April 18, 2017

Globalization effects felt throughout Cleveland community

Cleveland, a Rust Belt city along Lake Erie, has only arrived at its period of revitalization by first experiencing de-industrialization.

A once-booming, steel-manufacturing metropolis, Cleveland has seen a sharp decline in its population from 914,808 in 1950 to 388,072 in 2015, according to U.S. Census data.

Kathryn Lavelle, professor of world affairs at Case Western Reserve University, explained that the population decrease and decline of the steel industry can be directly related to globalization.

Lavelle shared her views on the direct influence that globalization has had on Cleveland’s economy during a panel discussion held Tuesday, April 6, “The Impact of Globalization on the World and Cleveland.”

Graduate students of the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) degree program at Cleveland State hosted the panel in the Fenn Tower Ballroom to address issues such as international affairs, economics and politics.

Lavelle defined globalization as a “process of international integration,” which involves the interchange of world views, products and culture.

She referred to the North Atlantic Slave Trade as an early form of globalization, and explained that exploration, colonialism and imperialism created a fertile soil for it to grow.

In more concrete terms, it’s the economic model that drives global homogeneity, or sameness, in both goods and cultural norms.

According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the decline in the Rust Belt region — states bordering the Great Lakes — was a result of the increase in foreign imports, and the relocation of manufacturing hubs.

Distinguished panel speakers included Ohio professors and professionals in fields related to globalization.

Panelist Steven Hook, professor of political science at Kent State University, addressed the specific role of the U.S. in perpetuating the economic system.

“The identity of the U.S. is based on globalization,” Hook said. “both in military and security, and also in economics.”

Hook explained that the U.S. is a hegemon, meaning that it is a dominating country with the ability to provide public good, economic support and security to others.

However, he said that America’s influence in the world is diminishing, especially in light of its current political administration.

“The soft power of the United States has dwindled, [especially] in the last few months,” Hook said. “It’s ironic because what the president is trying to do [is] make the United States stronger, but it seems like [Donald Trump is] relinquishing that influence and that power.”

The concept of soft power, or the “ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction” was developed by political scientist Joseph Nye of Harvard University.

Hook explained how the decline in America’s soft power is problematic in a global economy.

“In a way, the U.S. becomes sort of a victim of its own design because for the last [200] years, the global economy has moved in the way of globalization...and now it’s coming around against the United States,” Hook said.

Other panelists included Ambassador Jennifer Brush, who served as U.S. chargé d’affaires in both Serbia and Turkmenistan, and Danielle Drake, community relations manager for US Together, a refugee resettlement agency in Cleveland.


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