Has Globalism Gone Off the Rails?
by Victor Davis Hanson//National Review
The cult of multiculturalism is a paradox.
Prague — The West that birthed globalization is now in an open revolt over its own offspring, from here in Eastern Europe to southern Ohio.
About half of the population in Europe and the United States seems to want to go back to the world that existed before the 1980s, when local communities had more control of their own destinies and traditions.
The Czech Republic, to take one example, joined the European Union in 2004. But it has not yet adopted the euro and cannot decide whether the EU is wisely preventing wars of the past from being repeated or is recklessly strangling freedom in the manner of the old Soviet Union — or both.
In places devastated by globalization — such as southern Michigan or Roubaix, France – underemployed youth in their mid 20s often live at home in prolonged adolescence without much hope of enjoying the pre-globalized lifestyles of their parents.
Eastern Europeans are now discovering those globalized trade-offs that are so common in Western Europe, as they watch rates of marriage, home ownership, and child-rearing decline.
One half of the West — the half that lives mostly on the seacoasts of America and Western Europe — loves globalization. The highly educated and cosmopolitan “citizens of the world” have done well through international finance, insurance, investments, technology, education, and trade, as the old Western markets of 1 billion people became world markets of 6 billion consumers.
These coastal Westerners often feel more of an affinity with foreigners like themselves than with fellow countrymen who live 100 miles inland. And they are not shy in lecturing their poorer brethren to shape up and get with their globalized program.
Late-20th-century globalization — a synonym for Westernization — brought a lot of good to both poorer Western countries and the non-Western world. Czech farmers now have equipment comparable to what’s used in Iowa. Even those who live in the Amazon basin now have access to antibiotics and eyeglasses. South Koreans have built and enjoyed cars and television sets as if they invented them.
But all that said, we have never really resolved the contradictions of globalization.
Does it really bring people together into a shared world order, or does it simply offer a high-tech and often explosive veneer to non-Western cultures that are antithetical to the very West that they so borrow from and copy?