The Economist

Globalization undermines neither the welfare state nor democracy, our survey argues; it is entirely consistent with sound environmental policies; above all, far from increasing poverty in the third world, it is the most effective force for reducing poverty known to mankind. But what about the view that globalization is a kind of cultural conquest? This too is plainly wrong. Under a market system, economic interaction is voluntary. This is the market’s greatest virtue, greater by far than its superior productivity. So there is no reason to fear that globalization itself threatens traditional non-western cultures, such as Islam, except in so far as individual freedom threatens them. McDonald’s does not march people into its outlets at the point of a gun. Nike does not require people to wear its trainers on pain of imprisonment. If people buy those things, it is because they choose to, not because globalization is forcing them to.

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