Thursday Book: The Long March from Bretton Woods to Seattle ; the Case against the Global Economy, and for a Turn towards Localisation Edited by Edward Goldsmith and Jerry Mander (Earthscan, Pounds 14.95)
Hutchings, Vicky, The Independent (London, England)
FIVE YEARS ago, The Case Against the Global Economy was published by the Sierra Club in the US. It contained essays by luminaries such as Ralph Nader, Herman Daly, Kirkpatrick Sale and Jeremy Rifkin. It took America by storm and won a prize.
This is the "new and fully revised British edition". Like the original, it looks at the bad things happening to the world - unemployment, poverty, global warming, homelessness, violence, pollution, the disappearance of cultural and biological diversity, the destruction of communities and natural resources - and shows how they may be connected. Gone are Daly, Sale, Rifkin and Nader, although there are stimulating new additions, both of authors and essays.
It is, however, much the same team. Some articles (such as David Korten's keynote address, "The Failure of Bretton Woods", given on the convention's 50th anniversary) are unchanged; others have been revised. Gone, too, is some of the energy of the original, written in the aftermath of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the creation of the World Trade Organisation.
The new book is divided into three parts: "Engines of Globalisation", "Impacts of Globalisation" and "Steps towards Bioregionalism". In part one, the records of two big players are well worth a look: "Monsanto: a profile of corporate arrogance" by Brian Tokar, and Andrew Rowell's "The Wal-Martians Have Landed". The latter is of particular interest for us Brits, now that the first Wal-Mart store has opened on the outskirts of Bristol.
Off-the-wall Jerry Mander argued for "the elimination of television" in his 1978 book of that name. In "Technologies of Globalisation", he now writes that "television serves as the worldwide agent of imagery for the new global corporate vision. Computers are the nervous system that facilitates the setup of new global organisations... The answer to the trend is, of course, to work to reverse it." Mander has many critics who take exception to the way he treats technology as somehow outside us. …