Ethical Values in the Globalization Process

by Artur Victoria - Date: 2010-01-26 - Word Count: 519 Share This!

The challenges of globalization will be met with new values that inform new institutions that can civilize a world of weaker states -just as the North Atlantic Enlightenment contributed to civilizing the absolutist sovereign states of post-Westphalia Europe. However, this is by no means guaranteed. If the forces of globalization lead to destabilization such benign results are unlikely. There are dangers that, in response to the breakdown of Enlightenment ideals, we may return to Enlightenment ones such as tribal exclusivity, ethnic supremacy and religious fanaticism.

When society breaks down, people will not join the IVR and engage in sincere and open debate about new ideas that may guide and inspire a new global society. They will run with some existing idea that seems to make some sense. It might be some extremist versions of libertarian capitalism (which a number of Eastern European nations were briefly attracted to in the belief that the opposite of what they had was the best). It might be a half-baked TV version of American capitalism gleaned from soaps broadcast by the former regime in the belief that the transmission of patent nonsense cannot affect people intellect.

It is more likely to be the revalidation of another, older and more deeply felt ideal from the past, given ever more destructive power by the forces of modem technology. In the Balkans and some African countries, it has been ethnic supremacy or tribal domination -values uniquely damaging to multiple ethnic communities. In Afghanistan, Sudan, Timor and, to a lesser extent, in the Balkans, it has been religious fanaticism and intolerance. In some cases, the breakdown of sovereign states has led to a reversion to the worst features of tribalism and inter-tribal violence writ large by modem technology.

This problem is not confined to newly disintegrating states in the developing world. The Western response to the end of the Cold War has not been to transcend the competing global ideologies of capitalism and communism. Instead of learning from the miseries generated by these ideologies, there has been a reversion to earlier ideals of global competition -to what Galbraith calls primitive capitalism - rather than the development of new ideas about the way countries may relate to each other, such as those expounded in the Brandt Report.

Ceausescu regime reportedly screened old episodes of Dallas and Dynasty in the hope that they would be either harmless or would teach Romanian the evils of capitalism. It is reported that they were the most popular shows on television and led many to fall in love with Western capitalism. Not only through the use of modern weapons but also modern communications (even though many of the killings in Rwanda were through the use of machetes, the genocide of the Tutsi was orchestrated by the Hutu Government-run radio stations).

Note that the last two sets of revolutionary ideals -capitalism and socialism - have been global. The failure of the latter has come to a 'revolution' in the sixteenth century sense. It is needed a third set of revolutionary ideals and to transcend socialism, not retreat from it, to the ideals that preceded global socialism with the faults that spawned it.

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