Globalization is Crumbling: Time for Domestic Self-Sufficiency in 2024

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The decades-long attempt to force “globalization” as the primary economic model is crumbling.

We saw it coming when the pandemic hit and suddenly “global supply chains” failed, leaving those relying on them in dire straits. Now, as clusters of war spread across the planet, once again the supply chains are broken like the fragile, artificial constructs they are.

But spare your tears; globalization was the product of supply-side economists for whom the word “conservation” is anathema. Globalization was always intended to make the wealthy more wealthy, to give those in control more control, and to leave the populace as sheep to be sheared wherever there were resources to plunder, cheap labor to be exploited, and money (it’s always about money) to be made.

By and large, “globalization” has led to plundering resources with virtually no attention to the impacts on intact ecosystems or the plants, animals, and humans that rely on them. Indeed, the environmental atrocities that have already been documented will continue to impact the planet long into the future. They can call it “climate change” or “global warming” but the simple truth is we are committing planetary ecocide and the consequences are exponentially multiplying.

Adding to this seemingly unsolvable problem is the enormous expense and subsequent consumption/pollution profile associated with “defending” the land, water and airways used to transport resources from origin to consumption. One need look no further than the boiling and never-ending crises in the Middle East and now spreading to the Orient, for proof of the futile and unsustainable attempts to do so.

The most recent example is the closure of shipping through the bottleneck of the Strait of Hormuz due to attacks on oil tankers and container ships in response to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. This narrow waterway connects the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, the route through which virtually all Middle East oil exports are shipped.

Our military is heavily involved in the area supposedly because a disruption in the flow of Arab “black gold” would have disastrous impacts on Americans. But “globalization” proponents somehow overlook one undeniable fact — the U.S. is now by far the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, and production increased a stunning 27% since 2017! These are resources sucked from our nation as if there were no tomorrow and exported in enormous quantities to provide vast profits for the oil and gas megacorporations.

In the meantime, more than 25% of Californians were unable to pay their utility bills in October. Here in Montana, that number hit a shocking 22%. Most of those “utilities,” such as electricity, come from oil and gas produced here — not shipped from the Middle East, not threatened with attacks, and not being “defended” by our outrageous $888 billion-a-year military budget.

The question is: “Why are Americans getting the shaft while the international oil and gas corporations get the gold?” The one word answer is “globalization,” where commodity prices are determined by “global markets.” Were those commodities tied to the actual cost of production and transport to market, we would be paying significantly lower prices for domestically-produced oil and gas.

It’s obviously far past time for both Republicans and Democrats to drop their phony, decades-long jive that we are sucking our nation’s resources dry for “energy independence.”

What we’re really doing is sacrificing our nonrenewable resources to benefit the few at enormous cost to the many.

Now is the time for domestic “self-sufficiency” to replace the rapacious policies of globalization and “supply side” economics — and we start taking care of our own people first and foremost.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.