The world is getting smaller with every passing day as powerful forces of technology and innovation have expedited the globalisation of trade, commerce and industry. On the economic side, technology is the main driver. The relative cost of ocean, air and road transportation continues to decrease, removing an obstacle to cross-border merchandise transactions. The fast revolution in information and communication technologies has numerous dramatic impacts on trade in services. The improved availability of information technology and declining transaction costs have further stimulated international flows of capital, labour and technology. None of this would have been possible, of course, in the absence of required international support to pursue policies consistent with the globalised world order.

Different countries have removed, open or hidden, trade barriers to develop and grow collectively. For this purpose, the globalised economic cooperation order was evolved in 1947 in shape of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and then the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in 1995 to help develop a worldwide economic order led by the US and European countries. It is the main global agreement to pave the way for a globalised world. However, China has emerged as a major global player in recent years to pose a serious threat to the technological colonialism of the West.

Global trade partners should abolish strict exchange controls and liberalise the capital accounts transactions to help the poor and under-developed countries to reap the benefits of such international agreements. Otherwise, the phenomenon of digitalised globalisation, in the wake of international trade agreements, would further widen the divide between developed and poor countries.

Globalisation will further grow in a globalised world where the probability of purchasing goods and services, from domestic and foreign suppliers is the same and a country’s trade is the main source of its income. Pakistan is clearly some way away from this benchmark of globalisation; the people of a developed country place a much higher proportion of their savings in domestic assets rather than investing in under-developed countries. Real interest rates and capital/labour ratios continue to diverge across countries; despite the incentive for capital to flow from where it is abundant, to where it is cheap, and from where real rates are low to where they are high.

The globalisation phenomenon is unlikely to be rolled back despite China’s ever-growing role in international affairs. It will considerably expand and grow due to IT-based technological revolution in the world. In fact, ICT has colonised the whole world due to intellectual/technological hegemony of multinational companies. Global powers now use their technology instead of armies to conquer poor countries. It is the big fact that technology marches in only one direction and that is forward. Further technological progress and development have delivered a reduction in the cost of acquiring information/data and communication technologies have ensured a safe and sound process of speedy financial transactions across the globe.

This electronic revolution has, altogether, changed the way people live, think and move in this ever-changing world. The way people live and work is both a cause of and a response to a series of converging and unstoppable trends. The trend now is to develop new technologies which are faster and lighter, to help in the more powerful flow of information including rising customers’ expectations and, finally, the business change encompassing a more competitive climate. This e-revolution is already radically changing daily life, trade and business irrevocably. Experts are consistently warning that any company which thinks that it can wait until new concepts or applications are more developed, runs a great risk of being left far behind. It is quite likely that organisations that fail to keep up with the opportunities of new technology will almost certainly see their market position surpassed by faster-moving competitors. The fall of global cellular giants like Nokia and Blackberry and the rise of iPhone, Samsung and other Chinese phone companies is an apt example. The decision to move into new technology is a strategic one. One has to be satisfied that it falls into with overall business objectives and strategy and it will also work as an integrated part of business objectives.

Similarly, research is an integral part of the technology-based globalised world. It is often said that the foundation of the US might is not its armed forces but universities, having a strong culture of research and innovation, which produce the best men and women to lead the nation. Pakistan also needs to understand how information technology works and how the citizens can take full benefit from it. Getting up to speed on all this and beginning to implement new systems might seem like a daunting task but acceleration is the main source of promoting globalisation and strong economic growth.

The world was divided into Russian and American blocs in cold war era but, today, the whole world has been divided into developed and technologically poor countries, called the fourth world. Meanwhile, the mantra of the Islamic bloc has proved useless for Pakistan, especially, in the wake of recent developments in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan should, therefore, work for forging an economic bloc of third world countries to counter the hegemony of globalised world order led by the US. This idea was first propagated by late ZA Bhutto in 1976 after the success of Islamic Summit of 1974. However, he could not further it due to elections in 1977 and the rest is history.

In order to reap the economic gains from international trade, the government of Pakistan should accelerate domestic capacity to produce goods and services for foreign markets and to make its economy an attractive destination for foreign trade and investment. It goes without saying that the multibillion dollar CPEC is ‘the real chance of the century’ to develop Pakistan as an inevitable global player in the restive South Asian and Gulf regions. But Pakistan will have to develop and strengthen its relevant educational and state institutions to reap the benefits.

The writer is an MPhil student at a local university with a focus on South Asian affairs.