Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Philosophical Reflections on Globalization

Opinions vary about globalization because of the different levels at which this complex concept has been understood. Though the 20th and 21st centuries would like to show their monopolistic designs on this concept, attempts at globalization had been made throughout the history of humankind. While Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Caesar of Rome, Ashoka of India, Genghis Khan of Mongolia, Napoleon of France, the Colonial Empire of the British and the Communism of Lenin and Mao of Russia and China, have provided visions of globalization by making bold attempts at bringing together the diverse people of the world under a single political and military system, these attempts had not been successful.

After World War II, with the collapse of the British colonial empire, a great deal of debate had ensued regarding globalization, which was conceived in terms of a one-world, two-world, and three-world or multiple-world order. Though the idea of a one-world order gained currency among the politicians and intellectuals, the proponents of the cold war rejected it. From the end of World War II to the early 1990’s, globalization came to be understood in terms of two worlds: the Communist World of the USSR including the Eastern European Countries and China and the Capitalist World of the USA incorporating UK and Western European Countries whereas all the other countries were tolerated and were dubbed as the third world. During the early 1990’s, as this vision or division of the two-world order fell apart with the break up of the former USSR, the USA became the most powerful nation on this earth.

In order to cement this splintered globe, the USA started articulating its own vision of globalization in economic terms only to rest of the world. To accomplish their goal of economic unification, when the US mega corporations did not have their way with the various countries of the world, the US armed forces came to their rescue by enforcing this economic globalization through military action. The US involvement in bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is a clear evidence of this militaristic strategy. Since the past attempts at globalization through political, economic and military domination failed because of the people’s revulsion towards the hegemony of any one country on rest of humanity, the USA experiment on imposing its will on the people of the globe is bound to suffer the same fate.

Though the proselytes are convinced that globalization is inexorable, inevitable and a blessing for the human race, the critics are repulsed by the very thought of it because it is a reminder of the colonial past of the human race where the powerful nations restrained the less powerful countries and lived lavishly at the expense and exploitation of the subdued. The big industrial giants, who want to tie up the entire world, present globalization to the general public in economic terms only. “While the members of the World Trade Organization are trying to negotiate for the best trade terms for themselves, the impact of globalization goes beyond business, trade and finance. In fact it will affect practically every aspect of our lives. Some of these effects may be positive, while others may be negative.” (EWC/EWCA 2002 Conference Theme).

As a philosopher my interest lies in portraying globalization as an all-encompassing concept of moving towards the creation of a one-world culture/civilization where the world economy will have a crucial place but will be only one among many other significant factors.

Globalization as a vision will involve the creation of the following:

1. A One-World Government, where all nations will become states of the Federal Government of the United Nations. The United Nations will be more like the Federal Government of the United States having its centralized economy, budget, army and control on the major resources such as energy, monuments, aviation, weapons, etc. as well as universal health insurance and minimum wage for all citizens of the world. All nations, as the states of this world government, will have only police force to protect the citizens from the anti-social or disruptive elements of the society. Each of the present nations will send two senatorial representatives, who will be part of the World Senate and will have a single vote. The other will be the House of World Congress, which will have representatives proportionate to the size of their country’s population. Both the World Senate and World Congress will constitute the World Parliament, which will take decisions for the welfare of the world. If there is an emergency in any part of the globe, which requires the action of the World Government, that nation will be treated as a state and will be given disaster funding and other help to deal with the crises.

2. A One-Universal Educational System, where every school going child will have the opportunity to go to school at least till the 12th grade. This education will be provided free of charge so that the children, who are the future of the human race, will be literate and will carry on the burden of humanity. (Please check the third part of the paper where a successful attempt has been made through the Ninash Foundation to provide education to the impoverished children by building three Indo-International Elementary Schools in India)

3. A One-World Diverse History, which will be written by the world scholars highlighting the Global leaders of the past who had solved problems through non-violent and compassionate means rather than through fighting bloody wars. All those cruel leaders who were anti-human rights, anti-human equality, and anti-human freedom will be assigned a mediocre place in human history. Each country’s history will be written as the history of one of the states of the world whereas the history of the world will constitute the history of the diverse human race.

4. A One-World Spiritual Quest or Universal Spirituality, which will delineate the quintessence of all religions representing the best aspirations of humankind. The emphasis will be on the universal laws of the spirit revealed by the diverse religions, where inclusiveness will be emphasized and the exclusivity will be de-emphasized. Moreover, each of the present religions will be looked upon as offering a path leading to the realization of this universal spirituality. Vivekananda, who was an Indian Intellectual, identified the quest for the Universal Religion with Universal Spirituality. He speaks of the Universal Religion/Spirituality as follows: “There is only one (universal) religion. The moment you give it a name, individualize it, it becomes a sect and no more a religion. A sect proclaims its own truth and declares that there is no truth anywhere else. (Whereas Universal) Religion believes that there has been and still is, one religion in the world. There never will be two. It is the same religion presenting different aspects in different places. The task before us is to conceive the proper understanding of the goal and scope of humanity which is the realization of Universal Spirituality.” (April 1, 1900)

5. A One-World Diverse Art, One-World Diverse Literature, and One-World Diverse Music, will present universal sentiments as expressed in the world-affirming expression of the human spirit and will be patterned after the World History and the Universal Spirituality. Diversity in art, literature and music will be emphasized within the context of the underlying unity, which is the expression of the world-affirming human spirit. In his work, What Is Art?, Tolstoy expressed a similar sentiment by emphasizing the function of art as expressing universal human emotions such as love, altruism and compassion—the sentiments that are conducive to the spiritual connection among diverse people of the planet earth.

6. A One-World Diverse Philosophy, which will present an all-encompassing philosophy which will reveal the distinctive features of the humankind, their relationship to the universe and their concepts of a meaningful life to be lived here and now. This overarching philosophy will emphasize the exciting diversity of humankind as well as the uniqueness of the individual displayed through the existing philosophical systems of the world. The earliest philosophical books of India called the Vedas, which had presented this idea as: “Ekam Sad Vipra Bahuda Vadyanti” meaning “there is one truth, but many paths to it,” encouraged diverse search for the one truth.

7. A One-World Currency, to be used in every state of the world. The minimum wage will be sufficient to buy a family of four adequate food, shelter, clothing, footwear, transportation etc. to live a comfortable life.

8. A One-World Economy, which will be patterned after the economy of the United States of America. All countries of the world will be states of this one-world government and will be modeled after the states of the USA.

9. A Borderless Village, a world without borders or check points where people will be able to move freely from one state to another, finding job opportunities and raising family in a geographic area of their choice.

10. A One-World Citizen: where a person will not be a citizen of a specific country but a world citizen.

By Ashok Kumar Malhotra


  1. Hi Ashok:
    A very optimistic view of One-World. Is it feasible and necessary? Is it not an Utopia? What about the Complementary Civilization? United by common values for all current civilizations. It's Decalogue 2.0 would be composed of a set of an selected most important value from each current civilizations. It should be taught at all the schools in order to teaching tolerance--"like your foreigner."
    Andrew Targowski

  2. From a political science perspective, this represents what Martin Wight would call a rationalist perspective and Hans Morgenthau, less kindly, utopian.

    From what they would call a realist perspective, the United States might be perceived as a global hegemon, exerting influence, not always successfully, where its leaders think its interests lie. As hegemens go, it has not been particularly successful, and its power may7 hae passed its peak.

    The proposals Prof. Malhotra makes here may provide a model here for long term objectives that political realists might consider and propose policies that might take the nation, and with it at least some other nations, in a positive direction for all.

    Matt Melko