RE: [OPE] From globalisation to ghettoisation (redux)

Date: Sat Jul 26 2008 - 12:37:23 EDT

> As I have argued on the lists from 2003, I think that the historic culmination of the 
> "globalised" economy (symbolised by the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989) in which 
> everything is "open", is a species of "ghettoisation" (symbolised by Israel's West Bank barrier), 
> which need not be spatial or economic, but could be social, cultural, communicative etc. 
> The more it is technically possible to reach into every aspect of other's lives, the more people 
> respond by creating new boundaries and new codes of inclusion and exclusion, so that in truth 
> they live increasingly in separate social worlds. 
Hi Jurriaan:
I don't really get this analogy: how is The Wall constructed by Israel a "historic 
culmination" of globalization?  If anything, it demonstrates that the ideological
pretenses of the globalizers about "openness" and "liberalization"  run counter
to their own political-economic practice. 
"The Wall", furthermore, is hardly a new tactic.  Rather, it harkens back to
the period of colonialism and pre-modern imperialism. The Romans did something
similar: Hadrian's Wall's_Wall.  Mussolini,
following the advice of General Rodolfo Graziani, did something similar
in Libya - with a twist. There's a scene in the movie "Lion of the
Desert" about this.  After Graziani (Oliver Reed) proposes a "new
Hadrian's Wall", a functionary objects complaining about the cost.
Mussolini (Rod Steiger) takes Graziani's side and cynically responds
 (paraphrase):  "Why do you object to Hadrian's Wall? Remember - it 
kept Rome in England one hundred years longer!".
> This incidentally gives a new twist to the concept of "pluralism" (the subject of a new HM conference). 
> Marxists have usually understood this term in a liberal, democratic or postmodernist way, borrowing from 
> bourgeois theory, to refer to an acknowledgement of other voices and different viewpoints, or as an 
> organisational device to unify different leftist sects and fragmented groups, in the afterglow of the breakup 
> of Stalinist and Maoist monolithism. But the radical content of the concept of pluralism nowadays really 
> refers to something rather different: the willingness to scale and cross the walls defining social space 
> among a plurality of separated groups - walls which already keep whole communities of people in 
> separate life-worlds and thought-territories, which in reality may even not interact much anymore with 
> each other at all, because they are more or less self-sufficient and self-reproducing.
In economics, pluralism means different things to different people.
One perspective is that pluralism is represented by an alleged "convergence" of sorts among 
different schools of thought. This perspective emphasizes new "techniques" in economics
which can be applied, it is claimed, from any economic perspective. I went to an EEA 
panel a few years ago where this was discussed and I reported to the list - rather skeptically - 
on this perspective.  Do we really want to "scale and cross the walls" which divide radical 
economics from marginalism?  It would surely be a one-way flow since mainstream economists
are not going to scale the wall over to Marxian economics in any numbers. If Marxians
scale the wall into the Land of Neo-Neo-Classicism that may (or may not) make us "pluralists" 
but will we still be Marxian - or even heterodox - economists?
In solidarity, Jerry

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