Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" part xii


This next section can be summed up thusly: The United States of America continued its quest for global dominance without pause after the fall of the U.S.S.R. The fall of the Soviet system was read as an endorsement of the American capitalist model. There is now no credible, powerful alternative to this model.

"Globalization has meant worldwide empowerment of the transnational private sphere, dominated by ever more powerful corporations, financial institutions, and wealthy individuals. The function of government is reduced to creating conditions favorable to private investment."

The above is not without merit; the privitization of the public sphere certainly can pose a threat to the quality of life of citizens. And the single-minded deference to 'markets' certainly degrades the value of public concerns not driven by profit.

However, Johnstone goes on to say:

"As the ability of nation-states to protect the interests of their citizens declines, the importance of citizenship diminishes in turn. The democratic process is unable to provide citizens with the protection they need to earn a decent living, stay healthy, and eduate their children. In compensation, group identities of all kinds offer the prospect of mutual assistance, protection, or at least solace to populations struggling to cope with changes beyond their control. People turn to identity groups--national, religious, "ethnic", etc.--for protection."

This is at least an intriguing theory; it would be nice if she bothered providing any evidence for it. I'll grant it this much, though--on the surface, this seems at least plausible. In some situations, this could be a point of view worth investigating.

But we are talking about Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Specifically, we are talking about Serbian nationalism. Which predates globalization, and U.S. global hegemony, by a good long time.

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