Contrasting the models of globalisation and global apartheid as explanations of the global political situation in the postmodern world this paper suggests that boundaries are best understood in relation to the larger geopolitical frameworks within which they function. The global apartheid literature condemns the inequities in the current global economy and analogizes the homelands in South Africa with the poorer states in the underdeveloped world that are both a source of labour, and simultaneously viewed by the beneficiaries of their labour, as a problem and source of politically threatening and destabilising population mobility. The importance of flows across boundaries and the impossibilities of spatially constraining cultures and economies suggests that both globalisation and the model of global apartheid have some explanatory usefulness as heuristic devices to challenge the persistence of unreflective spatial thinking in trying to understand contemporary social processes.