Globalization, Decolonization and New World Order

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 7
Words: 2076
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: Undergraduate


Globalization is simply defined as the interconnectedness of societies and convergence of systems, something that has existed for many years even though the term was coined recently. Human societies have always established closer contacts progressively, but the recent pace at which these societies are integrating is the in the rise and this has been occasioned by the exceptional developments in communication, transportation, and computer technology. Transnational corporations are free to operate in any part of the world due to the liberalization of trade, high technology, and faster means of transport. It is unfortunate that while raw materials and finances circulate freely, ideas and cultures flow as well. This played a critical role in decolonization of African and other parts of the world since the populations perceived to be uncivilized realized that they also had the potential of improving their standards of living. In this paper, the extent at which decolonization and free flow of ideas from the western countries have contributed in the development of the new world order is examined.

The global order in the Colonial era

National liberation is seen as one of the ways through which people can achieve their ambitions in the highly competitive global order. As Fanon observes in his analysis, the process of decolonization does not create a new world order, as it simply entails replacing a particular species of human beings with the other. New states are aware of the importance of freedom as far as interaction and interrelations are concerned in the international system (Fanon 12). The colonized people are always concerned with their welfare, especially in relation to economic and political activities. While decolonization is viewed as a system aiming at altering the world order, Fanon views it as a complete disorder that aspires to promote violence. Freedom fighters are inspired by the phrases such as “the last shall be first and the first last,” something that Fanon disapproves because this will only happen when a group of people are executed only for another group to occupy their positions.

While some are of the view that globalization and real development would be achieved through decolonization, Holton claim that plurality is the only solution whereby the western world should embrace other races and communities existing outside of Europe, what he popularly refers to as cosmopolitanism. The western world urges the developing countries to adopt the methods and techniques employed in Europe in developing their regions yet the conditions are different. Cosmopolitanism challenges the western notion that the third world has an opportunity to develop through application of certain models. Holton presents a report that discusses the efforts of the congress to reconcile the white race with the rest of the world following the realization that the highly globalized society calls for various groups to cooperate in order to end the unfavorable conditions to humanity (Holton 156). In the current global order, Europe and America are in constant contact with other continents, such as Asia and Africa and the continued suspicion and mistrust is not good for business activities. The global society realized that race is not an important factor as far as development is concerned. Borman conducted a review on the works of Gandhi and established that globalization could still be realized through non-violent means (Borman 153).

Post World War and the Cold War Global Order

After the Second World War, many countries globally were struggling with the problem of development since they had lost too many resources and their infrastructural designs had been destroyed. For Europe, it had suffered the greatest loss forcing the United States to intervene with the creation of the IMF and World Bank. Just after the Second World War, the main concern for states was economic development following the heavy losses they had encountered. In Europe for instance, economies were on the verge of collapsing forcing the United States to move in through the World Bank and IMF, as Finnegan observes (Finnegan 6). Powerful countries, such as the United States, Japan, and Britain had tested the capability of their militaries and technologies yet they had not achieved their ambitions. The problems that each state faced were internal, as the pressure was mounting on governments to deliver people’s expectations. In the United States, human rights groups were in need of constitutional adjustments to protect the rights of the minorities and the less advantaged.

The Cold War presented new challenges, as the two superpowers were struggling to gain the support of various states. In many occasions, the rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union resulted in wars, particularly in Vietnam where a civil war was witnessed (Quevara 4). As Goovanni Arrighi claims, there was a preparation between 1982 and 1989 towards introducing a new world order where he observes that a number of anti-systemic movements emerged to challenge the existing order (Arrighi 6). In his view, he notes that the populace across the world was opposed to oppression and subjugation and the civil movements were highly organized to achieve liberation. The social movements were mainly of two categories, with one of them focusing on ending class oppression where the aim was to replace capitalism with socialism while the other wanted to end all sorts of discriminations based on gender and race.

For some scholars, such as, Elbaum Max, the civil rights groups played a critical role in pushing for liberation and human rights in the United States during the Cold War era where the United States government was highly apprehensive of dissent domestically (Elbaum 36). Students in the country wanted the government to provide equal opportunities to all races since it was felt that the white race was favored in almost everything. The demonstrations were aimed at restructuring the world order whereby each person could have an opportunity to determine his or her destiny without consideration of race, gender, social class, and ethnicity. The radical movements were against racism and imperialism that the US government either exercised or supported. In other parts of the world, similar movements were pushing their governments to give youths a chance to take part in economic and political development. In Africa, Latin America, and Middle East, radical groups were inspired by the writings of Marx. As youths were demonstrating across the world demanding for representation in government and respect of their culture, some developments were going on in Cuba. Yaffe Helen observes that Che Guevara was busy developing a new economic model based on socialist ideals. For many western political thinkers and economic planners, they never believed a socialist economic model could work in a global order characterized by capitalism. Guevara came up with a budgetary system based on socialist ideas as one way of transiting from capitalism to socialism. At one time, the Cuban president hailed the ideas of Guevara claiming that the Marxist scholar left a legacy and his ideas would influence the economic and political activities of the country for centuries. As Yaffe notes, many countries tried to implement the socialist policies, but they have failed because they do not have the productive bases to complete the process in order to create the material abundance that communism promises (Yeffe 49). Although the Marxist scholar conducted an extensive research on socialism and its application in Cuba, the results of his studies were not convincing enough to change the world order as far as economic activities are concerned.

Neo-liberalism and the Global Order

Neo-liberalism means application of the laissez-faire economic ideas that insist on liberalization, free trade, cutting spending in government, and enhancing the role of the private sector in the country’s economy. The Breton Wood institutions, which include the World Bank and the IMF, are the major proponents of neo-liberal ideals, as they always urge countries to reduce expenditure by retrenching the civil servants and streamline the bureaucracies. Liberalism and neoliberalism are economic philosophies that have existed since the Cold War era and many countries have been urged to apply them in improving their economic conditions. In the third world countries, neo-liberalism proposes structural adjustment where liberalization is given priority. This means companies should be allowed to compete favorably. For this to happen, the state should keep off from economic activities, as it is expected to surrender shares it owns in public companies to private shareholders. Additionally, the state should only come in to offer important services that facilitate trade, such as security, improving the infrastructure, and regulation through licensing. It is unfortunate that neo-liberalist ideas have not been able to bring substantial development in the world. Finnegan notes that the philosophy was adopted as an economic baseline in Argentina in the early 1990s, but with no success. The country was forced to streamline its civil service, liberalize trade, and private all public corporations. In comparison with the Asian tigers, including China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea, Argentina is lagging behind and the main reason for its continued underperformance is the application of defective economic philosophy. In Bolivia, neo-liberalism is blamed for lack of development because it does not encourage exploration of natural resources.

The idea of applying modernization to achieve economic objectives in the third world is contestable, with scholars arguing that the Asian tigers, particularly South Korea and Taiwan, pursued economic policies related to dirigiste industrial policies to achieve their goals, what is popularly referred to as the infant industry strategy where taxation on domestic companies is subsidized. Just as Finnegan observes, western countries applied the strategy in improving the performance of their companies, but they discourage it in the free market economy because it would likely affect their companies operating in various countries. In other words, application of alternative philosophies other than neo-liberalism would definitely result in a new global order that will favor the developing countries. Pieterse notes that globalization is synonymous with empire because one supports the other (Pieterse 8). For instance, the western world applies the idea of globalization to promote their selfish interests in the developing world. For globalization to flourish there must be free trade, free movement of people, liberalization, and private ownership of property. Encouraging third world countries to keep off from trading activities gives the western companies an opportunity to exploit the poor since the products offered in the market are substandard yet their prices are exorbitant. In case a different developmental model is adopted in the global system, chances are high that the powerful countries from the west will suffer because their companies depend on the raw materials from the third world. Although western philosophers and economic architects are aware of the inadequacies of neo-liberalism as a developmental model, they still force the third world countries to apply them. Modernization theory, which is based on neoliberalism, is highly recommended in developing countries and any government in need of a loan or technical assistance from the USAID, World Bank, and IMF must be willing to apply modernization model. Manzo concluded his study on political liberalism by noting that modernization theory has serious consequences one of them being under-developing the third world while at the same time strengthening the western empires (Manzo 375). Currently, the third world countries, especially those in Africa, are realigning themselves with the Asian tigers, particularly China because they suggest a different developmental model. Amar tends to suggest that the new realignments suggest the end of neo-liberalism because developing countries have come to the realization that the powerful states are not sensitize to the plight of their people. However, Amar does not comment on the issue of new world order meaning a shift in the development philosophy in the south does not affect the global economic order in any significant way to warrant a new world order (Amar 393). It is therefore noted that a new world order is simply an idea that cannot be attained because the western countries will always come up with ways to ensure the developing countries do not gain the economic power needed in altering the world order.


While globalization played a role in decolonization of Africa and other parts of the world, it has not done much in introducing a new world order. It is unfortunate that the third world countries still depend on the western countries for Aid and trade. The kind of relationship between the south and the north is compared to that of the hub and the spoke. The west is the hub since it needs the spokes to move while at the same time the spokes dependent on the hub for survival.

Works Cited

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Arrighi, Giovanni. “Hegemony and antisystemic Movements”. The Socialist Register, 3.1(2001): 1-12. Print.

Borman, William. Gandhi and Non-Violence. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986. Print.

Elbaum, Max. “What legacy from the radical internationalism of 1968”. Radical History Review, 82.1 (2002): 37-64. Print.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Classic Books, 2004. Print.

Finnegan, William. “The economics of empire”. Harper’s Magazine, 5.3 (2001): 1-15. Print.

Holton, Robert. “Cosmopolitanism or cosmopolitanisms? The Universal Races Congress of 1911”. Theory, Culture, and Society, 7.1 (1994): 153-170. Print.

Manzo, Kate. The American Century: Consensus and Coercion in the Projection of American Power. Malden: Blackwell, 1999. Print.

Pieterse, Nederveen. “Globalization or empire”. Routledge, 3.1 (2004): 1-191. Print.

Quevara, Che. “Message to the Tricontinental”. Tricontinental Solidarity Organization, 6.2 (1967): 1-10. Print.

Yeffe, Helen. “Che Guevara’s enduring legacy.” Latin American Perspectives, 36.2 (2009): 49-65. Print.