Is the word "globalism" useful?

In a past article, it seems I violated one of my own rules by referring to what I called globalists. Why use a term that is seen as a dog whistle to the far right, or to the followers of fringe conservative radio shows (probably in America)?

Well, that's not what it is, really. Words come into use, and we may use them somewhat differently. But, if we should succeed in explaining ourselves properly and eloquently when making our case, it matters not.


The answer is that there are many terms referring to them same thing, and this one seems to be in increasing use, which makes it likely that someone will search for it online. One can speak of elites, or of internationalists, or of international capitalists, or of corporate interests. Such terms, when used in an accusatory way, are really referring to a class of people, an economic or social core, similar to but not the same as the beneficiaries in a global core-periphery relationship.

The "global" people are a core, the beneficiaries of global relationships in a global social network, whereas the "local" are the periphery in some way, the ones whom the perceived transnational elite are concerned with managing or benefiting from. All talk of whether you are good enough, or useful enough, or ought to behave in this or that way, is typical of a certain class of people to whom we are here referring. They assume that the world's population is somehow theirs to manage, and that this should be done according to their values, which is in stark contrast to those who believe their local cultures or national interests come first.

If you have a leader who, in trying to convince the people of their vision, becomes condescending about the attitudes and sensibilities of their people, and appeals to some sort of global reality or global change rather than the national or local realities, they may be a globalist. As such, it makes sense to speak of globalism and localism as the counterparts to core and periphery or to the bourgeoisie and proletariat, and this binary may be more helpful to any discussion of politics than the old binary of "left" and "right". Such a new distinction helps to explain the diversity of conflict and protest worldwide in a way that left and right do not.

Beyond left and right

Left and right have ceased to be very useful things that one can actually use in an analysis of a political conflict. Left simply refers to the publications, organisations and celebrities that label themselves as the left, and it is otherwise unidentifiable. Whatever they say is left-wing. In practice, the professed left may be aligned with corporate interests or capitalism, or it may be against them, as there is no real clear commitment to anything by those who use this label. The same applies to the right.

A 2020 study showed that political partisanship causes "cognitive inflexibility". I am sure it was found that when people are not allowed to see labels, names, logos, and faces, or to know who is talking (is it Biden or Trump?), they accidentally place their political allegiances all over the place and keep changing sides. In contrast, one can actually sort statements and rhetoric (not necessarily individuals or organisations) into the globalist and localist categories quite effortlessly, which makes these terms more meaningful when it comes to actually thinking about ideas and policies. Simply, is the candidate defending the people as they are and the idea that we should let them be, or is the candidate demanding they conform to some global, universal ideology or agenda?

On globalist conspiracies

A term is as useful as people can make it. This one, "globalism", is often applied in an annoying way. It tends to just be used by conspiracy theorists without any accompanying explanation ever being given, other than yet more conspiracy theories usually particular to whoever is rambling and not even common to the next user of the word.

The downside to using the term is simply the sheer volume of nonsensical or conspiracist discourse on the internet using the term "globalist", which could be an argument against using the term. Is it wise to get people into using a word that, when searched online, sends people into a pit of dissonance and gibberish and makes them less likely to understand reality? Perhaps not, but one can write in a clear way that continuously injects real meaning into the terms we use, which helps break the monopoly of those who want to talk rubbish.

When used as I have presented it here, "globalism" has a very simple, distilled meaning. It refers to no conspiracy, and yet it does not necessarily contradict those who have the conspiracy theorist mindset either.