Recent decades have witnessed increasing globalization, in which interdependence is escalating among countries around the world, politically, economically, and culturally. Given this background, some people liken this global interaction to the 19th century colonialism (Mufwene 2002), which is characterized by the occupation and control of African and Asian nations by European countries. From my point of view, however, 19th century colonialism is a special form of globalization; it has many distinct features of contemporary globalization, while leading to more severe consequences in comparison of globalization. Yet, without the colonialism landing the foundation, globalization would not happen nowadays.
From a political point of view, both 19th century colonialism and globalization have impacts on the countries’ politics, but 19th century colonialism seemed to lead to more grievous outcomes. In the colonialism, colonies’ political systems were overridden by the colonial powers. When Europeans sought a source of raw materials as well as a market for manufactured goods in Africa, they intervened in the local governance and centralized administrations. The indigenous authorities were then forced to subordinate under Colonial rule. In addition, to weaken the local power networks or constitutions, the colonists also applied “divide and rule” by implementing policies (Colonialism and the African Experience 2012). All these damaging factors have contributed to Africa’s current political instability.
During globalization, almost every country remains sovereign on a whole. However, with the growing connection with other countries, domestic governments are supposed to formulate and implement international policies to ensure mutual interests. For example, in order to join in WTO to access international investment, the Chinese government made changes to hundreds of laws, regulations and other measurements affecting investment and trade (Report to Congress On China’s WTO Compliance 2012). China would not revise its policies if it were not for globalization.
In term of economic development, both colonialism and globalization have beneficial and detrimental effects on the countries. As the colonizers began to the rule the colonies, they introduced superior mature ideas of economic development and advanced technologies. Hong Kong, a case in point, was declared as a free-trade port once colonized by the British in 1842. To attract more merchants, the British colonists granted duty-free access to international investment (Palivos, Wang & Yip 2011). Before 1842, Hong Kong was just a group of farming and fishing communities with approximately 7,000 Chinese; however, under the administration of Britain, roughly 11,000 ships pulled into Hong Kong harbor in 1900, and owing to Hong Kong’s economic stability, this number even doubled a decade later, when revolution swept mainland China and caused a long period of turmoil (History in Hong Kong). Nevertheless,...