Shaping Europe in a Globalized World?. Protest Movements and the Rise of a Transnational Civil Society? Universität Zürich, June 23-26, 2009. Stephen Gill York University, Toronto, Canada. THE GLOBAL ORGANIC CRISIS & POLITICAL AGENCY IN THE 21ST CENTURY Universität Zürich 23 June 2009
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Protest Movements and the Rise of a Transnational Civil Society?
Universität Zürich, June 23-26, 2009
THE GLOBAL ORGANIC CRISIS
& POLITICAL AGENCY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Universität Zürich 23 June 2009
Lecture will be posted on: http://www.stephengill.com/
Part 1: Two Concepts: Organic Crisis & The Post-modern Prince
Part 2: Beyond The Crisis of Accumulation – Elements of Global Organic Crisis Today
Part 3: Emerging Forms of Political Agency & the Post-Modern Prince
Organic Crisis & Post-modern Prince
Beyond The Crisis of Accumulation
Elements of Global Organic Crisis Today
Source: Bordo et al. (2001), IMF World Economic Outlook, January 2009.
The crisis is much more than a crisis of capitalist accumulation or a necessary self-correction aided by macroeconomic intervention and bailouts.
The crisis also reflects contradictions of what I call market civilization – a consumerist, privatized, energy-intensive & ecologically myopic pattern of social development.
Today the crisis involves a de facto state of global economic emergency which presents dangers and opportunities for a variety of states and social forces – and not all are progressive – many are reactionary.
In this situation of global organic crisis old forces are dying (but not yet dead) & the new are being born. They have yet to fully emerge as transformative political agency.
Increased corporate control of global agriculture
Decline of local self- sufficiency & energy & fertilizer intensive export-orientation of agriculture
Crop monocultures & damage to the biosphere
Global futures trading e.g. in Chicago & New York linked to speculation & rapid turnover time of capital & high food prices
Lower growth, rising unemployment, falling remittances; high food prices, reverses decline of past 25 years in % people who are “chronically hungry” to a record 1 billion.
World population estimated by the US Census Bureau at 6.784 billion in 2009. Thus 1 in 7 people in the world is starving.
Numbers rose by 100 million in 2008-09, due to global financial crisis (UN Food & Agriculture Organization, 2009).
UN World Food Program needs $6bn (€4.5bn) in 2009 to feed the poorest, up 20 per cent from last year’s record of $5bn.
$17 trillion = 2833.33 times the sums needed by World Food Program in 2009.
What are some differences between 1930s & today?
Emerging Forms of Political Agency & the Post-Modern Prince
Some progressive initiatives incorporated, e.g. by Obama: appease anger over bailouts; expand healthcare insurance + “green investment.” Yet his program one-sidedly favours Wall Street.
More pressures to privatize to pay for bail outs & pressure to reduce welfare and public service provision as a consequence of increasing deficits.
After the bail-outs: reintroduction of mechanisms to justify & lock in a return of fiscal discipline & austerity.
Reinforcement of market discipline on individuals, workers and families e.g. through growing debts (personal loss of wealth, lower incomes, reduced pensions).
IMF grows & resumes debt imperialism via donor country conditionality and stabilization programs.
The “epistemology of the South” -- the perspective of the progressive forces in the South transcending the WSF has two main components: