Globalisation to regionalism

The idea of a global village emerged, inspiring nations to connect and benefit mutually, in a world once characterised by isolated societies. Globalisation has brought various benefits to the table, including the transfer of knowledge and technology, medical field collaboration, and global exchange of information and technology.
The transfer of benefits across borders was significantly influenced by the Industrial Revolution. The expansion of trade bases was seen as an opportunity by developed nations to increase productivity. Walmart is one significant instance of an American retail giant that set up factories in Bangladesh to benefit from low-cost labor and relaxed labor regulations.
Walmart’s business model represents the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation. By outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs, Walmart can provide consumers with cheap products. Despite its advantages, the globalisation strategy has been criticised for adversely affecting local businesses and labor practices in developing nations.
Other US-based firms also established factories overseas, taking advantage of the available workforce and relaxed labor policies. The approach resulted in both increased production and local job creation. With plentiful, low-cost labor overseas, there was a demand for additional engineers, designers, and innovative minds to launch new products.
Let’s take Apple as an example. Foxconn, a Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturer, primarily assembles Apple’s iconic iPhones and iPads in China. By implementing a globalisation strategy, Apple has been able to maintain high-quality products while keeping manufacturing costs low. Apple products continued to be in high demand globally, thanks not only to their superior quality but also their focus on consumers in developing nations.
Like America, many other developed states gained unfathomable advantages after the advent of globalisation. These states were able to expand their market share globally, accessing consumers in developing countries where creating competitive products was difficult. This trend frequently reduced the likelihood of local products finding demand in their markets. As a result, only a few states benefited from globalisation and gained a competitive advantage in different fields, while developing countries faced difficulties in obtaining opportunities within their boundaries.
Globalisation saw the rise of wealthy nations seeking to spread their influence and dominate in trade wars. This allowed them to access inexpensive labor in developing countries.
The emergence of regionalism can be attributed to the unequal distribution caused by globalisation. Development became skewed towards the West, resulting in weaker nations being exploited and leading to issues such as supply chain disruption, pandemics, and unfair trade advantages.As a result, states have been banding together in regional alliances to protect their national interests.
The concept of regionalism gained momentum due to the intensification of global war in various fields as a result of globalisation. China and the USA are fiercely competing in the field of artificial intelligence. The possibility of knowledge exchange harming future interests has caused American think tanks to panic and consider limiting Chinese access to American competence in artificial intelligence.
As a result, like these two countries, many other states are adopting a regional approach to globalisation, prioritising the protection of their knowledge and secrets to secure their futures.
Today, regionalism has become a method to strengthen regional influence and confront global adversaries. The growing divide between superpowers sped up the development of regional alliances. China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is an instance of this inclination. It intends to decrease US influence by integrating regional countries.
China is hoping to boost its regional influence in Asia, Europe, and Africa by focusing on infrastructure development and trade as part of its OBOR initiative. This project’s audacity challenges Western powers and showcases a move towards regionalism in international relations.
In addition, due to its abundant human resources and untapped wealth, Asia has remained the center of attention for global powers. Asia, which was previously dependent on global powers, has started to recognise its enormous growth potential. Local manufacturing’s growth caused states to find regionalism more appealing than global chains. By forming regional alliances, Asian states have been gaining more power, resulting in stronger economic and military abilities, and a greater focus on regionalism.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a prime example of regional cooperation in Southeast Asia. Comprising ten member states, ASEAN has fostered economic growth, political stability, and security in the region. The approach of regionalism has enabled these nations to increase their global influence.
Regionalism has both advantages and disadvantages. International institutions and humanitarian programs have bridged gaps between developed and developing nations through globalisation. The global economy, food programs, and humanitarian initiatives could be at risk due to a move from globalisation to regionalism.
The world’s significant shift from globalisation to regionalism is due to the exploitation and disparities that were present in the former system. Even though regionalism can provide chances for self-sufficiency and progress, it also presents obstacles to worldwide stability and collaboration. Achieving an equilibrium between regionalism and globalisation will be pivotal in shaping the world’s future. While we navigate through this changing landscape, we should acknowledge the complexities and subtleties of global and regional dynamics to ensure that they benefit all nations and promote global harmony and prosperity.

The writer is a civil servant. He can be reached 
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