Globalism in 60 seconds
By Alberto Mingardi
Dalibor Rohac had an excellent 60 seconds video blog on why he is a globalist. The word is somehow at the center of the debate, as President Trump, on the UN stage, said that the future belongs to patriots and not globalists.
Dalibor has a nuanced view of international organizations, by which I mean that, though he sees their shortcomings and faults, he at the very same time appreciates the role they played in shaping our world, their importance not so much for “free trade” as an ideal but for the kind of (relative) free(r) trade we enjoy today, their impact in containing some of the expansionist tendencies of nation-states. It is difficult to convey such view in 60 seconds, but Dalibor somehow succeeded in doing so. The only criticism I venture to make is that he tried to put too much in such a short time, including some comments on the nation-state being a rather recent political institution, which got lost, I fear, on most.
Some comments on the YouTube page are quite disheartening. I wonder how much is due to the way in which critics use the word ‘globalist’: that is, the not so hidden implication that favoring free trade and (some) institutional cooperation implies a lack of attachment to local communities and institutions. Does it, necessarily? My impression is that the contrary may be true. The nation-state has crowded out loyalty to lower scale institutions, from the family to municipalities, et cetera. Perhaps a strong commitment to free trade can go well with political localism, as economic integration may make smaller (in size) states more likely to succeed, by making the idea of the national government as a trade block obsolete. But I suppose this is less relevant than issues related to identity: for some people attachment to their neighbor implies despising others, joining an “us” means hating a “them”. Some sort of “globalist localism” would, on the other hand, require a nuanced view of identity, bringing together both a universal (human) and a local (Milanese, Newyorker, Bratislavan…) dimension.