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Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements
David Goldschmidt on Sat, 13 Oct 2001 09:44:06 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements


"Globalisation is much more than an economic system, or strategy. It is also a
political and cultural ideology.  Globalisation can perhaps be summed up as an
ideology which seeks to impose a global regime (of accumulation), through rule
of law, which guarantees free trade at any cost (social, cultural,
environmental)."

Sometimes i think that activists, scholars, social critics, etc give the ruling
powers way too much power.  It's as if they think that the leaders of the top
democracies and corporations are in control and conspire against the common
good (whatever that is).  One of the things that i witnessed in corporate
america is that those who rise to power ... have a very good understanding of
human nature ... are very adept to discovering the way things work ... and use
the system to their advantage (to accomplish their goals).  That is the
difference between leaders and critics.  Leaders, by definiton, understand how
things work and how to use the system to their advantage regardless of what
system is dominant at the time (capitalism, marxism, gangs, communes, nonprofit
organizations, christianity, islam, whatever).  A leader in America has the
advantage of living in a system that is based on eliminating the barriers to
individual success.  In America, an individual can define success for his or
herself and work towards their own goals without having to belong to a
particular race, sex, religion, et cetera.

Critics are really good at crying foul without having the responsibility of
trying to govern 300 million people ... without offering realistic alternatives
to the status quo ... which, by the way, is quite stable right now ... and
stability is one of the primary things average citizens want and need.  History
is filled with examples of what people are willing to endure just for a little
food and shelter.  (I offer that last statement not as an excuse for American
behavior but for a little perspective on the matter-at-hand.
Capitalism/Democracy is not perfect but its an improvement over many of the
past systems of government).

Your definiton of globalization is ok but I offer the following: Globalization
is the export or expansion of capitalism and democracy.

This definiton is more accurate, less confusing and its easier to
attack/defend.  At abolishthebank.org (an anti-capitalism organization) they
state, "We reject a system driven by an exploitative logic that sees human
beings as human capital, ecosystems as natural resources, and culture as simply
a commodity. We reject the idea that the world is only valuable in terms of
profit, competition and efficiency.".

I've read some of their criticisms and, like the above statement, i can agree
with some of their concerns.  However, it seems to me that they are assuming
that I, and Americans in general, are not able to distinguish between our
business life, our social life and our spiritual life.  They think we are only
defined by our work.  They assume that we only see humans as capital [AND] that
profit is the ONLY thing we value.  In my opinion, they are elitist (as are
many scholars and activists).  They grossly underestimate the intelligence of
others.

But my biggest comlaint is that they offer no alternative.  They say this about
their own organization, "We are autonomous, decentralized and non-hierarchical
... ".  Is this what they want for the rest of the world?  What are the
implications of such a system?  How can it be encouraged and promoted?  If the
whole world followed this model would we finally have justice for all?

Their message will never be taken seriously until they can offer a real
alternative to the status quo.

"Perhaps the most disturbing and objectionable aspect of globalisation is a
move towards the denial of responsibility, or obligation, to the world's
population"

This is very true.  The strong must help the weak or their will be a
revolution.  The question then is, how do we help them?

If a corporation does something wrong then we should be able to charge the
corporation and its top officers/board members as criminals.  If we do this,
will it help those in developing countries?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I think it
would strongly discourage corporations from abusing their power.

Or, maybe we should join the thousands of other organizations that are trying
to help developing countries ... educate them to the alternatives (what are the
alternatives again?)... help them to learn from the mistakes made in the West.

Or, maybe we should re-write the IMF and World Bank charters.  I think doing so
could be very beneficial.

I don't think a clear definiton of "anti-globalization" will ever sell (unless
everyone becomes isolationists).  In my opinion, time would be better served
looking for ways to crimninalize corporate behavior, education and re-writing
the charters of these NGOs.

Finally, i find TILT (Tactical Media: how to make trouble and influence people)
supremely ironic and hypocritcial.  That is the primary method that capitalists
and politicians have been using for years (see Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff) to
sell their message/product/whatever.  Your trying to sell your views just like
everyone else.

Lucky for you that you live in a free and open society because as soon as you
convince enough people to accept your message then it will be incorporated into
the mainstream.

I want you to know that i really liked your email and that as an "idealist
libertarian" i share many of the same concerns.


With Respect,

David Goldschmidt


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