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[Introduction] It is no revelation to suggest that the cultural and political contours of the early decades of the 21st century will be shaped by that great potter of our times - globalization. However, it is not always clear why this might be so. Among the causes three are especially noteworthy: globalization's unprecedented scope; its multidimensionality; and its propagation. In discussing these attributes, the contexts for the future of world trade become more readily discernible, especially under the guidance of an Asian regional case study. The selection of this region for understanding the cultural and political contexts for the future of world trade hinges on China's steady rise in global influence. Goods (and, increasingly, services) will not only be made in China but made for China. This does not imply a new cultural hegemony. Like Europe, which is not only 'European', China is not only 'Chinese'. Multiple traditions continue to express themselves in mandalas of their own syncretic design. This Sanskrit word which means circle is especially pertinent to the future of world trade. As the Chinese trade mandala grows, it does so by absorbing tributaries of difference, thereby enriching itself and, in turn, further regionalizing - even globalizing - that composite (more-than-material) wealth. The West is becoming as much a part of contemporary China, and the East more generally, as the 'Other' is permeating the West. This, as stressed above, is not homogeneity. These are mandalized globalizations with Centres of cultural orientation, acting as ideational sources, rather than Wallestianian Centres of industrial power dominating a dependent Periphery.
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