Engaging Globalization by Bryant L. Myers

Engaging Globalization by Bryant L. Myers

Author:Bryant L. Myers
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Mission;REL045000;REL012110;Globalization—Religious aspects—Christianity;Poverty—Religious aspects—Christianity;Missions
ISBN: 9781493410262
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Published: 2017-05-16T16:00:00+00:00

The Last Two Hundred Years in a Nutshell

In the two hundred years of the Second Era of Globalization, the world’s population increased sixfold, and yet, quite incredibly, the percentage of people living in chronic poverty was reduced from 95 to 22 percent. Economic thinking evolved from the original proposals of Adam Smith into the laissez-faire capitalism in Globalization I, the social welfare capitalism in the last half of the Great Disruption, and the neoliberal expression of capitalism of today’s Globalization II. The economic center of the world moved from China and India to Great Britain in Globalization I, and then to the United States during the Great Disruption and for much of Globalization II. Now China is poised to become the world’s largest economy once again. The economic actors have shifted from empires to nation-states and, now in Globalization II, away from nation-states toward transnational corporations, international networks, and individuals. The driving social imaginary moved from religion to science in Globalization I, to social welfare statism in the Great Disruption, and to free markets and individual identity in Globalization II. The population center of the Christian world moved from Europe to the United States and then to the developing world or Global South. A lot changed in the last two hundred years.

At the same time, as Branko Milanović reminds us, globalization had two faces in this two-hundred-year period. On the one hand, there was a lot of good news for the poor and for everyone else. The Western worldview changed in ways that opened the door to the sciences, technological innovation, and economic growth. Large numbers of human beings became more aware of their agency and creativity and became productive actors. On the other hand, the world experienced two world wars, a cold war, six genocides or intentional famines killing more than a million people each, and a global economic depression and a great recession. Up until the end of World War II, the spread of globalization coincided with the era of the empires in which the European nations, the United States, Russia, and Japan “played God” as they competed for new territories and as new technologies created economic and military advantage, while the Global South was deliberately denied the benefits of industrialization. This expression of globalization did not come to an end until after World War II.

For some, there is only good news resulting from globalization. For others, globalization has meant disastrous human cost. Both views are right, and both are incomplete. For Christians, this points to a critical underlying truth. Globalization is a human effort that, in its best expressions, can make the world better off materially, but it cannot eradicate the impact of human sin. What we have seen in this chapter is pretty much what one would expect from a world damaged by original sin and empowered by original good.


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