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An Analysis of James Knustler’s Globalization’s Time Is Up

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Globalisation’s Time is Up Critique

In James Knustler’s “Globalisation’s Time Is Up” the author tries to prove how the world is drastically changing due to the lack of available oil and energy sources. James believes “Today’s transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy.” James’s arguments, although appearing sound and related to his thesis, is unfortunately filled with a few contradictory statements that ends up cheapening his essay. For example, James says “The American Civil War hardly affected the rest of the world.” In his thesis statement though he clearly states the economic relation of the world is directly reliant, on relative world peace. I don’t think the American civil war that shaped the America we know today, could be so easily discarded as a small war with no impact on how the world is today. Another problem with his thesis statement is the lack of one factual piece of evidence that shows the direct correlation between times there has been turmoil or expensive supplies of cheap energy and globalisation has suffered from it. Even though this might be true, a well written essay must back up arguments with factual evidence. Something James could have done to do this, is by showing concise data. James could of showed the direct correlation to when one of the above factors changes (World Peace, Cheap Energy) globalisation as a result also changed.
What James, is trying to state in his article is that the absence of cheap energy or relative world peace will lead to the extinction of globalization, as the world has experienced before in 1914 during the First World War. However from 1870 – 1914 the world saw an overall economic boom attributed to a number of factors specifically; relative stability, efficiency in production, coal and steam power and innovations in finance. During the first collapse, the world was transitioning from coal to oil, which had a major impact on global powers. This brought new power to some countries which were in position of such resources, and sent others searching for it. This was a determining factor of success in the First World War. Those who possessed it, or had access such as England and France ended up winning the war. These volatile conditions are again present in the world, as countries enter an unknown period beyond oil. The conditions we enjoy today will no longer be sustainable, from the car dependent suburban infrastructures to the big-box chain stores. These luxuries can be seen as the greatest waste of resources in the world’s history. On top of the economic uncertainties we face a new race of arms as nations compete to control the last of the oil deposits. China, who has prospered due to globalization, is dependent on oil resource and will seek it peacefully or otherwise. It also faces conflict in its international relations primarily with the United States, and also home grown problems such as environmental issues, and political turmoil. These present conditions are a sign of the demise of globalization. The world is on rout to major changes that will drastically change the way we currently operate.
The authors view on globalization is very bold, however lacks depth and authenticity. The article overall is very ambiguous and attempts to convince the reader by simply making statements and predictions without providing adequate analysis and proof. In his second paragraph, James states “Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate” James is referring to “Relative world peace” and “Cheap supplies of energy” There could be a correlation with these, but what James could have done to further fortify his argument, is an example of turmoil or expensive energy and how it made globalisation suffer.
Later on in the article James goes on to say “It all fell apart in 1914, and a new round of globalisation did not ramp up again until the mid-1960s.” This could have been the perfect time for James to state how there was a world war during the years he mentioned, and how globalisation suffered during these times, if they in fact even did.
Near the end of the article the author states how the remaining two-thirds of the oil are with people that want to destroy the US. The problem with this statement is that Saudi Arabia has the largest reserve of oil in the world and that the US is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner. For a country that is supposed to “resent the West” according to James, people would think that being the biggest trading partner with them would not be logical.
There is no denying the fact that the depletion of oil in this world is of grave concern, yet James used opinionated arguments for a factual subject. There are many things that were true in his article, but the way he chose to inform the reader would have been better put, if he had created sound arguments by showing factual data using real sources. Another major error that would have made this article a lot sounder is to make sure that there are no contradictory statements throughout the essay. Whenever there are contradictory statements in essay, it quickly threatens the credibility of the author. In this article, James clearly contradicted himself, when stating that the American civil war was not a big deal in the beginning of the essay thus creating doubt in the authors writing from the beginning.

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