Globalism is best understood when compared to the more familiar concept of globalization. The technological, economic and cultural process, which lead to globalization, are often believed to be objective and impersonal , independent of the preferences, attitudes and actions of those political actors whose interests they deeply affect. Those who benefit from them can accelerate them at the most marginally. They can be stopped or reversed even more marginally by those who suffer the consequences.
Globalism, on the other hand, is a perspective consciously promoted by rationalist, humanist and Universalist actors and thinkers of both liberal and socialist political persuasions. At the core of all globalist positions are the following shared assumptions. One, globalists believe the problems which the world faces are global in nature. The urgency, immediacy or intensity of this problem may vary, but they are not restricted to any particular locality, community, state or region, and therefore, if left unattended, all would suffer from their consequence. Problems of environmental degradation, population explosion, nuclear war, terrorism, narcotics and spread of HIV/AIDS are global in this sense.
Secondly, all globalists believe that the solutions to these global problems also have to be global in scope. That is so because the resources required for handling these problems are beyond the reach of any nation, region or community. Not only financial and material resources required for handling these problems are beyond the reach of any nation, region or community. Not only financial and material resources need to be pooled globally, human inputs also have to be coordinated in order to achieve required levels of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Thirdly, all globalists believe that such coordination is possible on a sustained basis only when there is global consensus on the definition of problems as well as prioritization of preferred solutions. Such consensus in turn requires that decision-making processes are transparent and based on democratic equality of participants.
Given these assumptions, it is easy to see the objections, which globalists have against the kind of globalization presently taking place. They characterize it as “globalization from above” because it is being shaped by the rich and the powerful states of corporations. They exploit the tremendous concentration of wealth and power in their hands to force unequal integration on the weak and poor states and communities to further marginalize them. Globalists are not against globalization as such. But they prefer what they call “globalization from below” which would truly reflect the philosophy of globalism.