Globalisation is bunk
Editorial note: I suspect I am declining into what my grandmother, Lady Craigeaster, used to call maturity, though to me it still looks like a shortfall in the ruthless selfishness that served me well in my youth before I realised that banking was the shorter and easier path to substantial wealth and to friendship with those holding the levers of modern power. Whatever the case, I cannot conceive that fifteen years ago I would have permitted a contribution, such as the one immediately following, to sully the pages of this journal, whereas last week I found myself writing ‘Let the young have their say. It has virtually no effect on the great causes of the state, merely releases a little steam that might otherwise escape through some inconvenient orifice in the body politic.’
There is a lot of talk in all the branches of the media about globalisation, which is taken to be a done deal already (as the change of the climate really will be in perhaps as little as ten years from now.) The world does not have globalisation. Holding this belief simply shows that the believer is a member of that benighted throng who think of the activities of humanity as consisting solely of trade and money. The human species has made a lot of progress over the past 100,000 years and at the very least ninety percent of that was before any significant emergence of what could reasonably be called trade, while money has only been around for a mere two and a half thousand years. It is true that in that short time it has caused mistrust, misery and warfare on a staggering scale, and has formed, as if deliberately, a Mephistophelean strategic alliance with organs of government round the world which has enabled it to thrust a vicious wedge into the other aspects of human life to a point which threatens the extinction of the species. For a trivial indication of the depth of the wound, read printed news or scan the internet for reports on, for instance, fine art or sport and notice how much of the report is taken up not with information about artists and their paintings or with athletes and their achievements but about financial activities of those involved or even just peripherally concerned. Yet the many other forms of human activity most certainly still exist and although money can be dragged into them, they undoubtedly came into existence and they continue to exist for the sake of those parts that are not bound up with money (except in the view of the already enslaved members of governments). There are, to begin with, all the other arts, music, literature, dance, the cinema; there is the terrestrial world, unimaginably complex in its geological, botanical, and zoological aspects and human interaction with it; and then beside that the marine world with all the same aspects; the myriad systems of custom about how one human may, should or must not interact with others; sports have already been mentioned. We could certainly add more, but there is already enough background against which to remark that in all of them globalisation is non-existent. On the contrary, we see diversity so various and huge that no human can hope to comprehend it even within one of the areas cited; and certainly it is far beyond anything that can even be sketched in a paragraph like this. I do not simply mean that a particular artistic tradition of wood carving or a particular athletic activity, for instance, may not be widely practised outside a very limited area; rather, I mean that it will be completely unknown to the overwhelming mass of mankind, not excluding those who are (justifiably) regarded as having expert knowledge of athletic activity or three-dimensional art. How many students of the theatre anywhere in the world except northern Thailand know, for instance, of Lakhorn Sor a traditional style of improvisatory performance accompanied by music which perhaps resembles the earliest beginnings of theatre in ancient Greece?
So much for the first barrel of this requisitory polemic against the presumption of the globalists. But there is a second. How global is the globalisation which gives them such satisfaction? It is astonishingly far from complete. What we have even on the most charitable view is globalisation minus free movement of workers (and despite the best efforts of the desperate poor of northern Africa, giving away their life-savings to trafficking gangs, in order to gamble their lives against the power of the Mediterranean.) One of the main supporting pillars of the whole enterprise missing then, and thereby a tremendous and blatant reduction to the efficient working of the capitalist system, somewhat as in the operation of a bus which has a powerful engine but no seats for passengers, though some strong ones and lucky ones may manage to cling on here and there to the superstructure. But enough is enough; if a second barrel is ever discharged, it will be at another time and place.
There is a lot to be said for the Aussies. Fine hard-working, straight-talking people, and when the going is really tough, they are as dependable and loyal as any race on earth, as they proved many times over in the two World Wars. They have the odd blind spot, admittedly. Why do they spend so much time in the water, teasing the sharks, when they have the money and the technology to zoom along over the surface under sail, finest sport available to a young man, or woman? It is the sharks’ ocean after all. As land-dwellers we would all take it rather badly if we were peacefully enjoying dinner in a fine restaurant and were suddenly intruded upon by a couple of great whites which had thought it might be fun to play hide and seek under the tables or to swing from chandelier to chandelier over our heads. Anyway, in the recent terrible outbreaks of wildfires over large areas of Australia we once again saw the Aussie spirit, with whole communities pitching in together for the good of all. Hundreds of volunteer firefighters turning up and working day and night to save what they could, no waiting for the ‘government to do something about it’; families leaving their own homes at risk so that they could try to stave off the threat to a neighbour’s property. This is the way that nations should run, with people working together spontaneously, because it helps a neighbour, not because it is laid down in some set of regulations laid down by some remote committee of buffoons. (In saying that, I’m thinking of cases like the fireman charged with a disciplinary offence because of saving a drowning woman from a river, since his rules stated that ‘personnel should not enter the water’. Which country? You have probably guessed – modern Britain.)
There was, however, a thin black lining to this silver Australian cloud. One of the shining examples of mutual co-operation was in Tasmania, and during this it was discovered that one community had been cut off for days, and was in urgent need of supplies, both of provisions and of equipment needed to fight the fires and for rescue work. The need was quickly met by people working, in some cases until exhausted, through their social networks on and off the internet, and at one point more than thirty boats were sent off with supplies. That whole operation was a fine success. But afterwards it turned out that even in this wonderful outpost of the human race, the influence of the British bureaucrat is not unknown. There was criticism of those who had not worked through the official channels, who had not got permission for this or that activity, and had gone ahead and helped people without being properly authorised to do so. The most vaporous comment was that the despatch of the boats to help the isolated group involved boats that were not in a proper condition to put to sea (as far as I know they all did the trip there and back without mishap) and that people might have hurt themselves unloading the needed supplies. To the best of my knowledge, nobody hurt themselves unloading supplies; there is no law against people unloading supplies to help others, and I am sure that even if there had been the unloaders would have used forceful language in saying they were going to make the trip and do the unloading anyway. And good for them!
I don’t think I’d like to meet any of those genitically modified humans, as Jojo Ceausescu wrote about a week back. I expect they’d all be about seven feet tall which doesn’t give much chance to the little ’uns, even if they aren’t going to be around till 2030 or something like. But if those sientists are getting all so clever, why can’t they do something realy exciting we could all enjoy like they could modifie some of those big lizards like you see on tv and turn them into real dragons. Come on sientists, get your white coats on!