The end of Cold War in 1990s led to the new world order which was characterized by globalization or interdependence among the countries to an extent never seen before. Various scholars described this using paradigms like “global village”, “borderless world” and “the world is flat”. It was a forgone conclusion that globalization is not only here to stay but will only strengthen in coming times.
However, in less than three decades the world has changed unrecognizably. Globalization has fallen victim to coronavirus. There are calls for “self-reliance” around the world with some calling the pandemic the final nail in the coffin of globalization.
Amidst the waves of globalization obituaries, it must be understood that the present model of globalization based on neoliberal economic policies was already facing widespread and increasing criticism even before the pandemic, as it has created huge inequalities of income and wealth, both among and within countries. It has given rise to “plutocracy”, i.e., the rule of the rich. Abhijeet Banerjee in his book, co-authorised with Esther Duflo, “Good Economy for Hard Times” has pointed that there have been very few winners of globalization who didn’t take care of the losers.
Though initially, the discontent emerged from the developing countries but lately people in developed countries had also started raising objections as witnessed in the “Occupy Wall Street movement”, “America first” and “Brexit”. The worst blows to globalization came in the form of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the Sino-American trade war.
Hence, the high watermark of globalization was already behind us and globalization in its present form was dying its natural death. COVID has just accelerated its speed towards the grave.
Then the question arises, what now? Should the world continue with deglobalization and countries with their isolationist policies? Or do we have a better alternative?
Today when the world faces problems like climate change, terrorism, organized crime networks, widespread hunger and malnutrition among others, no country, even a superpower, has the capacity to deal with these alone. As pointed out by Gideon Rose, the editor of Foreign Affairs, “What is killing us is not connection, but connection without cooperation. Cure is not isolation but deeper connection that supports collective action.”
In this context what draws one’s attention is the Indian philosophy. Aurobindo Ghosh more than a century ago had held, “Aggregation is the law of nature. If we do not follow the law of nature, nature will destroy us. There is no other way out for humanity except coming together.”
Therefore, what we need now is a new model of globalization. This new model can be based on the Indian values of “VASUDHEVA KUTUMBAKAM” (the world is one family) and “SARVA BHAVANTU SUKHINAH”(may all be happy). The idea of human unity which comes from the civilizational values of sanatana dharma is the need of the hour. Even PM Modi has underscored the need for human-centered approach to globalization based on Indian values of care, compassion and cooperation.
World has already discovered the virtue of greeting with folded hands, “Namaste”. It is now time the world discovers the virtue of globalization the “India way”.