29 September 2011

Global sized

Seattle, 1999
Why do people use the word "global", what does that even mean?

It means planetary (Earth limited). It means all the world, and everything in it. The air, the water, the soil, the plants, the animals, the resources, the climate, everything. If global is everything, then global is nothing.

Why not international?

Because international is limited to people, preserving their cultural differences, based on national borders.. nationalism.. imagine no countries.. did Lennon and all his listeners, really know what he was suggesting?

How about intercultural?

I for one feel very uncomfortable with the word Global, just as uncomfortable as I was with the word, "World" when economists started using it in "World Trade Organisation". Since the Seattle riots, and similar inspired events of the time, they seem to be using "World" less these days, and using the word "Global" more.

Who is they? Well, start with the corporate hegemony of the dominant English speaking nations. They're not alone in their regular-as-clockwork, violent and hypocritical intrusions on other people's relative peace and civility. They continually project their colonial aspirations, such as policing a world war on terror, and their internationally destabilizing concepts like the Global Financial Crisis, as though it was affecting everyone in the world, because it affects them. Secret transnational trade agreements, unimaginable public bailouts, austerity, privatization, corporate tax avoidance, militarised police, media ownership, union busting, whistle blower persecution, wars of agression and insulting levels of public relations marketing and dishonesty to rough it past the public.

I simply don't trust those with power in the world, so why would I accept their faceless, all encompassing rhetoric like, Global, Globalism, Global Financial Crisis, Global Economy, Global Warming, and the agendas those words convey. It seems obvious to me, the true meaning of Global. One that does not respect national sovereignty or local contexts and cultural difference, or even begin to appreciate different perspectives or counter ideas. Their's would excite hysteria over hypothetical future climate scenarios, while ignoring the very same scenarios here and now today, and yesterday, and the day before. It drops very expensive ordnance all over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and few know how many other secret locations. It is seen in the actions of diplomats, walking out of a meeting of nations in the middle of a speech from one of the last remaining voices of descent, like spoiled, bullying teenage girls, or more clearly - violent minded corporations and governments who will resort to such bullying and then espionage to pressure other nations to alienate their enemy, and (apparently) one who is developing an arsenal to attack us all... did I mention Global Spin?

Globalism is a concept that wants not just everyone, but everything, to submit to the hegemony of the word, and is one I simply will not use. I feel so strongly about this, I even catch myself stopping midway through any document that uses it without qualifications. I re-evaluate the author abs source on those terms.

I know most people use "Global" unthinkingly, but that unthinking use is precisely why I re-evaluate what they write. What else in there is un-thought-through. Suddenly I see all our parts in this, it's an easy word to replace if you try, and doing so may start to remove your latent acceptance of the violence in your culture, and your unquestioning propulsion of an idea you might actually disagree with.

7 comments:

Steven said...

Very lucid and clear Leigh, thanks. I have just had a look at the Wikipedia definition of 'Globalism'.

Globalism

Never thought about the meaning of the term but accroding to wikipedia definition one of Globalism is:

"placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations."

This meaning is great for ramming policy through even if it is not in a sovereign nations interest, for the 'greater good' of the entire world - whatever that may be defined as according to definition two...

" Another is viewing the entire world as a proper sphere for one nation to project political influence."

What a powerful word eh?

Helen said...

Hi Leigh, thanks for the link to Ahmadinejad's speech - it is well worth listening to. - sounds different to the way the media served it up to us (no surprises there). Keep up the posting, cheers.

Scott J said...

Hi Leigh, good posting on the difficult subject of naming things. With so many active cultures where I live there's a constant awkwardness in what to call each other. "You people" has settled into my use but only by careful negotiation. Otherness is important but in reference we try to avoid insult by having comfortable labels rather than openly admitting we are subject to misunderstanding and benefit from difference and admission of it.

Thanks for the posting.

Leigh Blackall said...

http://www.richard-hall.org/2013/02/18/on-globalisation-and-the-university

Mark Smithers said...

It seems to me that you're allowing the word globalism to be given up and twisted to those with the worst of intentions. Why not reclaim the word? It seems to me that more than ever we think of ourselves as belonging in a global community where our actions have direct effects on people and the wider environment all over the planet. Just my 2 cents.

Leigh Blackall said...

2 cents! Is that all I'm worth?

I'm not so sure I do live in a global community Mark. I'd dare say the great majority of people in the planet would also doubt it. I used to think it once - listening to John Lennon, painting "form on lane" signs into "form one PlaneT", believing "think Global, act local" was a good mantra, reading the communist manifesto if the world's proletariat, wondering about a "World Wide Web". But, like all progressive ideas that become popular, those with capital started investing in it, and so it rots.

Localisation is a more compelling idea to me now. Derrick Jenson offers a definition of sustainable - where as many of the resources for your life are sourced as locally as possible (if not all of them); where Ivan Illich defines worthwhile technology as that which enhances conviviality; where Transition Towns seems like a sensible long term project; where locally grown organic principles expand right across a real community's values...

Leigh Blackall said...

2 cents! Is that all I'm worth?

I'm not so sure I do live in a global community Mark. I'd dare say the great majority of people in the planet would also doubt it. I used to think it once - listening to John Lennon, painting "form on lane" signs into "form one PlaneT", believing "think Global, act local" was a good mantra, reading the communist manifesto if the world's proletariat, wondering about a "World Wide Web". But, like all progressive ideas that become popular, those with capital started investing in it, and so it rots.

Localisation is a more compelling idea to me now. Derrick Jenson offers a definition of sustainable - where as many of the resources for your life are sourced as locally as possible (if not all of them); where Ivan Illich defines worthwhile technology as that which enhances conviviality; where Transition Towns seems like a sensible long term project; where locally grown organic principles expand right across a real community's values...