Nationalism in the era of Globalization- Aadhiswaran Shanmugam

October 01, 2017

      Anthony Giddens, a British Sociologist stated thatthe revival of local nationalisms, and an accentuating of local identities, are directly bound up with globalizing influences, to which they stand in opposition”, clearly pointing out the poignant premise that the terms ‘nationalism’ and ‘Globalization’ are polar opposites. What exactly is meant by nationalism and what role does it play in the era of globalization? The essay will rummage into the subtle relations between the two terms, the true identity that these terms carry and the contexts in which they are interpreted.

            After the end of the Cold War, the communist Soviet Union was shattered into pieces creating a tumultuous effect in the Asian region, forcing economists and socialists to look out for an alternative to communism and then after prolonged research, ‘globalization’ was seen as an alternative. The term is associated with the integration of the world economy using international trade as a tool of development. Also, the expression ‘integration’ results in the merging of boundaries and also opening up of markets which will promote an easy flow of capital, human resource, a widened pool of talent available for maximum efficiency.

            Moving forth, ‘Nationalism’ is a term associated with increasing protectionism, placing of one’s national interests over the other nation states and thrusting the sovereignty of one nation-state over another. The idea of nationalism usually involves preventing foreign nationals from getting hold of the country, intuitive ideas like ‘Swadeshi’ etc. The recent upheavals of leaders like Donald J. Trump in the USA, Narendra Modi in India and Vladimir Putin in Russia, who are considered to be right-wing politicians cause serious repercussions in terms of globalization and economic inclusion. Terms like ‘Be Indian, Buy Indian’, ‘Make America Great Again',’ Brexit’ and ‘Nation First, Party Next, self-last’ are resonated throughout by political pundits to garner votes, by inculcating the idea of nationalism into their common denizens. The recent toughening of the process in obtaining H1B visas, the Modi government’s persuasion in asking people to adopt ‘self-utilization’ and the decision of the UK in leaving the European Union for the reason of financial and refugee crises is very well an evident show of strength by the nationalist propagators.

Delving deeper into the issue it is of definite conjuncture to see if excessive nationalism is a serious threat to globalization or if it is a mere point of exaggeration. Ford Motors recently announced its plan to withdraw its investment it had pledged earlier to Mexico and schemed of channeling a similar sum in building new plants in the United States reflecting Trump’s protectionist in getting companies back into his country, so as to create jobs and increase the economic conditions of the people, eventually acting as a backlog in the process of globalization. But, the contrast can be observed in India, where Modi has constantly been inviting MNCs to invest in India under his ambitious ‘Make In India’ project, which has improved the investment in mobile products and the overall FDI inflow, thus predicting the possibility of globalization in parallel to nationalism. The United States, which has at its disposal the largest number of MNCs in the world has been constantly providing India with a huge chunk of FDI inflow for its economic benefits, questions the correspondence of wealth of a nation-state and the principal ideologies of nationalism and globalization. 

Companies and corporations succumb to profits, forcing them to use the poorer countries to the fullest for cheap labor and easy capital in semblance with globalization. Nationalism differs with its declivity from wealthy nations to less wealthy nations, for instance, nationalism in India involves upholding the values of the Indian society and providing the poor with enough resources, but in the USA, nationalism envisages the idea of making its citizens richer through increased profits and better functioning, in consanguinity to leaders like Trump, who have been trying hard in attracting these companies to invest in the USA will have serious implications on globalization. that with growing nationalism, richer countries will prevent its companies from investing in developing nations, thus pushing developing nations into a vicious trap of poverty and disillusioned growth. Excessive nationalism cannot have a positive jolt on the process of globalization, hence limiting the prospects of inclusive economic development of countries.  It is for us to limit the levels of nationalism within and view the world as one large living entity existent for the good of all and providing a platform for the egalitarian development of its denizens.

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