Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2004
Rebecca Todd Peters
The Future of Globalization
Seeking Pathways of Transformation
The phenomenon of globalization is widely recognized as the dominant rubric for describing life in the twenty-first century, yet fierce debates are currently being waged over its definition and beneficence to society. This essay offers a typology of four competing globalization theories— neoliberal, development, earthist, and postcolonial—that currently dominate globalization discourses and briefly sketches the constituencies, ideological underpinnings, and moral vision of each as background. It then critiques these theories using a set of normative criteria offered by the author. These criteria are framed to answer the question "What constitutes the good life?" and are rooted in a feminist, Christian ethical analysis of globalization. They delineate a democratized understanding of power as the context of moral agency, define humanity's purpose as caring for the planet, and establish that human flourishing is evidenced by the social well-being of people. The paper concludes by suggesting some pathways of transformation that build on these criteria.