These are changing times where the waves of globalization are making their prints and impacts on world face. Old habits and traditions are opening up space for new developments more reflective of today’s world.
From England to Portugal and Mozambique, two new cases are emerging to signal changes that are taking place.
Britain is known to be a conservative society, but last week it broke new grounds, and more important, in an area so dear to the establishment. It looked beyond its borders and crossed the Atlantic to select a foreigner to take one of the most powerful unelected posts, the governor of the Bank of England.
Mark Carney, who will be the new face of London’s fiscal and monetary policy come July, may not be technically foreigner. After all he studied in Oxford, married to a British lady; besides being Canadian, he is one of Queen Elizabeth subjects. He plans to apply for British citizenship anyway.
The significance of the step stems from the fact that nationality is no longer an issue. And the message it sends it is more important to look for who can handle the job well, which helps undermine more the concept of the nation state. The British economy is suffering like those in most of the developed Western countries. Four years after the financial crises it is not out of the woods yet and that is why the qualities seen in Carney were of clear advantage over his competitors within the British banking community where he is expected to instill new fresh blood in the system.
Treasury Secretary George Osborne put it clearly that, “Britain needs the very best at a time like this and in Mark Carney we’ve got him.”
Half way across the globe, Mozambique is becoming a new attraction for many Portuguese professionals. Indications are all over: Mushrooming Portuguese community with growing support services in Mozambique; increase in flights; and so on.
Professionals working in other countries even former colonies is not something new and the GCC countries that have attracted people from all over the world is a good living example. However, what is new is that the Portuguese and for that matter other professionals from Western countries are in fact escaping from the harsh realities of the austerity measures, layoffs and rising cost of living back home. In that they could easily be compared to their fellows in other poor developing countries. And that is why it is not strange for them to look for their former colony as an option to build a new future.
The colonization phenomenon in a way was a reaction to growth in population in metropolitan centers and inability to meet their aspirations. The answer was to redeploy the political, military and technological advantage and subjugate new others and exploit their resources.
But this is no longer the 18th and 19th century where the armadas can provide the solution, but it is the age of globalization, where the nation state is becoming an obstacle with inabilities to provide answers.
Take also the example of the self-determination fashion that has been getting grounds all over from Scotland in the United Kingdom to Catalonia in Spain to Quebec in Canada in a list that keeps growing.
The last country to exercise self-determination that ended with its dismembering was Sudan. The current rationale was that the inability of the Sudanese elite to come up with a national program that addresses the country’s chronic problems that were reflected in its ongoing civil wars, lack of representation, peaceful transfer of power and so on. The logical conclusion is for the people of South Sudan to secede.
But that kind of logic does not apply to the kinds of Scots, Catalonians and Quebecois, who enjoy high degree of power devolved to them, respect for their national aspiration in various forms and in a well-established democratic environment, but still they continue to pursue their aspiration for an independent state.
The irony of this is that such phenomenon is taking place in the age of globalization that calls for bigger population and economic units to be able to compete, but it seems globalization is cutting both ways calling for bigger units at the time it energizes smaller aspirations.