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The Decay of American Sovereignty through Globalization

Globalization is the phenomenon that polarizes people, alters the fabric of our lives and creates rifts within and between people (Harf and Lombardi, 2009, p 258). Many in the West have embraced globalization and argue that it helps to streamline economic systems, disciplines labor and management, brings forth new technologies and ideas, and fuels economic growth (Harf and Lombardi, 2009, p 258). Yet, many poor and middle-class workers view globalization as an economic and cultural wave that will tear the fabric of their societies (Harf and Lomardi, 2009, p 258).

Beyond the cultural fissures, we must consider the impact of globalization on a country’s sovereignty. In fact, James M. Boyers (1998) states “Globalization ‘denotes a process of denationalization of clusters of political, economic, and social activities’” (p 583). While the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation and source of legitimacy for the U.S. Government; globalizing forces will continue to require the United States to face new challenges and the Constitution will limit the means of meeting those challenges (Boyers, 1998, p 598).

Arguably, globalization creates pressures for greater inequality throughout the world and nowhere is this felt more than in the United States because our system fails to redistribute income effectively and allow the pressures of globalization to be fully realized (Massey, 2009, p 9). All countries compete in the same global economy and face the same market conditions, but the United States is unique among advanced nations in its ability to generate inequality (Massey, 2009, p 10). Massey (2009) argues that this “hyper-inequality emerged not through globalization, technological change, or market segmentation, but because of institutional arrangements specific to the United States that fail to redistribute income to the same extent as other industrial nations” (p 10). These institutional arrangements are rooted in the Constitution of the United States which in part establishes “Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty” to all Americans (U.S. Constitution). The Constitution solidifies the Declaration of Independence which promotes the ideal that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (The Declaration of Independence, 1776). Globalization appears to dictate, amongst other things, the edict of redistribution of wealth which is in stark contrast to our ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. While Globalization is worthy of participation from an economic standard, the precedent set in changing laws to conform to international standards can threaten the very fabric of our Constitutional DNA and if not monitored could eventually unravel the very nature of what makes the United States so unique.


Harf, James E. and Lombardi, Mark Owen (2010). Taking Sides. Clashing Views on Global Issues. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Boyers, James M (1998). “Globalization and the United States Constitution: How Much Can it Accommodate” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. Volume 5, Issue 2, Article 11, pp 583-599.

Massey, Douglas S. (2009). “Globalization and Inequality: Explaining American Exceptionalism.” European Sociological Review. Volume 25, Number 1, 2009, p 9-23.

United States Government (n.d.) The Constitution of the United States. Retrieved on November 1, 2012 from

United States Government (1776). The Declaration of Independence. Retrieved on November 1, 2012 from


Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Maximum Change, Inc. is a Leadership and Business Consulting firm located in Middle Tennessee offering business & leadership consulting, speaking and training. Philip Foster is a Thought Leader in Business Operations, Organization, Strategic Leadership, Planning and Strategic Foresight. Facilitating change through the design and implementation of strategies, strategic foresight and strategic planning

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