A Globalization That Will Benefit You
“If globalization is to succeed, it must succeed for poor and rich alike. It must deliver rights no less than riches. It must provide social justice and equity no less than economic prosperity and enhanced communication.”—KOFI ANNAN, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS.
AS Kofi Annan pointed out, a truly successful globalization would improve the life of every inhabitant of the global neighborhood. But what we have seen in recent years falls far short of that ideal. Human rights and social equity have lagged far behind technical and material progress.
The principal problem is that economic globalization is driven by the desire to make money. The profit motive rarely takes into account the poor and the disadvantaged or the long-term needs of the planet. “An unregulated global economy dominated by corporations that recognize money as their only value is inherently unstable . . . and is impoverishing humanity in real terms,” argues Dr. David C. Korten.
Will the governments of the world be able to regulate the global economy in such a way that it provides social justice? That seems unlikely. So far, governments have found it difficult to solve any global problem—whether it be global crime, global warming, or global poverty. “Collective action is needed to safeguard global interests,” explains Annan, “but in today’s globalized world, the mechanisms available for global action are hardly more than embryonic.”
Global mechanisms for handling global problems are not the only requirement. The Commission on Global Governance* argues that the world also needs ethical values. “Without a global ethic,” their report points out, “the frictions and tensions of living in the global neighbourhood will multiply; without leadership, even the best-designed institutions and strategies will fail.”
What sort of global ethic did they recommend? “People should treat others as they would themselves wish to be treated,” the report stated. Jesus Christ, the greatest leader the world has ever known, taught this standard of behavior some two thousand years ago. (Matthew 7:12) But the principle is still as valid as ever. A globalization that hinged on that standard would undoubtedly be beneficial for everyone. Could that ever come about?
A Global Solution of a Different Kind
The Bible foretells that in the near future, a global government will unite mankind on the basis of unselfishness rather than money or technology. It will be successful because it has the power and the mechanisms for taking global action in behalf of all mankind. Jesus Christ himself focused on this global government when he taught his followers to pray for ‘God’s Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on the earth.’—Matthew 6:10.
God’s Kingdom, a heavenly government in the hands of Jesus Christ, will exemplify a new global ethic, the same one that Jesus himself taught when on earth. Love of God and love of neighbor will be the guiding principles. (Matthew 22:37-39) Many prophecies in the Bible outline what this new government will do. Regarding its Ruler, Jesus Christ, the Bible promises: “He shall judge the poor with justice and defend the humble in the land with equity.” (Isaiah 11:4, The New English Bible) The rich and the powerful will not exploit the disadvantaged. Jesus will “feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one . . . From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul.”—Psalm 72:13, 14.
Environmental problems will be addressed promptly. Instead of creeping desertification, “the desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands.” (Isaiah 35:1, Today’s English Version) Instead of food shortages, “there will come to be plenty of grain on the earth.”—Psalm 72:16.
God’s Kingdom unites people of all backgrounds. “In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen,” God promises. ‘I shall give to them the change to a pure language, in order for them all to serve me shoulder to shoulder.’ (Micah 2:12; Zephaniah 3:9) This “pure language,” which includes a common set of moral and religious values, is uniting people even now.
Thanks to worldwide travel facilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly hold large international conventions, which strengthen ties between different racial, national, and cultural groups. These conventions are living proof of unity that involves hearts and minds, rather than technology and commerce. (See the accompanying box.) A Spanish theologian who has attended such conventions wrote: ‘I left feeling upbuilt, not only by the enlightening Scriptural talks but also by the unity that exists among these people, their high morals, and their fine behavior.’
Jehovah’s Witnesses also take advantage of other features of globalization to facilitate their preaching of the good news about God’s Kingdom. Awake!, for example, is translated into over 80 languages by many translators worldwide using computer systems and electronic mail. Such tools help Jehovah’s Witnesses make their Bible educational program a truly global one. Clearly, the tools of globalization can be used to uplift as well as to tear down.
Likewise, instead of creating problems, as human globalization has, a global government installed by God will provide solutions. We have every reason to be confident in this heavenly administration. “I am making a new earth,” God promises. “The events of the past will be completely forgotten. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I create.” (Isaiah 65:17, 18, TEV) God’s “new earth” will truly benefit people globally.
This commission, composed of 28 prominent world leaders, prepared a lengthy report in 1995, entitled “Our Global Neighbourhood,” in which they outlined their proposals for improving world governance.
[Box on page 12]
CONNECTED BUT STILL DIVIDED
While technology may have made the world smaller, divisions remain entrenched. Television, mobile phones, and the Internet have proved useful for connecting people but not for uniting people. Economic integration and the end of superpower rivalry have reduced the number of wars between States, but brutal civil conflicts continue to kill and maim hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Why? Because hatred between rival ethnic, racial, and religious groups—the underlying cause of civil wars—shows no sign of abating. And global businesses and crime syndicates make sure that plenty of cheap weapons are available to keep the warring parties well armed. True unity can never be forged by electronics. Nor does a boom in the stock market promote social justice.
In some ways economic globalization can actually contribute to disunity. When a recession follows a boom, impoverished people can become easy prey to extremist politicians who exploit economic grievances for their own ends. What is the solution? “National and global governance have to be reinvented—with human development and equity at their core,” admits the Human Development Report 1999. That is precisely what God’s Kingdom will do.
[Pictures on page 13]
The global Bible educational program of Jehovah’s Witnesses has helped unite people of all backgrounds