Localism vs Globalism: Tension

I love the idea of globalism.

Globalism means three things to me: universal democracy, capitalism, and science. As we get further and further into the 21st century, I’m fairly certain these values will become universally implemented by every culture in the world.

Universal democracy is nothing if not an acknowledgement that each person stands free of control and compulsion. In this regard, I see movement in the direction of ensuring that humans in one area of the world have the same freedoms as humans in any other part of the world. Freedom is a standard that rises above sovereignty.

Capitalism is about capital. No matter where a person lives, or what socio-economic class one might come from, each and every human should have access to capital in order to grow personal economic wealth. Capitalism is also about the most efficient deployment of capital. This is never more successfully done, than when capital is placed in the hands of each person to act according to their personal interests.

Science has proven invaluable at helping people progress. Science leads to inventions, and inventions lead to break throughs that make life better. Where, for example, would we be without the development of polio vaccine? Millions upon millions of people would be suffering daily from deteriorating muscles, that would leave them crippled and dead. Science is the best problem solver we’ve yet devised.


With all the good globalism can do, there are forces at work that are fighting these trends. Religious fundamentalism and tribalism are two movements that threaten globalism.

Religious fundamentalism, for example, wants religion to be the source of all values. There are those religious fundamentalists who believe that America is founded on Christian values and hence America should be a Christian nation. In other words if you are not a Christian, in essence, you are in America as a guest. This, of course, leads to alienation and division among people of diverse backgrounds who live in America. Nothing good, that I can think of, comes from this kind of orientation.

In the same way, tribalism is an orientation toward race and culture. While we have come a long way in guaranteeing basic civil liberties for all people in America, especially African Americans, we still maintain peculiar racial preferences. For example, having Barak Obama provide a birth certificate, proving his American citizenship, is a particularly vexing reminder that we still have latent tribal instincts.

Localism vs Globalism

The great tension, of the 21st century, will continue to be the forces of globalism pressing in on the traditions of localism. As time passes, it’s my feeling, that while localism will always be with us, globalism will emerge as the universal pattern that matters most to the vast majority of people.

In my opinion the values of globalism are stronger than those of localism. If this is true, then humans will choose the strengths of globalism over the inherently limiting qualities of localism.


It’s long been my belief that the values that make up globalism and localism are buried deep within our genetic code. In other words, we’re born to be creatures of our local culture and also born to explore the world with as much freedom as possible. I don’t suppose this internal tension between opposites will end any time soon. But, I am convinced that we humans will continue pushing forward toward greater freedom, greater prosperity, and greater scientific discovery. Anything within our local culture which attempts to impede the driving force of globalism will be fighting an uphill battle.