globalization as universal consumerism

Governments worldwide, from the left to the right of the political spectrum, are signing treaties designed to accelerate economic growth through the deregulation of global trade and finance. The so-called global village – hailed by government and industry as uniting all nations in pursuit of the fruits of the global economy – is in fact a highly volatile monoculture based not on community or connection to place but on universal consumerism.

As trillions of dollars of investment and development aid pull more and more people into the consumer culture, economic power is concentrating in fewer and fewer corporate hands. Those corporations are driving a speculative economy in which ever faster technologies accelerate environmental destruction, as they speed up and scale up our lives – creating anonymity, competition, and poverty in the process….

My experience of working with government and business leaders leaders and academics in dozens of countries convinces me that policymakers are not really aware of the destruction they are inflicting on natural and human communities. What we face is not so much a conscious conspiracy as a de facto, structural conspiracy. In other words, interlocking structures “conspire” systemically to further a development path that threatens life itself.

– Helen Norberg-Hodge, Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World (2009)

[Next week something more hopeful!]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *