Globalization (and Alter-Globalization)


Apr 23, 2018
This is something I wrote for an online course I'm doing which I thought might stimulate some discussion on globalization and the capitalist philosophy driving it. People are often talking about cultural Marxism as if it's a really terrible thing, obviously it has problems and goes too far towards identity politics, but the basic notion of critiquing capitalism seems to me sound. Anyway, the piece is about the UN Millenium Development Goals which were supposed to be achieved by 2015, nonetheless I think it captures the spirit of useful criticism.

The Eight Millennium Development Goals are:
  • to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • to achieve universal primary education;
  • to promote gender equality and empower women;
  • to reduce child mortality;
  • to improve maternal health;
  • to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
  • to ensure environmental sustainability; and
  • to develop a global partnership for development.
Some of these Millennium Development Goals were achieved to the extent hoped for by the deadline of 2015. According to The Guardian (2015), extreme poverty was more than halved since 2000, while hunger was almost halved, the former achieving and the latter nearly achieving the target. Other goals were met, though infant and maternal mortality remained well above the target levels, and sub-Saharan Africa generally lagged behind other regions of the world in terms of achieving the goals (IRIN News, 2015).

My personal list of goals would be quite different, I would suggest comprehensive improvements, beginning with including a set of quite different goals:
  • Drastically reduce worldwide inequality of wealth and property ownership
  • Promote communal living, co-operation and solidarity, including non-vertical structures of power, on both national (perhaps trans-national) and local levels
  • Create the conditions for human beings to engage in fulfilling and meaningful work rather than simply engaging in producing consumer goods or other unfulfilling activities simply for subsistence, furthermore giving people leisure for and promoting artistic creation
  • Promote worldwide agricultural and productive self-sufficiency, along with permaculture and organic agricultural techniques, reducing polluting transportation of goods and bringing about a situation where people are no longer dependent on non-local goods imported by merchants and corporations
  • Putting an end to the situation of the richer capitalist countries dictating the economic policies of developing nations (through such organisations as the IMF), and furthermore creating a worldwide alliance of developing countries committed to economic justice
  • Protecting traditional and indigenous cultures from the nefarious effects of American cultural imperialism, including it’s worship of “the mighty dollar”, or concern only with profit and regarding material wealth as the most desirable thing, but also it’s promotion of a selfish wholly individualist value system without roots
I would furthermore simplify the other development goals to something like:
  • Ensure the right to life and health, including subsidised healthcare and treatment of chronic disease (free from pharmaceutical companies’ profiteering), access to clean water sources, availability of proper nutrition at affordable prices, and environmental sustainability assuring in the long-term continued protection of these rights (which would be jeopardised by climate change)
  • Ensure the right to all material, social and structural conditions necessary for a human and dignified standard of living, including educational facilities, infrastructure and meaningful employment, in part through global partnership and transfer of technology without profiteering. Furthermore that education should provide the basis for genuine critical thinking and self-reflection in order to bring about the liberation of peoples from both regressive cultural practises and cultural imperialism
In this way not only will people be liberated from difficult material conditions of life, health problems and such – though dealing with such issues remains essential, they are far from being the only thing of importance – but will also be offered genuinely meaningful lives, transcending mere subsistence and chasing after wealth. We should not be content with offering the majority of the world only a “bare minimum” existence when technology could allow a much better material basis for the creation of new forms of social existence, liberating people from “wage slavery”. Education could provide the basis for the creation of individuals capable not only of performing necessary professional tasks, but actually of becoming complete and creative human beings.

All this requires a complete re-evaluation of our basic social philosophy, which at present rests upon competition and inequality along with vastly greater than necessary consumption in the Western (or “core”) nations. Such goals may seem ambitious and distant, but we should never succumb to the fatalism which regards the status quo as the only and best possible situation, as this stifles possibilities for meaningful change.

May 14, 2017
Great post.

I've long believed the only way we can truly liberate ourselves from the elite is by building up local communities and creating a non-hierarchical federation. Nationalism is dead in the modern era, no matter what some people want to believe, and we live in a global world... Chernobyl has shown us that much.