File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 81

Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 19:32:27 +0100
Subject: The grand narrative of globalisation


After some thought and following on from some of the statements that
have been made recently I thought it might be interesting to tentatively
define the grand narrative of globalisation.

The grand narrative of globalisation has been dominant in economic
discourse for the past decade or so - I would mark the turning point as
being the dominance of neo-liberal economics in the late 70s. The claims
made for globalisation are that there has been a marked increase in
international capitalism and that as a result national economies have
evolved into a global economy which is defined by the global market. In
this discourse the economic neo-liberals have remained dominant and have
generally succeeded in arguing that public economic policy should
continue to deregulate trade, investment and capital. Globalisation is
seen as a positive element that will benefit all throughthe increases in
the scale and efficiency of the market. National regulation is seen as a
hindrence and welfare and worker's rights and protection is understood
as being something that damages national competitiveness. These are
simply incorrect assumptions - the economic liberal/conservative view is
founded on incorrect claims and the policies it demands result in
established rights and entitlements being sacrificed to enable market
based increases in growth that never actually deliver.

This leads to this fitting within the core notion of the grand
narratives - that which states that the grand narrative is the
legitmating force(s) that identify modernity. The core of Lyotards
definition of post-modernity is defined through the end of the grand
narratives and its not clear how it could be redefined to enable this
new post-modern grand narrative to be accepted. In addition Lyotard
states that a grand narrative is aterm "...which legitimates itself with
reference to a discourse making an explicit appeal to some grand
narrative, such as the dialectics of spirit... the creation of
wealth..." All of which seems to fit quite nicely globalisation as a GN.
I'd ay that it directly fits within the first ideal type of GN...

In addition I believe it can be considered as a grand narrative is
because of the extent to which it has become a central descriptive
concept - from management gurus, politicians and journalists through to
philosophers and anti-capitalists it has become the central story which
is used to define and describe our post-modrn world. It has become
accepted that our world is increasingly defined through global
processes. The national is supposedly dissolving - this is driven by the
globalisation of the economy - as a result of which the grand narrative
claims that national strategies of economic management are irrelevant.

To re-work a reactionary grand narrative such as globalisation requires
at least two approaches - firstly N&Hs Empire which broadly accepts the
GN of globalisation and investigates it from a different angle and works
on new forms of political and philosophical practice and - secondly the
approach which denies that globalisation is a correct theorisation of
the state of things and proposes alternative views of the international




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