Doubts about the global economic order, which extend far beyond organized protests, have to be viewed in the light of the dual presence of abject misery and unprecedented prosperity in the world in which we live. Even though the world is incomparably richer than ever before, ours is also a world of extraordinary deprivation and staggering inequality.
This elemental contrast explains the widespread skepticism about the global order, and even the patience of the general public with the so-called "anti-globalization" protests, despite the fact that they are often frenzied and sometimes violent. Some general points need particular attention.
1. Anti-globalization protests are not about globalization: The so-called ``anti-globalization'' protesters can hardly be, in general, anti-globalization, since these protests are among the most globalized events in the contemporary world. The protesters in Seattle, Melbourne, Prague, Quebec and elsewhere are not just local kids, but men and women from across the world pouring into the location of the respective events to pursue global complaints.
2. Globalization is not new, nor is it just Westernization: Over thousands of years, globalization has progressed through travel, trade, migration, spread of cultural influences and dissemination of knowledge (including of science and technology).
The influences have gone in different directions. For example, toward the close of the millennium just ended, the direction of movement was largely from the West to elsewhere, but at the beginning of the same millennium (circa 1000 A D), Europe was absorbing Chinese science and technology and Indian and Arabic mathematics. There is a world heritage of interaction, and the contemporary trends fit into that history.
3. Globalization is not in itself a folly: It has enriched the world scientifically and culturally and benefited many economically. Pervasive poverty dominated the world not many centuries ago, with only rare pockets of affluence. In overcoming...