Globalization: People, Perspectives, and Progress

By William H. Mott IV | Go to book overview
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8
THE DOUBLE MOVEMENT:
GLOBALIZATION AND
ANTIGLOBALISM

In 1944, Karl Polanyi conceived his well-known double movement of orchestrated social forces creating and extending a liberal, market society and those seeking protection from the commodification of land, labor, and ideas.1 The expansion of self-regulating markets to global dimensions seemed to generate sharp, social countermovements to restrict the reach of globalization and government policies to mitigate its human and environmental costs. Polanyi probably realized that the double movement was not new but had been operating since people confronted the rational efficiency of liberal economics with the rational force of liberal politics. From the dawn of modernity, technology and conquest have expanded the political and economic relationships through which BaconU+027s idols operated the double movement. Often eclipsed by the power of liberty and the visibility of prosperity, the populist forces of culture, art, philosophy, faith, and ideology have also expanded their effects on people and their social arrangements. Beyond physical, technological capabilities, in some ontological sense, globalization may not only activate the double movement but be integral to it.

By the 1930s, modernization had created new liberal forces—populist and economic—that operated in global dimensions as carriers of globalization. The double movement had also created new forms of the state—the New Deal, the Third Reich, social democracy, socialism, or fascism—as populist and political barriers to control the apparently natural and universal forces of globalization. Within the global perspective, the lens of historicism resolves this double movement into a conjunctural dialectic. With the carriers on one side and the barriers that antiglobalism constructs in their path on the other, what balances the double movement in social transformation is the power of the people. Populism confronts globalization as both carrier and barrier. Whereas the carriers are identifiable as particular groups of people pursuing progress through various institutions, the barriers are more elusive in the forms of attitudes, movements, crusades, and campaigns. Moving largely in the global

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