Globalisation, Nationalism and the Future

47591828e0914a84c39e84c5e814d6d5The Trump era is raising many questions worldwide. It is also becoming increasingly evident that people are looking more within that without their own nation—claiming the need to return to a so-called “nationalism”. Based on this trend, a “clash of civilizations” seems imminent. Few continue to be interested in the notions of a global citizen and global village.

As the world became more accustomed to the global era and concepts regarding globalization, organizations such as the World Trade Organisation, Transnational Companies (TNCs), and Foreign Direct Investment took center stage. They dictated and steered the policies that would be implemented by each nation state and brought in trends (food, fashion, culture) into new regions.

Then followed the age of the Internet during which English became the standard language for transnational communication. Suddenly, the global world had become less of a physical world, but a virtual entity. Within this virtual space, everything emotion thought, and philosophy came to life through Western icons and are now commonplace.

In this context, there began a subconscious struggle between individuality and standardization of people around the world. The blanket identities that TNCs and the Internet brought were far-removed from local flavors and specific cultures. Everyone ate MacDonald’s, and everyone knew what a pizza was. This, in the end, left people feeling more disconnected and drove them to what was familiar—the comfort zone.

Now this supposed “comfort zone” refers to whatever is particular to a nation. Nationalism is somewhat related to this idea. This comfort zone began with the basic demands of promoting locally produced goods, looking back on issues with immigration and national boundaries. Sometimes these tendencies influenced the foreign policy of a particular nation.

An unseen tidal wave was forming slowly but steadily as the world embraced a new questioning. Liberalism, leftist thought, and Marxism were looked at with a different perspective. Suddenly the Liberalists were elitists and were made to reflect on the political standpoints.

The search for individual identity has become the greatest crisis for globalization. Now that people are veering towards the familiar; the points of cultural affinity amongst nations are fading quicker than many have perceived. The urge to brandish a nation’s particular strengths and identity serves as the symbol of this process of moving back to nationalism.

With the entire global society under question, talk about Trump or Brexit is just the tip of the iceberg. The real threat is whether, in spite of the new age of the Internet, nations will continue to look inwards rather than towards the diverse international domain. Are people going to choose a feverish pitch for national symbols over the greater global good? How will this impact the vision for achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals that demand global spirit?

Trump’s administration has already passed three Bills in the Congress regarding H1B visas. In the past, 70% of all H1B visas went to Indian workers from Indian companies with outsourcing, engineering, and technological skills (worth 65 billion USD to India’s tech industry). Such categories of workers are in short supply, thus, high demand in the U.S. Now, because Trump would like more Americans to be hired in foreign companies based in America, many of these H1B visas will be allocated to workers at companies that double workers’ salary (unlike the lottery system being used at present). This will be a tough pill for Indian companies to swallow.

For quite some time, Estonia has had major issues surrounding their national language. Annexation by the Soviets in the past upset the homogeneity of the Estonian people. Now, post-USSR breakdown, Estonians are still struggling with the niche supremacy of the Russian language and its influence on Estonia’s socio-political landscape. In response, the government has enacted an official policy to “maintain and develop” Estonian language and culture.

In the case of India, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) serves as the nation’s major monetary source for economic development. In 2015, India overtook China and USA as the top destination for FDI. The Make in India policy of the government is promoting FDI in various sectors. At the same time, within India, companies like Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (PAL) are giving boosting the Fast Moving Consumer Goods market (FMCG). In less than a decade, PAL has had a turnover larger than what many companies manage to achieve over the course of several decades. The marketing thrust of PAL is on Ayurveda—which is of low-priced and creates a kind of nationalist aspect to the purchase of a PAL product—be it biscuits, cornflakes, or cooking oil.

India is flushed with China markets even in small towns where every possible Chinese product can be found from the tiniest to the largest toys, electronics, to white line products. During the last Diwali (the Indian equivalent of Christmas), there was a huge campaign to not buy decorations, lights, idols, and firecrackers made in China. Phrases like “Buy Made in India” became a sort of public slogan to promote native goods.

Along with the huge storm of demonetization in India, now there is a big thrust on using Indian Apps for a cashless economy. The main argument is that payments through foreign credit cards or PayTM take money out of the country. Almost overnight, banks and independent companies have managed to seep into the economic system with new internet/mobile phone-based options. Many people have jumped aboard this new system.

Whether it is through employment, trade, manufacturing, language or the economy, many nations are now looking inwards to their own specific country. Brexit will remain the best example of this tendency to date. What is left now is Globalization and Liberalism’s struggle to reinvent the global narrative.

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