outta control … (but pretending still?)

October 5, 2007

Tonite, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Os Guinness discuss the effects of globalization (unprecedented technological speed, scale, and simulteneaty).  He mentioned 5:

  1. Globalization is out of our control.  Globalization is not something we’re for or against: it is.  (First called “universalism” …  the language was changed when some decided it connoted too much human-control.)  We did universalism; globalization does us.
  2. Globalization is unsustainable.  Here, Os described the effect of technology upon developing countries up against the finite resources of our earth.  (Wish I would’ve written down stats.  It was something like, “If everyone on earth were to live like Americans, the world could exist for another 5000 years.”  Um.  Whoa.)  This, big for jt, who longs (inappropriately so?) for the grace of technology to ease the lives of millions in need.
  3. Globalization tempts “global elites” to less reflection and independent thought.  (That is, leaders begin to utilize systems [like google] and personnel structures [like specialists] to excel instead of thinking for themselves.)  Os sited top government and corporate execs who rely only and always on the advice of their aids–neglecting a framework that insists upon wisdom and (the time for) good, independent thought. 
  4. Globalization tempts us toward a loss of responsibility.  Because of the technological speed, scale, and simultaneity inherent in globalization, we are not inclined to (or, in some cases, capable of) thorough evaluation on the “front end.”  Ours is an age of unknown aftermath … or “tsunami-like dimensions,” to use Os’ language.  When my interests are not (immediately or apparently) threatened, I don’t care who else suffers or how.  (Wonder what Isaiah might have to say?)  
  5. Globalization sets forward conditions for a perfect storm of evil.  With (a.) technological freedom (i.e., travel, internet), (b.) socialogical dysfunction (i.e., fragmentation, isolation/independence), and (c.) global profit motive (i.e., expanding with each developing country), pressure is building toward a storm that could result in unprecedented dislocation, oppression, poverty, and trouble for many.

May we reach outside of ourselves for the grace to discern, assess, and engage with issues so clearly out of our control. 

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3 Responses to “outta control … (but pretending still?)”

  1. Becky Says:

    In response to #2, globalization (which my spell check does not acknowledge as an actual word) is perhaps more sustainable than Os indicates. If everyone on the earth lived as an American, the world would most likely not end in 5,000 years, as he supposes, because the increased demand on the earth’s resources would prompt new and greater innovation. This is the same “we’re going to run out of oil” argument that assumes humans will continue to use resources at the same rate, regardless of the cost. As certain resources become more scarce (and therefore, more expensive), we will have a natural incentive to develop alternatives.

  2. jt Says:

    Thanks for keeping us honest, Beck. You’re right, some of these stressors (as stressors so often do) are bound to pave the way for all-out innovation sooner or later. Actually, to be fair, I should say that Os was less than “distressed” in his tone regarding globalization. He seemed more bent on fostering careful, far-sighted stewardship (of advanced technology and limited resources) than joining in a “Chicken-Little” crusade. His observations, nonetheless, may have been a bit skewed toward the dark side …

  3. Alamanach Says:

    “His observations, nonetheless, may have been a bit skewed toward the dark side…”

    Oh, just a bit. I’ve never met this Dr. Guinness, but I’ve heard talk like this before. Globalization is allowing the poor and underprivileged of the world access to opportunities they never would have had otherwise. The benefits aren’t just economical either. I’ve been able to have long talks on religion with an Afghan friend of mine and teach him stuff you and I would take for granted. (He’s a muslim, but he’d never heard of the Ten Commandments before.) That kind of sharing is taking place all over the world, and it happens only because of globalization. This is a phenomenon that is enriching everybody, and there are a strange few who don’t like that. For some reason, those people want the poor to stay poor.


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