LONDON (Xinhua) – China and the world have both benefited from the process of globalization, as globalization is a major and unstoppable phenomenon, one of the leading academics on the subject has said.
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“Globalization does increase wealth. Wealth increases when each side of the bargain gives the other what they’re best at doing,” Professor Martin Albrow, an academic who has written extensively on globalization, told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
Prof Albrow said the idea of two parties benefiting from a mutual exchange through trade was not a new idea, citing the 18th-century Enlightenment economist Adam Smith.
“Here we’re going back to very, very old ideas that are associated with Adam Smith and earlier, the classical economist,” Prof Albrow said.
As one of the first sociology academics in British universities, Prof Albrow is a significant figure within the global academic community, and his studies of German sociologist Max Weber and of globalization are highly regarded.
In 1996, he published the book “The Global Age: State and Society Beyond Modernity,” which examines the challenges facing the modern world as it stood on the edge of what he identified as a new era that challenged the concept of nation states and the role of modernity.
Twenty years later, Prof Albrow’s work is considered a useful and prescient early account of the tensions of globalism and the challenges of the 21st century.
Prof Albrow said the process of globalization contained some challenges to the prevalent Western idea of a nation state, and to the good governance of a nation.
“The world is undergoing the impact of a very rapid globalization,” he said. “And the results of globalization are very much the disruption of traditional ties, communities, and solidarities.”
“So globalization is actually very disruptive, or can be very disruptive for individual countries. For globalization not to be disruptive, the country itself, its government has to have a very clear idea of what the advantages of globalization are and what the disadvantages are,” Prof Albrow added.
China has considered the challenges of globalization, which had been managed well as China engaged more with the rest of the world.
“Globalization is not necessarily to the national advantage or to the advantage of one country,” he said, adding that it is only about whether “the country manages it effectively.”
“And this is what China is doing at the moment – it makes sure that globalization does not disrupt its society,” Prof Albrow noted.
The reform and opening-up has turned China’s vision outwards and paved the way towards its engagement with the rest of the world over the past 41 years, to the benefit of both China and the world, he said.
“1978, that was fundamental – the opening-up under Deng Xiaoping, and that was a critical juncture,” Prof Albrow said. “China has opened up ever since and has recognized the rest of the world.”
“Chinese people travel abroad and they welcome foreigners,” he noted. “So that interchange with the rest of the world is fundamental for managing globalization.”
“This doesn’t mean you simply accept anything the world has … And you help the rest of the world to come to terms with globalization,” Prof Albrow added.
He points to China’s full participation in “international relations in all the institutions of the contemporary world,” and thinks that China is “guarding its own boundaries” in the meantime.