Book Review by Mirza Ashraf

GOD, GOVERNMENT AND GLOBALIZATION:

A Review by: MIRZA IQBAL ASHRAF

This handy-encyclopedic work by S. Akhtar Ehtisham, Abu Talal Naseer Al-Din and Dr. Shahnaz Khan, explores and examines illuminatingly the march of man from his earliest stage to a society of mythical, cultural, religious, political, rational, and modern sensibility of God, Government and Globalization. The book, seemingly divided in three parts, portrayed in a characteristic provocative style, forensic insight and depth of extensive knowledge is a holistic package of thought-provoking presentation which can be readily gleaned from one treatise than to sift through many ponderous works on evolution, religion, history, political science, sociology or philosophy. Now that the West is colliding with the Islamic civilization in which God is very much alive, the Government is un-institutionalized, and Globalization is in confusion, this book is particularly timely.

Section 1, God: It opens with an outline of human evolution remaining mostly focused on mankind’s social evolution that resulted in creation and establishment of ideological, religious, and sociopolitical order. It goes on to discuss the theories of the origin of religion and God, defined as an out of necessity discipline of “speculative nature” and an interconnected order of doctrines, myths, rituals, and beliefs. Discussing the theory of origin of God in terms of man’s fear and curiosity, it moves on to the God of Abraham and the appearance of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths, and reflecting upon Hinduism and Buddhism, this section concludes that religions are not rational. An overview of history of ideology, mainly focusing on the role of Marx and Angels in the development of a godless political theory, information about the term scientific socialism helps to understand the reformist plans that European thinkers offered from time to time. Researching through the courses of enlightenment, modernism, rational ideologies and European Renaissance, it affirms that attempts at explaining religion logically have failed.

Section 2, Government: This section taking up the definition of government as a political system, reflects upon several theories such as modernization, economic and capitalism, Marxism, and world systems. The theory of world systems, as a disarticulation of political and economic world system that has permitted capitalism to survive and prosper, being very important today has been elaborated and critically examined. Throwing light on the origin of capitalism, its development in Britain, and asserting that democracy is a very useful tool of capitalism, a very important commentary reveals how corporations make governments work for them and how the governments play the role of serving the corporations! In the international spectrum, Western powers funding friendly politicians in other countries, would advise and enforce dictators and military generals to take over unfriendly governments. It is interesting to note that imperialism, neo-colonialism, sub-imperial, cultural, post colonial globalization, today are all different facets of Empire. The section ends with the chapter “The Wretched of the USA,” describing America as the richest nation in history, but has the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world with an unprecedented number of Americans living in dire state. The first two sections of the book, starting from the germination and conception of faith, the evolution of government through multiple stages of human civilization and coming to the dominance of capitalist corporation, have educated and prepared the reader to proceed further and cope with the final and most important subject of Globalization.

Section 3, Globalization: Starting from colonization, Globalization’s uneven historic development is introduced as a continuation of capitalism. Its economic paradigm constitutes an integration of national economics into international economy through trade, direct investment from foreign countries, short term capital flow, and international flow of workers, students and technology. Arguing the pure capitalist ideology, the market implies freedom guaranteed by supply and demand and chosen freely by people which according to socialist ideology involves commoditization of labor and class exploitation, globalization of the economic system has affected nearly four hundred million indigenous people of the world in the worst way. Another factor affecting the undeveloped or developing countries is the myth of Western aid, which in most cases is actually loan with interest to control and preserve relations. This enables the capitalist democracies of Western countries to reap profits by further exploiting natural and manpower resources of the world beyond West. Helped by the highly paid professionals as Economic Hitmen who cheat countries around the Globe of trillions of dollars, by funneling money from World Bank, US Aid into coffers of huge corporations and into the pockets of few wealthy families, Globalization appears to be neo-colonization instead of a free global-humanity.

Globalization has been discussed from historical to economical point of view, mainly focused on capitalistic and idealistic spectrum. Its application as a set of social processes that appear to transform our present social condition of weakening nationality into one globality, has been scarcely discussed in this section. However, Globalization as a concept referring to people’s growing consciousness of belonging to a global community, mainly an intensification of world-wide social relations which compresses the time and space aspects of people’s relations, has most of the time been depicted as a brain-child of capitalism. Some references to growing forms of political and economic interdependence and technology, that provide a partial explanation for the current wave of Globalization, are not enough to have justified this most important section of the book under review here. However, the book, as one whole treatise, is a very interesting work, intelligently, scholarly and clearly presented, displaying the hard work and depth of knowledge of the authors.

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Mirza Iqbal Ashraf, a retired professor of English Language and Literature, and a scholar of  Philosophy, has taught and lectured on cross-cultural religious and  philosophical issues. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York.

He is the published author of following books: (1) Introduction to World Philosophies: A Chronological Progression. (2) Islamic Philosophy of War and Peace. (3) Rumi’s Holistic Humanism, and soon to be published (4) Islamic Civilization’s Religious, Political, and Modern Aspects, and (5) Philosophical Traditions of Muslim Thinkers. He can reached by visiting at https://independent.academia.edu/MirzaAshraf.

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