I have been thinking about the word "globalization" in the last couple days. I used to use it a lot during my MBA days as if it's a magic word that fits into any topic, any slides, and made it look instantly a good one, thus bringing me good score. It was iterated but without me ever giving it much thought of what it actually means.
What does it mean?
There have been numerous discussions on how China is concerned about national security when CPU and operating system are not home made, which I have elaborated in another article that such feeling is completly off the mark. But this does bring me another thought, that whether it is even possible, or advisable, for the world to strive for max efficiency? and if so, what does it mean?
Globalization is always dressed to be an equal of international collaboration. Examples are always that how components of any product you can see and live with are now made in so many different countries here and there, and it is the supply chain, cheap ocean fare, and cheap labor of billion Chinese made them possible. Thus, the discussion leads to two threads, always:
- When dwindling Chinese cheap labor, who else is going to make them?
- With so many stuff crossing border to make them happen, zero tariff is a must.
And the underline message is always, that globalization is to make each country do what they are good at, so that the world's efficiency is improved, thus benefitting everyone. Look at how the billion Chinese are lifted out of poverty!
But, here is a spin. There are plenty arguments around how some countries refuse to open up their certain sectors and that's hindering development, for them, and for others, too. What if we all open our markets, at the same time? → it's a wonderful world, isn't it!?
No. Actually, I would strongly argue here that, there is a fundamental problem of this idea, and about globalization in general, and its underline message in particular.
If we go by this logic, then each country (or a group of people, or an individual) should go by doing what they are good at, but let others do what they are good at. Well. If American are good at army and fighting, shouldn't we abolish our defense entirely and let them do the job? You see, this is the same logic that mafia uses, or colonization does! and this will never work! Not that this is not a good formula, actually it is, from efficiency's point of view, but it will not work because of the way human are organized into so called country, and countries are different, just like individuals are, and yet, we have a preset condition that everyone is born equal, and every country "deserves" development and comfortable life and national security and ...... the laundry list goes quite long, as you can see.
Therefore, if a place is good for tourist, we (anyone else besides that place itself) all wish that they do what they do — tourism, and let us handle everything else, such as making cars, drinks, foods, and sell to you! How wonderful! But there are many logic problems:
- I'm good at this A today. But should I be locked into A forever!? Doesn't developing tourism propelling me to be better at tourism, but have no chance to practice to find out my other talents!?
- Doesn't this actually this tourism a single point of failure, that I'm so dependent on it, that if one year it didn't play out, I'm dead!?
- If I'm using money to buy from you, doesn't it put me at risk that you can just take away all my profits by lifting prices, and I have no leverage? Isn't this how farming tenants were robbed by their landlords for centuries?
- There are something I can't just buy off the shelf, aren't there!? We already said about national defense. We can't outsource police either, nor government in general (yeah, US is very good at management, let them manage our government then), and food (doesn't importing food, or oil, already create so much friction that it is causing war and many other problems!?)....
Essentially this logic will derive to the conclusion that a place should be locked into a certain status, like a person should be locked into a social ladder, forever and ever. This apparently will not play well with anyone, or with any country. Nobody wishes to be that way.
So here comes the savior — a new term, a new label, a new word, but really, the same old colonization concept — one road one belt, open market, and globalization.
It's a great idea for earth as a whole. But I don't think earthlings will ever embrace it in their existence before, well, earth is gone.
— by Feng Xia