Long read, necessary read: “Systemic, collaborative localization is ultimately the most effective antidote to authoritarianism.”


James Dean Bradfield sings Nicky Wire’s lyrics in the opening track of Resistance is Futile, the Manics’ new album: “There is no theory of everything,” or in other words, no comprehensive equation to describe the entire universe.

(I’ve just now realized The Theory of Everything is the title of a Stephen Hawking biopic; as noted previously, I’m good for a handful of movies a year at best.)

I think Nicky’s just being poetic. For my money, this article is about as close as we’ll get to a theory of everything as it pertains to globalization. It’s long, it’s deadly, and we mustn’t forget to follow the money.

Localization: A Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism, by Helena Norberg-Hodge (Transnational Institute via Common Dreams)

In order to see how corporate deregulation has led to a breakdown of democracy, to increasing fundamentalism and violence, and to the rise of far-right political leaders, it is vitally important that we see the broader connections that mainstream analyses generally ignore.

For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again?

From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialized and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalization. When I say globalization, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalization goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.

Under globalization, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a livable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure. As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit. But people today are targeted by more than just marketing campaigns for deodorants and tooth polish: insecurity leaves them highly vulnerable to propaganda that encourages them to blame the cultural “other” for their plight …