One can only be the citizen of a political entity and the world is not one


As Frédéric London wrote, “substitution of the term 'governance' for 'government' really means the general project of the de-governmentalization of the world, that is to say its de-politicization.” Against the partisans of “cosmopolitanism “, who believe in the possibility of a political constitution for the entirety of humanity – and against those who imagine that the political can arise from the economic – we must actually recall that any attempt at global unification inevitably emerges from the political, because that implies a plurality of actors (there must be at least two).

            So speaking of “world citizenship” has no meaning, because one can only be the citizen of a political entity and the world is not one. Likewise democracy is only possible inside some defined territorial borders, as only in such a framework is it possible to distinguish between citizens and non-citizens. It is within recognized borders that men can exercise their freedom of self determination and peoples can use their sovereignty. It is only within borders that common values can be shared, social rules of solidarity can be implemented, and confidence established. The suppression of territorial and political borders, on the contrary, gives birth to anxieties and fears comparable to those that were formerly experienced outside of national territories. Furthermore, by making all landmarks disappear, it is fundamentally polemogenic [Translator's note: polémogène, giving birth to conflict], as it creates a situation favorable to the rise of violence that no authority can check. Transferring decisions to a scale where citizens necessarily find themselves powerless because democracy cannot be practiced there is the means that Form-Capital [Translator's Note: Form-Capital, an expression proposed by the French philosopher Gérard Granel, refers to the idea that capitalism is not only an economic system but also has an implicit anthropological and social dimension.] has found to free itself from all political control.

            Capitalism's desire to suppress all “rigidities” that create an obstacle to the implementation of its deep logic actually includes a “geographical” component (the creation of a global market, that is to say a space of homogeneous development) and a societal component (the subjection of all human activities to the principle of commodification). These two components are linked in the measure where social disintegration and the resultant leveling of minds are necessary for the control of peoples.

            In the social scheme, globalization is characterized by its dissociative power. One can consider it as a postmodern phenomenon in this regard. As Ralf Dahrendorf wrote, global competitiveness goes hand and hand with social disintegration. “Malleability” and “flexibility” extend to moral values themselves, which ceaselessly evolve in order to adapt to ebb and flow of fashions and needs. Thus the “liquid” society evoked by Zygmunt Bauman, made of fluxes and networks, changing forms, superficial, nebulous formations in constant mutation, that certain authors prefer to describe as a “gaseous” world (with its different phases of evaporation, liquefaction, or crystallization), is generalized. Identities become uncertain and floating. Zaki Laïdi quite accurately observed that “globalization strangely reproduces the Freudian mechanism of the crowd caught in the movement of contagion – panic. Contagion in the measure where globalization develops conformity and uniformization. Panic because everyone feels alone against the logic that surpasses them.” Globalization generalizes the ungrounded type of social life, man in weightlessness. So it's a total anthropological mutation.

            More specifically, globalization is first and foremost a commodification of the world, where commodity fetishism and the primacy of exchange value leads to a generalized reification of social relations. The culturalization of merchandise and the commodification of culture go together: “The culture of business triumphs everywhere” (Gilles Lipovetsky). As it captures the energy of consumers, it's also a libidinal phenomenon, as summarized by phrase “McDonaldization of society”. As Zygmunt Bauman said, “increasingly, we delegate our freedom of choice to the mercantile sphere, thus unlearning the use of all forms of freedom that aren't the freedom to buy.”

From his side, Alain Caillé observes, “The more financial values supplant other values, the more the minimal requirements of honesty or simple respect for the law, loyalty, fidelity, and trust between partners and associates become unrealistic… The essential thing resides in the fact that the globalization of megacapitalism operates by and through a deep and devastating devastation of all inherited political and cultural orders, and it proposes no concrete perspective, no plausible replacement ideal in exchange for the destroyed former legitimations.” “Thus Georg Simmel's prediction according to which modern culture dominated by the role of money leads to the conjunction of two social states, interdependence and indifference, is confirmed. Money, by becoming the universal object of reference, has, on one hand, freed economic action from all constraints, but on the other, it has deprived social relations of meaning for increasingly depersonalized agents.”

            Hervé Juvin wrote, “liberal political society tries to suck each person into the abstraction of legal subject, it strips what makes one a being of flesh and blood, a past, origins, bonds, earth, and history, in order to make one fluid, liquid, undefined. In this sense, world culture is a negation of the human condition.”

Everywhere, like the impact of a steamroller, the fabrication of Sameness is now at work. Standardization, the eradication of differences and shared values, the flattening of cultures, the deconstruction of peoples. Gilles Lipovetsky summarizes, “On all continents, capitalism imposes its law on economic life, the techniques of production and communication are identical, megacities and architectures resemble each other, the international style of dress spreads; from the North to the South the techno-mercantile order dominates, consumerist values, the individualization of modes of existence are the basic constituents of the modern West.”

In the final analysis, this negation of Otherness is only a form of negation of the principle of reality. Michel Freitag recalls, “The abstract modern universal still recognized the particular, while the global postmodern system functions by absorbing every particular into itself. Globalization makes deracination an ideal and a norm.”

Le traité transatlantique et autres menaces

Chapter 3: Globalization

Globalization as ideology

Édition Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2015, p. 82-85