Global challenge 15: How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

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Slavery, as practised under the old colonialist regimes, has been replaced with sweatshops in third-world countries, where consumer goods are manufactured for the affluent citizens of the corporate world. In his book, The Global Soul, Pico Iyer refers to this new type of globalisation as 'cocacolanisation' ' a globalisation in which companies become more important than countries and people.As it treats people primarily as consumers, economic globalisation has no interest in promoting cosmopolitanism in accordance with the Stoic ideas of eudaimonia (happiness and well-being), autarkeia (inner-freedom and self-reliance) and a simple lifestyle based on the pursuit of virtue. It views people not as ends to be allowed to develop their full human potential for their self-fulfilment and moral benefit, but rather as economic units of consumption that provide the means for generating profits for large multinational corporations. However, as in the case of colonial globalisation, economic globalisation is providing, even if unintentionally, the means for advancing the practical possibility of cosmopolitanism. It provides and supports a vast information network accessible by billions of people around the globe, which can be used to lay down the foundations of cosmopolitanism.This is an invited article written for "The Conversation", an Australia-wide university and research based online publication. The article explores how and to what extent the Internet with its global reach is spreading and promoting cosmopolitanism. Can the internet provide a global medium for the development and promotion of cosmopolitan ethics that can transcend ethnic, religious, cultural and social conflicts? Can the cultivation of cosmopolitan ethics provide the platform not only for a better understanding between individuals involved in such conflicts, but for these differences to be transcended?Cosmopolitanism is a central belief of Stoic philosophy. It is the belief that human beings, as rational creatures, are inter-connected as part of the One Rational Cosmos. As fellow-members of the Cosmos, all human beings share a common kinship and equal moral status. They are all cosmopolitans, citizens of the world.Although antithetical to cosmopolitanism, colonialism (both ancient and modern) has advanced the cause of cosmopolitanism by providing one of its essential practical features ' namely, that of a universal common language ' for if universal reason is to spread and become the foundation of human relationships, it must be able to be expressed in a universal language, common to all people. The new globalisation of economic rationalism and free trade is determined not by gunboat diplomacy, but multinational corporate policy. Its opponents suggest that this is another form of world colonisation exercised though the money-market for the benefit of the rich and powerful. If true, the new globalisation can be perceived as another form of world colonisation, albeit an economic one.
Original languageEnglish
Type760 word article, online news/scholarly website
PublisherThe Conversation
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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