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Evaluating Cosmopolitanism


As the international community has become increasingly connected, cosmopolitanism has often been proposed as a means to reduce inequalities and maintain peace. Cosmopolitan scholars, like Martha Nussbaum, hypothesize that this citizenship can be achieved through standardized, international education standards. While it is undeniable that the projects which cosmopolitans seek to solve are vital, this paper seeks to examine the plausibility and effectiveness of cosmopolitan theory, contending that modern cosmopolitan justifications only serve to further Western interests. It is imperative to examine the applicability of cosmopolitanism, because flawed theory produces flawed policy. Cosmopolitan scholars fail to recognize that one universalized standard of education creates a monolithic culture, without a capacity for innovation or ability to cultivate strong cultural identities. Furthermore, while cosmopolitans call for the disintegration of physical borders, past trends suggest that this free movement incites an agglomeration of wealth and capital. Historically, global citizenship hasn’t been able to solve human rights issues or economic inequalities because humans’ political identities cannot extend to the capacity which cosmopolitan thinkers assume they can; Western leaders have instead used ‘human rights’ and ‘economic equality’ as a justification to further their own nations’ agendas. In sum, cosmopolitanism is a flawed ideology and nations should focus on international cooperation, instead of global governance and individuals’ economic and political agency, instead of cultural conformity.

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