Liberal & Critical Perspectives on Globalization

The most important thing about globalization from a liberal perspective is the overarching interdependence- be it economic or institutional. They believe that through state integration into an international system, there is a greater likelihood of mutual benefits and economic growth, as well as an easier path to peace governed by international institutions. With complex interdependence, states have a stronger incentive to cooperate and maintain stability as there is an intrinsic reliance on each other for your own benefit.

Critical scholars emphasize inequality and the dangers of a monocultural world. To me, it seems like they worry about complex interdependence not just about the economy or institutions- about the consequences of a world in which everything is so interconnected there is only one way of existing. Globalization weakens state sovereignty, especially in developing countries in which the influence of already-defined powers will take control and the dominant West will undermine local identity and culture. It could also contribute to furthering the Tragedy of the Commons, all countries are bound together but no one is willing to actually do anything, so environmentally, there are dangers as well. Mostly though, I think it’s a lot about the United States being the sole hegemonic power that dictates nearly everything. Is globalization a system of complex interdependence or is it just a hegemonic power in total control over the globe?

Personally, I definitely like the liberal view, but I also really like the idea of everything working out and being peaceful so that may be why I would rather listen to that kind of perspective. I will say though, few things are as persuasive as fear, and critical scholars really use that to their advantage. While I’m not sure about a monocultural world, I do understand that globalization seems like a mechanism to perpetuate capitalism and Western thinking which obviously has some benefits but I just don’t believe that a world with one ideology would work, it feels a little too dystopian for my liking.

I feel like the liberal view is made to sound more rational and the critical view is usually framed as pessimistic- a consequence of living in the United States maybe- but this difference makes me more inclined to want more information from critical scholars. I want to know why and how their beliefs would come to be whereas liberal scholars it’s not that difficult to know what they think of globalization. They make it seem so easy that it makes me trust them a little less honestly, because how can there be no downsides to something? For that reason I guess I find the critical view more persuasive because despite the fact that I do think I side with the liberal view, I can’t fully buy into their utopian idea, so the criticisms of globalization definitely intrigue me. While I may not be an opponent of globalization, I can’t fully say I find the liberal view persuasive, it’s the only view I’ve been taught, so naturally, the lesser known critical view is more interesting to me.

← Previous post

Next post →


  1. evelynmw

    Hi Gigi, thank you for your post! I agree that both the liberal and critical perspectives have some merit in their view of globalization. I think that, in a perfect world, complex interdependence and globalization would be very beneficial to the global system. However, since we do not live in said perfect world, we must acknowledge the harm that globalization causes and the fact that it primarily serves Western countries. I also think the liberal perspective ignores that by exporting production to less developed countries, workers in countries like the United States are losing out on jobs, which is also harmful. I also definitely agree that as citizens of the United States, we tend to have a more favorable view of the liberal perspective on this complex topic. Do you think that it is harmful that citizens of the U.S. grow up being taught that globalization helps everyone?

    • I definitely think it plays into American lore. As a hegemonic power, it’s really easy for us to control the narrative and framing of global situations and there has definitely become a polarized sentiment in the US, a very “if you’re not a friend you’re an enemy” kind of thing. I think this goes for being taught globalization is helpful growing up. Two things can be true, and in the current political climate, many people in power aren’t allowing for a gray area, and in doing so, are teaching kids that there isn’t a compromise between globalization being good or bad. Acknowledging other points of view is crucial to the relationships of the future so I definitely think it’s harmful .

  2. Thank you for writing this post, I found it to be very interesting! I wrote about a lot of similar things in comparison to you, and I agree with many things you pointed out. I said that I found the critical perspective to be more persuasive, mainly because I thought the liberal perspective was too optimistic concerning globalization. I think because we do live in not only the West, but America, we are able to understand just how much of the products we use on a daily basis were imported here from another country. My question for you is how much do you think America benefits from exploiting developing countries instead of encouraging their development? Further, do you think that is the responsibility of America and other developed countries?

    • I think the US benefits a lot. Just looking at Puerto Rico, the US won’t consider them a state, they don’t have representation, and yet they are expected to essentially obey- that is exploitation, and it has happened so often throughout a post-1776 history, especially during the Cold War.
      I think the responsibility to protect is real, I think where human rights are being violated it isn’t right to act oblivious or holier than thou, but when it comes to stabilizing developing countries, there needs to be some sort of middle ground where we provide fair support without becoming too involved. Of course, I don’t know how to go about that at this moment, but I’d like to one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *