Date: Fri, 14 Mar 97 17:59:50 CST
From: rich%pencil@PSUVM.PSU.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Forced Globalisation
Article: 7302

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** Topic: Forced Globalisation **
** Written 9:55 AM Mar 13, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 3:19 AM Mar 13, 1997 by in */
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Forced globalisation: The planet as marketplace or something else?

By Sohail Inayatullah, Global Times, January-Feburary 1997

Globalisation is certainly not what it used to be. Once a plea for planetary citizenship, a world united by humanity and not by war and nationalism, globalisation now has come to mean other things, writes Sohail Inayatullah

For Vandana Shiva, globalisation is simply colonialism in disguise. It is Reagonomics and Thatcherism writ large. The supportive state welfare programs of the Third world are privatized with the hope that the private sector can take care of individuals and families. But Development dismantled the family structure and moved it to the city for jobs that did not exist once the green revolution redistributed land holdings. This process made peasants not only landless but laborless.

Globalisation is the multi-nationalization of the world, with the only hope for the dreamed of world civil society coming from global social movements where capital would be tamed by the collectivity of altruism. Adam Smith, the intellectual father of capitalism, had argued that for a good society, self-love and love of the other was necessary. Only self-love—the invisible hand—would in the long run lead to doom.

Some have even called for a global political party, run on far broader lines than Marx's call to unite the workers of the world. Sarkar calls for global peoples' movements to challenge linguistic, cultural and economic homogenization in the short run and, once equity is established, higher levels of federalism moving towards a universal family.

New World Structure

Galtung and others call for new world government structures that include nations, corporations, social movements and individuals. Still others believe that these structures will not be necessary as the worldwideweb creates a new global society where each and every person is intimately linked. Through telecommunications technologies there is now perhaps the possibility of creating the global thinking envelope above the social and economic sphere that Teilhard de Chardin dreamed of—the noosphere.

For those in the barios, the villages, globalisation means further and further impoverishment. But for the middle class and many youth, it means freedom to dream and to travel, to rise above the tyranny of history, of cultural nationalism. For the markets, it means the seamless travel of capital and goods (with labor ultimately not far behind). It is the vision of the planet as marketplace.

For environmentalists, it is the final attack on Gaia herself, the commodification of everything. Green activists now know that merely protecting forests in one country is meaningless since nature-rapists will just move to another country. They conclude that what is needed are global actions, not just local ones. Thinking globally and acting locally no longer suffices. We must think and act globally and locally.

Globalisation certainly will destroy the last vestiges of feudalism; it is the destruction of bloated, corrupt, tyrannical governments. And, it is also the beginnings of the creation of a new world ecumene, perhaps not the collective mind idealists vision, but certainly more of an interconnected planet now then ever before.

The evil of globalisation—increased powerlessness for the poor and the fragile—is also creating a new global family, challenging racism and other barriers of the heart. The challenge of globalisation creates new alliances among single issue non-governmental organizations, forcing global strategies against and with capital. Globalisation forces us to ask, whose planet is this? How can we best take care of it? If we are a global planet then why do politics remain national? What would constitute a world politics?

A Globe For All

But for globalisation to go the next step, beyond multi-nationalism, it must create globalisation at all levels, not just for capital. If phase 1 is the globalisation of capital, phase 2 is the globalisation of peoples' movements—uniting the moral movements who wish to bring back the good and creating global political parties. Phase 3 is the globalisation of cultures and not just of the expansion of Mickey Mouse, McDonald's and Coca-cola but the creation of a Gaia of civilizations. It means that ideas must be able to flow not just downwards from the West through global news organizations but circulate evenly throughout the world's cultures—a true globalisation of ideas. Phase 4 is the creation of a world polity, where local economies are protected (our day-to-day existence), where localism flourishes but in the context of a Neo-magna Carta—a bill of rights that promises purchasing capacity, freedom of religion, the rights of humans, plants and animals, the freedom of language and mobility. These phases are not linear, however, but need to occur simultaneously.

These are global times. We cannot revert back to nationalism or tribalism, we must move to a new level of world organization. Globalisation is creating those pathways. Let us make sure that we use them to transform the structures of power and create a planetary civilization, a new renaissance.