April 19, 2003
Globalization necessitates a new reading of the human story, historian Robbie Robertson argues in this thought-provoking study. Its origins, he suggests, lie in the interconnections that slowly enveloped humans from the earliest of times.
But things changed dramatically five hundred years ago when humanity’s interconnections assumed global proportions for the first time and produced what the author sees as three consecutive waves of globalization, which have radically transformed human societies and their economic activities.
Managing these revolutionary changes has proved difficult. Globalization is destabilizing. The first wave after 1500 destroyed more than 90 percent of North and South America’s peoples and contributed to war and revolution in Europe. It also generated an industrial revolution that shaped the second wave in the 19th century. But in the ensuing rush to monopolize the wealth and power that globalization promised, classes, nations and empires escalated their rivalries. Consequently the second wave also faltered and collapsed into depression and war.
Now the same fate could face us again if we ignore the social and historical lessons that globalization presents us with. A globalized humanity, says Robertson, has to develop a new consciousness of itself in order to effect global solutions based on an inclusive rather than exclusive reading of history.
Dr. Robbie Robertson teaches history and development studies at La Trobe University, Australia. He is the author of several books including: Government by the Gun: Fiji and the 2000 Coup (with William Sutherland) (2002), Multiculturalism and Reconciliation in an Indulgent Republic: Fiji after the Coups (1998), Fiji: Shattered Coups (with Akosita Tamanisau) (1988), The Making of the Modern World (1986), and The Contemporary Era: an Introductory History (1984).