Atelier No.0, article 18

Jerry Mander :
©Excerpt from The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Toward the Local (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996).

                                                    Facing the Rising Tide

Economic globalization involves arguably the most fundamental redesign of the planet's political and economic arrangements since at least the Industrial Revolution. Yet the profound implications of these fundamental changes have barely been exposed to serious public scrutiny or debate. Despite the scale of the global reordering, neither our elected officials nor our educational institutions nor the mass media have made a credible effort to describe what is being formulated or to explain its root philosophies.

The occasional descriptions or predictions about the global economy that are found in the media usually come from leading advocates and beneficiaries of this new order": corporate leaders, their allies in government, and a newly powerful centralized global trade bureaucracy. The visions they offer us are unfailingly positive, even utopian:
Globalization will be a panacea for our ills.

Shocking enough, the euphoria they express is based on their freedom to deploy, at a global level --through the new global free trade rules, and through deregulation and economic restructuring regimes-- large-scale versions of the economic theories, strategies and policies that have proven spectacularly unsuccessful over the past several decades wherever they've been applied. In fact, these are the very ideas that have brought us to the grim situation of the moment: the spreading disintegration of the social order and the increase of poverty, landlessness, homelessness, violence, alienation, and deep within the hearts of many people, extreme anxiety about the future. Equally important, these are the practices that have led us to the near breakdown of the natural world, as evidenced by such symptoms as global climate change, ozone depletion, massive sp3ecies loss, and near maximum levels of air, soil, and water pollution.

We are now being asked to believe that the development processes that have further impoverished people and devastated the planet will lead to diametrically different and highly beneficial outcomes, if only they can be accelerated and applied everywhere, freely, without restriction; that is, when they are GLOBALIZED.

That's the bad news. The good news is that it is not too late to stop this from happening.