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Globalism has multiple meanings. In political science, it is used to describe "attempts to understand all of the interconnections of the modern world—and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them".[1] While primarily associated with world-systems, it can be used to describe other global trends. The concept of globalism is also classically used to focus on ideologies of globalization (the subjective meanings) instead of its processes (the objective practices);[2] in this sense, "globalism" is to globalization what "nationalism" is to nationality.

The term is now frequently used as a pejorative by right wing movements and conspiracy theorists, as in the New World Order;[3] it is sometimes associated with antisemitism, as antisemites frequently appropriate the term globalist to refer to certain Jews.[3][4][5]


Paul James defines globalism

at least in its more specific use ... as the dominant ideology and subjectivity associated with different historically-dominant formations of global extension. The definition thus implies that there were pre-modern or traditional forms of globalism and globalization long before the driving force of capitalism sought to colonize every corner of the globe, for example, going back to the Roman Empire in the second century AD, and perhaps to the Greeks of the fifth-century BC.[6]

Early ideas of globalism were also expressed by Adam Smith through his views on the role of commodities in distinguishing the civilized from the barbarous, which was deeply embedded in the ideology of empires.[7][8][9][10]

Manfred Steger distinguishes among different globalisms such as justice globalism, jihad globalism, and market globalism.[11] Market globalism includes the ideology of neoliberalism. In some hands, the reduction of globalism to the single ideology of market globalism and neoliberalism has led to confusion. In his 2005 book The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World, Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul treated globalism as coterminous with neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization. He argued that, far from being an inevitable force, globalization is already breaking up into contradictory pieces and that citizens are reasserting their national interests in both positive and destructive ways.[12]

Political scientists Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane, major thinkers of liberal institutionalism as a new international relations theory, generalized the term to argue that globalism refers to any description and explanation of a world which is characterized by networks of connections that span multi-continental distances, while globalization refers to the increase or decline in the degree of globalism.[1] The term is used in a specific and narrow way to describe a position in the debate about the historical character of globalization, such as whether globalization is unprecedented or not. For example, this use of the term originated in, and continues to be used, in academic debates about the economic, social, and cultural developments that is described as globalization.[13]

Globalization has been used to describe international endeavours begun after World War II, such as the United Nations, the Warsaw Pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, and sometimes the later neoliberal and neoconservative policies of nation building and military interventionism between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the beginning of the war on terror in 2001. Historically in the international relations of the 1970s and 1980s, globalism and regionalism had been defined somewhat differently due to the Cold War. Analysts discussed a globalism vs. regionalism dichotomy, in which globalists believed that international events more often arose from great power competition (then U.S.–Soviet rivalry),[14] whereas regionalists believed they more often arose from local factors.[15][16][17]


The term first came into a widespread usage in the United States of America.[18] The modern concept of globalism arose in the post-war debates of the 1940s in the United States.[19] In their position of unprecedented power, planners formulated policies to shape the kind of postwar world they wanted, which in economic terms meant a globe-spanning capitalist order centered exclusively upon the United States. This was the period when its global power was at its peak: the United States was the greatest economic power the world had known, with the greatest military machine in history.[20] In February 1948, George F. Kennan's Policy Planning Staff said: "[W]e have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. ... Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity."[21] America's allies and foes in Eurasia were still recovering from World War II at this time.[22] Historian James Peck has described this version of globalism as "visionary globalism". Per Peck, this was a far-reaching conception of "American-centric state globalism using capitalism as a key to its global reach, integrating everything that it can into such an undertaking". This included global economic integration, which had collapsed under World War I and the Great Depression.[23]

Modern globalism has been linked to the ideas of economic and political integration of countries and economies. The first person in the United States of America to use the term "economic integration" in its modern sense, such as combining separate economies into larger economic regions, was John S. de Beers, an economist in the United States Department of the Treasury, towards the end of 1941.[24] By 1948, economic integration was appearing in an increasing number of American documents and speeches.[25] Paul G. Hoffman, then head of the Economic Cooperation Administration, used the term in a 1949 speech to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.[25] The New York Times summarized it thus:

Mr Hoffmann used the word 'integration' fifteen times or almost once to every hundred words of his speech. It is a word that rarely if ever has been used by European statesmen having to do with the Marshall Plan to describe what should happen to Europe's economies. It was remarked that no such term or goal was included in the commitments the European nations gave in agreeing to the Marshall Plan. Consequently it appeared to the Europeans that 'integration' was an American doctrine that had been superimposed upon the mutual engagements made when the Marshall Plan began ...[26]

Globalism emerged as a dominant set of ideologies in the late twentieth century. As these ideologies settled, and while various processes of globalization intensified, they contributed to the consolidation of a connecting global imaginary.[27] In 2010, Manfred Steger and Paul James theorized this process in terms of four levels of change: changing ideas, ideologies, imaginaries and ontologies.[28] Globalism has been seen as a pillar of a liberal international order along with democratic governance, open trade, and international institutions.[29] At Brookings Institution, David G. Victor has suggested cooperation in carbon capture and storage technology could be a future element of globalism, as part of global efforts against climate change.[30]

Right-wing usage

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2021)

Globalist has been used as a pejorative in right-wing and far-right politics, and in various conspiracy theories. During the election and presidency of United States president Donald Trump, he and members of his administration used the term globalist on multiple occasions.[31][32] The administration was accused by some of using the term as an antisemitic dog whistle,[33] to associate their critics with a Jewish conspiracy.[3][34][35] Followers of QAnon conspiracy theory refer to what they term "the Cabal" as a secret worldwide elite organisation who wish to undermine democracy and freedom, and implement their own globalist agendas.[36] Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán has used antisemitic tropes in accusations against globalists, espousing a conspiracy theory of a world network controlled by Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.[37][38]

See also



  1. ^ a b Nye 2002.
  2. ^ Steger, Manfred; James, Paul (2019). Globalization Matters: Engaging the Global in Unsettled Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ a b c Stack, Liam (14 November 2016). "Globalism: A Far-Right Conspiracy Theory Buoyed by Trump". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 November 2016.
  4. ^ Zimmer, Ben (14 March 2018). "The Origins of the 'Globalist' Slur". The Atlantic.
  5. ^ "Quantifying Hate: A Year of Anti-Semitism on Twitter". Anti-Defamation League.
  6. ^ James 2006, p. 22.
  7. ^ Ashcroft, B. (2013). Post-Colonial Transformation. Taylor & Francis. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-134-55695-3. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  8. ^ Ashcroft, B. (2001). On Post-Colonial Futures: Transformations of a Colonial Culture. Writing past colonialism series. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8264-5226-9. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  9. ^ Dias, M.S.F. (2021). Legacies of Slavery: Comparative Perspectives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-5275-6700-9. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  10. ^ Dwivedi, O.P.; Kich, M. (2013). Postcolonial Theory in the Global Age: Interdisciplinary Essays. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-7864-7552-0. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  11. ^ Steger 2008, p. [page needed].
  12. ^ Saul, John Ralston (2009-09-22). The Collapse of Globalism Revised Edition: And The Reinvention Of The World. Penguin Canada. ISBN 978-0-14-317480-6.
  13. ^ Martell, Luke (2007). "The Third Wave in Globalization Theory" (PDF). International Studies Review. 9 (2): 173–196. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2486.2007.00670.x.
  14. ^ Bender, Gerald J.; Coleman, James Smoot; Sklar, Richard L. (1985). African Crisis Areas and U.S. Foreign Policy. University of California Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-520-05628-2. The globalist point of view sees Africa's importance as arising from its influence on the military and political balance between the United States and the Soviet Union
  15. ^ Stromayer, Eric (1986). "African Crisis Areas and U.S. Foreign Policy (review)". SAIS Review. 6 (2): 240–241. doi:10.1353/sais.1986.0010. ISSN 1945-4724. S2CID 154047818.
  16. ^ Golan, Galia (1986). "The Soviet Union and the PLO since the War in Lebanon". Middle East Journal. 40 (2): 285–305. ISSN 0026-3141. JSTOR 4327311. 'Globalists' tend to view international issues in terms of US-Soviet rivalry, while 'regionalists' see them more often as manifestations of local rivalries and problems
  17. ^ Cronin, Patrick M. (1993). From Globalism to Regionalism: New Perspectives on Us Foreign and Defense Policies. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7881-0278-3.
  18. ^ "globalism in American-English corpus, 1800–2000". Google Ngram Viewer. Retrieved 24 October 2014.

    Compare this with globalism in the British-English corpus, where its appearance is later and much more muted.

  19. ^ Rosenboim, Or (2017). The Emergence of Globalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-8523-7. JSTOR j.ctt1q1xrts.
  20. ^ Leffler 2010, p. 67.
  21. ^ DoS 1948, p. 524.
  22. ^ Kolko & Kolko 1972
  23. ^ (Peck 2006, p. 19, 21)
  24. ^ Machlup 1977, p. 8.
  25. ^ a b Machlup 1977, p. 11.
  26. ^ Machlup 1977, p. 11; Veseth 2002, pp. 170–1, where the Times article is reprinted.
  27. ^ Steger 2008.
  28. ^ James & Steger 2010.
  29. ^ Hirsh, Michael. "Why the Liberal International Order Will Endure Into the Next Decade". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  30. ^ Victor, David G. (2021-10-28). "Rebuilding US-Chinese cooperation on climate change: The science and technology opportunity". Brookings. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  31. ^ Sales, Ben (6 April 2017). "Stephen Bannon reportedly called Jared Kushner a 'globalist.' Here's why the term makes some Jews uneasy". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  32. ^ Levin, Brian (1 April 2018). "Opinion | Brian Levin: How globalism became a dirty word in the Trump White House (and America)". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  33. ^ Weber, Peter (7 March 2018). "Mick Mulvaney throws an 'anti-Semitic dog whistle' into his fond farewell message to Gary Cohn". The Week. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  34. ^ Stack, Liam (2017-08-15). "Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  35. ^ Goodkind, Nicole (1 August 2018). "Donald Trump keeps calling adversaries 'globalists,' despite warnings it's anti-Semitic". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  36. ^ Zuckerman, Ethan (2019). "QAnon and the Emergence of the Unreal" (PDF). Journal of Design and Science (6): 1–5. doi:10.21428/7808da6b.6b8a82b9. S2CID 201487428. At [QAnon's] core is the idea that all American presidents between John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump have been working with a cabal of globalist elites called 'The Cabal' to undermine American democracy and forward their own nefarious agenda. ... In all versions of the mythos, the Cabal seeks to destroy American freedom and subjugate the nation to the wills of a world government. Hence a donation of 10,000,000 to Clarence Lee Ka Ho is needed to keep globalisation possible.
  37. ^ Kornbluh, Jacob (2022-08-04). "In U.S. speech, Viktor Orbán invokes Holocaust, attacks George Soros". The Forward. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  38. ^ Jenne, Erin K.; Bozóki, András; Visnovitz, Péter (2022-06-21). Antisemitic Tropes, Fifth-Columnism, and 'Soros-Bashing': The Curious Case of Central European University. doi:10.1093/oso/9780197627938.003.0003.

Works cited

Further reading

  • The dictionary definition of globalism at Wiktionary
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