Globalisation will never truly die as digital technology continues to shrink the distance between us.
It’s either a fool’s error or the product of hype journalism that anyone would believe that globalisation as a concept is coming to an end.
Yet it’s a very legitimate source of fear that has future forecasters worried about where to begin again once this current global crisis is over.
The root of this uncertainty and the belief that globalisation is dead stems from a forced shift away from physical interactions that were once thought to be the norm.
Realising that one must act and work within a completely digital framework is something that a whole generation of professionals are coming to grips with. Where once a visit to an international partner was as simple as a plane flight and a handshake, it’s now a videocall or nothing. An uncertain prospect for many who have always grounded their day-to-day operations in person-to-person contact.
To absorb all this at once and be swept up in the surge of fear and popular opinion, it’s no wonder why so many are convinced that the current age of globalisation is over.
But to take this alarmist point of view and proclaim that ‘globalisation is dead’ is to completely ignore the staying power of globalisation’s biggest promoter, digital technology.
Because, while globalisation sleeps, digital technology has rushed in to fill the void.
The use of digital technology has helped create everything from global trading networks to successful humanitarian movements that link people around the world and push for positive change. It’s a seemingly unstoppable force that has not only attached itself to globalisation but quickly become a core part of its very being.
And it’s not hard to see why this is the case, as the two are seemingly joined at the hip in what they hope to achieve.
Interconnection means growth. It means linking people in new ways and empowering them to reach previously unknown heights of insight and knowledge.
If it were possible to go back in time right now, travelling just 30 years into the past and trying to explain the potential of something as taken for granted now as Wikipedia, would, without a doubt, be met only with confusion and resistance.
But the effect of digital tech on globalisation doesn’t stop with its ability to inform and interlink.
Digital influences also contribute to an overall reduction in friction between global interactors.
Consider how B2B interactions are scaling to meet the demands of any client no matter their size.
Software and online service provision can be delivered from anywhere in the world and are empowering even the smallest businesses to take their place in a global movement and be taken up into previously unthought-of realms of success.
Think of how blockchain and crypto holdings are revolutionising the concept of monetary exchange, creating lucrative currency trading channels not tied down by physical restraints such as location.
All of this has only been possible because digital technology has begun to take the reins from globalisation and decide which trail to blaze into the future.
Which is why, having been handed a catalyst for worldwide change in COVID-19, globalisation isn’t dead, it’s just rebooting and updating.
The reality is, what’s staring the world in the face right now isn’t a death, but rather a new frontier that’s expanding out into the distance on all sides.
It’s the idea that a new form of globalisation is in its infancy, one that doesn’t even involve the globe from which it takes its namesake.
As digital channels like online marketplaces and data exchange platforms continue to create global opportunities for sellers and buyers from anywhere around the world during this crisis, the first quiet footsteps toward this new era of globalisation are being felt.
An era defined by a primary focus on the digital domain, with the physical realm serving as a medium of interaction only where entirely necessary.
What looks like death is actually a paradigm shift, one so radical that deciphering its current movements and end destination is proving difficult for even the greatest minds working on the subject today.
But what is becoming clear is that once this transformation is complete, digital technological advance will no longer just be governing part of globalisation, it will have become globalisation.
Where shaking a hand or visiting a potential business partner in person was the norm, the prospect of a video call and a professional relationship being built entirely on digital interactions is no longer a foreign concept in this rapidly approaching future.
Because, if one thing is for certain in this uncertain time, it’s that there’s no putting the digital technology genie back in the bottle now it’s free.
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