Globalization: The Human Consequences
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The word "globalization" is used to convey the hope and determination of order-making on a worldwide scale. It is trumpeted as providing more mobility―of people, capital, and information―and as being equally beneficial for everyone. With recent technological developments―most notably the Internet―globalization seems to be the fate of the world. But no one seems to be in control. As noted sociologist Zygmunt Bauman shows in this detailed history of globalization, while human affairs now take place on a global scale, we are not able to direct events; we can only watch as boundaries, institutions, and loyalties shift in rapid and unpredictable ways. Who benefits from the new globalization? Are people in need assisted more quickly and efficiently? Or are the poor worse off than ever before? Will a globalized economy shift jobs away from traditional areas, destroying time-honored national industries? Who will enjoy access to jobs in the new hierarchy of mobility?
From the way the global economy creates a class of absentee landlords to current prison designs for the criminalized underclass, Bauman dissects globalization in all its manifestations: its effects on the economy, politics, social structures, and even our perceptions of time and space. In a chilling analysis, Bauman argues that globalization divides as much as it unites, creating an ever-widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Rather than the hybrid culture we had hoped for, globalization is creating a more homogenous world.
Drawing on the works of philosophers, social historians, architects, and theoreticians such as Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Alfred J. Dunlap, and Le Corbusier, Globalization presents a historical overview of the methods employed to create and define human spaces and institutions, from rural villages to sprawling urban centers. Bauman shows how the advent of the computer translates into the decline of truly public space. And he explores the dimensions of a world in which―through new technologies―time is accelerated and space is compressed, revealing how we have arrived at our current state of global thinking. Bauman's incisive methods of inquiry make Globalization an excellent antidote to the exuberance expressed by those who stand to benefit from the new pace and mobility of the modern life.
of global competitiveness and into the limelight of public attention – goods, services and signals must arouse desire, and in order to do so they must seduce their prospective consumers and out-seduce their competitors. But once they have done it they must make room, and quickly, for other objects of desire, lest the global chase of profit and ever greater profit (rebaptized as ‘economic growth’) shall grind to a halt. Today’s industry is geared increasingly to the production of attractions and
wanting and the wanting out of waiting, the consumption capacity of consumers may be stretched far beyond the limits set by any natural or acquired needs; also, the physical endurability of the objects of desire is no longer required. The traditional relationship between needs and their satisfaction is reversed: the promise and hope of satisfaction precedes the need promised to be satisfied and will be always more intense and alluring than the extant needs. As a matter of fact, the promise is all
cosmopolitan, extraterritorial world of global businessmen, global culture managers or global academics, state borders are levelled down, as they are dismantled for the world’s commodities, capital and finances. For the inhabitant of the second world, the walls built of immigration controls, of residence laws and of ‘clean streets’ and ‘zero tolerance’ policies, grow taller; the moats separating them from the sites of their desire and of dreamed-of redemption grow deeper, while all bridges, at
fashion anticipated by their globalist eulogists. ‘Peripheries’ in this sense spread all around the small, spiritually exterritorial yet physically heavily fortified, enclaves of the ‘globalized’ elite. The paradox mentioned a moment ago leads to another: the age of ‘time/space compression’, uninhibited transfer of information and instantaneous communication – is also the age of 102 Tourists and Vagabonds an almost complete communication breakdown between the learned elites and the populus.
While early Christians promulgated heaven as a realm in which the human soul would be freed from the frailties and failings of the flesh, so today’s champions of cyberspace hail it as a place where the self will be freed from the limitations of physical embodiment.8 In cyberspace, bodies do not matter – though cyberspace matters, and matters decisively and irrevocably, in the life of bodies. There is no appeal from the verdicts passed in the 20 Time and Class cyberspatial heaven, and nothing