Monthly Archives: July 2007


The dawn of the 21st Century has coincided with the dawn of the age of community. Some of my age-mates, who were adults or near-adults in the 1960s and 1970s, may not be pleased to hear that the age of community does not necessarily resemble the Zodiacal Age of Aquarius, which, we were told, was to be an era of universal brotherhood rooted in reason.
The age of community is upon us, not because of the conjunction of stars and planets, but because of political and economic changes that are overtaking us, whether we like them or not. It’s important to understand those changes, because they are capable of producing drastically contrasting results, results that can be influenced by political action. The age of community can be one in which some communities prosper while others are left impoverished and powerless to control their own futures. Or it can be one in which the prosperity and economic power of some communities is shared in order to give others a serious degree of control over their own affairs.
The age of community is the subject of my current research, in which I look at the political implications for Canada of the economic changes that have brought on this age. In this first of a series dealing with findings of that research, I will look at the causes of these changes and briefly lay out some of their political implications. In subsequent instalments, I will look at some findings of my research and consider what we can learn from them about avoiding an age of community whose motto becomes “I’m all right Jack” and working toward one that bears at least some resemblance to the Aquarian age.

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What’s the impact of globalization on politics? Many commentators pronounce on this complex and multi-faceted topic with great confidence, but an overview of the literature suggests that we are still struggling to understand it. An obvious characteristic of globalization is that money, goods and manufacturing have become far more mobile than they once were, with the result that corporations are freer than ever to move, and finance to invest, wherever they choose.
Therefore, national governments are less able to control the activities of mobile businesses than in the past, while corporations and finance are in a better position to dictate to national governments. They do this by relocating their activities to – and buying the currencies of – states whose policies they approve and abandoning, or threatening to abandon, the rest.
So what are the political implications of this fundamental shift in the balance of power between international business and governments? Susan Strange argues that the state is in retreat. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri invoke a very different conceptual framework to conclude, somewhat similarly, that sovereignty is migrating away from the state. Noreena Hertz and George Monbiot warn of the commanding power of corporations over the state, but Paul Doremus and his colleagues emphasize the continuing importance of the state and political culture. (See citations below.)

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