Friday, August 9, 2019

The Fate of the Global Village

“Global Village” was put forth by Marshall McLuhan in books like Understanding Media (1964). Remember McLuhan was the guy who magically appeared at the wink of a citation as Diane Keaton and Woody Allen stood on line outside the movie theater in Annie Hall  (1977). When the term was first iterated in the 60’s there was no internet or social media and the notion of so-called globalism as opposed to the tribalism that’s again rearing its head in the form of Brexit and trade wars, was just a glimmer in its creator’s eye. The world was a rather provincial place in which American students spending a semester in Paris would pick up their letters (remember when mail came in envelopes) at American Express. But globalism had its hay day when technology and democracy went hand-in-hand and modernity held out the prospect of tolerant liberal culture. The liberties that came about with mercantilism in the places like Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries would herald a new Renaissance. The sociologist Daniel Bell had written The End of Ideology (1960) and Francis Fukuyama would produce The End of History and the Last Man in l992. Commodification which Marxism had looked at as one of the ill effects of capitalist society suddenly became a harbinger of freedom and hope. The iPhone and MacBook would become humanizing forces bridging cultural gaps. The consequent homogenization was a small price to pay for peace. Needeless to say, it didn't work out that way.

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