Monday, 19 November 2012

Natural globalisation

The orthodox view is still, especially in hard times, that economic growth is a Good Thing, indeed an essential thing. See what misery it produces when it slips into negative territory by only a few percentage points. And it's not just for our own comfort; it's needed in poorer countries on distant shores to 'lift people out of poverty' (and much else besides).

Cultural globalization follows economic globalisation inevitably and there are still plenty of commentators to make a case for that. Cultural interaction has always led to cultural vibrancy and creativity has it not? Just think of Shakespeare's time, and indeed of the whole English language. But perhaps we are reaching the endpoint where there is nothing left to stir into the soup.

Then follows linguistic globalisation - but we're not so happy about the growing extinction of minority languages. There is little talk of social globalisation - perhaps the increasingly dramatic polarisation of poverty and wealth will preserve us from that.

What of natural globalisation, as manifested most topically in ash die-back here - or Dutch elm disease, or sudden oak death, or the threat to the Scots pine? Globalisation is the other side of the coin of extinctions. Man is the great globalising species. It will be us and the slugs.