Globalization is a recent term, most often referring to capitalism without frontiers and its many ramifications. Applying the term to events and phenomena occurring two to three centuries ago is, of course, an anachronism, but a useful one, reminding us of the intellectual urge at work behind even the murkiest efforts at forging alliances and creating networks; the idea, however embryonic, is that men and women around the globe are basically of one nature and may gain by exchange. The Enlightenment was nothing if not an age of networking. People travelled - in real or imaginary worlds - in order to connect, deride, improve, and learn. That was the age when the notion of universality took shape, ideas traveled, because if rights and wrongs are universal, then sound ideas must be accessible to all and unsound ones challenged by being exposed to foreign scrutiny.
Publication Date: 1/1/2004