In front of a small audience of about 20-30 people in attendance, Olivier Mongin was emphatic and passionate when he spoke about Globalization and its effects, in particular relevance to Karachi and Pakistan. With a mediator by his side, the renowned French publisher and writer plunged deep into the topic, as slowly audience members nodded their approval to his words- only after the mediator had delivered his message.
He began his topic with the subject of when the first globalization occurred. According to Olivier (and his body of work) the first incident of globalization can be traced back to the historic venture of Christopher Columbus, the legendary Spanish explorer who discovered America by sea.
“He wanted to go to India, to the East. But instead, his journey took him to America, to the very exact opposite side of the world. Columbus landed in the West and discovered America. This was the first period of globalization.”
He then went on to describe how the second era of globalization occurred, which was when the Industrial Revolution came about. Olivier explained that the Industrial Revolution came with a cost, large scale unemployment and poverty, yet it brought forth fortunate circumstances for the future.
“With the discovery of railways, steam engines and other industrial means, life became much better. This was the second era of globalization as we classify it.”
He then went on to state that the first two globalization examples occurred in Europe however, the 3rd phase of globalization was occurring on a planetary scale, around the world.
“Migration and globalization are inseparable,” he said. “Whilst preparing for my trip to Pakistan, I was surprised to learn that this was a country which had the most number of refugees in the world, both internal and external. It is very important to learn that globalization is not only flow of migration, but also the flow of economies and cultures from one place to another.”
He stated that for him and other experts pertaining to his field, globalization referred to when people uprooted themselves from one place and planted themselves in another. He also shared his thought that globalization is closely linked to urbanization and housing. He also said that urbanization was growing, since in 1900 the percentage of urbanites was 8% and it had swelled to 50% in the current age.
“According to me, Pakistan is a laboratory for urbanization,” said Olivier Mongin. Over the last 20 years, population in Karachi has increased at a drastic rate. The urban population has recorded a rapid increase.”
When studying urbanization and migration, it was also important to consider internal migratory flows such as famine, water shortages and wars which induce people to move from one place to another.
He also stated how Karachi had evident signs of urbanization.
“There is a lot of deforestation and desertification in Karachi. These are apparent signs that urbanization is taking scale at a fast pace.”
He also spoke at length regarding the toll that urbanization took on cities such as Karachi.
“Due to increased flow of people from rural areas into Karachi, it does take a toll on the resources of the city. For example water shortage often occurs, since now an increased population makes use of the scant resources of the city.”