From the twentieth-century onwards, our world has become increasingly small. So much so that the borders that represent our respective countries seem to be fading—a reminder of past days when people were constrained by their circumstances.
However, technology has changed how we now view the world, especially for the companies that created the technology. For instance, look at global tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Samsung. The technology they have introduced to the world has systematically dissolved borders. They have connected the globe, making it possible to interact with people on other continents as though living next door, creating a true global village; hence, the new world of globalization.
We as a global society, at least for the most part, now have access to the same information that is shared and accessible in real time. We also have the ability to act as voyeurs, peering through the virtual windows of our own sub-societies into societies around the world.
So how does this affect us? Of course, there is the security aspect: that topic is an easy one. And though I don’t mean that in the “easy to solve” sense, that’s another topic entirely. I simply mean that security is tangible, something that we can address as a good versus evil argument as we all diligently fight to stop the bad guys from infiltrating our digital lives.
But there is a far greater question to be asked: When business is global, and commerce knows no borders, how do we protect and maintain the boundaries that once existed? Of course, there are economic safeguards, taxation, and all the rest that are the nuts and bolts of global commerce. But there is far more to consider.
For instance, laws are now being passed by countries on the usage of their citizens’ data, laws that could be enforced outside their borders. Furthermore, companies are investing in expansion across borders and continents— nothing new—although the data and services they provide suddenly strain border laws as the users of these services have little to no regard for these laws because of ubiquitous connectivity.
Then there is enforcement and the ramifications on traditional laws. For example, right now in the US the federal government is calling for an investigation into Chinese telecom companies operating in the US, questioning security concerns about their operations “within” US borders. After all, data is borderless and the question must be asked: Where is the data going and what is it being used for?
And probably the most impactful aspect of globalization is seen in workforce displacement. Here in the US, for instance, our once great manufacturing sector has been largely decimated due to the migration of factories to places where labor and associated costs are far cheaper. Simply put, when labor resources and the manufacturing of products are moved to low-wage countries, the impact is devastating.
This new borderless world—globalization in its truest sense—makes it nearly impossible to mitigate risk against the impact it has on domestic economic policy within national borders. It also makes it even harder to insulate countries from global economic shocks. Just look at what happened in 2008: a reminder that impacts that occur in other countries can still hit home.
We have learned that globalization means that financial capital, production, and workers are now migrating in response to economic factors. Thus, when better opportunities arise, areas that once depended on economic stimulus to survive, are left in the wake for greener pastures.
We as a global society must be increasingly careful of the impacts of globalization. From cybersecurity, to national security, to economic security, and beyond—a single wall around our global village offers no protection when all the threats are inside the walls.