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Globophilia
RICHARD KAHN

Globophilia can be defined generally as an ideological perspective affirming that globalism in either its economic, political, or cultural aspects is a beneficial and necessary social force in the world. Conceived broadly, in this way, those who support globophilic ideas may variously hail from differing ends of the political spectrum, be in favor of cultural cosmopolitanism or not, and believe either in capitalist or alternative economic frameworks. Still, the existence of a core focus upon the need for unfolding globalism as a driving engine for their ideological ends characterizes all forms of globalization advocates as at least somewhat globophilic in their persuasion. More specifically, however, globophilia is most typically a moniker used to describe the particular positions of globalization ideologues who lobby for the extension of the “Washington Consensus,” neoliberal-styled policies of capitalist modernization throughout the world, thereby arguing that such globalization is inevitable as well as synonymous with the continued revelation of democratic progress, cultural diversity, consumer choice, and increasing social equity. Opposed to both these forms of globophilia would be globophobic ideologies that are fundamentally anti-globalization in either their conservative, state isolationist views, or radical localist philosophies such as those developed by bioregionalists, parochial municipalists, or others working for strong forms of social subsidiarity. Yet, just as many alter-globalization adherents are at least tacitly globophilic in their support of globalization-from-below – or what Manfred Steger (2009) has referred to as “justice globalism” – in being likewise resistant of hegemonic forms of globalization-from-above, it should be noted that in this regard those who advance critical and dialectical views favoring

alternative forms of globalization maintain elements of globophobic dispositions as well. As Douglas Kellner (2002) has argued in his work, during the great rise of globalization discourse from the 1980s to the new millennium, imaginaries of the global tended to be dichotomized into either boosterish advertisements for globophilia or inflammatory polemics of globophobia. While major scholarly critiques of market globalization were also advanced at this time, such as George Ritzer’s (1993) “McDonaldization” thesis, buoyed by rapid and revolutionary developments in digital technology and the media, globophilic claims became altogether dominant in the 1990s. Common to many of these globophilic beliefs was that the global Internet and telecommunications network then coming into being could germinate novel understandings of universal human potentials across peoples’ differences, generate profound waves of cultural and political freedoms throughout the globe, and produce new economic markets capable of ameliorating global poverty as well as of undermining the sorts of traditional monopolistic influences that had previously served to stifle popular ingenuity and the democratization of wealth within the advanced capitalist nations. Arguing this line, American state propagandists like Francis Fukuyama (2006) and futurologists such as Alvin Toffler and Nicholas Negroponte, as well as Bill Gates – who became arguably the world’s chief spokesperson for the future-oriented benefits of the information society – grabbed headlines and so popularized a form of globophilia that championed globalization as a naturally evolving, emancipatory social force driven by technological and economic determinism. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, proponents of market globophilia were nevertheless challenged to make sense of a burgeoning jihad movement against what Benjamin Barber (1996)

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization, First Edition. Edited by George Ritzer. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Published 2012 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

2 had described as the “McWorld” of supposed progress represented by the growing global instantiation of Americanized values, norms, and interests. Some took up variants of Samuel Huntington’s (1998) claims about there being a complex “Clash of Civilizations,” in which global economic modernization strategies generate their own problematic contradictions in the form of antagonistic struggles for ethnic nationalism and religious identity. Others emphasized the rise of secular political resistance against global neoliberal frameworks pushed for by groups such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, or G-8 countries, stressing the literal qualities behind the World Social Forum’s alternative economic message of “Another world is possible.” Thus, globophilia became revealed in the mainstream as a contested ideology – the struggle being not simply between transnational capitalist globalization and anti-globalization advocates, but between competing ideologies (potentially inclusive of religious fundamentalism), each seeking to gain control of the emerging global order for differing ends. Still, over the last decade market globalism has undoubtedly remained in the ascendant, with previous US presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, articulating collaborative but differing poles of the movement. Claiming that 9/11 was an orchestrated attack against the idea that government should be democratically elected and that citizens should enjoy a wide array of cultural and economic freedoms, Bush and his administration on the one hand carefully linked the neoliberal discourse of market globophilia to neoconservative foreign policy ideals concerned with the necessity of preemptive war and additional forms of preventative state interventionism designed to bolster the worldwide export of “democracy” (i.e., the consumer society). On the other hand, through the development of his William J. Clinton Foundation – whose mission is to strengthen “the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence” – Clinton has become a chief proselytizer of market-based initiatives to improve the world’s health, education, environment, energy, and other economic empowerment sectors. While corporations have also increasingly moved to incorporate a rhetorical position of their working to “green the globe” for the world’s general improvement, nonprofit organizations like the Clinton Foundation highlight the pivotal role presently being played by nongovernmental (NGOs) and international governmental (IGOs) organizations as globalization actors for sustainable development. Although some of these institutional entities clearly work on behalf of a global civic society and alternative forms of social economy beyond capitalism, many simply extol market globalism in its Bush or Clinton varieties as well. In the last few years, market globalism has taken on globophilic populist dimensions as well. The best-selling globalization ideologue Thomas Friedman (2007) now frequently romances the role that individuals and small businesses will play in using globalization to achieve more justice, health, and wealth for the largest class of people the world has ever known. Revivifying neoliberal ideas from the 1990s, Friedman claims that the current global consumer society has finally become a utopian “flat world” networked together through permissive markets and technology that in turn drive the propagation of democratic forms of political participation and equitable economic exchange from below. Additionally, he argues that while globalization has undeniably resulted in the ongoing contradiction of a world beset by serious issues such as overpopulation and global warming, the new global market’s vital ingenuity can be counted upon to produce unheralded eco-modernist advances capable of stabilizing our energy, environmental, and other social woes. In conclusion, those seeking to understand globophilia need to be cognizant of its various ideological complexities, contested methods and discursive aims, as well as internal ambiguities. Not all forms of globophilia turn on market globalist desires; and a critical dialectical perspective on globalization reveals that while ethical forms of globophilia in opposition to neoliberalism exist, there are also

3 some aspects of market globalism proper that have resulted in progressive effects throughout the world. Therefore, a critical dialectical approach to globalization seeks to sublate positions of both globophilia and globophobia as overly totalizing. In taking up a dialectical stance, however, students of globalization must not lose sight of the key historical problematic currently posed by a virulent form of market globalism that has dominated globalization discourse over the last few decades by successfully framing attitudes of globophilia as concordant with its particular form of transnational agenda. SEE ALSO: Globalism; Globalization; Imperialism; Transnationalism; Washington Consensus.
REFERENCES Barber, B. (1996) Jihad Vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World. Ballantine Books, New York. Friedman, T. (2007) The World is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. Picador Press, New York. Fukuyama, F. (2006) The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press, New York. Huntington, S. (1998) The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster, New York. Kellner, D. (2002) Theorizing globalization. Sociological Theory 20, 285–305. Ritzer, G. (1993) The McDonaldization of Society. Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks, CA. Steger, M. (2009) Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, New York.

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