In a classroom an American-Nepali student, born in Bangkok raised in Kathmandu, discusses legislation recently passed in Pakistan with an Egyptian friend when the bell rings. The student packs his bag, made by a Korean company, turns on his music player, manufactured in China, assembled in California, and begins to rock to a Japanese song, Sakura Sake. Suddenly, his phone informs him he has received an email from his friend in Copenhagen, sent via a server in Singapore, discussing the recent climate change treaty talks, where 180 nations were present -- all of this happening in rural Massachusetts.
The reoccurring theme: a phenomenon known as “globalization”.
Globalization is seen by many as the last piece of a puzzle to unite a fast shrinking world. An idea so brilliant that by its power alone the evils of the world will be packaged in a box labeled “To Mao, with love” then recycled by China into high quality polyethylene, and sold back to the West for large amounts of cash under the global pseudonym, ‘the iPhone.’
All lies (well, mostly). Globalization is an entirely neutral force, if you can even call it a ‘force.’ A ‘reaction’ would be much more fitting as globalization has no ‘energy’ of its own. Rather, it is the culmination of developments in technology and cultural integration that have established an all-encompassing network that, as a commercial, consequence, created globalization.
Presently, the world looks like mismatched puzzle pieces jammed tightly together in ways that never should have been. My own personal heritage is a testament to this complicated global puzzle -- but my identity is the least of an increasingly dysfunctional world’s problems. The lack of cooperation among nations is, however.
The world’s expanding population, the misuse of migrant labor, the lack of affordable health care, and unsustainable economics threaten the fragile balance of the world. Plus, we face the depletion of water, energy, and food supplies -- the world’s essential resources. The time for the nations to forgo their selfish inhibitions has come; the stakes are too high to continue playing this global Russian roulette.
The model of international cooperation, or lack thereof, being used today is an outdated remnant of a post-imperialist world. Efforts to create a more united and peaceful planet through international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank, have not met the demands of the more global twenty-first century – witness the recent failure of the Copenhagen conference.
Therefore, at the start of this new century, it is critical that the next generation of youthful global citizens study deeply political science, history, literature, religion and economics to initiate the democratic reform that is required.
At the moment though, the ideas of my generation, myself included, are too raw to take up the mantle of the future -- but in time, with the right ethic, attitude, compassion, and guidance, I truly believe, we can provide fresh light to our increasingly interconnected global village, all the way to Kathmandu.