Understanding Nationalism and Globalism

Citizens who want their country to sell more products to others around the world are called nationalists. They seek protection from laws and duties as they go about making money. Globalists are citizens who want businesses in all countries to have more or less equal opportunities to buy and sell wherever they like.  Similar definitions of these terms are found throughout the internet. Discovering better explanations is not difficult but understanding them may be a challenge as different nations may define the terms according to their own perceptions and history. For instance, Wikipedia, states that nationalism is the strong belief that the interests of a particular state are of primary importance. Another definition expands the belief to specify that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination. History details many struggles between one ethnic group and another under the guise of nationalism.

Economic globalization refers to the increasing interdependence of world economies as a result of the growing scale of cross-border trade of commodities and services. The increased trade refers to the flow of international capital and rapid spread of technologies. Wikipedia authors go on to say this growth is an irreversible trend. Paul James wrote a book about several aspects of tribalism, nationalism and globalism. He describes economic globalism as the dominant ideology of the day associated with different historically-dominant formations of global extension.  Globalism has been around for thousands of years and yet it is treated as a new phenomenon.

There are several reasons a start-up business will want to know about globalism. Besides the fact that their size, perceptions, energy and creativity are perfect for a global start-up, the word can be refer to many aspects of daily work. Consider the politics, language, or the theory of economic globalism. Economy and politics chase each other’s tale which complicates business strategies. The simple definitions given above are highly abstract concepts in real life influencing language, communication, social relationships, reciprocity practices, taxes, definitions of humanity, national self-esteem, civil rights, and the list keeps growing. In addition, when people grow uncomfortable with the speed of change, nationalism is the frequent fall back position. Nationalism can act as either the savior or the enemy.

All too often the state of the economy promotes political rhetoric; to justify proposed solution to problems like job loss, production costs, migration, leadership, or even religious diversity. The complex issues are not easy to explain so leaders tend to simplify and blame in order to manage the public’s response. Attempts to manage the public are seen daily. Politicians blame past leaders for treaties, elite leaders for their greed. About half of the citizenry blame government and business leaders. Capitalism receives more and more credit for the lack of solutions.

Todd Lipscomb, is an example of how blaming earns money. Once a business man, around the Pacific Rim, Lipscomb, moved to California and created a firm that sells only goods made in the United States of America. The company is doing well. His website promotes business in America for Americans. “Stand with us to protect America’s ability to produce, create jobs, and remain a world leader,” In other words, a we-them situation is promoted to increase the company’s bottom line. He is not the only person with this idea.

At the present time, the national legislature is working to reform the federal tax code and collection policies in hopes of improving business conditions. Their premise is that the “business tax of nearly 40% should be reduced to 25% because the rest of the world is charging about 20%” according to Paul Ryan, the House Majority Leader. Here the we-them pits the USA against the world and the weapon of choice is taxes. Paul Ryan promised more protective custom duties in the future to further support American workers.

This approach contends that the reason of poor economic growth of the last eight years should be blamed on past presidents and political parties who supported international trade treaties and allowed corporations to move out of the country in search of lower production costs.

The Hundred Monkeys company contends that “good products change the world and those products require many people to live and breathe that product for a change to occur.” This statement postulates that consumerism changes the world. Isn’t it interesting to see how most political and business statements seeking change, must describe a faceless enemy? Leaders often simplify complex ideas into to “I am right and you are wrong” slogans. I suggest that simplifying complex issues often results in super complex problems. Either/or statements exacerbate verbal conflicts until deadly weapons are seen as the only solution.

For instance, a presidential denial of climate change, did not prevent the worst hurricane season on record in 2017. “Make America Great Again” Slogan did not pay for billions of dollars in flood damage. Insults do not produce diplomacy or solve international arguments.  Lip service to an international issue rarely manages change. Collaboration on human rights, scientific research, fair trade, justice across borderlines must be studied carefully. Moral and tactical engagement is required from individuals before effective global organizational changes can be achieved.

The problems of globalization will outweigh the problems of nationalism according to Eric Hobsbawn in his book, Nations and Nationalism since 1780.  Hobsbawn thinks the growth of the international economy and advances in communication and transportation undermine the vitality and purpose of nations. International associations, trade organizations, and transnational corporations are usurping economic powers from nations and replacing them as the “major building-blocks of the world system.”

Power issues require small business owners to belong to large associations in order to be heard. Although belonging to a huge organization is distasteful to many, volume is one of the most frequent sources of power. The days of sitting around a fire, smoking a peace pipe and solving a problem are over except at the tribal level.

Small businesses need to choose whether to operate this as a tribe, state or world. Most problems solved by large business associations are abstract. The formulas developed to solve global issues cannot be achieved in their abstract state. National, state and local leaders are required to translate the formulas into daily policies and procedures and are then given to the front line laborers to accomplish as tasks.

Tribal problems are carried to regional and state government levels as the complexity grows. With each move the issue becomes more abstract. There is no reason nations will resist bundling their problems together and delivering them to a global political body for solution. Too often this is just a dream. Use the League of Nations and the World Health Association as examples.

At each governmental level there are bullies to be tamed and Solomons sought for the multifaceted issues. Solving cultural and polity issues is difficult at all levels. If a man asks for the global leadership role, be wary. Global issues are not readily tamed by crazy dictators, unlawful corporations, fearful citizens, and amoral plagues. Hate filled rhetoric is common at national and global level.  There are more faceless people to blame. People carry their problems and perceptions with them when they move from level of government to another.

Another issue, cultural diversity, is universal and yet spokesmen often speak against diversity. The diversity basics are taught in the home and practiced in schools. People perceive what they are taught in their early years. A civil population requires beliefs in service, kindness, sharing, and second chances. When people attempt to hide from secret societies, criminals, and power hungry bad guys with mean thoughts, or support the loud mouth with incomplete information and slogans, the outcome is often pain while evil reigns.  Heartfelt engagement in teaching and practicing honorable behavior is the way to support our local governments, guard our human rights and prepare for globalization. The more problems we solve at home means fewer abstract ideas that will be taken to the global level. In other words, micro and small businesses are needed to solve commercial issues. Diversity dishes up a great feast, hardworking people, and plenty of creative opportunities.

Wikipedia defines economic nationalism, “as an ideology which favors policies that emphasize domestic control of the economy, labor, and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labor, goods and capital.” Abdelal states that “economic nationalism involves the implementation of “economic policy that follows the national purpose and direction.” In other words, economic nationalism prioritizes national interests above private property and profit motives. Instead of pursuing opportunities solely to increase capital, policymakers make economic decisions with the intention of uniting and strengthening the nation-state.” Where do you want to stand and work? Will you be most effective contributing in the tribal group, region, state, or national body? Don’t forget the main teaching and practicing of civilization occurs in the family home.

Ian Fletcher, author of Economic Nationalism: Fair or Foul, contends that nationalism is the only way to produce beneficial changes. He states protectionism, and economic nationalism provide the best policies in diverse countries. My thought is we need national policy changes not because of diversity but to support diversity as it creates a respectful workforce. Our country has been through many population changes from Native Americans versus. Europeans, later the influx of emigrants from Ireland and Italy, and later still more refugees from various war torn countries. The national protectionists cannot prevent American cultural variations. Protectionists fear the eradication of cultural identities. Preservation of the past requires passing the culture to the new generations in their homes. Managing change requires citizens supporting civil rights in order to promote successful business.

Another group of people, the Elites, try to solidify their hold on political power, money, or fame. Elites are a danger to a changing country. This group use national rhetoric to reinvigorate nationalism as a driving force for the economy. Elites promote the “we/them” discussions to instill national pride as a economic solution. Germany, during WWII, is an example of what can happen when Elites take over a nation. Power corrupts. The last decade demonstrates the importance of cooperation among national economists. Collaboration among nations can foster growth and development. As modern changes in national economies occurred, governments became more flexible to take advantages of the changes. Economic fears promote more protectionism and a withdrawal from collaboration which can reverse all the hard work invested in the original collaboration. Following the European Union demonstrates these principles.

Leaders may fear that globalization threatens their autonomy and national identity. Leaders must adapt and evolve state processes to redefine national identity against the context of a globalized world. Suspicion weighs heavily on leaders as they consider the changes necessary to survive in a global community.  There are methods to reinforce national identity in a world that appreciates diversity. Learning more about one another is a successful strategy for overcoming fear. Small businesses are uniquely positioned to succeed in a global economy. Don’t misunderstand, the laws are set up to support huge corporations at this time. I am merely saying that the characteristics of small start-ups allow for creative approaches in a global market. They mentally belong to the world from their inception. Start-ups are all about change and definitions. Starting an online global business is sometimes cheaper than a local or national company. All the new rules, networking, costs are part of the start-up process.

The Artistic Perspectives LLC consults with artisans around the world to promote growing micro businesses. Artisans hunger for unique markets that may only be found in other countries. Diversity is promoted as AP teaches basic business principles. Participants enjoy opportunities to break into worldwide markets with the online Global Shoppe. Each artisan is promoted with a descriptive advertisement page and a national flag. Artisans practice international law as they ship products to foreign lands. They help classmates as peer mentors.

AP does not fall into either classification of Globalist or Nationalist as it is one of the new small companies that defines itself as a product of the globalist business approach. They conduct their business in the world. Their purpose is to consult with small organizations who do not want to expand but to begin with a global market. They teach collaborative teams and provide peer to peer mentorship while growing their own business and benefitting their own nation. Artistic Perspectives practices diversity within their own digital walls, seeks diverse business models, and characterizes diversity as their strength.  Whether you prefer nationalism or globalism, remember the most efficacious work you will do is at home. Teach the next generation how to survive in global business and defend a civil civilization.


Rawi Abdelal, “Nationalism and International Political Economy in Eurasia,” in Economic Nationalism in a Globalizing World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005), 26.

James, Paul.(2006) Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism: Bringing Theory Back In

Wikipedia, Definitions.