Analyzing the current social situation, it is impossible to ignore those trends that determine the face of the world today. First of all, it is about those processes that testify to the real divergence of the world community, while the information context of the ongoing social transformations often plays a decisive role.
The emergence of new information and computer technologies 44 significantly influenced the culture, and also determined the nature of interaction between people in the modern world, both at the micro- (interpersonal) and at the macro (international) level. The increase in the riskiness and instability of the society becomes the main prerequisite for the divergence of the world space.
Analysis of such unstable and potentially conflict regions carries out in his work “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe” by American economist and political scientist G. Friedman.
G. Friedman focuses special attention both on the actual conflicts that are taking place today in the world (the war in Syria, the clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh, etc.), and on the potential ones, which for one reason or another are in a latent state, but under certain conditions risk becoming points of military confrontation.
Analyzing the historical past of Europe and all the problems that she faced in the last century, the author comes to the conclusion that already today “Europe is overpopulated and fragmented” [Friedman, G. Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe / J. Friedman; [trans. from English.]. – St. Petersburg [and others]: Peter: Peter Press, 2016. – P. 10].
The huge flows of migrants, as well as the “extinct”, but not extinguished conflicts that have not disappeared anywhere, give the political scientist grounds to assert that border zones are “flashpoints”. In addition, the global financial crisis, which began in 2008, led to a deterioration of the economic situation in the whole of the European Union and the growth of unemployment. This also increases social tension and leads to destabilization of society.
Moreover, the old conflicts between the warring neighbors in the Balkans and the Caucasus “for a time smoldering somewhere very deeply and almost invisibly, once again became the real flashpoints” [Friedman, G. Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe / J. Friedman; [trans. from English.]. – St. Petersburg [and others]: Peter: Peter Press, 2016. – P. 214-215].
These facts, led by G. Friedman, clearly demonstrate that the project of creating a unified world as a whole is utopian and therefore failed. In response to this in the last decades of the 21st century, the multiculturalism doctrine began to gain popularity, which assumes the equivalent existence of various local cultural entities and even the recognition of a culture “imported” from outside with equal status with the local one. However, the thinker points out that the mass migration of the Arab-Muslim population to Europe by no means contributed to the fact that the principle of multiculturalism was implemented in practice.
Moreover, this gave rise to a reaction in the form of separatism and the growing internal discontent of the local European population. Summarizing all the above facts, G. Friedman concludes that “in recent years, European societies have undergone significant changes in their internal structure. The open differentiation of the population on cultural and religious grounds, which is clearly manifested in clothing and manner of behavior, led to serious destabilization of individual cities and even countries”[Friedman, G. Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe / J. Friedman; [trans. from English.]. – St. Petersburg [and others]: Peter: Peter Press, 2016. – P. 333].
In addition, striking differences are present between the European north and the south. This refers to the mentality that determines people’s attitudes toward life, to work (the author notes “natural laziness” and the lack of cohesion of the southerners), family and religious values, etc. In this regard, one can fix a split between these parts of Europe, which has a long history, but at the moment is exacerbated.
At the same time, tensions are also growing within the member states themselves. This is due to the fact that the ordinary people consider it beneficial to the existence of the European Union only for the rich and ruling elite, and for the middle class means the need to work more and pay increasing taxes to support the existence of the union.
The political scientist draws attention to the fact that Russia’s power is constantly growing lately, which can give it all grounds for increasing its influence on the West, where the border with the Baltic states lies and the imaginary dividing line between the European continent and the European peninsula lies. This is another potential hot spot. Thus, the whole of Eurasia is increasingly fragmented and split according to national or ethnic-religious characteristics.
Even the island state of Great Britain was no exception: the decision to withdraw from the European Union testifies to the growing divergence of the global whole and the disintegration of the integrity of Europe. In addition, there is also an internal split in the UK – the independence movement for Scotland is growing, as indicated by the referendum, in which 45% voted to secede from the UK.
These crisis situations are a natural consequence of the processes of globalization. An optimistic assessment of this phenomenon at the stage of the genesis of the first theories was based on economic determinism, which focused on the removal of all national, state and territorial restrictions for the movement of finance and capital, and the dominant role of TNCs in the international economic and political arena. On the basis of this, the conclusion was drawn that the formation of a single world economic space with the necessity leads to cultural convergence, which unifies ethno-cultural features.
This process contributes to the formation of a single information space, which enhances interaction and cultural exchange between different people and societies. However, the current socio-cultural situation demonstrates the opposite trend – against the backdrop of economic and information convergence, there is a national, ethnic and religious divergence. There is localization, fragmentation and differentiation of society according to the above characteristics. This is indicated not only by foreign researchers, but also by Russian scientists.
In particular, AL Safonov notes that “the real processes of globalization, contrary to the logic of economic determinism, suddenly went towards civilizational, ethnic and confessional divergence and fragmentation. Global threats of social order, connected with the transformation of system-forming social communities, in particular national and ethnic ones, are increasingly coming to the fore “[Safonov, A. L. Ethnic fragmentation of nations in the era of globalization: sociophilosophical aspects [Electronic resource] / A. L. Safonov // Philosophical thought. – 2015. – № 6. – Access mode: http://e-notabene.ru/fr/ article_15796.html. – Date of access: 27.10.2017].
That is, globalization, due to its all-pervasive nature, caused the emergence of not a single, homogeneous society, but rather gave rise to a general social crisis that, under the influence of the processes of economic, ideological and informational globalization, became pervasive and acquired a multifactorial character. Thus, today the situation is not global unification of the world community, but global confrontation and increased conflict.
Author E. V. Radevich.