Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another World is Inevitable

I forgot to wish everyone a happy year of the rat! (probably because I am terrified of rats)

According to the signs posted around Gardanne, "un autre monde est possible". Judging from my experience though, I'd say another world is inevitable. Recently, I read a little book entitled the Manifeste Altermondaliste, figuring that aany idea worth thinking is worth thinking about. The book was published by ATTAC, a French group opposed to the economic programs that are collectively called "neoliberalism" or "globalization".

Their complaints about neoliberalism are that it: puts employment and public services in peril, degrades the environment, disempowers workers, is undemocratic, keeps developing nations in a state of dependence, and is hostile towards cultural differences.

The last point hints at a real problem with globalization- it runs the risk of making the world very boring. I'm not particularly worried about a future of war, famine, pollution, or random violence as much as I fear a world of endless shopping districts filled with Romero zombies holding paper clothing bags and sleepwalking from one window display to another. That's scary to me.

As for the altermondalistes, their other world sounds like neoliberalism lite- all the malls but more "democracy" to protect us from the ill effects of economic liberalism. It's a bit underwhelming. They need to dream bigger. France already has an alternative economic model in its outdoor markets, and an alternative model of democracy in the salon. Another world with sprout up eventually, but it will first need to crawl out from under the spreading shadow of this one.

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