Some t ime ago I read two pret t y harrowing accounts of ‘seriously organized crime’. Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah describes it in the industrial hinterland of Naples. Misha Glenny’s McMafia visits similar territory almost everywhere else. The closer I looked into corporate globalization for this issue, the more it appeared to inhabit much the same place. The brutality, the banality, the blackmail, the bribes, the bets, the bag-carriers, the big bosses, the booty – the business model must surely have come from the same maker.
The clearest difference between them is, of course, that one is considered legitimate. But even that has begun to blur. For instance, in Britain a venal but relatively paltry system of parliamentary expenses has been aping the antics of the corporate world for years. Was it really pure chance – I began to wonder – that induced the corporate media to ‘expose’ it, (thereby distracting public attention and discrediting parliament) only when immeasurably larger and more fateful sums of public cash were being requisitioned to salvage corporate globalization? Pure chance would be a fine thing. A profound conf lict between corporate globalization and democratic legitimacy looks set to take centre stage for some time to come.
After the Copenhagen climate change fiasco, more hopeful signs are now visible in Bolivia. A People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights starts in Cochabamba on 19 April. The prospects are explored in some depth on pages 21-24. By way of a reminder that the most significant causes always endure, on pages 34-35 some striking photographs celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
David Ransom for the New Internationalist Co-operative
Globalization on the rocks
Globalization on the rocks
4David Ransom argues that a corporate shipwreck lies behind the collapse of financial markets. 8
Deglobalization – reflections of a Filipino MP
For a decade Walden Bello has known what really has to be done. 10
THE FACTS 14
Transition towns – the art of resilience
Setting out towards a post-corporate, post-carbon world – Rowenna Davis reports. 12
The upside of markets that failed, suggests Indian economist Jayati Ghosh, is the chance to do better. 16
Crisis, crash, crunch – the lowlights main Feature SPECIAL Feature
A sorry saga since corporate globalization got going in 1971. 18
Getting a grip on democracy
Richard Swift finds some traces in Egypt and Latin America. 20
Books, websites, contacts.
New hope for international action on global warming has come from Bolivia, where President Evo Morales is convening a People’s World Conference on Climate Change. Vanessa Baird reports on a multifaceted initiative.P u n r e u t e r s
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Regular Features 2
Differing responses to Letter from Cairo; reader solutions to the population panic; and why we should all get more sleep. 3
Letter from Cairo
A trip to the pedicurist reveals the changing face of Egypt’s middle class to Maria Golia. 25
A smart recycling project from some entrepreneurial Egyptians; biofuels threaten agricultural land in Africa; and why microfinance isn’t always a good thing. 27 Only Planet
A taste of McIrony in Marc Roberts’ cartoon. 28 Big Bad World
Creative destruction? in Polyp’s cartoon.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword 29 Worldbeaters
Trigger-happy Taser International under the spotlight. 30 Mixed Media
Connivance between industry and government affects both our food and our health, according to two of this month’s films. Plus the US Left quakes at the thought of Palin in power in Going Rouge. 32 Making Waves
Somaly Mam has experienced the horrors of sexual slavery. She is now fighting to ensure other young women don’t. 33 View from Istanbul
Azad Essa meets a man who has dedicated his life to restoring books. 34 Southern Exposure
Smita Barooah Sanyal photographs women at work. 36 Country profile: Solomon Islands
Front cover and magazine design: Andrew Kokotka. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.