Sierra Club Books
January 15, 1996
The world’s political and corporate leaders have begun a radical restructuring of the planets economics and politics that will affect human life and the natural world as profoundly as anything since the Industrial Revolution. Expressed in such new institutions as GATT, NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and Maastricht, as well as by the development schemes of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, economic globalization has been bulldozed through legislative bodies throughout the world, with scant public debate or discourse.
These tremendous changes are hailed by their backers as leading to a new era of prosperity and peace, but is this true?
Thus far, most people experience globalization as threatening their jobs and communities, diminishing democracy, increasing economic anxiety, and stimulating social disintegration, while devouring the last remnants of resources and wilderness. The only beneficiaries seem to be the global corporations that advocate free trade and globalization.
Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive point-by-point analysis of the workings of the global economy, its premises, and its dire implications told by more than forty of the world’s leading social, environmental, and economic thinkers from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. They charge that free trade and economic globalization create exactly the opposite results from what is promised.
Far from a new paradise on earth, here’s what to expect:
- Acceleration of the very model of development that has already brought the natural world to the brink of breakdown, as free trade eliminates all controls on corporate behavior
- Severe threats to cultural and biological diversity, and human health worldwide
- The frustration of democratic countries attempting to sustain laws that protect wilderness, jobs, food, safety – the frustration of the democratic process itself
- Dramatic increases in unemployment in all economic sectors
- Increases in mass migration, as self-sufficient peoples are driven from their lands to make way for the new export economies
- A new corporate colonialism that dominates poor countries, and the poor in rich countries
- And, a global homogenization of culture, as once distinct places – from Borneo to Costa Rica – are taken over by Citibank, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wal-Mart, and automania, all to fit into the massification drives of the global economy.
Each of the forty-three chapters in The Case Against the Global Economy takes one part of the story and delves into it, to show both the root assumptions of globalism and its multiple failures. In the end, it is clear that we need to reverse course; away from the global toward a revitalization of local political and economic control, self-sufficiency, and ecological health. That the drive to localize is viewed by many as utopian puts the case backwards; what is revealed as truly utopian is the idea that separating people from control of their lives and placing them in the hands of a global corporate bureaucracy can possibly satisfy social or ecological needs.
Jerry Mander is a senior fellow at the nonprofit Public Media Center in San Francisco and is program director of the Foundation for Deep Ecology. He is a co-founder and chair of the International Forum on Globalization, a new international organization of activists opposed to the global economy. He is the author of the bestsellers Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and In the Absence of the Sacred.
Edward Goldsmith is founder and publisher of The Ecologist, Europe’s leading environmental journal. He has campaigned on ecological issues for more than three decades, and is a co-founder of the International Forum on Globalization. \He is the author of fifteen books, including Blueprint for Survival and The Way: An Ecological World-View. He was a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.