Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Clash of Civilization Vs Flat World in Globalization Era

by Kyaw Lin Oo
The globalization is a process that cannot be stopped by anyone in the world. It also effect to everyone including the people who are living in leased developed countries. Actually, globalization is an engine for economic development for some country. However, it became the cause of extreme poverty and the reason for thriving of fundamentalism in other. However, at least in my perspective, the world is moving to “flat world” rather than the world that occur clash between civilizations as Samuel P. Huntington viewed. I have four different reasons for that.

The very first and the most basic reason is that the economic development is priority for every country after the end of cold war era. During the cold war, the conflict of two ideologies can be found in everywhere. Even in some non-alliance countries, there were ideology conflicts between two political camps. So, almost every country faced civil war or ideology war so that they cannot emphasize on economic development. After the cold war era, the many third world countries are released from poverty like phoenix bird emerges from ashes. So, most of the countries have chosen development path and abandon the war and fighting with other countries. In this condition, the clashes between different civilizations are impossible on the world because these countries are sharing interest and compromising in business oriented dialogue.

The second factor is the development of communication technology. In the globalization world, the new technology for telecommunication is thriving. So, we can communicate from one corner of the world to other corner within seconds. Therefore, we can know what is happening around the world and we can response to inappropriate action of any person, group, government or even civilization within the short time. This is advantage of development of telecommunication era. In this era, any country or group cannot hide their action and we can know immediately from other part of the work. Therefore, the world is becoming flat as Thomas Friedman argue in his book, “World is Fat”.

My third point is that the liberal democracy is becoming final choice for every country for its economic and political development. Even some military dictatorship regimes need to pretend that democratic political system is the only system that the country is heading to. In Muslim world, democratic system is popular among the Muslim population in most of the country, except two or three countries. And also liberal democratic system is one of the factors for economic development for these countries. Therefore, the countries chose the democratic path for sake of economic development whether they like it or not. Therefore, it is impossible to be clashes between western Christian civilization and Islam civilization of Middle East or Christian civilization of west and Confucian of East and South East Asia because all countries are orienting toward democratic political system even thought they have different degree of democracy and political openness.

The fourth and final point of my perspectives is the western education system which become global education standard of every country. The people from younger generation are heading toward western countries with only one reason which is their thirsty of western education. This some education form or standard can create more understanding and peaceful way problem solving on differences. It is sure that there can be some stigma of society like some group of youngsters became extreme terrorists. These young members of society are out of the mainstream of the whole population in that society. They might come from extreme poverty or abandon from the society. But, those young people are only the handful of the whole population and they cannot change the whole world.

Because of above reasons, the world is becoming flat world for every developed or developing country. We may see some conflict of clash between different countries or different group of the same country. But, none of these are clash of civilizations as Huntington argues. These are local conflicts for certain period of time. After we pass this period, these countries would be looking for development oriented path for the interest of their countries. And the people and the leader will accept the argument of “flat world” and struggle to achieve economic development within the context of “flat world”.

Now, every country more understands that the clashes between the states or civilizations are no preferable situation for them. So, they are looking for cooperation and coordination with economic powerful countries, like United States and Japan. However, there can be confrontation between the states for economic interests. However, they understand well that they can solve these confrontations with peaceful way or through dialogue. It is culture of “flat world” and any country who doesn’t understand this culture will be far behind the other in term of economic development and political development as well.

The primary goal of the author of “The Clash of Civilization” was to response to Francis Fukuyama’s book, The End of History and The Last Man. However, when the 9/11 event was happened on US soil, Huntington’s theory for clash of civilization reemerged as leading theory to solve the conflicts with Muslim extremist groups, especially fundamentalist Al Qaida. However, this theory also cannot explain the whole scenario of the whole world from Asia to Africa and Latin America to Western Hampshire. There are some conflict in Middle East and some countries of South East Asia. However, these are not conflicts between the two civilizations and it is rather the conflict between the handful of extremist group and the whole society.

Therefore, the flat world theory is more related to today globalization era and every country can get chance to thrive their economy and standard of living by dancing with tune of globalization ideology. And the world is flat because of globalization and as the world is flat, the globalization process is faster than before for every global citizen of today.

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