Identity crises inflicted by Globalisation

The world is large, and we are lost.

Image: Ivan Bandura/Wikimedia

There has been no major expansion on the world, but our scope of the world has increased in recent decades. Globalisation carries the capabilities to dramatically change lives; it’s a tool, and not necessarily good nor bad.

Technological breakthroughs have allowed for collaborations of groups that were previously hindered by geographical differences. Our world has gotten bigger, and the number of people we are able to interact with is significantly larger.

Being part of such a large community has however shrunk the impact of any single individual. Every decision made is for the benefit of the community as a whole, and we are left asking “what about me?”.

It’s not a selfish notion to ensure that your needs as an individual are looked after, but it often seems that way. Policies with a large scale impact often have no notion of the impact on an individual level; they don’t capture the concept of fairness, because fairness is such a difficult and subjective topic that it gets in the way of progress. We are always looking to move forwards, and don’t stop to consider how many people are hurt along the way.

Globalisation removes our ability to empathise; there are simply too many people to consider, that everything becomes a little bit abstract. There is a lot changing in the world everyday, but we still have our own lives to lead. We see facts and figures, but we lose the ability to actually consider how it affects people. Removing ourselves from being fully conscious of all the sadness in the world is a defensive mechanism; if we remained on high alert to every single hurt person, we’d probably be left in permanent melancholy.

The lack of consideration of an individual may prove to be the fall of globalisation. There is little sense of belonging in such a seemingly unstoppable machine. It doesn’t care what you think, or how you feel.

This has caused resentment in the West; the voting majority are dissatisfied at this lack of consideration and have been voting in protest for Brexit, Trump, Macron and Le Pen. The underlying sentiment driving them into success is that the current establishment don’t care about us. It’s an act of desperation, and a declaration of self-worth. There’s nothing inherently wrong with voting for chaos when it becomes clear that our current leaders are full of empty hearts with regards to our misplacement.

The search for our identity in such a large world exposes us to a number of divisions across different demographics such as race, nationality, religion, class, age, and education. People group amongst themselves with the beliefs and concepts they’re familiar with, the ones they believe will look after them, the ones they believe are most likely to have an impact. This is true on all sides; some believe their vote is for change, others believe it is for chaos.

Our desire to find belonging leads us to retreat to safety into smaller groups, still unable to empathise and unwilling to co-operate, which ultimately undermines the strength of globalisation and its institutions.

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