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One of the most important factors influencing international society in the early 2000s is the principle of globalism. The impact of globalism on sovereignty is fueled by the vast growth in the flow of goods, services, capital, and labor across state and national lines. This process has been dramatically accelerated by the communications revolution, and the impact on state sovereignty suggests that these global forces have seriously weakened the territorial boundaries of states. This intense flow of values across state and national lines also invited instant comparison and appraisal. As barriers to human interaction have been liberalized, what has been the social benefit and the social cost? There is no clear answer to this question. We know, for example, that without the communications revolution, it is possible that the global HIV/AIDS pandemic might have been containable. Thus, following the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak of 2003, dramatic limitations were placed on communication to prevent the disease from spreading globally.

If nation-state barriers are not as salient, other barriers in the global age challenge the concept of global equity and fairness. While the world has generated more wealth than mankind has ever before achieved, the conditions of impoverishment throughout huge sections of the planet suggest a global economic apartheid rather than a global vista of improved and shared equity. It is widely recognized that a planet that is radically divided between the haves and the have-nots, in which there is an acceleration of short-term gains for the haves and an acceleration of poverty and deprivation for the have-nots, will ultimately result in the depreciation of all. In short, underdeveloped as the concept of global equity is, it may be the cornerstone upon which the improvement of the global condition of deprivation is built, not because this is necessarily a spiritually beneficial thing, but because the long-term prosperity—and possibly the survival—of the human race may depend on it. The history of ideas in the future will therefore be challenged by the ideological and jurisprudential relevance of the concept of equity and whether equity can be the critical lever that provides us with universal concepts of respect and freedom in a global commonwealth of dignity.


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