Wednesday, 11 July 2018

"Open vs Closed"

If it's not obvious, let me be clear that I really hate the suggestion that the "real" divide in politics these days is "open" v "closed". In purely linguistic terms it is such an obviously loaded division - doors that are "closed" are bad, a business that has "closed" is dead, a book that is "closed" is unreadable and/or finished. No-one wants to be described as "closed" if the other option is "open", and I suspect everyone gets this on a very fundamental level. If you're read a bit about metaphors the use of spatial terms is a deep-rooted thing, and it's always pretty clear which is better/worse.

Add to this the fact that I am still yet to see advocates of the open/closed way off looking at the world describe themselves as "closed". They are always the open-minded, mobile ones. And I don't see much evidence people who align with "open" see anything to learn from the "closed". Rather the lumpen "closeds" need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of a globalised world. I can't think this is going to end well.

Anyway, in this vein, I recently started reading an oldie by Zygmunt Bauman and it rang very true with me.
All of us are, willy-nilly, by design or by default, on the move. We are on the move even if, physically, we stay put: immobility is not a realistic option in a world of permanent change. And yet the effects of that new condition are radically unequal. Some of us become fully and truly 'global'; some are fixed in their 'locality' - a predicament neither pleasurable nor endurable in the world in which the 'globals' set the tone and compose the rules of the life-game.
Being local in a globalised world is a sign of social deprivation and degradation....
An integral part of of the globalising process is progressive spatial segregation, separation and exclusion. Neo-tribal and fundamentalist tendencies, which reflect and articulate the experience of people on the receiving end of globalisation, are as much legitimate offspring of globalisation as the the widely acclaimed 'hybridisation' of top culture - the culture at the globalised top. A particular cause for worry is the progressive breakdown in communication between the increasingly global and extraterritorial elites and the ever more 'localised' rest.
And a bit I really connect with:
Among all [those] who have a say in the running of the company, only 'people who invest' - the shareholders - are in no way space-tied; they can buy any share at any stock exchange and through any broker, and the geographical nearness or distance of the company will be in all probability the least important consideration in their decision to buy or sell.
In principle there is nothing space-determined in the dispersion of the shareholders. They are the sole factor genuinely free from spatial determination. And it is to them and them only, that the company 'belongs'. [well, not really, but...] It is up to them therefore to move the company wherever they spy out or anticipate a chance of higher dividends, leaving to all others - locally bound as they are - the task of wound-licking, damage-repair and waste-disposal. Whoever is free to run away from locality, is free to run away from the consequences. These are the most important spoils of victorious space war.  

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