argue, however, as a counterpoint, that structural interconnections remain the same as always, its just that they are more visible. The working people in industrial Britain who moved to the city as a result of the repeal of the Corn Laws probably didn’t understand the cause of their frustration quite as well as modern American farmers understand, or at least know about, that the tariffs placed on China by the US are what makes their Soybeans unprofitable internationally. However, despite happening more than 100 years apart, they are in more than less the same situation otherwise.
Additionally interesting is the sort of ‘post-national’ argument made by the authors when describing the current situation. I agree with it to some extent – the idea of empire as it existed up until the mid 20th century has become wholly irrelevant today. I think that the primary organizing force of international politics is in fact global capital (to be a bit leftist for a moment) which, as the authors discussed, moves slums and factories around the world in a continuous process of increasing profit efficiency. I think it is worth mentioning that the locations of slums, factories, and other creations of economy are moved from country to country (sweatshops are in Indonesia, consumers are in the US). This is the extent of how far I am willing to except the idea of a post-national world, as otherwise the emotional force of nationalism as an organizational method is clearly extensively popular and growing in popularity worldwide, whereas the much less outwardly defined principle of global capitalism is not. Overall, the authors do raise interesting reinterpretations of conventional wisdom on globalization that I agree with for the most part.
I found the Bright and Geyer brought up a rather interesting point in that Westernization was not the turning point of the world and Globalization is not a direct result. This assertion goes well against the grain of most modern history concepts since it can be seen clearly how the birth of a nation like the United States and the inevitable sprint that technology takes in a race between nations to be the most advanced once the is settled lines up to show Westernization equals Globalization. Geyer and Bright bring a very human, and savage as a result, aspect to the entanglement of the world rather than a nation based one. People always strive to be superior in some way shape or form to another group of people. This has been the cause for innovation, expansion, war, and exploitation for generations and there most likely no end in sight. People in power rarely just sit idly by with said power. More often then not they’ll see just how far they can push it and this takes form in exploitation.
Whats even more is that this is not a new idea of the 19th century either. The infamous, “the sun never sets on the British Empire” is a perfect example of how stepping on and over someone to reach farther in the balance of power drove the world wide entanglement. Not a sole gave a care about whats happening over in china until the British had them far opium so they can resell it to the people and nearly enslave a nation. This advanced the British both financially and in stance of power against the rest of the world. Thus providing an example to prove Geyer and Brights new theory as a passable idea.