As we have seen from the demonstrations at recent international conferences, globalisation has become a highly controversial issue.  Its critics claim

There may or may not be some truth in these claims – which need to be discussed and considered.

However, regardless of the concerns and wishes of its critics,  globalisation is here to stay.  Just as the Luddites found it impossible to stem the industrial revolution and recreate the simpler, perhaps more human scales of cottage industries, so it will be equally impossible for critics of globalisation to stop the forces of planetary integration that are assailing them from every side.  Indeed, they have about as much chance of doing so as King Canute had in ordering the tide to recede.

The reason lies in the inexorable tendency for physical, biological and social systems to evolve into more complex forms. Globalisation is the latest manifestation of this tendency.  It has developed an organic momentum of its own – and is driven by numerous parallel strains that are all contributing to planetary integration.  They include phenomena such as

All this is overwhelmingly in the interest of people throughout the world. It is rapidly bringing almost 2.4 billion Chinese and Indians from rural poverty to the consumer benefits of urbanisation and higher levels of education and media exposure.

Globalisation is also developing its own broad standards for political governance and economic policy.  Societies around the world are discovering that freedom works.  Axiomatically, the more that governments empower their own people by giving them freedom of choice in consumer and labour markets the more they are enhancing the collective power and wealth of their countries.  It is not by coincidence that the growth of the Chinese economy has been accompanied by the liberalisation of its markets and of the relaxation of the rigid controls and drab uniformity imposed by Mao Tse Tung.  Emerging constitutional systems are unlikely to mirror Western democracies – but success anywhere in the planet will require greater personal and business freedom; less rigid regulation and sharper incentives to compete.  By the same token, most states have learned that reliable judicial processes; relatively free international trade and responsible labour, monetary and fiscal policies are all necessary for continued growth.

Where will this all end?  It is difficult to make predictions in an environment that is changing as rapidly as our own – in which the sum total of all published knowledge now doubles every three or four years; in which Moore’s Law continues its inexorable progression of doubling computer capacity and halving the cost of computing every thirty months or so; and in which new technologies are waiting in the wings that can rapidly change the world and the circumstances in which we live.  It is important to remember that some of the central realities of our own time – like the internet, the cell-phone revolution and the collapse of Soviet Communism – were all unthought of only twenty years ago.

However, it is possible to venture the following scenarios for the future of our globalising world:

The following factors might inhibit the onward march of globalistion:

So this, probably, is where globalisation is headed:

As for the end of globalisation?    In the absence of any major catastrophe it will continue for as long as mankind exists.  There will be no going back – no recapturing of earlier ages of relative isolation.  Globalisation is our destiny.