Democracy & Nature, Vol. 7, No. 2
Economic Globalisation and Political Atrophy
Abstract: Economic globalization is the systematic expansion of corporate capital across national boundaries in search of markets, raw materials, low-cost labor, and technological advantage, which is made possible by growing capital mobility and facilitiated by increasingly open conditions of trade, communications, and informatiion-sharing. The process has extended its speed and scope over the past few decades, further solidifying the world capitlalist system and with it the leading national and international centers of power. Yet economic trends associated with corporate expansion into every region of the globe have no parallel in the realm of politics, where we see diminution of national and local governing structures, erosion of established ideologies, depoliticization of social movements and NGOs, and the failure of any international system of governance to take hold. We are presently witnessing a profound depoliticizing dynamic in which the global triumphs over the local, the commodity over culture, homogenization over diversity, and economics over politics. This political impasse reflects not only a certain Hobbesian character of global civil society but also the crisis of the left and the limits of Seattle-style protests. More basically, it points toward tremendous material and ideological obstacles facing popular struggles against corporate-driven globalization under any circumstances.