Pauline van Mourik Broekman on Wed, 21 Jun 2000 23:16:17 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Mute at TECH_NICKS: a debate on globalisation

Mapping Globalisation: a Mute magazine public debate

Lux Gallery, Hoxton Square, London N1
Saturday 24/6/00 from 1pm - 4pm

Globalisation: it's the stuff that surrounds you. But why has the topic
become quite as ubiquitous as so many glaring headlines suggest? From a
spate of global protests to high level resignations at the World Bank and
recent commitments from 'progressive' European heads to increase regulation
of global markets, we seem to be witnessing a phase shift in the public
perception of globalisation. But if all factions agree on the
indisputability of, amongst other things, a growing rich/poor divide,
there's anything but a consensus on the long-term diagnosis.

The following selection of quotes is representative of the scope of issues
involved and the divergent interpretations of them.

"Markets promote efficiency through competition and the division of labour
- the specialisation that allows people and economies that allows people to
do what they do best. Global markets offer greater opportunity for people
to tap into more and larger markets around the world. It means that they
can have access to more capital flows, technology, cheaper imports, and
export markets."

-'Globalisation: Threat or opportunity', IMF Report, 12th April 2000

"With the April 16 protests shining light on the policies of the IMF and
World Bank, expanding the coalition opposed to structural adjustment and
revealing that discontent in the developing world with IMF and Bank
policies is increasingly matched by similar outrage in the rich nations,
the prospect of a successful drive to shrink the authority and power of the
IMF and Bank is greater than at any time in recent history."

-'The Meaning of April 16', Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, Nettime, 20
Apr 2000

"The biggest threat today to your olive tree is likely to come from the
Lexus - from all the anonymous, transnational, homogenising, standardising
market forces and technologies that make up today's globalising economic
system...But there are other things about this system that empower even the
smallest, weakest political community to actually use the new technologies
and markets to preserve their olive trees, their culture and identity."

-Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, 2000

"The point is, rather, that transnationals are never going to solve
anyone's employment problems. Compared to their size and sales, they supply
precious few jobs. Although the UN says there are now about 40.000 TNCs,
the top 100 of them control 1-5th of all TNC global assets. In 1996, these
100 stars sold over $4.1 trillion worth of goods and services but employed
fewer than 12M people worldwide, less than the number they had on their
payrolls in 1980! Between 1993 and 1996, they increased their sales by 24%
yet still managed to reduce their workforce. Every employee of the top
TNCs, from the chairman to the janitor, now produces an average $350.000
worth of sales. Now that's productivity."

-Susan George, The Lugano Report: On Preserving Capitalism in the 21st century

"The decisive advantage that a multinational company achieves over its
rivals comes finally from its capacity to generate new technologies and to
deploy them effectively and profitably. In turn, this depends to a
considerable extent on the ways in which companies enable knowledge to be
conserved and generated. In the late modern competitive environment,
business organisations which do not capture and exploit new knowledge,
which waste the stock of tacit understandings among their employees or
discourage them from acquiring new knowledge will soon go under.
The global economy deskills people and organisations. It does so by making
the environments in which they live and work unrecognisable to them. It
thereby renders their stock of local and tacit knowledge less and less
serviceable to them."

-John Gray, False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, 1998

Mute magazine's background in investigating the effects of technocratic
society will push this debate further, to consider, not just the
traditional battle grounds of the Left and Right (deregulation, regulation,
Third World debt, structural adjustment, environmental protectionism,
etc.), but also the silent shift in power brought about by the advent of
supposedly neutral technological protocols and unaccountable regulatory
bodies, such as ICANN.

Speakers will include:

-Normal Lewis, Director of GAP21 (Globalisation And Power)
-The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU)
-Richard O'Brien, UK head of the Global Business Network (GBN)
-James Heartfield, independent analyst of the British culture industries
-Julian Stallabrass, Author of Gargantua and High Art Lite
-John Browning, co-founder of First Tuesday and ex editor of Wired UK

Special guests net artists JODI will be creating a parallel live web
pictogram during the event. (Mute will also be interviewing JODI after the
debate). And Mute data technicians will be drawing a map of the debate
using good old fashioned marker pen technology.

Admission: 3/2 (concessions)
For more information, contact Mute on or T: 020 7377 6949.

This debate is part of 'Living Mute', the concluding 3 days of TECH_NICKS
at the Lux Gallery, London. For upcoming programme details, including
X-Objects <drop in centre> (Friday 23) RTmark (Sunday 24), the
Necronautical Society (Sunday 24) *and more* go to
http://www.noaltgirls/tech_nicks/catreader or email And for workshop and presentation bookings,
call: 07946 378905

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