Dark Side of Globalization – Savin

The Dark Side of Globalization

By Leonid Savin


Despite the fact that research on globalization has been ongoing for decades, a clear definition of the phenomenon, accepted by the entire international scientific community does not exist. Further, it is not possible to think about globalization in only one particular field of science or discipline in isolation, because of its interconnected and complex nature.

Axel Dreher has proposed looking globalization in three ways:

  • Economic globalization: characterized by the long-distance flow of goods, capital, and services, as well as the information and perceptions that accompany these market exchanges
  • Political globalization: characterized by a diffusion of government policies
  • Social globalization: expressed as the spread of ideas, information, images, and people[1].

UNESCO’s 2001 Annual Report states that, “globalization can be defined as a set of economic, social, technological, political and cultural structures and processes arising from the changing character of the production, consumption and trade of goods and assets that comprise the base of the international political economy”[2].

Promoters of globalization share many common perceptions.

Zygmunt Bauman, for example, attempts to determine the mechanisms of interaction between states and nations, proposing a transformation from existing “inter-national” organizations to what he sees as truly universal and global institutions. He no longer has any interest in the social institution of the ‘state’, but, instead, envisions a ‘social planet’[3]. Many others scholars and politicians who similarly promote globalization in its current form are full of joy and optimism about the future. However, some critique is required for an objective assessment of the phenomenon.

Jacques Derrida said many years ago that the ideal or euphoric image of globalization as a process of opening the borders that makes the world more homogeneous must be challenged with absolute seriousness and vigilance. Not only because this homogenization, where it was made in reality or assumption has both positive and negative sides, but also because any apparent homogenization often hides the old or new forms of social inequality or hegemony. Josef Stiglitz, who has been intimately involved in the globalization process from within, has also produced numerous works critiquing globalization since leaving the World Bank.

As a whole, the process of globalization is very abstract, and so requires an assessment from within and between various discrete fields of the social sciences. David Harvey notes that “…if the word ‘globalization’ signifies anything about our recent historical geography, it is most likely to be a new phase of exactly the same underlying process of the capitalist production of space”[4]. Anthony G. McGrew , a professor of International Relations at Southampton University, describes globalization as “a process which generates flows and connections, not simply across nation-states and national territorial boundaries, but between global regions, continents and civilizations. This invites a definition of globalization as: ‘an historical process which engenders a significant shift in the spatial reach of networks and systems of social relations to transcontinental or interregional patterns of human organization, activity and the exercise of power”[5].

It’s very important to note that in many definitions of globalization we can see the primacy of economics, particularly of neoliberal capitalism, as well as the distribution of power that thus flows and its influence worldwide. Faster, more flexible and more robust nodes of such economic power have an advantage in spreading their own flows of the production and exchange of ideas and knowledge, in effect, a normative and reality-defining process. They make globalization in their own image.

It is also necessary to understand the hybrid nature of globalization, comprising a global market economy, technological development, and societal transformation and global homogenization.

David Steingard and Dale Fitzgibbons, in a scholarly critique of global capitalism as driving the process of globalization, defined globalization “as an ideological construct devised to satisfy capitalism’s need for new markets and labour sources and propelled by the uncritical ‘sycophancy’ of the international academic business community.”[6] However, globalization has also been conceived as a discursive practice. In this sense, it is not the result of ‘real’ forces of markets and technology, but rather is a rhetorical and discursive construct, formed by practices and ideologies which some groups are imposing on others for political and economic gain. [7] Globally prestigous educational institutions, such as Harvard , the LSE, and Colombia University are incubators for a transnational political and economic elite institutionalized with a neoliberal ideological agenda. Thus they provide neoliberalism as the driving and defining force of globalization with ‘intellectual legitimacy’ and an academic facade.

New possibilities to communicate faster and network with more people are not only good for personal and professional interrelations, but sharing and collaboration on scientific experiments, academics, lessons learned, and best practices. In this sense, “globalization must be understood as the condition whereby localizing strategies become systematically connected to global concerns…Thus, globalization appears as a dialectical (and therefore contradictory) process: what is being globalized is the tendency to stress ‘locality’ and ‘difference’, yet ‘locality’ and ‘difference’ presuppose the very development of worldwide dynamics of institutional communication and legitimation.”[8]

In parallel of globalization it can be noted that, “broad economic, technological, and scientific trends that directly affect higher education and are largely inevitable in the contemporary world. These phenomena include information technology in its various manifestations, the use of a common language for scientific communication, and the imperatives of society’s mass demand for higher education…”[9]

In other words, new scientific language promoted by winners of

globalization level the cultural differences and undermine traditional and regional aspects which include, but are not limited to religious, historical, cultural and philosophical features of the world’s peoples. It can also be said that globalization through the exchange of ideas also threatens the institution of the sovereign state. How? Both the independent exchange of ideas and the formal institution of public education is key not just for human development, but for the institutionalization, norm creation, and legitimacy formation of the state. People, as ‘human capital, are developed and utilized by the modern state as any other natural resource at its disposal.[10] If a government is not involved in the process of public and special education, there are external powers that will act to fill this void. As result, the human capital potential and stability of any given state will be decreased.

We can also attempt to see this aspect of hegemony from other cultures’ point of view. The process of globalization suggests simultaneously two images of culture. “The first image entails the extension outwards of a particular culture to its limit, the globe. Heterogeneous cultures become incorporated and integrated into a dominant culture which eventually covers the whole world. The second image points to the compression of cultures. Things formerly held apart are now brought into contact and juxtaposition.”[11]

I do not think it controversial to characterize the current globally dominant culture as a mass-pseudo-ersatz culture produced in the U.S. and promoted by worldwide consumerism as the fruit of liberal ideology.

Liberalism itself is a synthetic creation of the Western-dominated global power structure, a humanitarian facade behind which the dirty work of policing the world can go on uninterrupted by idealistic spasms in the body politic.[12] So in a radical sense “globalization is what we in the Third World have for several centuries called colonization.”[13]

Finally, we come to the question of values. Globalization is occuring in a paradigm of post-modern values.[14] In this way it rejects traditional values and traditional education systems, because the logic of postmodernism is the absence of a center, absolute principle. It a priori is prejudiced against all other cultures and ideas, and, as well, for the carriers of these ideas. It seeks to reduce to all other cultures to a hollow and harmless caricature and cliché that can be easily digested and regurgitated within the context of global consumer culture. It is impossible for the dominant global neoliberal culture to co-exist and harmonize with traditional cultures and create an artificial single type of global citizenship without essential damage to these peoples and societies. Thus globalization becomes a process of cultural destruction and forced homogenization.

The only way to remedy the process of globalization is the leveling of the disparity of global power and the establishment of a new international order based on genuine multipolarity, where will be several civilizations centers capable of projecting power regionally. This will preserve civilization-based cultural and educational-scientific paradigms, connected with the peoples’ will, values, and heritage, yet at the same time remain open to international cooperation and discourse, but built on a platform of trust, mutual aid, respect for cultural difference, and of the right for each societies own historical and developmental path looking to the future.

In Russia we can see the beginning of some attempts to theorize and build the precursors of a new system of education as an answer to the dark miracles of postmodernism. Professor Alexander Dugin from Moscow State University has proposed the idea of a Eurasian educational framework that reflects the contemporary global situation and interdependence of countries and nations, as well as recognizing the necessity to keep our traditions alive and to protect our peoples from the creative destruction promoted by Western liberalism.

Joint efforts with scholar, experts, analysts and activists from Third and Second World as well as academic critics from core of industrial developed countries known as founders of contemporary neo-liberalism and capitalism itself will be very useful for first steps to draw new scientific paradigm and basis for non-western international relations that will promote to establish Newest and more adequate World System than actual one.


[1] Dreher A. “Does Globalization Affect Growth? Empirical Evidence from a New Index.” Applied Economics 38 (10), 2006. P. 1091-1110.

[2] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), MOST Annual Report 2001, see http://www.unesco.org/most/most_ar_part1c.pdf.

[3] Zygmunt Bauman. “From Agora to Marketplace, and where to from Here?” Journal of Globalization Studies Vol. 2, Num. 1, May. 2011, p.13-14.

[4] David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002), p. 54

[5] Anthony G. McGrew, “Global Legal Interaction and Present-Day Patterns of Globalization”, in V. Gessner and A. C. Budak (eds.), Emerging Legal Certainty: Empirical Studies on the Globalization of Law (Ashgate: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1998), p. 327

[6] David Steingard and Dale Fitzgibbons, “Challenging the Juggernaut of Globalization: A Manifesto for Academic Praxis”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1995, pp. 30-54

[7] C. Walck and D. Bilimoria, “Editorial: Challenging ‘Globalization’ Discourses”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1995, pp. 3-5.

[8] Cesare Poppi, “Wider Horizons with Larger Details: Subjectivity, Ethnicity and Globalization”, in Alan Scott (ed.), The Limits of Globalization: Cases and Arguments (London: Routledge, 1997), p. 285.

[9] Philip G. Altbach, “Globalization and the University: Realities in an Unequal World”, Occasional Papers on Globalization, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2005, Globalization Research Center, University of South Florida, see http://www.cas.usf.edu/globalresearch/PDFs/Altbach.pdf.

[10] Volker H. Schmidt. Modernity, East Asia’s modernization and the New World Order, p. 115. https://ap3.fas.nus.edu.sg/

[11] Mike Featherstone, Undoing Culture, Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity (London: Sage, 1995), pp. 6-7

[12] Eric Norden, “The Tender Tyranny of American Liberalism,” The Realist, June 1966, 1-6, http://www.ep.tc/realist/a-b-set/09.html

[13] J. A. Scholte, “The Globalization of World Politics”, in J. Baylis and S. Smith (eds.), The Globalization of World Politics, An Introduction to International Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 15.

[14] Endre Kiss. “The dialectics of Modernity. A theoretical Interpretation of globalization.” Journal of Globalization Studies Vol. 1, Num. 2, Nov. 2010, p. 16.



Savin, Leond. “The Dark Side of Globalization.” Journal of Eurasian Affairs, Vol.1, No.1 (September 2013). <http://www.eurasianaffairs.net/the-dark-side-of-globalization/ >.

Note: See also Leonid Savin’s “Necessity of a Fourth Political Theory”: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/necessity-of-fourth-political-theory-savin/>.



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