Alternatives to Globalization

What is Globalization?

Globalization is the integration of peoples and markets at a global level.  It facilitates the expansion of neoliberal capitalist principles and Western worldviews.  Globalization is aided by telecommunications and information technologies which allow diverse and disparate spaces to create dialogue with relative ease.   Economically, globalization refers to pursuit of classic liberal or free market policies.  However, globalization also encompasses the social and cultural realm through the exchange of ideas, language, and cultural practices across borders.

Why Finding Alternatives to Globalization is Important:

The following video is a personal account of why we believe finding alternatives to globalization is important and why we have decided to dedicate our semester to exploring different alternatives.

The Spectrum of Alternatives:

There are many ways to envision a better world.  We have analyzed four different approaches to creating an alternative to globalization.  Each approach falls within a spectrum that works between complete removal from the forces of globalization (Slab City) to functioning completely within the capitalist structures of globalization (Conflict Minerals Activism).  Below is a chart explaining the spectrum of alternatives we have analyzed: Slab City, Occupy Wall Street, LGBTQ Rights in Uganda, Activism on Conflict Minerals in the Congo.

Slab City: The population of Slab City has removed itself from globalized society.  They no longer abide by the same social or institutional rules that define the outlying world.  Through this, they propose an alternative to the negative effects of globalization.

Occupy Wall Street: Occupy Wall Street stands as a prefigurative example, that is, a re-imagination, of democratic and consensus based decision making, and a reformation of social structures in an egalitarian and non-hierarchical way.  The Occupiers use preexisting social and technological networks to imagine a different society.

LGBTQ Rights in Uganda: The protestors of the Anti-homosexuality Bill, a law proposing the death penalty for certain homosexual acts, choose two paths–some remain fully ingrained in Ugandan society, attempting change their surrounding environment, others are forced to leave and protest from a distance due to threats of violence.  Each offers a varying degree of interaction with the original globalized community and both ultimately work toward cultural transformation.

Conflict Minerals Activism: Activists all over the world are attempting to use the forces of capitalism to create a fair and transparent mining industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The goal of this activism is to harness the forces of globalization to benefit the people that have been traditionally marginalized by it.