The Era of Deglobalization Has Already Begun
By Peter Kien-hong Yu

The Era of Deglobalization Has Already Begun

Jan. 27, 2017  |     |  0 comments

According to the Oxford dictionary, the word “globalization” was first employed in the 1930s. The Merriam-Webster dictionary included it as an entry in 1951. The term began to be widely used by social scientists in the 1960s. H. Marshall McLuhan, who analyzed the impact of mass media on society, coined the term “global village” in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964).

Since its inception as a hot topic, the concept of globalization has inspired competing socio-economic definitions, to name but a few here:

1.Robert T. Kudrle mentioned that there are three varieties of globalization, namely, communication, market, and direct which can be further divided into palpable and psychological.

2.Roland Roberston treated globalization as a compression of the world.

3.Jan A. Scholte defined globalization as deterritorialization.

4.Bill J. Clinton, former US president, likened globalization as interdependence.

5.Tony Smith offered a Marxian account of the historical dialectic of globalization, arguing that, in order to get rid of uneven development, overaccumulation crises, and financial crises, there must be a revolutionary rupture from the existing capital form.1

6.In Global Transformations, David Held and his co-writers put forward a typology of globalization and stated: “Although in its simplistic sense globalization refers to the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnection, such a definition begs further elaboration. ...Globalization can be located on a continuum with the local, national and regional. At one end of the continuum lie social and economic relations and networks which are organized on a local and/or national basis; at the other end lie social and economic relations and networks which crystallize on the wider scale of regional and global interactions. Globalization can refer to those spatial-temporal processes of change which underpin a transformation in the organization of human affairs by linking together and expanding human activity across regions and continents. Without reference to such expansive spatial connections, there can be no clear or coherent formulation of this term. ... A satisfactory definition of globalization must capture each of these elements: extensity (stretching), intensity, velocity and impact.”2

According to some Third World academics and experts, the first wave of globalization began with Western colonization. In the last several decades, we have seen Americanization or internationalization. I think Held et. al.’s dialectical treatment of globalization as a continuum plus mainland China’s dialectical usage, that is, economic globalization, can help bring us closer to reality, challenging what some observers may argue, that is, the truth may not be evinced.

However, by now we have already seen a lot of contradictions, because, for example, interdependence is not the same as Americanization. The former implies a hybrid of East and West (as opposed to East is East and West is West), while the latter has become US-dominated. Globalization also differs from colonization or deterritorialization. Colonization is turf-minded, while the latter signifies the breakdown of national boundaries. Facing a myriad of contradictions, what should we do?

I would like to first point out that the globe that we are talking about refers to our earth. Time has definitely changed, due to scientific and technological advancement. Many human beings want to go to, for example, Mars and settle over there.

In October 1958, the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration opened its doors. As early as October 1960, some Mars supporters at Lewis Research Center, which is a National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio completed the first piloted nuclear-propulsion Mars expedition study. In August 2012, the Curiosity rover landed in the Gale Crater of the Red Planet for the first time.

By relying on itself, mainland China for the first time launched a spaceship in October 2003. In September 2008, its taikongnaut (astronaut) walked in outer space for the first time. In January 2016, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) approved a mission, that is, by 2020, its first Mars probe will be launched to carry out orbital and roving exploration. It will take about seven months to reach the Red Planet. In December 2016, the PRC State Council issued a white paper on space activities, following those issued in 2000, 2006, and 2011.

It is time to offer my own framework, that is, globalization versus deglobalization and, for that matter, globalization and deglobalization. One synonym for deglobalization is intercelestialization. After testing both frameworks, each framework becomes what I call a model in social science.

At this juncture, I would like to introduce my one-dot theory — the Taiji Diagram (Diagram of Cosmological Scheme) to describe, explain, and infer what has been going on since the first human being.

The Taiji square can be seen in the middle, which is the biggest diagram. It is a dot. We can parse this diagram in terms of four smaller models, each of which is but a dot. The first one is on the upper left-hand side. We see a blank circle. The second model is on the upper right-hand side. Another way of saying it is Yin and Yang. The third one is at the lower right-hand side. Its emphasis is on that small dot, meaning the Confucian middle road. And the last model is at the lower left-hand side. It is a version of the third model on the lower right-hand side. The name for this model is called the crab and frog motion model. 12345 is the safe zone spectrum, and ABCDE, the danger zone spectrum. A dialectician may stand under 1, which refers to a concept and which is translated as 100%. 3 would be 50%, and 5, 1%. The same logic applies to E, which is 100%; C, 50%, and A, 1%. A dialectician would refrain from entering the latter zone.

If a reader already has a firm grasp of the previous paragraph, he or she would realize that a dialectical/crab and frog motion remark is just the opposite of a non-dialectical/crab and frog motion (usually deductive, linear, or cause and effect) remark, or, at best, they must meet half-way.

At the outset, we can regard the circle with nothing inside on the upper left-hand side as a globalized world. It is said that our ancestors or the four races, namely, black, brown, yellow, and white, originated in East Africa about 150,000 years ago. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were the first human beings. If so, they were already living in a globalized world or in the nascent or primary stage of being globalized. (There are two other stages, namely, the ascendant and mature stages for each Number or Letter in my crab and frog motion model.) So, we can put the term, a globalized world, at 1 of the crab and frog motion model.

Next, we have to look at the Yin and Yang diagram, which is on the upper right-hand side. This is because their children plus others definitely tried to explore the possibility of living in other places, resulting what in we see today a localized world, and I would put this term at 5.

Once localized, some human beings want to be globalized again. In June 2005, mainland China publicized its theme for the 2008 summer Olympics: One World One Dream. Hence, we can conceive a new term — globalizing world — and I would put this term at 3. Here, we see a process or interplay of localization and globalization.

Sony Corporation is a Japanese conglomerate founded in May 1946, and its chief executive officer coined a term, glocalization. This new term or a glocalizing world can be placed at 4, which is a mixture of a localized world and a globalizing world. What does this new term mean in my article?

To repeat, some human beings want to live in a globalized world again, while some multinational or transnational corporations want to provide and sell their services and products globally, as opposed to intercelestially. However, the problem is that they are still thinking of our planet. I am very sure that many Martians and their descendants living in that planet want to sip at least a drop of a globalized product, like Coca Cola.

To be sure, on the one hand, we the human beings can never be globalized again as a family in terms of the global village, that is, we can never return to the ascendant and mature stages of 1, which stands for a globalized world. On the other hand, the US President-elect Donald J. Trump wants Americans to first take care of themselves, that is, to stay at 5, that is, to be localized.

To repeat, once we human beings go to Mars, perhaps many, if not most, of them would choose not to return to earth.

Death in outer space has also occurred many times. Under the internationally accepted definition, one of the examples is the death of the seven crew members of the American space shuttle Challenger, which disintegrated 73 seconds after launching off the Florida coast in January 1986. The members did leave earth and yet they did not reach the Moon, for example. I would put this phenomenon in between 5 and A, so as to be able to rationalize everything logically, systematically, and coherently. That is to say, we can restructure 5 and A to become a new model, that is, ABCDE versus 12345. The American astronauts were alive in the safe zone spectrum or 12345. At the 73th or the last second, they perished in the danger zone or ABCDE.

If some of the Martians do return to our earth, the phenomenon of intercelestial interplay between our planet and the Red Planet would surface. However, we can perceive power struggles between earthlings and Martians over, for example, the question of whether to welcome some sick Martians with deadly new diseases to come back to earth.

By 2024 or 2030, some human beings would be able to land and live on Mars. However, I would put them in the danger zone spectrum. In this spectrum, E stands for 100% Deglobalization and one of the synonyms is the Red Planet.

In October 2014, a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering graduate students released a 35-page analysis of Mars One’s plans and found it would take about 68 days on Mars for the first fatalities due to suffocation. If the human adventurers do not mind dying over there, it is another matter. I am pretty sure that one of them, in order to be recorded in human history, may well want to die first on that planet. The model of globalization at 1 and deglobalization at 5 would be appropriate when earthlings and Martians can live peacefully together.

In sum, applications of my globalization versus deglobalization model, and globalization and deglobalization model, demonstrate that those six definitions mentioned earlier are not in-depth and cannot rigorously meet the repeated tests, especially after the landing of human beings on Mars. One way of slotting all the definitions into my crab and frog motion model is to put my models at 1, carrying the most weight, while other definitions at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, respectively.


1. Smith, T. (2003). Systematic and historical dialectics: Towards a Marxian theory of globalization. In: Albritton, R. and Simoulidis, J. (eds.), New Dialectics and Political Economy. Hampshire, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 24–39.

2. Held, D., Goldblatt, D., McGrew, A. and Perraton, J. (1999). Global Transformations. Cambridge: Polity Press, p. 25.

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