Globalism refers to various systems with scope beyond the merely international. It is used by political scientists, such as Joseph Nye, to describe "attempts to understand all the interconnections of the modern world--and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them." While primarily associated with world-systems, it can be used to describe other global trends. The term is also frequently used as a pejorative by far-right movements and conspiracy theorists. Usage in this way has also been associated with anti-Semitism, as anti-semites frequently appropriate the word globalist for Jews.
Paul James defines globalism "at least in its more specific use [...] as the dominant ideology and subjectivity associated with different historically-dominant formations of global extension. The definition thus implies that there were pre-modern or traditional forms of globalism and globalization long before the driving force of capitalism sought to colonize every corner of the globe, for example, going back to the Roman Empire in the second century AD, and perhaps to the Greeks of the fifth-century BC."
Manfred Steger distinguishes among different globalisms such as justice globalism, jihad globalism, and market globalism. Market globalism includes the ideology of neoliberalism. In some hands, the reduction of globalism to the single ideology of market globalism and neoliberalism has led to confusion. For example, in his 2005 book The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World, Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul treated globalism as coterminous with neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization. He argued that, far from being an inevitable force, globalization is already breaking up into contradictory pieces and that citizens are reasserting their national interests in both positive and destructive ways.
Alternatively, US political scientist Joseph Nye, co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism, generalized the term to argue that globalism refers to any description and explanation of a world which is characterized by networks of connections that span multi-continental distances; while globalization refers to the increase or decline in the degree of globalism. This use of the term originated in, and continues to be used, in academic debates about the economic, social, and cultural developments that is described as globalization. The term is used in a specific and narrow way to describe a position in the debate about the historical character of globalization (i.e., whether globalization is unprecedented or not).
It has been used to describe international endeavours begun after World War II, such as the United Nations, the Warsaw Pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, and sometimes the later neoliberal and neoconservative policies of "nation building" and military interventionism between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001.
The term first came into widespread usage in the United States. The modern concept of globalism arose in the post-war debates of the 1940s in the United States. In their position of unprecedented power, US planners formulated policies to shape the kind of postwar world they wanted, which, in economic terms, meant a globe-spanning capitalist order centered exclusively upon the United States. This was the period when US global power was at its peak: the country was the greatest economic power the world had ever known, with the greatest military machine in human history. As George Kennan's Policy Planning Staff put it in February 1948: "[W]e have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. [...] Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity". America's allies and foes in Eurasia were still recovering from World War II at this time.
US historian James Peck has described this version of globalism as "visionary globalism". Per Peck, this was a far-reaching conception of "American-centric state globalism using capitalism as a key to its global reach, integrating everything that it can into such an undertaking". This included global economic integration, which had collapsed under World War I and the Great Depression.
Modern globalism has been linked to the ideas of economic and political integration of countries and economies. The first person in the United States to use the term "economic integration" in its modern sense (i.e. combining separate economies into larger economic regions) was John S. de Beers, an economist in the US Department of the Treasury, towards the end of 1941. By 1948, "economic integration" was appearing in an increasing number of American documents and speeches. Paul Hoffman, then head of the Economic Cooperation Administration, used the term in a 1949 speech to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation. As The New York Times put it,
Mr Hoffmann used the word 'integration' fifteen times or almost once to every hundred words of his speech. It is a word that rarely if ever has been used by European statesmen having to do with the Marshall Plan to describe what should happen to Europe's economies. It was remarked that no such term or goal was included in the commitments the European nations gave in agreeing to the Marshall Plan. Consequently it appeared to the Europeans that "integration" was an American doctrine that had been superimposed upon the mutual engagements made when the Marshall Plan began ...
Globalism emerged as a dominant set of ideologies in the late twentieth century. As these ideologies settled, and as various processes of globalization intensified, they contributed to the consolidation of a connecting global imaginary. In 2010, Manfred Steger and Paul James theorized this process in terms of four levels of change: changing ideas, ideologies, imaginaries and ontologies.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2021)
The term "globalist" has been used as a pejorative in right-wing and far-right politics. For example, during the election and presidency of United States president Donald Trump, he and members of his administration used the term globalist on multiple occasions. The administration was accused of using the term as an antisemitic "dog whistle", to associate their critics with a Jewish conspiracy. Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory use "The Cabal" to refer to a secret worldwide elite organisation who wish to undermine democracy and freedom, and implement their own globalist agendas. "Globalists" has been used as a reference by Alex Jones and InfoWars to those who promote COVID-19 lockdowns, mask mandates, and forced vaccinations.
Compare this with globalism in the British-English corpus, where its appearance is later and much more muted.
At [QAnon's] core is the idea that all American presidents between John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump have been working with a cabal of globalist elites called "The Cabal" to undermine American democracy and forward their own nefarious agenda. ... In all versions of the mythos, the Cabal seeks to destroy American freedom and subjugate the nation to the wills of a world government.