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Did globalization trigger the Capitol Riots? – The Hofstra Chronicle


Did globalization trigger the Capitol Riots? – The Hofstra Chronicle


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The riots in the US Capitol earlier this year following a rally by former President Trump discredited a common perception that economic “fear” was the cause of his election. Dr. However, Grant Saff, Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Studies and Geography at Hofstra University, believes that the stress caused by globalization was the justification for the events of the past four years which culminated in the Capitol. Like the ingrained racial intolerance that exploded in this historic act of rebellion, years of perceived disrespect, anger at a “rigged” system, and insecurity were what led to the game. In order to understand the economic and political reasons for the event, Saff first explained what globalization is and how our society is affected.

“It’s a change process on several levels,” said Saff. “But it’s a process that we normally see as a global process of economic, political and cultural change.” He explained that globalization was made possible by politics and driven by technology. “But I think it’s really important when we think about globalization to understand the geographic concept of size,” continued Saff. “And that is the idea that globalization is not just global, but local. What happens in one place affects another place, and it affects people differently depending on where you are and who you are. ”

There have been winners and losers in this multilateral process. The world no longer consists of rich and poor countries, but of rich and poor people, and the majority is at the mercy of a system that was created for reasons that are no longer relevant.

Globalization is observable, but a theory-based study; So it is relative to define when it started. Globalization, according to Saff, is the period referred to as “hyperglobalization,” which he defined as the period between the late 1960s and early 1970s. This period enabled “the rise of finance capital” and “the opening of the global system”. After World War II, to stop the spread of communism, the United States allowed unilateral trade with vulnerable nations. After avoiding the infrastructural damage of World War II, they saw themselves as an inviolable economic power that could withstand competition. However, whoever has been hurt in the process and has continued to benefit from it is what sustains the indignation of the American middle class. As class income inequality increased in the United States, the “elites” became the enemy, and the former factory and factory workers of Central America chose Trump as their champion. While Saff emphasized the diversity and contradiction of people’s political ideologies, Saff stated that many believe that “there are a set of rules for insiders and a different set of outsiders and we cannot break in and Trump is our vote” .

Trump’s supporters, in their eyes “real” Americans, are gradually being left behind in a system that keeps America, Wall Street and Hollywood rich, while the work they have relied on for generations moves abroad , is outsourced or replaced by machines. Saff believes that not all of those who attended the Capitol Riots were economically tense, but they are still falling victim to the insecurity that is widespread in this globalized world.

“If we look at racial polarization, these things have been around for a long time. I’m not entirely sure we can attribute globalization [its] increase but i think [what] Globalization has created a great sense of insecurity. ”While Saff reiterates that some acts of hate cannot and should not be explained, Saff believes it is important to take the time to understand this side effect.

“Globalization has [allowed] the winners – and the winners are the people in finance, mostly the people in IT, the people in the entertainment industry – those professions have done much, much better than the people they used to do compared to the people in the lower levels of the service industry have produced. And what we saw is a concentration of power where this type of company is located. ”

Often times society gets caught up in the idea of ​​blue and red states, but Saff explained that geography and how it relates to globalization is important. The big cities, often located in blue states, are where the companies that are thriving due to globalization are located. However, he affirmed the local character of globalization as people are left behind in these big cities too, one of the many complexities of globalization theory.

“For every person who makes a billion dollars in corporate finance, there are many low-wage workers who deliver their food and clean the offices,” said Saff.

In addition to economics, culture is fundamental to understanding globalization, and according to Saff, economics and ideology are undoubtedly linked. “The neoliberal market-based ideology was behind enabling the kind of globalization we had, and that ideology, which is also about free markets and the dismantling of the welfare state, was fundamentally detrimental to the incomes of many, many people, in my opinion in the United States, ”said Saff.

Globalization has also made it possible to compress time and costs, meaning travel time and costs have shrunk. Along with rising migration and immigration rates, technology and media have also been influenced by this phenomenon, Saff said, highlighting how interconnected the world has become.

“So when you look at the laggards, or the ‘deplorable,’ you have a real feeling that their cultural values ​​have been lost or are constantly threatened, and you can argue that that’s okay. [But] then social media feed that and it becomes an echo chamber and it’s really problematic, ”said Saff.

“And this echo chamber is also in the media and even in science with a great deal of conformity. Students often expect professors to teach a certain way and are offended if they don’t want to. This is how people felt so comfortable in their own bubbles … [that they] are actually offended if not reinforced or affirmed, ”he continued.


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