What do the global financial crisis of 2008, climate change and the COVID-19 global pandemic have in common?
All three catastrophic events have confirmed that they don’t build borders the way they used to.
Today, national borders are no match for globalization. In effect, borders have been overpowered and outsmarted by globalization.
There’s no denying that the recent global pandemic has marginalized the efficacy of Canada’s national, provincial and territorial borders.
The modern border is porous, malleable and surmountable. It’s not an effective deterrent for undesirable political, social, medical or economic consequences. Borders aren’t preventing international influences from infiltrating a country’s domestic landscape.
The reason for this new normal is internetization. It’s a combination of global outreach and electronic connectivity that can jump borders.
Indeed, the word global has taken on a new meaning since the emergence of the Internet. Global outreach has become more expansive and far-reaching. Internetization has eliminated physical restrictions with respect to communication and interaction. In effect, internetization has made time and geography irrelevant.
The Internet has also triggered an age of individual and collective empowerment that’s unprecedented in the history of civilization. It provides individuals, institutions, civil society, businesses and governments with tremendous global influence and outreach.
COVID-19 will prompt a rethink of globalization by Pat Murphy
Our past has lulled us into a false sense of comfort and security within our national borders. This is no longer realistic or pragmatic. The old days when borders served as a deterrent from entry from any kind of foreign intrusion are behind us. Today’s borders are purely symbolic and simply serve as geographic markers.
All of this necessitates a redesign of the scope and substance of governance. Governance is being subjected to global forces unlike any time in human history.
It has become abundantly clear that globalization has resulted in diminished national and domestic autonomy. Indeed, the line between national and international linkages is blurred at best and fluid on most issues.
This doesn’t negate the need for domestic institutions and policies, it simply recognizes that their capacity to respond to international events can be constrained.
Global interdependence is the wave of the future, and national governments must manage their public policies with a diminished level of autonomy and sovereignty.
Global interdependence is a fact of life in the 21st century and our governing institutions need to adapt and evolve to embrace it rather than ignore its existence. An integrated and porous global environment exposes a country’s national governance architecture to new vulnerabilities and external shocks.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has once again demonstrated that globalization doesn’t respect a country’s borders. We truly live in what Marshall McLuhan called the global village.
Globalization is the signature mark of the 21st century. It’s here to stay and provides the context and explanation for everything going on around us.
The machinery of our governance and the orientation of our public policies must embrace a global mindset. Our future is global and there’s no turning back.
Dr. Constantine Passaris is a professor of Economics and an affiliate of the Canadian Institute of Cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick.