Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Think globally

While the left side collapses in the battle for the nation-state, the right-hand side controls the WTO and the EU alone.


[27. October 2006] Globalization is high on the agenda this autumn. The globalization conference last weekend was a moderate success, the Swedish debate around the national and global left has reached the border, and in November the first conference is arranged which aims to bring together a Norwegian global left. Attac has published the debate book Economic Apartheid. The world order of neoliberalism, in healthy competition with Halvor FinessTretvoll and Thomas Hylland Eriksen's Cosmopolitics. Morgenbladet, Ny Tid and Klassekampen have contributed with a debate on supranationality and globalization.

At times, the debate seems like yet another marginal discussion that neither serves nor matters to anyone to the right of the left-wing in SV. The polarization is reinforced by the debaters even when they compare globalization with phenomena such as the Gulf Stream, meant positively, and apartheid, meant negatively.

The truth, of course, is that it is just as pointless to be for globalization as to be against globalization. The economy is internationalized, the information on what is happening at different ends of the globe is immediately available to more and more and the global migration flow is only being held back by poverty and strict Western immigration laws. This obviously has consequences. The question is how we can and should control this development. Is it fair that the World Bank places demands on privatization of water and other natural resources in poor countries, demands that are in direct conflict with how the Western countries themselves have built their wealth? Is it okay for Norwegian farmers to demand trade restrictions in the WTO negotiations, which are in contravention of both the demands of poor countries and the demands of the Norwegian fishermen?

When the problem is global, it cannot be solved locally. When the goal is to make fundamental human rights universal, the solution is not to close all boundaries and throw out everything that feels threatening, but to create supranational agreements and institutions that can safeguard those rights. It is paradoxical to be concerned about international solidarity and at the same time towards supranational cooperation. The Norwegian left side cannot choose between thinking and acting globally or locally, reality indicates that we must do both. A natural place to start is where the debate often ends. The important thing is not whether Norway should join the EU or not. That is how the EU should work.

You may also like