Globalization in question

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sun Aug 13 23:21:17 MDT 2000


"Globalization in question "

Harvey D. Rethinking Marxism. Vol 8 Issue 4. Winter 95. Page 1-17.

David Harvey interrogates the meaning and import of the notion of
globalization, a term that has supplanted earlier Left/Marxist
categories of imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism and has
suggested an endpoint for the worldwide spread of capitalism. Harvey
views this term cautiously, though productively, and calls on readers to
do the same. His advice is that we see globalization as a process. One
that has been in effect for the past five hundred or so years, as
capitalism has territorialized and reterritorialized the world, creating
cities, states, built environments, and the like, but also (and
presently) organizing supranationalities and spurring decentralizations.
Harvey, whose work thus far has been to retheorize Marxist political
economy and historical materialism to include an appreciation for the
spatial dimension of capitalism, thinks that globalization needs to be
revised in its conception to take account of the persistent unevenness
in the spatio-temporal development of capital flows. Harvey does think
that we may now be facing a qualitative change in capitalism's effects,
though in his view, this change "is toward the reassertion of early
nineteenth-century capitalist values coupled with a twenty- first
century penchant for pulling everyone (and everything that can be
exchanged) into the orbit of capital while rendering large segments of
the world's population permanently redundant in relation to the basic
dynamics of capital accumulation." Harvey acknowledges that
globalization can best be seen as a concept designed to signify the
changes wrought by international financial deregulation since the 1970s,
by the so-called "information revolution" (suggesting the
"dematerialization of space" in communications), and by a continuous
decline in the costs and time of moving commodities and people; but he
locates these trends within a broader history of capital's everpresent
impulse to "annihilate space through time," as the drive to speed up the
circulation of capital makes the constant (but uneven) reorganization of
the globe compulsory. While Harvey takes note of the many challenges to
socialists that are presented by the international dispersal of
production, the enormous expansion of a culturally diverse wage-labor
force, the increased mobility of peoples across national boundaries, the
rise of megacities throughout the world, and the decline of state power
in affecting capital movements, he believes that a reanimated socialist
movement can help to "synthesize" many of the anticapitalist struggles
that he sees occurring as the "backlash" to the destruction caused by
the globalization process. In Harvey's view, the Marxian Left remains
ideally suited both to "emphasize the pattern and systemic qualities of
the damage being wrought" and to build a "community in class struggle"
by uncovering the class content of so many anticapitalist struggles
during this current phase of international capitalist development.

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Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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