“Globalization From Below” Tackles The “Great Recession”

Source: Global Labor Strategies, Discussion Paper, 2009

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The seemingly sudden collapse of the global economy in mid-2008 has similarly left millions, indeed billions of people all over the world a victims of a catastrophe that appears both inexplicable and unending.

This discussion paper is dedicated to the proposition that what’s now being dubbed the “Great Recession” is neither incomprehensible nor irremediable. On the contrary, it can be understood as an expectable result of a capitalism that has been globalized and at the same time freed by neoliberalism of control in the public interest.

The economic globalization that transformed the world at the turn of the century promised, according to its advocates, a glorious vista of prosperity that would provide unprecedented economic growth and raise billions of people out of poverty. In practice it generated personal and national insecurity, growing inequality, and a race to the bottom in which every community, nation, and workgroup had to reduce its social, environmental, and labor conditions to that of its most impoverished competitor.

But economic globalization also gave birth to a new convergence of global social forces that opposed this kind of globalization. People all over the world fought back against this “globalization from above” with their own “globalization from below.” They used asymmetrical strategies of linking across the borders of nations and constituencies to become a counter power to the advocates of globalization. They created a movement – variously known as the global justice movement, the anti-globalization movement, global civil society, or as we call it, “globalization from below” — that some in the media even characterized as “the world’s other superpower.”

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