Superpositioning Challenge With Opportunity

Originally drafted for Washington State University HIST-121, Professor Shawna Herzog, July 27th, 2021.


The mere sound of “globalization” is as a trip-wire, triggering views and perspectives that covers both problems and opportunities facing each and every living organism on the planet, and most likely beyond. Yet, these views are often set at opposition, or perspectives at tension; this is to be avoided by applying some wisdom of uncertainty. Operationalizing the word globalization arrives at a definition of “the breaking down of traditional boundaries in the face of increasingly global financial and cultural trends”.[1] Considering historical events circa 1500, “breaking down” may be represented by momenta/velocity of progressive attitudes, and “traditional boundaries” represented by inertia/positions of conservative views. What is measured will influence the outcome. The challenges facing human communities therefore is less about amplitudes of singular events, but more about the increasing frequencies of events following historical patterns.

Three Patterns: Columbian Exchange, Slave Trade, & Colonization

Three major examples of historical patterns emerge in historical review, regarding frequency of globalization’s progressive and conservative measures. The first is the Columbian Exchange, the second is the Slave Trade, and the third is Colonization. Each of these represent unique super-positional aspects of benefit (value) and detriment (cost) where arbitrage (finance, law) acquires (progression) benefit to parties preferred (conservation), which simultaneously abrogates (regression) benefit from parties rejected (dissolution).

The Columbian Exchange (700-1100 C.E.), while it propagated sources of sustenance from remote lands (i.e., the Americas) to local populations (i.e., Europe, Africa, Asia) as an opportunity, it left sickness/death in the wakes of those doing the propagating (i.e., Spanish, Portuguese).[2] This exchange also removed constraints on population growths and sizes in Europe, Africa, and Asia.[3] The Slave Trade, while it seized native labor from near lands (i.e., South America, Africa) to colonizing populations (i.e., United States, Brazil) as an opportunity, it left physical/psychological harm (i.e., loss of autonomy, cruel punishments) in the wakes of those doing the propagating (i.e., slave acquirers, slave transporters, slave owners).[4] This exploitation also removed constraints on supply (i.e., raw materials to Europe), facilitating increased industriousness to innovate accelerations in production (i.e., industrialization, automation).[5] Colonization, while it allocated “unallocated” (i.e., flagless, contractless, deedless, and titleless) lands and resources (i.e., North America, South America, Africa, Asia) to contract, deed, and title (i.e., Spanish in South America; Europeans in North America, Africa, and Asia, Americans in Western North America etc.), it left poverty/destitution (i.e., loss of lands, loss of resources, loss of dignity etc.) in the wakes of those doing the allocation.[6] This allocation process ensured political dominance of those allocating over those that did allocate (i.e., wealth inequality, suffrage), thus polarizing identities and peoples through nationalist border conflicts (i.e., war), alliances, and mandate systems.[7]


In each of these cases, attitudes toward propagating, seizing, and allocating bolsters conservation of industry, labor, and wealth of one people much to the regression of the same for another people. Systems seek/arrive at equilibrium, yet local and foreign “starting” conditions are not equal, as if it were, the Columbian Exchange, Slave Trade, and Colonization would not have manifest. Of challenge, it is not just an amplitude of initial challenges, or subsequent asymptotic explosions of amplitude (i.e., World War I, World War I, Cuban Missile Crisis); it is an increasing frequency within which patterns of these challenges occurs per unit of time. New products and services are had been exchanged more frequently, now nearly daily (innovation, discovery, and invention). Labor is managed by increasing obfuscation of exploitation (whips, debts, and flow-state addictions).[8] Territory is managed by increasing cultural colonization (urban-business empires; i.e., Seattle, San Francisco, Singapore). This all may be measured simply, by a change in electro-mechanical vibration (i.e., heat delta). Thankfully there is such a measure—global warming and its principal effect, climate change.[9] The challenge today, is truly greater than imaginable, and that is exactly humanity’s greatest opportunity.


[1] Jerry H. Bentley, Herbert F. Ziegler, and Heather E. Streets-Salter, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective Volume 2 (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015), G-4, 916.

[2] Ibid, 499-502, 677-679.

[3] Ibid, 879. 501-502, 521-522, 569, 592, 593-594, 618.

[4] Ibid, 582-573, 569-572, 576, 580-582, 637, 653-654, 873, 876, 927-928.

[5] Ibid, 632-633, 671-677, 707, 790.

[6] Ibid, 845-846, 748-749, 905-908, 927.

[7] Ibid, 944-945.

[8] Ibid, 927-928.

[9] Ibid, 924-926.