Globalism Is for Adults?
By Staff News & Analysis - August 09, 2010

Turning our backs on the world … Our political leaders are facing firmly inward at a time when a multiplicity of problems require a global solution … The world is searching for ways to deal with a multiplicity of crises – climate change, debt and financial regulation, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, not to mention old standbys such as poverty. The test of statesmanship in the contemporary world is for states to co-operate, so that the beggar-my-neighbour policies of the 20th century that led to rearmament and war are not repeated. – Sydney Morning Herald

Dominant Social Theme: Acceptance of globalization indicates one's maturity.

Free-Market Analysis: We keep stumbling on these weird articles in the mainstream press, and from our perspective they're getting weirder all the time – the ones that seek to justify various power-elite memes such as globalization, global warming and financial regulation. But this article in the Sydney Morning Herald is an eye-opener. It seeks to cast nationalism as "ignorant" and globalism as "statesmanlike." The dominant social theme seems to be that "adults welcome a global world while children hide behind the make-believe borders of national identities."

For us, the import of such an argument lies in the necessity of making it. A decade ago, with globalism already in full-swing one didn't run across such articles – or not with such a defensive tone. A decade ago, as we recall, the elite for the most part swept forward with regal assurance. Articles tended to assume globalization. This one, however, seems to be attempting to make an argument for it. That's a big difference. This article, both defensive and illogical, would seem to illustrate the pressure that globalists are feeling these days. The author of the article, Bruce Grant, certainly seems to have his globalist credentials in order. Here's something about him:

Bruce Grant is one of Australia's leading writers on international affairs. He was Australian High Commissioner to India. With former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans he wrote one of the standard works on the conduct and content of Australian foreign policy. He was the originator of the Colloquium. Bruce Grant is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Research Committee and the Australian Journal of International Affairs Editorial Board. (- Bio from "Australia as a Middle Power)

It's been a rough time for globalists of late, and Australia is no exception. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently resigned after failing to push a carbon tax through the legislature no less than three times. Having failed with carbon, Rudd announced a Draconian mining tax for some reason – and that did him in (along with a controversial Internet "firewall"). He resigned in favor of current Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard who promptly called a snap election against Tony Abbott, her challenger from the Liberal-National Coalition.

Gillard, who had expected the polls to turn sharply in her favor, is now trailing Abbott and may well lose the election. What are the stakes? Here's what a Carnegie Endowment analysis had to say: "Gillard still faces an uphill battle in the election that she confidently called last month … For Americans, the stakes in Australia's August election are not very high … but the election may be part of a global phenomenon of shorter public attention spans, impatient voters, and anti-incumbency fed by hyper present media coverage. The election could be a harbinger of the looming U.S. elections, and therefore of interest to incumbents and their challengers."

Reading between the lines, we can sense the concern of the globalist Carnegie Endowment. Europe is blazing with anger of "austerity" measures; the United States has its Tea Party movement to contend with and now social discontent seems to have spread to Australia as well. Just a few years ago, regulatory democracy was firmly entrenched, its memes virtually unassailable; today it is generally under attack.

And now we see querulous articles justifying the meme of globalization. This one by Rudd is astonishing in many ways. He begins by admitting the world is a "confusing place" and offers up the hypothesis that because it is, globalization is not making the headway it needs to make. The elites are "gaining in wealth and sophistication, embracing cosmopolitan values," he points out, but most people are not able to act globally. And the result? …

Global governance is still in its infancy. Democracy, one form of governance in which ordinary people can participate, is not practised at a global level, only at a national level. So the other side to globalisation is introspection, a turning inward. The mass of people are turning to older and more trusted forms of identity, like ethnicity, culture and patriotism, preferring to be with people like themselves. This creates a dilemma for political leaders in democracies. They cannot ignore the global phenomenon but need the support of a majority of the electorate.

The secretary-general of the United Nations set the contemporary scene when he announced to the UN General Assembly in September 1999 that the world had now to deal with two forms of sovereignty. "States are now widely understood to be instruments at the service of their people, and not vice versa." The fundamental freedom of each person, Kofi Annan said, was at the core of the UN charter and subsequent international treaties. "When we read the charter today, we are more than ever conscious that its aim is to protect individual human beings, not to protect those who abuse them."

It gets worse. According to Grant, the result of this tension has led to power becoming "constrained and diffused." While great powers of the past could create spheres of influence, today's "tasks of empire" are beyond nation states. World order, he concludes gloomily, has collapsed. Of course this is an absolutely ludicrous argument. Nation states, puffed up by regulatory democracy, have never been so authoritarian. But it is not convenient for Grant to admit that because he is in the process of trying to make an argument for the necessity of globalization as some sort of moral imperative.

After Thoughts

The entire 21st century globalist meme seems to be unraveling at the seams. It is being held together by increasingly authoritarian legislation, but we don't see how that will last. Six thousand of the power elite might wish to think twice before bullying six billion. The 21st century is not going according to plan.

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