First, globalization is not new. It’s been going on for ages. At its most basic level, one could argue that it started when man’s predecessors migrated out of Africa to spread across the world. Fast forward a couple hundred thousand years, when Arabian nomads domesticated camels giving them the ability to travel long distances to trade spices and silk. This was followed by the Silk Road, established by China during the Han Dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE) where silk, philosophies, culture and even the plague spread along the route.
Ever since then, Globalization has marched along. Through its difficulties, it has continued to progress forward. While it has taken on different media, from camels and horses to locomotives and now the internet, but staying true to its calling of providing man his need to explore, to reach out to others outside of his realm and to trade so he can provide a better life for his family.
Now as Globalization faces a new chapter in its history, even with the protectionist policies that may come about from the United States, oddly enough its reigning biggest beneficiary, I am confident that it will continue to progress and evolve. Not only because history shows it will stand the test of time, but also because it just makes sense for the economy and for the greater good. I don’t dispute the fact that there will be losers in this transaction. But what we gain from it is much better. I’m ok with losing a factory position and trade it up for a computer programming role. And as a business owner, I’d rather outsource low-skill positions, and invest the money I save into a high-skilled labor here in America, because that is now our core competency, our specialty.
Whether we like it or not, globalization is here to stay. We can try and stop it, but there will be consequences. The loser could be phased out in the form of an economic down-turn or be left out of world’s progress. A good example would be how the U.S. loses by not taking the lead in the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Without the U.S. setting the rules, China can take over the power vacuum and influence trade deals towards its own self-interest.
If there is one thing we should learn from history, is that evolution will continue to happen. Not only in biology but also in the social and economic forces. And if the U.S. doesn’t continue to drive the ship, through globalization’s continued re-invention of itself, China can be building yet again its 21st century version of the Silk Road, in the form of a multi-lateral trade partnership, while the U.S. stands in the sidelines risking extinction of its global economic clout.