Globalization - finding the way forward

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The Course run by Ecole de Management, Geneva 2017 'the end of Globalization The Future of man in the 21st century - a way forward? The United Peoples

Response to the Globalization course
I joined the course to clarify and update my thinking on globalization with the arguments and case studies on both sides. I wanted to find a way forward through the worldwide unrest which continues in spite of the work of international agencies.

I was disappointed that the approach appeared to be to sell globalization as a complete package which it was foolish to resist. The case for this was based on the international laws and customs built in the last century by liberal democrats and included little scientific analysis of the many failures. No mention is made of the divisive force of different languages and the successful revival of languages to reinforce the identity of people groups. The advice was to accept the bad with the good and to support greater enforcement of liberal democratic values which must be of universal benefit.

Of the choices offered in the readings and conclusion I identify largely with the perspective of Peter Mandelson and the WTO in achieving a balance between economic and social objectives without intruding on the sovereignty of nations. He concludes:-

The challenge is one of balance. Government cannot become monolithic. The desire to see business behave ethically cannot become suspicion of business in principle. Government that develops the capacities of citizens to do more than sink or swim need not stifle competition, micro- manage companies or develop national champions. Necessary debate about the politics of redistribution need not discourage individual contributions or remove incentives for economic activity.

The case for globalization needs to be re-made for a new economic and political era.

However the approach did stimulate my mind to propose a more radical solution to the many conflict situations and other examples of unease. I call this a solution based on human nature.

The course concluded wonderfully with a bombshell summary showing how the media of instant communication and mass opinions have blown away old structures and given us the opportunity of a new start based on understanding and responding to the needs of people.

Academics may study in the pursuit of knowledge but the ordinary man wants to know how globalisation will affect him and how he can affect it. The course The end of globalization? By the Ecole de Management Grenoble on Futurelearn provided much information and stimulated study but reached no conclusion on either point. This is a personal response to those questions.

Responding to the needs of people
There is a need to step back from the structures and organisations created through history and start once again with a viewpoint and a picture of the types of human beings that inhabit our planet. Human beings are not what they should be, they are what they are at the current stage of the development of civilization.

The failure of many educated people to understand and prepare for the response of other groups is certainly the reason for the unplanned plunge into Brexit. Farage listened to these groups and won their trust.

Attempts to measure the happiness of groups of people could provide a better guide to policy than mere economics. The World Happiness Report is a start which has been applauded by the head of the UN Development Program.

What matters is the quality of growth. Paying more attention to happiness should be part of our efforts to achieve both human and sustainable development” she said.

What makes people happy?

If this is a neglected field for study it is premature for me to make assertions. However it is surely important to see if the circumstances we observe in individuals can guide us in our plans for local and international groupings. I observe that people are at ease in groups where they have much in common such as football supporters, pub customers or religious gatherings. They are less willing to converse as train or plane passengers. Much conversation relates to the different behaviour of others outside the favoured group. Long term marriage relationships are becoming more rare. Successful groups are of similar people using a single language.

Looking at the Happiest Countries on the table provided one might observe that they are countries with a strong national identity and a single language. More work is needed to evaluate the role of language in building long lasting and peaceful countries. Certainly regions like Wales see that the revival of a ancient language gives them an identity separate from the UK.

United Peoples (or similar new NGO)

The work of the United Nations and its agencies over the past 70 years has brought some order to the relationships between nations and has seen the proportion of those in extreme poverty drop from 40% to 5% in spite of a huge increase in the world population. However, instead of gratitude and a feeling of blissful well being there appear to be more and more people actively on the move to change their circumstances. This brings them into fundamental conflict with those who have achieved a higher standard of living through 300 years of nation building.

This is a new phenomenon for 6 main reasons:-

  1. Wars between countries have largely been replaced by wars within countries in which the UN has little jurisdiction.
  2. Fewer conflicts between countries have enabled more people to consider their standard of well being rather than their survival in external conflict.

  3. Radio, Films, Television and more recently the internet have given billions of people a window into the drawing rooms of the West.

  4. The proliferation of English, Spanish and other Western languages has enabled a billion people to dream the dream of living better elsewhere.

  5. Their language skills, cheap travel, and the relative openness of borders has made execution of their dream possible.

  6. Conflicts within countries without any road map towards future peace have made migration imperative regardless of the consequences.

How can we develop more stable societies to give people the hope of realizing their dream in their country? I suggest, by a transition from the needs of nations to the needs of people. Hence the title United Peoples as a sister organisation to the United Nations who will focus on a future for all the trapped minorities in all the nations of the world.

What is a trapped minority?
A trapped minority is a group within a country who, as a minority, do not feel able to get fair treatment because on all matters they are outvoted by the majority. Examples in otherwise successful democracies would be the Scots and the Nationalist Irish in the United Kingdom and the Basques and Catalans in Spain. Elsewhere more complex problems arise from the Kurds trapped in several countries, the Shia and Sunnis in various countries.

Simplistic solutions like referenda create new problems. For example if Scotland were to gain independence as a result of a referendum the lowland Scots who probably prefer to remain in the Union would be a trapped minority in the new Scottish nation.

The transition

Human nature changes very slowly. Even with the rapid communication of the internet new democracies often flounder and disappoint their people. Confusion, conflict and corruption are then blamed on the initiators of the change as in the Arab Spring. Academics often encourage scorn for religions. As a result an incomplete set of values is replaced by a lack of moral values.

The proposition of United Peoples is to start where people are, respect their wishes, and provide a road map to meet their aspirations without conflict or bloodshed. The objective is to give every human being a life in a land surrounded by people they like and ruled by a government they trust in a language they understand. To say this is a basic human right would be an overstatement because achieving it will take more than a lifetime.

This does mean the West giving up the prescriptive and dominant role it has adopted for 300 years. The mild pressure on the Soviet Union to reform was bloodless and though incomplete, more effective than many interventions. The dismantling of the British Empire was comparatively bloodless and new nations have been born in relative peace. The next step is to show the way in the release of minorities within any nation where they wish. The current test cases might be Scotland, Wales, East Ukraine and the Catalans. Successes here might pave the way for Northern Cyprus and many other trapped people.

Methods of transition

Referenda have been inexpertly used in the past but should be a key way to progress. The yes/no type of referendum as in the case of Scotland is not analysed by areas so is likely to create new trapped minorities.

The transition should be planned over a longer period and the final vote only taken after detailed plans have been made public, discussed and approved in interim votes.

The plans should be drawn up with the objective of grouping people with the same language and similar values together. This is particularly important for people who only speak one language. Proposed new borders would be discussed to achieve this. With each new border proposal a survey would be taken of those who would wish to move to the other side of the proposed border and if the numbers leaving and arriving were similar this would appear to be a viable new border.

Where people could willingly exchange houses this could be rewarded.

All the provisional deals would be gathered in a final proposal for a new stage of devolution or independence and a final referendum. A very high percentage of the total population would have to approve the proposal before it would come into effect over an agreed transitional period.


Much more work is needed to provide evidence of the cases where subdivision has been partially successful. If you would like to join me in this work please contact me.

Malcolm Crocker

[email protected]

Where has peace come through subdivision? (case studies needed)
Where has peace come through agregation?
Where has peace come through other means?
Is migration a matter for concern? (case studies needed)
The course suggested that migration had never changed a country. Is this correct?
It is superficially supported by the UN World Migration Report 2018 which shows that only 1 in 30 of the world population is living in a different country from that in which they were born. However this obscures 2 problems.
  1. Those who have migrated may have multiplied faster than those in the host country
  2. Some countries like USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia and UK have taken a much higher quota than the average.
The situation in these countries and the pressures created need to be studied more closely.
The percentage of the total host population would be revealing.
Which minority groups might request subdivision? (case studies needed)
... how should they be handled?
Nationalists in Northern Ireland
What is the ethical justification for government?
For 1000 years kings have raised armies and fought other kings for land which included the people in them.
Attempts at democracies have in some cases been successful and have given the inhabitants of a country more or less real control of their surroundings.
Sometimes the public are asked directly whether they approve a policy in a referendum but this is only internationally recognised if the host country agrees to recognize the result. Otherwise it is considered to be treason. This is an ethical dilemna which needs to be resolved for the peace of the world.
Where peace has come through subdivision Where peace has come through subdivision Where peace has come through subdivision