Facing the failure of capitalist globalization, the search for alternative globalizations

Reception: December 12, 2019

Acceptance: March 26, 2020

Otras globalizaciones

Gustavo Lins Ribeiro, 2018 UAM / Gedisa, Mexico, 408 pp.

This is a very important book, because it brings together the long career of a deep researcher, with novel and highly suggestive views. These are searches that highlight aspects that could not be visualized and that are approached with great originality. An alternative emphasis prevails, but the predominant is also studied very acutely. The 2020 pandemic halted the frantic pace of capitalist globalization.

The author makes us see that globalization has become a label to refer to certain forms of relationship and interweaving of different places, agencies and agents in today's world. But it is not something static, as it has undergone constant transformations. The present is scrutinized, but taking into account the dynamics that were generated since the Europeans invaded American territories. The author is influenced by Wallerstein and his world-system, in the sense of a world totality. It has been noted that Wallerstein investigated both the world-system and antisystemic movements. Boaventura de Sousa Santos has said that his main merit had been to leave behind the unit of analysis of national societies and deepen the world system with its growing dependencies and interdependencies; having questioned Western Eurocentric thinking and combined scientific objectivity with a commitment to the disinherited on earth (Santos, 2019). From a world geopolitical perspective, it not only historicized the relationship of exploitation center-periphery, but also gave the assumptions of what is now known as the theory of globalization (Dussel, 2019).

Some consider that the term "globalization" first appeared in May 1983, in an article by Theodore Levitt ("The globalization of financial markets") published by the magazine Harvard Business Review. It has also been noted that it is an ideological concept, coined and publicized in the United States during the 1980s, which tries to describe an economic phenomenon from the point of view of conventional economic theory. In the 1990s, Alain Touraine emphasized that it was an ideological construction, since noting the increase in world exchanges, the multipolarization of the production system and the role of new technologies was one thing, but maintaining that it was a self-regulating world system and suggesting that the economy should escape political controls was another matter, since a description was replaced by a wrong interpretation (Ramos, 2019).

Attention is drawn to the fact that it is not a unique term, as some use it to investigate the great recent changes while others see it as the world order. Although it became popular in the 1990s, it should not be forgotten that in the 1960s McLuhan used the expression “global village” (Fazio, 1998). Ribeiro points out that globalization is not reduced to new phenomena. There is a hegemonic globalization characterized by the initiatives of multinational and transnational agents that want to achieve neoliberal capitalist objectives (make structural adjustments, privatize the public, support capital and private enterprise, redirect national economies towards foreign markets, promote the so-called global free trade , weaken labor legislation, reduce and even abandon the welfare state). A world is fostered where individualism and consumerism prevail, where algorithms and manipulations prevail. Oligopolies are growing ever more powerful. Capitalism tends to the concentration and centralization of capital. We are in a globalizing capitalism in acute crisis, faced with a fierce, cruel and ruthless social form of the same capitalist world system (Camín, 2019). There are those who say that globalization has developed at different speeds throughout history and has had, to a lesser extent, moments of setback. It is emphasized that globalization was made possible by long-distance transportation, communications, and capital flows. Castells has said that globalization is when all systems, in all countries, work based on global connections, so we live in a globalized world and not only internationalized, and globalization exists in all dimensions of life (Castells , 2019). Regarding the current stage, one would have to think that our current episode of globalization is actually a brief phase, and that a reversion to a more localized form could be on the horizon, because it is not guaranteed that electrical networks and global communications can stay long-term, as energy and financial flows chaotically decline. Although this regression will have many traces of globalized culture and traditions of growth capitalism (Morassi, 2019). The economist Joseph Stiglitz published in November 2019 that neoliberalism had been weakening democracy for 40 years. Something was promised that was pure smoke, and that enormous deception produced distrust in the elites and in the economic science on which neoliberalism was based (Stiglitz, 2019). There are authors who prefer to call neoliberalism neoliberal globalization. They insist that capitalism is the prevailing mode of production throughout the world. They specify that the relocation of industry and the deconcentration of production processes have to do with over-exploitation, with the appropriation of the markets of peripheral countries. They draw attention to the nationalist reactions in the United States and the United Kingdom to the loss of jobs and ways of life, which are aspects that have to do with the logic of the current capitalist accumulation, and solutions can only come from a thorough rethinking of capitalism itself (Dorado, 2019).

Gustavo Lins Ribeiro's book leads us to examine the existence of other political, economic and academic globalizations. Not only is there hegemonic globalization, but because of the multiple resistance it generates, there is also popular globalization, from below. The book leads us to a diversity of alternative processes and agents economically, politically and culturally. The concept of a non-hegemonic world system is elaborated. There is a bottom-up political globalization whose main agents are activists. There are anti-and alter-globalization movements. Among these processes is the persistent World Social Forum. In addition, popular markets proliferate, which are commercial flows animated by townspeople and not by elites. The author delves into the copies made of products of hegemonic globalization. It tells us that this is not something that has occurred recently, but that it comes from long ago. It leads us through alternatives to the predominant modes of work and commerce. It highlights that popular globalization is made up of networks found in different markets that constitute the nodes of the non-hegemonic world system. Many units throughout the world are connected through flows of information, people, goods and capital. It highlights how commodity centers of the non-hegemonic world system broke into different parts of Asia.

Regarding alternative globalization, academically it analyzes the Network of World Anthropologies. Although an international hegemony of American anthropology prevails, the network has proposed to stimulate the articulation of diverse anthropologies. There is a critical exploration of the diversity of anthropology as discourses and practices within the field of national power. There has been a development of plural anthropologies, which foster dialogue between anthropologists from different parts of the world, and this decentralizes, rehistorizes and pluralizes. Ribeiro rightly scrutinizes the crisis of hegemonic anthropology. In contrast, it detects many places where knowledge about diversity is being produced and in which a different project for the discipline is being generated. A globalized world is the perfect setting for anthropology to flourish for its respect for difference, for its praise of plurality and diversity. Imperial cosmopolitics do not problematize the hegemony of Western canons and naturalize the universality of the status quo anthropological existing, so Anglo-American global views predominate. But world anthropologies are being critical of Eurocentrism and Anglo-American domination. There is a horizontal exchange between the different anthropologies of the world.

The book is rich in discussions. Explore power, networks and ideology in the field of development. Remember that Richard Adams emphasized that power is the control that one group had over the environment of another group. Ribeiro reviews other definitions and makes a synthesis in which power is the ability to control the course of action of events and to prevent others from becoming powerful actors. It should be taken into account that there are those who have pointed out that the order of domination confronts without total success the disorder caused by the plebeian rebellion (carried out by the excluded, politically, economically, socially and culturally) around the planet because global capitalist growth is it guided the superlative enrichment of a few, to such an extent that their private fortunes far exceeded the combined budgets of several nations. In the absence of a coherent economic model that allows to overcome the recurrent crises of the capitalist system and compensate the needs and difficulties suffered by the popular sectors, they tend to self-management, through their own organizational forms and articulated among themselves (Garcés, 2019) .

Ribeiro studies development as a field of power, but also as ideology and expansion. He investigates who is the subject of development and shows that the active and the passive subjects are found. It specifies that in order to advance in the globalized world, it must be admitted that development is not the object of everyone's desire. Explore global flows of development models. He insists that development is a way of existing in the world as a destination that is presented as happy for all. It has to do with economic growth and technological innovation that are thought to advance continuously and on the rise. It is a discursive matrix in which progress and Western civilized values are categories of it. But they are answered. The dominant ideology claims that these resistances are absurd. Ribeiro draws attention to the fact that the strongest criticisms have been raised by anthropologists from their studies of other realities. Löwy recalled that from 1820, with Comte, the ideology of progress became an apology for the bourgeois industrial and scientific order. But Walter Benjamin and José Carlos Mariátegui shared a rejection of the dogma of progress in history. Benjamin described the progress as a catastrophic storm accumulating ruins and victims. Mariátegui wrote from the point of view of the indigenous people of Latin America in opposition to the vision of the history of European colonialism. These writers invited us to rethink in new terms the course of history, the relationship between past, present and future, the emancipatory struggles of the oppressed and the revolution (Löwy, 2019).

Ribeiro is unraveling the hegemony of electronic-computer capitalism; raises and analyzes what he categorizes as "gogleism". Goods are not only objects, but words have been turned into goods. We entered a new era in the advertising industry. Users have ignored that they have been deprived themselves and the information they generate as merchandise in the hands of others. Google harnesses vast amounts of creativity and free work in both the virtual and the real world. The large companies of electronic-computer capitalism have promoted new management models. Some thought that the Internet was the space of freedom, but there it fell into the man-network, in a capitalist totalitarianism controlled by the capitalist multinationals of the sector (Lorca, 2019). Today's globalization presents numerous conflictive edges. In this globalization, some win and others lose. To give prestige, globalization is presented as a modern structure achieved by the route of progress. But globalization only means real freedom for the strongest who set themselves up as guides of the world economy. New scenarios have to be opened with new boards, without asking permission (Perales, 2019).

The author scrutinizes various modalities of what it is to copy. He wonders if the digital age could witness the death of the original. He argues that public space implies the virtual and the real. He points out that biotechnology could do human cloning. Without copies, he tells us, there could be no economy. The industrial revolution is the accelerated production of copies. Discuss the relationship between diversity and globalization. Explore universal / particular tension. He argues that the politics of difference has evolved rapidly, turning demands for cultural and ethnic recognition into important arenas of contemporary political struggles. It shows how globalization increases exposure to difference and makes social differentiation more complex. The defense of cultural diversity is part of the fight against the centralist tendencies of global capital; although it draws attention to the fact that the defense of cultural diversity may reflect the awareness of transnational corporations about the global nature of the political economy that they operate. Decentralization, paradoxically, can reinforce the accumulation of power. Transnational agents want to organize diversity. Diversity can be a tool both for reproduction and for the fight against hegemony. It considers that there are local particularisms, transnational particularisms and cosmopolitan particularisms. He proposes the concept of cosmopolitics, which allows him to explore these last particularisms as forms of global political discourse to go beyond the tension between particular / universal. It points out that global governance agencies are centers of cosmopolitical production. One camp is hegemonized by transnational capitalists and their associated elites who praise a neoliberal world without borders as far as markets are concerned. Cultural diversity and respect for difference is seen as the means of obtaining governance and a market strategy. But there is another field of intellectual agencies interested in another type of globalization, which postulate a global civil society to regulate the transnational hegemonic elites. Ribeiro delves into what he calls "global fraternal discourses" that could coexist with the reality of a conflictive world. It specifies that these global fraternal discourses are utopias that have an important role in the reproduction of social and political cohesion. He dissects some highly influential global discourses, such as human rights and development. But he warns that, in the name of human rights, freedom and democracy, authoritarian regimes have been imposed. Remember that the universality of human rights has not been a consensual issue. The greater the cultural variation, the greater the opposition to the universality of human rights. The relationship between human rights and cultural diversity is very prone to generating contradictions. However, despite its western origins, human rights have become an instrumental category in the struggle of indigenous peoples in Latin America. It finds forms of global development of human rights in both transnational particularism and cosmopolitan particularism when the variations of human rights according to their social, political and cultural contexts are taken into account. Ribeiro highlights that human rights and development are examples of the ways in which some of the most important global discourses are subject to conflicts of interpretation related to the characteristics of the socio-political fields in which they are located. That is why its universalist postulates are subject to resistance. Another concept examined is that of world heritage, which shares several characteristics of human rights and development. It is a discourse of global recognition that reinforces a cultural geography. It has to do with what is understood as exceptional universal value. It is the recognition of being in the best examples of human achievement or natural wonders. Ribeiro tells us that the universal / particular tension is similar to the relationships between the global and the local. It brings out that "globalization" was a neologism created to refer to the tension between the local and the global. He points out that for a global fraternal discourse to be effective in the contemporary world, it needs to renounce any pretense of being the only universally valid solution and enter into dialogue with various cosmopolitics that are formed within the same global semantic field. We must move in a globalized world where multiculturalism is increasingly a matter of transnational politics and we must accept that the universalization of local particularisms is doomed to failure. For this reason, it recommends promoting visions that are sensitive to different global contexts, to diversity.

Ribeiro opens up to a post-imperialist perspective, because post-colonialism and the decoloniality of power are not enough. It defends that indigenous populations have become subjects of their own epistemological struggles, which has had repercussions in the academic environment. There are many forms of coexistence and conflicts between epistemologies, paradigms and approaches. It should not be overlooked that most claims for universality are based on power effects. He points out that, in a globalized world, the problem is the imperial claim to hegemony. It exhorts that, in a globalized world, we seek consensualities that open channels of communication between semantic universes. It tells us that traveling theories are needed. The dimensions of theories such as postcolonialism that arrived in Latin America after being reformulated in the United States must be critically accepted.

He recommends that supporters of counter-hegemonic cosmopolitics have to identify their mutual equivalences so that they can articulate politically. Specifies that the emphasis on colonialism, neocolonialism, internal colonialism1, postcolionalism and coloniality of power is something welcome, although it is striking that the postcolonial situation and the coloniality of power coexist. He says that the overemphasis on colonialism could recreate what he claims to criticize: an explanation that naturalizes subalternity as the fate of ex-colonies. If the analysis focuses on colonialism and not on capitalism, the importance of nation-states and their elites is underestimated, and this distances itself from the particular characteristics of the power relations that mediate between nation-states and the system. world. Ribeiro emphasizes that criticism must be focused on capitalism that produces inequalities. Solving colonial problems does not end oppression and exploitation. Racism is a capitalist mechanism that makes ethnically divided market segments vulnerable, but not the only one. Perhaps it would have been useful to also refer to internal colonialism.1 He proposed the concept of post-imperialism, to imagine life after imperialism.

It shows how imperial violence is exercised through military and technological superiority. Latin America knows the damage caused by the various forms of imperialism. But the permanence of indigenous peoples is proof that it is possible to resist the movement of Eurocentric capitalist expansionism, that a non-capitalist experience is possible that is not the persistence of a past but the expression of a present that drives the future. Ribeiro tells us that the ezln has shown that another world is already possible.

We are facing a book that moves away from the usual approaches, that dares to peer out and discover unsuspected but existing veins, and not content itself with general explanations, but squeezes them, detects their tensions and explores them from an acute vision of complexity. You have to read it, study it, discuss it and spread it.


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Jorge Alonso Sánchez He is a doctor in Anthropology and Emeritus Research Professor at the ciesas West. He has been a professor in postgraduate studies in Social Sciences at the Ibero-American universities, the National School of Anthropology and History, the Metropolitan Autonomous University, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of Guadalajara, the College of Jalisco, the College of Michoacán and ciesas. He has written many books and research articles. For ten years he was responsible for the magazine Contempt. He participates in editorial committees of several national and international academic journals. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. In the National System of Researchers he is a National Researcher Emeritus. orcid: 0000-0003-1765-5559.

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