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Tim Holmes (England)

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The Age of Consent
The Age of Consent
by George Monbiot
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well thought-out strategy for the future of globalisation, 23 July 2003
This review is from: The Age of Consent (Hardcover)
For anyone who thought that "anti-globalisation" protestors were a bunch of nihilists and raving revolutionary "loony left" sort of people, this book should really set you straight. Indeed the term "anti-globalisation" seems to be used most often by politicians to portray activists as a bunch of insular luddites. By contrast, it is obvious that a lot of thought has very obviously gone into this book, and its conclusion about what needs to be done with the global structures is as appealing as it is sensible.
The idea is basically that globalisation is not necessarily a harmful process per se, but without proper democratic structures in place on a global scale, it is manipulated so as to favour powerful vested interests. This idea should really have confronted anyone who has thought seriously about the future of popular sovereignty in an increasingly inter-connected world. It is unthinkable that GATS, for example, effectively hands over control of business regulation to a secret body of WTO officials - but if the proposed alternative is to throw up barriers to trade in every country that feels like it, there is enormous scope for abuse and over-protectionism. For the poorest countries, blocking and distorting trade on the part of rich countries would be disastrous, as countries receiving ultra-cheap agricultural products from Europe and the US are currently learning. The process needs regulation on a global level.
This book has received rather a cool response so far, which I don't think it really deserves (though admittedly I'm dubious about Monbiot's theory that some form of metaphysical paradigm is developing) but on the whole the proposals seem eminently worth pursuing. I would imagine that many people are keen to write off George Monbiot as a quack; and, conversely, I imagine that for many in the global justice campaign, formulating policies and so on smacks of the party political machinery that many are suspicious of. But slogan-shouting and banner-waving are surely never enough - if alternatives to the current model of globalisation do not make sense, or are simply not developed, then it seems to me there is little point in protesting at all. To get beyond all that, this book is a good place to start.

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