Some Key Points
- We examined the multifaceted manifestations of globalization. We concluded that globalization had strong cultural, political, economic, social, and communicative dimensions, and a reductive analysis of globalization was not possible. However, in traditional Marxist fashion, everyone at the table seemed to agree that the economic aspects of globalization were the conditions of possibility for its proliferation in other dimensions.
- Paul mentioned the fact that this already plays into the theory of globalization, as the economic actors of the corporation are considered to be principal agents of power over and above the nation state.
- Chuck argued for a conception of globalization as an organic evolutionary inevitability, claiming that the proliferation of technology and mass communication as a result of the spread of free market capitalism translates into a more easily and efficiently globally run community where quality of life is generally increased, an argument which within Held and McGrew's framework of the neo-liberal free market globalist, much like Francis Fukuyama.
- Others at the table were not as satisfied with this thesis due to its analogical naturalization and universalization of the infrastructure of capitalism and technology, when these structures are not necessarily appreciated in a universal fashion. Examples which Rockhill cited of this failure to be universal included: a majority of the earth's population living on less than a dollar a day, the unused technological capability of being able to feed the world eight times over so that american farmers can stay in business, and the comparative lack of internet access in Africa, in order to demonstrate the benefits of globalization are often one sided, and at the expense of third world countries.
- Mark made an extremely important point regarding the relationship between Marxist dogma and globalization. Both of these terms actually share the same historical determinism, where Marx predicted communism as the end of history, while neo-liberal globalists like Fukuyama uphold political and economic liberalism as the end of history. In fact, Mark claimed that we hadn't really left Marxist dogma at all, because Marx himself predicted that global capitalism would lead to a global revolution of the proletariat. Rockhill expressed his skepticism towards Mark's unabashed Marxist optimism.
- Zack made a really important point that I thought deserved more attention, and spoke to the question that I was the most concerned with, namely the relationship between the normative and descriptive elements of globalization. Zack claimed, if I understood him correctly, that the normative dimensions of globalization are important insofar is how the term is used in discourse, but as far as understanding a PHENOMENON of globalization, one needed essentially to look at "the facts," some of which were enumerated already by Rockhill, in order to come to a working definition of globalization. I guess I wanted to see if we could somehow tease out the analytic distinctions, or otherwise facts of globalization, from the normative baggage of globalization. However, it seems though that as the term is used in discourse, the facts of globalization are subject to shifts, and these facts will redetermine the normative constitution of the term. One could also make an argument for the dialectical relationship between the normative and analytically descriptive dimensions of the term globalization. I would want to privilege the facts as the basis for sound rational judgment, over a normative ideology determining the constitution of the facts as such, but the dialectical nature of this relationship seems to be unfortunately real.
- Blueberries are my favorite fruit