Globalization is a word frequently used to describe the world political climate since the fall of the U.S.S.R. or Soviet Union in 1989. The word globalization is commonly used to refer to a one-world government and also used to describe the conglomeration of world economies, which are two distinct but related events. The two most predominate opposing views on this subject are the opinions of William Duiker and Thomas Friedman. William Duiker postulates that the fall of communist Russia (the Soviet Union) will result in a global fragmentation of countries that will ultimately result in super blocks of nations separated and grouped by culture, race and religion. Thomas Friedman, on the other hand, has a quite different view. In Friedman’s opinion globalization will occur, bringing nations together in cooperation for economic reasons that he calls the “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention.” Both views have merit and evidence to support them.
William Duiker, in agreement with the views of many historians, believes that the fall of the Soviet Union will not signify the beginnings of western government and culture around the world as some have predicted, but rather an opening for conflict where peoples formerly oppressed by the communist soviet government will have the opportunity to regain and firmly establish their sovereignty as a country, economically as well as in government. Duiker predicts that the result will be an increase in conflicts between countries, and that the conflicts will be based upon race, religion, and economics. Furthermore, according to Duiker this state of conflict will initially create a “fragmented” world where there are many states and separation between nations but that ultimately there will be a progression toward multiple power blocks based upon culture such as the Middle East, Western Europe, East Asia, the United States, and Eurasia. Duiker does not entirely disagree with Friedman’s concept of globalization, as that will be happening as well primarily through economic interdependence, however this economic interdependence is not the predominant trend according to Duiker.
Thomas Friedman believes that something quite different will occur. According to Friedman, a “globalization” based upon economic interdependence will not only bring countries closer together, it will make trading partners so interdependent that they will avoid conflict and seek peace for the sake of economic security. This is the “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention” mentioned by Friedman. The idea (using the Dell computer company as a model) is that no two countries that are part of the same global supply chain will ever go to war with each other because of the economic interdependence they establish by working together. Friedman does qualify his statement by mentioning that this is no guarantee that countries participating in the same global supply chain will never go to war with each other, only that it is highly unlikely given the economic consequences of doing so. A real world example that supports this theory would be the relationship between Taiwan and China, which have generally poor relations, but both participate in the same global supply chains so that war between the two countries is not probable at this time.
The predictions posed by both writers can be observed in the world’s current political climate. As mentioned earlier, China and Taiwan are a great example of the Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention. Another similar example would be India and Pakistan, which have been enemy states for years, but without war between them due to the economic ramifications it would cause. However, within the current economic downturn there have been conflicts throughout the world, mostly within states, and some, such as in the Middle East, happening between nations. The attacks that occurred September 11, 2001 on the New York World Trade Centers is just one example of the cultural and religious based conflicts Duiker said would take place. There are also the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, especially toward Israel, as the most despised country within that region (based upon religion).
So which writer is correct? At this point it seems both are correct in certain respects judging from current events. However, in the long run, due to economic need to lower costs (especially in the current economic downturn), large global corporations will continue to outsource jobs and establish new supply chain partners in a effort to gain a competitive price advantage and improve overall business processes. Current conflicts that are the result of poor economies are causing countries to also become more interdependent, such as Greece seeking assistance from the European Union and the United States borrowing from China. Globalization is not happening as smoothly as Friedman describes; Duiker’s predictions have definitely formed “bumps” in the road. Nations are hurting financially, which will cause globalization to accelerate as international the business dealings of large corporations become more entrenched in an effort to reduce costs. As “Deep Throat” said to Woodward and Bernstein when they sought answers to the Watergate scandal, “Follow the money.” Globalization is money driven and nations need money to survive.