05w22:1 The Collaspse of Globalism

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 22 number 1 (The Collapse of Globalism)


John Ralston Saul’s ‘The Collapse of Globalism’ | Timothy Comeau
“Ah the isms, can’t live with ’em, can’t have good arguments without them. And for the past thirty years, we’ve seen a flourishing of isms, one that could almost be said to have sprung from the fertilized soil of the World War’s dead a generation prior. To some they were flowers, to others they have been weeds. And JRS is one who’s seen them as weeds. I’ve come to find them somewhat noxious myself, which is one of the reasons that I’ve grown fond of his thinking, and over the winter I read most of his books. It is also for that reason that I was particularly excited when I learned in March that he had a new book coming out. There was also a geeky pleasure to know that with the publication of a new text he’d be speaking in Toronto at some point, which turned out to be sooner rather than later. JRS spoke at U of T’s MacMillan Theatre a week ago now, which I eagerly attended and like the keener I am took a seat dead centre in the third row because lectures for me are more exciting than rock concerts. “

The Collapse of Globalism by John Ralston Saul | Paul Kennedy
“There are few middle-of-the-road voices to be heard here. Egged on, one suspects, by their publishers, authors participating in this debate tend to advance a more extreme – or, shall we say, more dramatic – picture of events. Just recently, the foreign-affairs correspondent of The New York Times, Thomas Friedman, published his new book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalised World in the 21st Century. Deeply impressed by the communications revolution and the free flow of capital, and reinforced by interviews with high-tech entrepreneurs from Boston to Bangladesh, Friedman argued that globalisation is intensifying, making societies ever more ‘flat’ – that is, conforming more and more to free-market western practices. This debate is now joined by the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul, with The Collapse of Globalism. Saul has written various books of fiction as well as non-fiction, and he brings a great breadth of literary and cultural knowledge to his task. But he has his own axe to grind in this debate over globalism, and his own arguments to advance. […] But his story is about the losers or, better put, about the backlash against globalism and globalisation. And he is striving, yearning, faltering and then rising to find what Hans Kung, the great German theologian, described as a ‘global ethic’ to help us pick our way through the debris of the 21st century. The Collapse of Globalism is an angry and, I think, an unbalanced book, for the same yet opposite reasons as Friedman’s. Each is groping a particular part of our elephant of globalism. For his part, Saul sees, not the ‘flattening’ of our world, but the increasing storms and dislocations, and the increasingly powerful movements and protests against unbridled capitalism, especially in the developing world. And he means to frighten the reader, not only to his point of view, but to take action. This is a sort of manifesto, rather like Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring, or Donella and Dennis Meadows’s Club of Rome report, The Limits to Growth.”

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emailed by Timothy on Saturday 04 June 2005 @ 2:38 PM

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