What a wonderful world!
And that’s just the humans. Whales, lemurs, sea turtles and most fauna don’t even get a foot (or flipper) in the door. The flora? Forget I even mentioned flora. Euro-Americanisation seems to have never heard the term. Unless it’s to recall that flora is another term for “natural resources” or “unproductive terrain”.
The coming of Euro-Americanisation
Euro-Americanisation can be traced back as far as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. The Industrial Revolution in Europe expanded on their work, meanwhile condemning thousands to grimy, grubby jobs and their descendants to lives of toil and hardship whilst the owners of new corporations began the emergence of the super-rich. The founding of the New World in the Americas further fuelled the growing ideology, this times on the backs of slaves.
The latest wave of Euro-Americanisation began even before World War 2 had fired its last cannon shot. The conference of Bretton Woods in 1944 saw the foundation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and GATT, all cornerstones of the growing Euro-Americanisation of the World.
Then came what has been called the Washington Consensus with its key principles of privatisation and deregulation. These two economic concepts were held up as economic saviours on both sides of the Atlantic. Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US were its champions. Euro-Americanisation was heading for its zenith through the rise of multi-national and then trans-national corporations (TNCs).
What a zenith it has turned out to be. The 10 largest TNCs have a combined income greater than that of the Worlds 100 poorest countries. 2/3 of the Worlds trade is controlled by just 500 corporations. No prizes for guessing what part of the World most of these arose in.
Meanwhile, almost half the World’s population attempts to live on less than $2 a day (one of the measures of absolute poverty). How civilised is that in the 21st Century? Where's the social justice?
How many of us know what is really going on throughout the World? Probably very few of us. Not surprising really given that almost all of the Worlds mainstream media is controlled by just 7 large media conglomerates – based again, largely in Europe and America.
If it really was globalisation surely we would see signs of the diversity of global life. But walk the downtown streets of most modern cities and what brands and logos do you see mostly? If I ask you to name all the brands you can think of, I’d bet that amongst those that first come to mind will be the likes of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, BP, Shell, Disney etc etc. Its highly likely that amongst your first dozen or so most of them will have come from Europe or America.
Calling it for what it is.
So lets not call it globalisation.
Actually, lets not call it Euro-Americanisation either. That label sounds too much as if the blame is being put upon a particular group of people, leaving everyone else blameless.
But are the rest of us blameless? Perhaps another G word is applicable.
Lets call it greed.
I suggest that this is what globalisation really is and as such it lives in the heart of all of us. We are all complicit to one degree or another. Years ago, Mahatma Gandhi said that
“The world has enough for every persons need, but not enough for every persons greed”.It behoves all of us to listen to Gandhi’s words and take them to heart and to question our own actions, thoughts and attitudes. Globalisation is an ideology and as such not so easily addressed. Greed though is a human frailty and more readily addressed.
Like most issues we can tackle them at many levels and from various angles. One of those is always ourselves. How often do I sit down in the morning with my coffee and question the conditions of the cocoa growers? As I read the newspaper with that coffee, do I notice the subtle (and not so subtle) messages contained in its pages? As I drive off do I think of the environmental damage being done by the oil industry or the disruption to indigenous populations by mining?
Yes, lets swap one G word for another G word. Gee! I’ve got a lot of questioning to do?