The profound changes of the globalization process


The world has been changing on many fronts through the so-called globalization process. This process corresponds to certain periods of humanity in which major changes have occurred, primarily driven by technological advances that have given rise to contexts of interconnection and interdependence around the world.

All these changes are discussed in my book Los actuales desafíos del proceso de globalización, recently published by Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia Press. This book starts the pocket collection Acontecer Mundial of the Center for Global Thinking (CEPEG for its acronym in Spanish) and it will be launched next Wednesday, September 23.

The current change began to occur in the last two decades of the 20th century, which is a process that has already taken a quarter of a century—enough time to evaluate its results. It is a multidisciplinary globalization process, which affects the economic, productive, technological, institutional, political, civilizational, and cultural fields. However, this work focuses on economy, technology, globalization of issues such as the environment and human rights, institutions and politics, and civilization.

In the economic field, the countries of the world had to adjust to a neoliberal economy model where supply and demand operate freely, seeking the globalization of markets. This forced governments to remove their protective measures, open up to other countries, and adapt the internal operation of their economy to universal parameters. Yet, the harmful results of financial crises caused by speculative activities of transnational financial actors and bad results in terms of income distribution are leading the world to adjust the neoliberal model and explore scenarios where solidarity economy and United Nations sustainable development goals by 2030 should play a significant role.

In the technology field, changes have been dramatic and we are experiencing completely different life conditions thanks to the Internet revolution, to a world interconnected by social networks, to life improvement and extension due to progress in biogenetics, to the human genome sequencing that will allows the passage from curative to preventive medicine, to new materials as a result of the miniaturization achieved by nanotechnology with powerful microscopes, to new production conditions given by 3D printing and robotics, and to the prospects of artificial intelligence. The depth of these changes make us consider the argument of several authors that the world is entering post-capitalism supported by cognitive capitalism, which takes much more into account the human factor of knowledge.

Usuarios Internet

Internet users in 2014. Source: The World Bank, 2015.

In environmental and human rights issues, changes are particularly important. Environmental degradation and worsening of problems such as global warming have led humanity to take far-reaching measures in order to address it such as the Paris Agreement 2015. In terms of human rights in a globalized world, it was decided that, above sovereignty and rights of states, there is a superior right, i.e. human rights, for which various institutions have been created to monitor and intervene in the issue, with important effects in Colombia.

Emisiones CO2

Global greenhouse gas emisions. Source: Global Carbon Atlas, 2015.

In the political-institutional field, we have moved from states imposing their rules based on their sovereignty to states sharing responsibilities and decisions with various actors incorporated by the globalization process, such as international organizations with mandatory rules and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). All this in the context of the end of the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the bipolar world of the Cold War and the collapse of communist governments that facilitated spread of the globalization process throughout the planet. However, the mistake of believing that the world would accept the Western way of thinking has resulted in confrontations of fundamentalist groups from different civilizations, especially between the Christian West and the Islamic world.


Different types of civilisations.

As I wrote in my book:

The current globalization process refers to capitalism in its post-industrial phase, universalized thanks to its victory over communism. It has Anglo-Saxon, Rhenish, and Eastern nuances with progressive consolidation of the former, but individualistic, selfish, and very inequitable in nature. Here lies the challenge of achieving greater application of solidarity economy in the context of the Millennium Development Goals 2016-2030.

Édgar Vieira

Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the University of Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and is the current Director of the Center for Global Thinking (CEPEG), Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia. His most recent publications include Los actuales desafíos del proceso de globalización (2016) and La globalización en un mundo en transformación (2012).