May 16, 2005
Globalization, like many great geopolitical ideologies before it, is now officially dead. Despite the near-religious conviction with which it was originally conceived, a growing vagueness now surrounds its original premise that nation-states were heading toward irrelevance, to be replaced by the power of global markets; that economics, not politics or arms, would determine the course of human events; that growth in international trade would foster prosperous markets that would, in turn, abolish poverty and change dictatorships into democracies.
Yet, contends Saul, little has transpired as predicted. The Collapse of Globalism has left us struggling with a paradox – a chaotic vacuum. Instead of surrendering or sharing sovereignty, governments and citizens are reasserting their national interests. The United States appears determined to ignore its international critics. Europe is faced with problems of immigration, racism, terrorism and renewed internal nationalism. Many of these issues call for uniquely European solutions born out of local experiences and needs. Elsewhere, the world looks for answers to African debt, the AIDS epidemic, the return of fundamentalism and terrorism, all of which perversely refused to disappear despite the theoretical rise in global prosperity.
In addition to the negative aspects of Globalism, Saul also objectively analyses its successes, such as the astonishing growth in world trade and the unexpected rise of India and China, which seem slated to become twenty-first-century superpowers.
Insightful and prophetic, The Collapse of Globalism is destined to take its place as one of the seminal books of our time.
John Ralston Saul’s philosophical trilogy – Voltaire’s Bastards, The Doubter’s Companion and The Unconscious Civilization – has had a growing impact on political thought in many countries. The conclusion to this trilogy, On Equilibrium – an exploration of the six qualities of the new humanism – is a persuasive and groundbreaking exploration of the human struggle for personal and social balance.
Mr. Saul has written five novels, including The Birds of Prey and The Field Trilogy. These works deal with the crisis of modern power and its clash with the individual. Like his non-fiction, his novels have been translated into many languages.
He has received many national and international awards for his work. The Unconscious Civilization won the 1996 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction as well as the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues. His reinterpretation of the nature of Canada, Reflections of a Siamese Twin, also won a Montador award and was chosen by Maclean’s magazine as one of the ten best non-fiction books of the twentieth century. His novel The Paradise Eater won the Premio Lettarario Internazionale in Italy. Most recently he received the Pablo Neruda Medal in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Neruda’s birth.
Mr. Saul was born in Ottawa and studied at McGill University and the University of London, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1972.