May 21, 2012

A globalised world? No, it’s divided into three tribes

Economy

A globalised world? No, it’s divided into three tribes - Alessandro Benetton blog

How are we rebuilding the world, following the fall of ideologies and of old geopolitical boundaries? It has been one of the fundamental questions in the international debate for at least 20 years, that is to say, since the USA-USSR duopoly declined and new geopolitical powers have emerged. For a while, the term “Chindia” was used, a “supercontinent” formed of China and India: but the differences between the two states, despite both being Asian countries with vast populations, are perhaps greater than their similarities.

Recently I read in The Economist that, according to some academics, a new world order may be emerging on the horizon. It is neither the old walls and divisions of the last century, nor the utopia (the nightmare, for some) of an entirely globalised world. What is taking hold, however, is a new subdivision into geo-economic areas, established by ancient cultural and linguistic ties: a Sinosphere (which includes China and Chinese citizens across the world), an Indosphere (with its centre in India, but extending across Indian ethnic minorities in various countries) and an Anglosphere (which roughly unites English-speaking countries and Europe).

The idea is certainly an original one. After half a century of a world divided in two, in recent years we thought we had embarked on a one-way street towards globalisation. With the end of the old divisions, and thanks to the development of new technologies (internet, first and foremost), it was believed that the market would have expanded unimpeded, reaching new frontiers and bringing worlds closer together which, until recently, appeared irreparably disconnected. We now see a tripartite idea: the influence of traditions and cultural ties can’t be overlooked, even in a globalised world, as they continue to have an impact on people’s lives and, consequently, on the rhythm of trade.

A final thought: which of the three “spheres” is better off? According to geographer Joel Kotkin, despite the economic crisis that began in 2008 and the growing dynamism of the Sinosphere and Indosphere, the Anglosphere is still far from the decline that some commentators point to almost daily. From the analyses it has emerged that the area comprising Western countries is still the most significant economic block, with a scientific and technological potential that is second to none.

Certainly, the primacy of the Western world, which has long been undisputed, is slowly being weakened, and new economic realities are taking hold on the international stage. The threat for us, Westerners, citizens of the Anglosphere, will only depend on our ability to accept the challenges of the world of tomorrow.

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