There is much talk today of a financial and economic crisis comparable to the 1930s. With the threat of a currency war and the euro’s collapse looming, the specter of the Great Depression’s bloody aftermath has returned with a vengeance. Several versions of how to make human beings and build society co-existed during the Cold War, when much of the world won independence from colonial empire. Yet, discussion of humanity’s growing interdependence is today limited to a one-world capitalism driven by finance. What have anthropologists to say about that? It would seem very little. But a positive case can be made for the discipline’s contribution to public debate. We make such a case here. We review recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects, while referring back to the discipline’s founders a century ago. Economic anthropologists have tended to restrict themselves to niche fields and marginal debates since the 1960s. We hope to reverse this trend by focusing on money’s role in shaping global society and bringing world history into a more active dialogue with ethnography.Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization by Keith Hart and Horacio Ortiz
Solidarity Economics. (pdf) Strategies for Building New Economies From the Bottom-Up and the Inside-Out. [more inside]
Financial Regime Change? Robert Wade, professor of political economy and development at the London School of Economics, "argues that we are exiting the neoliberal paradigm that has held sway since the 1980s" and considers the "causes and repercussions of the crisis, and errors of the model that brought it to fruition." Prof. Wade was making similar predictions last year.
The Rise of the Rest. Fareed Zakaria's Newsweek article about a "post-American" world.
10% of American tech sector jobs will move offshore by the end of the year. Cyber-Marx (1999):
"... globalisation has given some knowledge workers, largely male, largely white, associated with high tech, finance, communication and information an exceptional importance. Concentrated in the technopoles that form the hubs of "global webs," these constitute a layer of privileged labour on whose loyalty capital can largely rely. But analysis that sees "symbolic analysts" as the crucial actors in globalisation does not grasp the speed with which capital turfs yuppies from the lifeboat when cheaper replacements can be found. Even symbolic analysts feel the blast of globalisation, as North American computer programmers are undercut by Lithuanian or Indian competition, and architects, engineers and professors discover that those who can telecommute can always be teleterminated by cheaper services uploaded from anywhere on the planet.True? What effect will this trend have on the digerati as a class, do you think?
A little coffee shop in a little North Carolina town closes. When I worked in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., the opening of the Hyphen (get it? get it? the Hyphen in Fuquay-Varina?) was a miracle. There, in the midst of antique stores, clothiers, and the Bob Barker Co., was this hip, unique eatery owned and operated by two local artists. Owner Nina Fortmeyer partially cites that the little tobacco town has simply become "Wal-Mart-ized" in its growth, leading to a loss in downtown foot traffic, leading to lost business. This, methinks, is the greatest and most obvious consequence of globalization, the mom-and-pops being run out of town. If this is happening in Fuquay-Varina, it is absolutely happening everywhere. Very sad.
Starbucks lays claim to 20% of all American cafes. Does anybody in this lately conservatized land of ours care on who's backs our wealth rests upon? Virtually every vegetable, piece of fruit, bottled soda, cup of coffee we ingest is produced at rock bottom prices for the corporations that exploit our neighbors to the south. Our way of life in the States is directly tied to how miserable the living/working conditions of laborers in "developing" countries are. Developing countries--what a misnomer. The only thing developing are profits for select Americans and/or fear that the threat of recession will negate the purchase of that little luxury car I've had my eye on.
Bad Subjects Interviews Howard Zinn. I'm not sure I buy globalization as "a more sophisticated kind of imperialism," but given recent efforts to expand corporate welfare and manufacture enemies for a reinvigorated military-industrial complex I think parallels with 19th century robber-barons and the Great BBQ are apt. Lefties and libertarians unite!
One Year After Seattle -- "A year has passed since the World Trade Organization's "Millennium Round" collapsed under clouds of tear gas in Seattle," writes Mark Weisbrot, in this useful overview of what was -- and is -- at stake. "The debate over globalization has been altered, perhaps permanently, to include some of the concerns of civil society: poverty and inequality, economic instability, and the environmental costs of globalization...."