Rise of Identity Based Politics and their Impact on Countries

Globalization and Parochialism

Concomitant with the globalization of the world there has emerged a trend wherein in countries around the world, parochial interests and chauvinistic interests have emerged as a response to the globalization process. This emergence has mainly been due to the fact that globalization benefits a few at the expense of the many and hence, the disenfranchised and the dispossessed find a voice and expression through the parochial interests that emerge to push the interests of those left out by the globalization process. In other words, as globalization favors the skilled and those who are savvy to take advantage of the opportunities thrown up by globalization, the interests of those who have lost out in this process are taken care of by the parochial interests. These parties with agendas of localization pose a threat to the globalization process because they threaten to derail the integration of the economies of the world into the global economy. Therefore, business leaders have to be cognizant of this trend and ensure that their companies offer benefits to everyone instead of a few. This means that global companies have to glocalize or adapt their global policies to local conditions so that the benefits are evenly distributed instead of being skewed to benefit a few.

The Rise of Identity Based Politics

The emergence of parochial and chauvinistic interests has also encouraged the rise of the identity-based politics wherein political parties and those parties that pander to local, regional, and national identities have emerged to reclaim the space that has been left behind as their countries globalized and integrated themselves into the global economy.

The noted author, Amy Chua, points out in her book, The World on Fire that because of the globalization processes benefiting certain sections, those that have been left out of the process are increasingly turning to identity politics and protesting against the global corporations in a manner that can be described as emanating from the fires of anger. This situation confronts many countries in Asia where regional and chauvinistic parties are increasingly on the rise to counter the globalization processes. Indeed, the situation in countries like India and Thailand along with Indonesia has become so bad that there is a veritable gridlock in the globalization process, which is increasingly unable to move forward because of the intransigence of the political system to evolve a consensus on how to move forward with global integration.

Their Impact on Countries

The rise of parochial and identity based politics has severe impacts on the countries. For instance, it is no longer possible for the main political parties in these countries to move forward with global integration in the face of vociferous protests from the local and regional parties. Further, the very process of globalization is imperiled because of the gridlock in the political system that arises from the conflict between those who have benefited from globalization and those who have been left out of the process. Indeed, in many Asian countries, it is common to find large-scale protests and resistance to the entry of global corporations into those countries that it becomes impossible for these countries to integrate themselves into the global economy. Further, in countries like Indonesia and India, there has been violence as well directed at the global corporations forcing many of them to abandon their efforts to expand in these countries. Hence, the net result is that these countries are abandoned by global capital that is country blind and flows into whichever country that offers the best possible returns and welcomes them with open arms.

Concluding Remarks

Finally, it is up to the policymakers in the developing countries to explain the benefits of the globalization process to their citizens. Concerted awareness campaigns and targeted educational programs must be taken up by the governments and the chambers of commerce and the industry bodies to take the message to the citizens that globalization is ultimately a process that is similar to a rising tide that lifts all boats.


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Political Science