The question threading through our live call-in radio broadcast may be: has Globalization been swallowed up by Americanization?
Or perhaps: What is the new meaning of “globalization” after the war in Iraq?
Or: Are we still globalizing?
Or: What’s the score in the race between the forces that seemed to pulling the planet together (world markets, genetic hybridization, cultural connections, and the Internet, for example) and the forces that are tearing things up (world markets, pandemic diseases, polarization of wealth and poverty, racism, climate change, terrorism, war; name your favorite)?
We will be broadcasting from WGBH in Boston at 6 p.m. EDT. “Be ready,” as the Good Book says. And please leap into the get-ready starting immediately with your comments here.
This will be the seventh in our “Whole Wide World” radio series for Public Radio International. And it’s also a forward-looking experiment. I want to find out what Blog World has to say about radio, and on the radio.
We’ve been all around the barn of Globalization in the first six hours of this series (all available online at www.thewholewideworld.net).
In the first sweeping look, economist Jeffrey Sachs (of the Earth Institute at Columbia, tied in tight with Kofi Annan and the UN) foresaw the reckless bullying that could up-end a trading economy that requires peace. Zadie Smith, the novelist of “hybridity,” read from her “White Teeth” and opined that the deeper trends toward the integration of cultures and people would prevail against alienation. Do we believe that any more?
The second episode went looking for the roots of conflict in a global age: is it about civilizations (Sam Huntington); a crisis in Islam (Akbar Ahmed); resources (Michael Klare); democracy (Kanan Makiya); empire (Chalmers Johnson) or human perversity (Chris Hedges)?
Hour three was about 30-million refugees in a sort of Underworld of Globalization. It is the new virtual nation, Refugia, a floating cargo of heroic and miserable narratives of our time. And of all time, as demonstrated in Peter Sellars’ staging of “The Children of Herakles” by Euripides.
The fourth hour was balm from Yo-Yo Ma, the global cellist. “When Strangers Meet” is the title of his CD with modern musicians of the old Silk Road, from Japan and Mongolia to Iran, the Caucasus, North Africa and Europe. When strangers meet in the real world these days, we are being taught to expect a clash of civilizations, and then a war.
Hour five was a round up of other catastrophes that could destroy the biosphere–with the ant biologist E. O. Wilson, the Indian food activist Vandana Shiva, the food maven Michael Pollan and the bio-journalist Bill McKibben.
And then in hour six were the real authors of global consciousness, the novelists we count on to get there first and tell the truth: the Lebanese-French master of identity struggles Amin Maalouf (of “Leo Africanus” and other popular masterpieces) and the Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh (of “The Glass Palace” and others).
Rumbling through the background of all this chatter, of course, was the devastation of Baghdad along with the smashing of the Saddam Hussein regime.
Who can frame the question for an hours wide-open conversation on April 26–just for starters?