What is Globalization?
Globalization sees the world as becoming a small village and network that connects people, spaces, things, and technologies. Not all scholars believe that the process of globalization is taking place in our midst. But for some who believe and assume a globalist perspective, globalization is a pervasive phenomenon that affects almost all aspects of people’s public lives, even people’s concept of commitment, love and marriage.
Globalization is a complex and difficult term with various definitions and dimensions. The American sociologist George Ritzer (2011) defines it as a “transplanetary process(es) involving increasing liquidity and growing multi-directional flows as well as the structures they encounter and create” (p.2). Under this definition, the processes of globalization do not only affect a group of people, nations or states, but social structures of societies around the globe. Unlike other definitions, this definition does not emphasize global integration but rather reduction of integration caused by growing “liquidity” of the world and by globalization’s multi-directional flows which make reality more diverse and in a state of flux.
Liquidity vs. Solidity in Globalization
The terms “liquidity” and “flows” of Ritzer’s definition have significant implications to people’s behavior, particularly to their commitment to love and marriage. Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and mobility of things, brought about by the current processes of globalization. Liquidity simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and thus easy to transport from one place to another. “Liquids” can easily “flow” to different locations with the capacity to change their form to adapt to the environment. With today’s globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become light, mobile and flexible. Today’s home appliances, cars, and mobile phones, and other gadgets, for instance, have become lighter, thinner and smaller: easy to move, manipulate and transport, but more powerful and advanced in functions than the older models! Even jobs have become liquids in today’s global era. They have also become light such as marketing a product online than doing it through physical presence.
The opposite of liquidity is solidity. Solidity which characterized the modern milieu prior to the current information era, makes people, things, information, and places “harden” over time and place and are therefore “heavy” and difficult to transport. Old car models are more “solid” and heavy compared to the newer models. Stone tablets, large personal computers, magazines, books, and gadgets which are “heavy” to carry are now being replaced by light but powerful smart phones, ipods, e-books and other light high-tech gadgets. With digital technology, modern transport system, free trade, and increased migration, the mobility of people, information, goods and services becomes swift and convenient.
What is the Effect of Globalization to People’s Mind and Morality?
If the mind is a social product, then it can easily be influenced by the physical and social environments which surround it. If the world today is fast evolving because of globalization’s liquidity, then people’s minds, particularly those of the urban dwellers who are exposed to the rapid pace of the global life in mega cities, are more likely to undergo constant mental recycling in their personal and communal values. The digitalization of life by the Internet, smart phones and other ICT technologies with its lighting speed has also eroded people’s capacity to stall and be “fixed” in their mental frames and moral commitments. The “solidity” of traditional values such as love, marriage and commitment is now being challenged by the growing “liquidity” of the secularizing postmodern environment of the global era to become “liquid” and contingent. The concept of commitment which is popularly taught in churches and schools as fixed and sacred is now being “liquified” and secularized by the various flows of globalization in temporal and cyber spaces.
The challenge of globalization to people’s commitment to love and marriage can now be felt by many people in developed countries as well as in developing countries of Southeast Asia such as the Philippines. One major process of globalization which has a direct impact to marital commitment is the domestic and international migration. As employment opportunities are increasingly concentrated in urban centers, particularly in mega cities (cities with more than 10 million population) of developing countries due to the growing poverty in the rural areas, people become detached from their own religious communities and kinship networks which support their traditional religious beliefs and values. Migrants who come from rural communities with their traditional concepts of love and marriage find themselves exposed to the alienating social environment of the city which encourages promiscuity or “love without commitment” or what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as confluent love.
What are the Effects of Globalization to Love and Marriage?
In his book, “The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies,” Anthony Giddens (1992) describes confluent love as a type of love which is based on pure relationship. And a pure relationship is a “social relation…entered into for its own sake; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it”(Cornville & Rogers, 1998, p. 97). ‘Unlike romantic love, confluent love is not necessarily monogamous, in the sense of sexual exclusiveness. What holds the pure relationship together is the acceptance on the part of each partner, ‘until further notice’, that each gains sufficient benefit from the relation to make its continuance worthwhile (Giddens in Giddes, 2011).Romantic love is a type of relationship which is often viewed as ‘forever after’ monogamous love. This type of love prepares people for the life-long commitment of marital love after courtship and engagement.
But confluent love is different from romantic or marital love. The essence of confluent love is its contingency or “liquidity”. It is not a “till-death-do-us-part” kind of relationship. It lasts as long as the lovers find the relationship mutually fulfilling. Thus, a one-night stand, a regular orgy of couples, or a temporary live-in arrangement or cohabitation with no intention of marrying, are some expressions of confluent love. Furthermore, confluent love, unlike romantic love, is not always monogamous. Sometimes it allows polygamous, bisexual or homosexual relationship. In this sense, confluent love does not conform to the criteria of true love as defined by the Bible and Church teachings. It has no religious dimension. It ends when both or all parties involved feel that the relationship is no longer working and satisfying. “The emergent morality of confluent love recognizes the rights of individual to happiness and appropriateness of ending relationships that are no longer experienced as fulfilling” (Goodwin & Cramer, 2009, p. 48). This emerging concept of love and commitment, facilitated by the liquidity of the world by the process of globalization and secularization, contravenes the religious understanding of marital love as sacred and a lifetime commitment.
The time has come for religious leaders and moral entrepreneurs to evaluate their evangelization strategies or catechisms on love, marriage and commitment and find appropriate and creative means to counter the influence of confluent love in today’s global world!
Who Controls the Wealth of the Earth in Today’s Global Trade?
The Unholy Trinity consisting of the World Bank, IMF, and WTO
The World Bank
2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
3. The World Trade organization (WTO)
An emerging pattern in international trade that affects the primary role of the state to protect the common good is the weakening of the state power to intervene and to legislate in economic affairs owing to the powers of multilateral institutions such as the GATT-WTO, World Bank and the IMF to dictate on governments to align their economic policies and laws to multilateral and bilateral agreements with other powerful countries. These agreements take away from developing countries their economic sovereignty as they are not totally free to intervene on their own in the local economy, particularly in areas predetermined in trade agreements, even if such intervention is necessary to protect the common good. For instance, the imposition of the indirect tax such as the E-VAT by the World Bank in Philippine economy is likely to hit the poor but the government is inutile to avoid it as it is under pressure to generate revenues to improve its international credit standing. The legislation of E-VAT to increase revenues is not a state intervention based on the Philippine government’s assessment on what is best to protect the common good from budget deficit but an idea and pressure coming from a foreign multilateral body dominated by rich countries. The Catholic Social teaching condemns this coercion in international trade. “In international exchanges there is a need to go beyond relationships based on force, to arrive at agreements reached with the good of all in mind“ (Octogesima Adveniens, n.43). [T]the most important duty in the realm of justice is to allow each country to promote its own development, within the framework of a cooperation free from any spirit of domination, whether economic or political” (ibid). “In order that international trade be human and moral, social justice requires that it restore to the participants a certain equality of opportunity” (Populorum Progressio, n. 61).
As early as the papal letter Rerum Novarum, the Pope has recommended the review of economic contracts and revision of relationships entered into by nations in international trade whether they serve social justice and protect the common good or not: “an economy of exchange can no longer be based solely on the law of free competition, a law which, in turn, too often create an economic dictatorship. Freedom of free trade is fair only if it is subject to the demands of social justice” (Populorum Progression, n. 59). “Thus it is necessary to have the courage to undertake a revision of the relationships between nations, whether it is a question of the international division of production, the structure of exchanges, the control of profits, the monetary system—without forgetting the actions of human solidarity—to question the models of growth of the rich nations and change people’s outlooks, so that they may realize the prior call of international duty and to renew international organizations so that they may increase in effectiveness (Octogesima Adveniens, n. 43).
Finally, the Pope recommends that there should be one system of weights and measures in the commercial relations of nations: “What holds for a national economy or among developed countries is valid also in commercial relations between rich nations and poor nations” (Populorum Progressio, n. 61).
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