Globalization on the rocks

A note from the editor

David Ransom

Some time ago I read two pretty harrowing accounts of ‘seriously organized crime’. Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah describes it in the industrial hinterland of Naples. Misha Glenny’s McMafia visits similar territory almost everywhere else. The closer I looked into corporate globalization for this issue, the more it appeared to inhabit much the same place. The brutality, the banality, the blackmail, the bribes, the bets, the bag-carriers, the big bosses, the booty – the business model must surely have come from the same maker.

The clearest difference between them is, of course, that one is considered legitimate. But even that has begun to blur. For instance, in Britain a venal but relatively paltry system of parliamentary expenses has been aping the antics of the corporate world for years. Was it really pure chance – I began to wonder – that induced the corporate media to ‘expose’ it, (thereby distracting public attention and discrediting parliament) only when immeasurably larger and more fateful sums of public cash were being requisitioned to salvage corporate globalization? Pure chance would be a fine thing. A profound conflict between corporate globalization and democratic legitimacy looks set to take centre stage for some time to come.

After the Copenhagen climate change fiasco, more hopeful signs are now visible in Bolivia. A People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights starts in Cochabamba on 19 April. The prospects are explored in some depth on pages 21-24. By way of a reminder that the most significant causes always endure, on pages 34-35 some striking photographs celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

David Ransom for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

High spirits in hell: clubbing on a Wednesday night in Ciudad Juárez.

High spirits in hell: clubbing on a Wednesday night in Ciudad Juárez.

fernando moleves / panos

Globalization on the rocks

David Ransom argues that a corporate shipwreck lies behind the collapse of financial markets.

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In September 1993 Mexicans were, it was said in high places, about to be liberated from their historic destiny: ‘So far from God, so close to the United States.’ The solution was simply to merge with the US and Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), leaving the rest to take care of itself. Ciudad Juárez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, was on the front line of this radical advance, and I went there to take a look.

On the outskirts of the city giant metal...




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