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Globalization: Blessing or Blarney?

The Western creeds of liberalism, colonialism, secularism, nationalism and capitalism have proved to be parochial and regional as well as racial, class-based and culture-oriented. They have failed to prove their capacity to provide fair and equitable opportunities to all human beings. Justice and compassion for all remain elusive and unattainable.

While certain positive and innovative dimensions of these concepts and ideologies cannot be denied, their limitations and negative contributions outnumber their positive contributions and potentials. The result is undeniable: globalization within the framework of these concepts is creating, and is bound to create, ominous problems, and escalating serious conflict situations for humanity in every part of the world. The twentieth century has been the bloodiest century in history. It witnessed some two hundred wars including two World Wars, resulting in the death of over 100 million people and the destruction of vast lands all over the world. More of the same cannot be anything but more fatal.


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New attitudes and new approaches are needed that are genuinely universal, and capable of providing freedom and opportunity to all and ensuring fair-play for all the people and the countries of the world, irrespective of their faiths, cultures, politico- economic systems, and positions on world affairs.

Democracy is a great virtue and an invaluable blessing for humanity, but it can only flourish globally if there is genuine scope for plurality, respect for the rights of all, effective accountability of those who are insensitive to the demands of law and established norms, and equality of opportunity for the weak and the strong alike. Otherwise, democracy remains a form without substance and may degenerate into a sham and a farce.

The media and free flow of information are major building blocks for a free society: however, because of monopolistic overtones and maneuverings, they can become vicious instruments of thought- control, mind-manipulation and intellectual colonization.

Technology, likewise, is a blessing: but it can also turn into a monster, a vehicle for subjugation and decimation of other peoples, morally, militarily, and culturally.

Globalization is a great opportunity, but the weaker players can become genuine players and seize the opportunities it offers only if there is a new mindset and a fresh approach that is universal and pluralistic, and is operationalized in the context of a global framework that establishes supremacy of law and ensures equality of opportunity to all.

Khurshid Ahmad

 

Source: Essays on Muslims and the Challenges of Globalisation, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. Republished with permission.