In International Relations, scholars have often approached the analysis of globalization from different perspectives, with two prominent schools of thought being liberal and critical IR. While there are numerous aspects to consider, I will highlight a couple of key differences between these perspectives, with an emphasis on my more liberal but somewhat realist viewpoint.
Liberal IR scholars generally view globalization as a positive and transformative force. Many of these scholars argue that globalization promotes economic interdependence, which in turn fosters peace and stability. Below are some reasons why the liberal perspective is persuasive:
- Economic Cooperation and Peace: Liberals believe that economic interdependence, driven by globalization, can and will act as a catalyst for peace between states/nations. According to their theory of economic liberalism, states that are economically connected/rely on one another, have a vested interest in maintaining peaceful relations to ensure continued trade and prosperity. An example of this in practice is the European Union, which with its deep economic integration, is often cited as an example of how globalization can promote peace.
- Institutions and Cooperation: Liberal scholars emphasize the role of international institutions in managing international affairs. They often argue that globalization has caused a rise in the systems of international organizations and regimes that facilitate cooperation on various issues, from trade to environmental protection. These institutions provide a platform for states to resolve disputes peacefully and collectively address global challenges.
While a liberal perspective on globalization has its merits, it’s important to recognize the critical IR viewpoint too, which highlights the potential downsides of globalization. Critical IR scholars argue that globalization can exacerbate and worsen inequality, erode state sovereignty, and lead to cultural uniformity, among other concerns. Nevertheless, in the context of this blog post, we’ve emphasized the liberal view for its emphasis on the potential for globalization to promote peace and cooperation, which many find persuasive. I also find that it is worth noting that the debate between liberal and critical IR scholars continues to shape and change the lines of discussion on the impact of globalization in today’s interconnected world.