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  • Writer's pictureAlperen Kürsat Demirbag

The Affect of Globalization on Conservatism

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

With globalization, the world has become an even smaller place. Thanks to the development of communication and transportation, people from all over the world have become able to exchange products, content, and ideas with each other. Also, the invention of new vehicles and the acceleration of transportation helped the world's trade network to expand. People have started to get easier access to products from all over the world. In addition, thanks to the internet, which is one of the most important discoveries of our age, ‘information’ has become more accessible. We can access different ideas, works, ideologies, theories, and articles whenever we want. Of course, this situation provided many advantages for humanity. For example, in our age, people from different parts of the world can gather around common values. Even though they are in different parts of the world, the fact is that people who have the same idea can easily communicate with each other.

This has strengthened the bond between people, and the borders are no longer considered as limits.

Since information has become so easily accessible thanks to globalization, cultures, ideas, and ideologies are spreading even faster. On the other hand, people's reactions to this situation can vary. For example, it is quite possible today that a person living in Pakistan admires Scandinavian mythology or someone living in the Middle East likes to listen to metal music. At this point, people may fear that their cultures, ideas, or beliefs will be forgotten. Due to this fear, they can tend to be more conservative. The content (books, movies, shows, websites...) created by developed countries influences the content produced globally. Local values lose their importance and global values rise, which creates the biggest fear and ideological motivation for conservatives. As a result, conservative societies have become more strict about the cultures, beliefs, and ideas that have been transferred from generation to generation.

Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

It is likely to see that conservatism is often associated with nationalism. However, conservatism triggered by globalization can be distinguished from the conservatism related to nationalism. The point to draw attention to here is the fear that the global integration that comes with globalization will cause the locals to disappear. Throughout history, human beings have done their best to keep the values, culture, and beliefs of the society they live in. Maintaining these values and transferring them to future generations has been one of the motivations. To sum up, this is a natural kind of reaction for people who are scared of getting their values fading away. This situation affects the social life in society, but there is another level to consider; the state-society relationship.

It is in the nature of the government to adopt an ideology and act accordingly. These ideologies include an economic, political, or ethnic emphasis. Since people can easily access information about ideologies and ideas thanks to the internet, they have enough knowledge to criticize or approve the policies of their governments. This situation can make the work of governments difficult from time to time. Also, governments can take decisions on a scale that can restrict the freedom of citizens.

The intellectual level of society can determine the relationship between the state and society.

On the other hand, there may not be the accuracy of the obtained information via the internet. The governments who adopt oppressive regimes like to take advantage of this information pollution. In underdeveloped countries, conservative ideology is mostly superior to all others. Supporting conservatism often helps governments strengthen and maintain their power. Realizing the power of the internet and media, oppressive governments do not hesitate to spread fake news in their favor. One of the most common attitudes generally seen in such countries is launching globalization as a massive threat to its people. This helps oppressive governments to keep their people under control. In the long run, the public will inevitably begin to experience the disadvantages that occurred due to this strategy.

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

However, when we look at the countries that have adapted to or led globalization, this bad example is not often encountered. In these societies, people are open to innovation and they make up the majority compared to conservatives. They highly utilize the innovations brought by globalization and keep developing. These people, mostly, are more aware of what is happening around them and the world. Therefore, in these countries, neither the governments have oppressive intentions, nor do people get fooled.

In conclusion, we see that globalization can trigger a fear of losing values. It is up to the government to determine how this fear will evolve. If the government is fair and open-minded, the public will be influenced and focus on the advantages of globalization. If the government puts its interests above the interests of its people for the sake of maintaining its power, this fear will evolve as a tendency to conservatism. The fate of globalization on a country-by-country basis is definitely at the initiative of governments.

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