Conferencia de Manuel Castells -¿Es reversible la globalización?

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Interesantísimo contrapunto sobre el fin de la globalización entre el teórico de las redes Manuel Castells y Álvaro García Linera: el vicepresidente de Bolivia.
La primera media hora es introductoria y aburrida, pero sirve para explicar lo que viene después. Luego Castells analiza los procesos políticos que se están dando en el norte de Europa. Termina con latinoamérica y un lúcido análisis de los progresismos sudamericanos en donde dice que se puso en crisis la legitimidad de estos estados por culpa de la corrupción..



Luego vienen una serie de preguntas del público y nuevamente la respuesta de los dos. La de García Linera especialmente es muy interesante.
 

García Linera en un documento plantea que la globalización ha muerto. A partir de ese documento es que surge el debate.
Un dato ausente, —y creo en lo personal que es la llave para responder la hipótesis de García Linera—: el hecho de que ninguno hace incapie en que lo que cambió de la red es su formato. En un principio la globalización se concibió con una topografía de red distribuida: densamente interconectada e inocente, donde todas las naciones compartirían determinadas cuestiones a nivel planetario en un pie más o menos igualitario. Si bien esto se dio y se mantiene en algunos aspectos, como internet, la red global se centralizó y propone centralizarse cada vez más en función de los intereses de quienes fomentaron este proceso (para eso sirve la primera media hora de la exposición de Castells).  
No es que la globalización haya muerto, vive pero mutó de forma. De una configuración sin polos ahora tenemos una centralización que la ha polarizado en beneficio de los intereses de unos pocos y en desmedro de la posibilidad de la diversidad. Natural en un proceso de globalización a nivel planetario.
Como ejemplo se me ocurre en el cine. Solo hay unos pocos títulos de películas nuevas cada semana en las escasas salas que quedan. La mayoría están ausentes, como los del cine italiano o francés que veíamos en los setentas. Hay miles de canales en el cable y no hay una sola peli para ver.

Teléfono para Mauricio.  Mirá el debate, una contribución desinteresada del Estado plurinacional Boliviano para tu gobierno.






Lo Rojo

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Cualquiera que observa “La caballería roja” o “El ejército rojo”, —también se lo puede traducir como “La carga del ejército rojo”—, estaría tentado a pensar en un dibujo de Roberto Fontanarrosa o en Molina Campos. Claro, la tradición impresionista de su autor, el ruso Kazimir Malévich, impide el detalle y es justamente ese el punto en donde uno queda atrapado.
¿Acaso esta difusa carga de caballería no se ajustaría a la de un malón indio del a pampa? O ya deteniéndome más en el detalle, por el número o la formación de los pelotones. ¿No podrían ser éste un óleo sobre la conquista del desierto encabezada por el general Roca? Lo difuso de este óleo sobre tela es en realidad lo que lo hace parecerse a todas las cargas de todos los tiempos de todas las caballerías sobre todos los territorios. Una especie espíritu de carga universal.
Yendo al detalle, vemos un horizonte absolutamente plano que divide dos campos el de las figuras, —el ejército—, y un mundo subterráneo en donde el autor se define por presentarlo en capas estratificadas iguales de llanas que la del piso final donde galopan los “rojos”. Como si nos dijera: “si hay una superficie donde se está llevando a cabo esta carga, ésta es una copia del relieve de las infinitas capas de la historia del territorio que la precedieron”.
Pero arriba, en el campo de la luz, en un aparente atardecer, el ejército avanza. La carga parecen llevarla los más retrasados, los que se ven venir al ritmo de un galope más tendido que los que llevan las banderas y pendones del frente. Aunque todo llevan banderas, cintas y pendones.
Por los caballos sabemos que en realidad no se trata de una carga sino un avance, un ordenado progreso de esa fuerza sobre la plana superficie de la historia geológica del territorio. Lo rojo del título y lo rojo de las figuras se conjugan en un mismo color enterrado bajo la primera capa negra de la superficie. Secuencia que vemos repetida más abajo, pero en diferente proporción.
Los jinetes no van cargando, lo sabemos por cómo llevan sus lanzas o fusiles: en posición vertical. La ubicación más relajada para llevar un arma. El avance prospera, es al momento tranquilo, es un progreso que todavía no encuentra enemigo.  Pero si hay una secuencia en desarrollo en la escena es que este ejército “se dirige a”, “está por”, en su deriva, avanza. 1928-1932 es la fecha de su realización.
No sabemos si la luz sale de detrás del horizonte, un crepúsculo tal vez, o si es la luz propia que emana del ejército. La caballería no está centrada en el cuadro, está mínimamente retrasada respecto del borde derecho dejando un blanco del doble del tamaño entre uno y el otro. Ese desequilibrio entre los blancos también da una idea de progreso hacia la izquierda de la pintura.
Pero volviendo al principio de esta historia lo más llamativo de la obra es su ubiquidad. No importan ya los colores, tampoco las luminiscencias, menos las capas históricas donde los jinetes van pisando. El perfil del terreno podría ser el nuestro, el ejército como se dijo: cualquiera. La retórica del pintor podría iluminar cualquier carga, cualquier progreso y seguiría exaltando esa estética de patriotismo, de gesta que contiene el conjunto y que apunta hacia un futuro.
Pero si “lo rojo” es lo único presente en todas las traducciones que se hacen del título, ¿acaso lo rojo no es lo más importante? Lo rojo tiene una connotación con el comunismo, con la izquierda, pero como vimos lo rojo en este caso no es lo importante, sino el movimiento de los jinetes en un progreso desde un margen hacia el opuesto. Podríamos sustituir “lo rojo” por lo verde y sin embargo el cuadro seguiría siendo igual de eficiente para exaltar todas las cargas, todos los progresos, todos los colectivos formados en busca de un ideal que no tardará en llegar. Pero todavía faltan batallas que combatir, enemigos a para derrotar.
Destilando una y otra vez esta obra tal vez lo que nos quede es algo superior a lo rojo, algo que esté por encima de la carga, incluso que sobrevuele a la izquierda. Y eso es el movimiento. El progreso necesario para hacer tambalear lo establecido, ese grito colectivo que dice: “vamos por vos”, “vamos por ustedes”, un gradiente que establece la diferencia. Plantarse ante los que siempre han estado, y decir “aquí venimos nosotros”, somos esto y nos van a tener que escuchar.
Tal vez sea esto lo que significa “la izquierda”: establecer una diferencia, proponerse un ideal pero sobre todo progresar hacia ella en una forma de romper con lo establecido.
A partir de este post de Panama

Elinor Ostrom, The Commons and Anti-Capitalism

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Articles

Elinor Ostrom, The Commons and Anti-Capitalism

Como institucionalista concibió las estructuras democráticas y económicas, sobre la base de conjuntos de reglas. Para ella la libertad humana involucraba preparar a las personas a que sean más conscientes de las reglas que existen y de permitirles entender que nuevas reglas son posibles. Esto parece una buena base para una política pragmática de liberación. También está claro que el neo-liberalismo trabaja en la reformulación de las normas institucionales para marketinar la sociedad cada vez más. Las alternativas al neoliberalismo, en lugar de ser puramente defensivas, podrían buscar de cambiar las reglas sociales para crear una economía democrática y diversa. 
 In 2009, the American political economist Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Economics. Strictly speaking, she was neither an economist nor was the prize a Nobel but, in fact, the Swedish bank prize. Born “poor”, in her own words, in California in the summer of 1933, she published Governing the Commons in 1990 and died in 2012 of cancer. I was lucky enough to meet her myself and have been fortunate to spend the last two years researching her work in detail. I am an anti-capitalist, and while she would not have accepted this label, I will argue here that those who want to create a democratic and ecological economy that transcends the market and the state, will find enormous inspiration in her work.
Ostrom’s main focus was examining how common pool resources could be managed. She explained that common pool resources included lakes and fisheries because they could not be easily divided into private property, meaning they had to be managed by some of form of collective agreement. Her work, and that of her husband Vincent Ostrom, started by looking at water tables around Los Angeles. Immortalised in the Roman Polanski film China Town, different users were in danger of taking too much water from the system. If too much water was taken, the water table would fall and salt water would be sucked in, destroying the system. The Ostroms found that water users formed associations and, despite difficult challenges, found ways of co-operating to preserve the system.
Listening to Garret Hardin proclaim the Tragedy of the Commons and argue that if the commons were not enclosed they would become eroded, Elinor also became annoyed at his view that population had to be cut by aggressive measures, inspiring her to renew her early work on common pool resources:
Elinor Ostrom: Hardin gave a speech on the [Indiana University, Bloomington] campus, and I went to it, and he indicated the more general — but then it was that he really was worried about population. He indicated that every man and every woman should be sterilised after they have one child. He was very serious about it.
Margaret Levi: This was Garrett Hardin?
Elinor Ostrom: Yes—not Russell [Hardin]. Garrett Hardin. I was somewhat taken aback: “My theory proves that we should do this”, and people said, “Well, don’t you think that that’s a little severe?” “No! That’s what we should do, or we’re sunk.” Well, he, in my mind, became a totalitarian. I, thus, had seen a real instance where his theory didn’t work.
Both Elinor and her husband Vincent called themselves institutionalists because they were interested in how institutions worked, and studied them from the point of view of political economy. They were concerned with two essential problems of how resources could be managed in an ecologically sustainable way and how a self-governing system could be promoted. Vincent, who died just days after Elinor, also of cancer, was a fascinating thinker in his own right, publishing numerous books.
There are, I think, two common approaches to Elinor’s relationship to the left, radical thought and anti-capitalism. One is to suggest that she drew on liberal economics starting with Adam Smith, was hostile to the state and was essentially a Hayekian, and as such had nothing to do with socialism. The opposite approach is to proclaim the commons as the alternative to capitalism and to note that she won a Nobel Prize for theorising the commons and, in this regard, was on the left. I think both approaches tend to over-simplify her nuanced and unusual approach: While skeptical that the state could act as a white knight to deal with inequality and oppression, she was not a libertarian. While a theorist of the commons, she was not a commons fundamentalist as she did not see it as a panacea for all social and ecological ills.
Also, Ostrom never identified with the traditional left. When asked if she took issue with those who call her theories ‘implicitly socialistic’, she replied, “Yes. I don’t think they are supporting socialism as a top-down theory. A lot of socialist governments are very much top-down and I think my theory does challenge that any top-down government, whether on the right or the left, is unlikely to be able to solve many of the problems of resource sustainability in the world”. However, she was no conservative like her friend Amartya Sen, but was instead an advocate of greater social equality, bluntly telling one German newspaper that being “born rich is always bad”.
The Ostroms were certainly aware of Friedrich Hayek’s criticism of central planning, but, while in large agreement, rejected the idea that markets were spontaneously efficient. They believed that all levels of society benefitted from intelligent and experimental institutional design. Difficult to pigeonhole, with their own unique approach, the Ostroms can seem baffling. Neither anarchists, nor free marketeers, nor supporters of top-down control, they were at best very unusual and at worst utterly confusing.
I believe Elinor Ostrom provided a huge resource for all of us who wish to see an alternative to neo-liberalism can begin to learn from. Her own academic practice was radical: She sought an economics that moved beyond the market and the state, advocated a practical form of political ecology, looked at how commons could work for the community, and also showed the importance of careful institutional design in social change. She also challenged models of ‘rational economic man and woman’ and was an advocate for women, minorities, indigenous people and peasants.
Her academic practice was radically egalitarian and gives a practical lesson in this regard to all on the left. Research incorporated respect for others, asking people how they conserved the commons and building on grassroots knowledge. Virtually all of her work was collaborative, when she phoned her husband and told him she had won the Nobel Prize, she typically said, “Honey, we have won a Prize”. So much of their work was ‘we’ not I, and they set up an innovative workshop which, still to this day, practices their community approach to academic work. She asked workshoppers to criticise her draft of her Nobel speech, set-up a free use open-access library of papers on the commons, and was peer-to-peer before the phrase was even invented.
The title of her Nobel lecture was Beyond Markets and States. While she rejected neither the market nor the state, she saw beyond them by recognising there were other ways of governing human economic activity. Even on the left, economics beyond the market and the state sounds impossible. The left finds it difficult to imagine alternatives to the market, and neo-liberal consensus holds that the market is the answer to all our ills. From the dismantling of the NHS to new trade treaties that sweep away barriers so as to benefit corporations, market values are seen as a panacea. Ostrom’s cautious and detailed research into non-market economics is essential in suggesting that there is life beyond the supposed panacea of the market.
In particular, she studied the commons to show that collective communal ownership was possible in many circumstances. Using a huge array of techniques to study common pool resource management, above all, she studied successful and failed commons with a historically based case study technique, building up a list of eight design features of sustainable commons. Her list of eight features was not meant to be prescriptive, but there is a lesson here again for the anti-capitalist left. Creating alternatives that work well demands careful study of successful and failed alternatives to craft institutions that potentially can work. Hoping that we can create alternatives is a vain hope without rigorous research.
As an institutionalist she saw democratic and economic structures as based on sets of rules. Human freedom for her involved making people more conscious of the rules that exist and allowing them to understand that new rules were possible. This seems a good basis for a pragmatic politics of liberation. It is also clear that neo-liberalism works by redesigning institutional rules to marketise society more and more. Alternatives to neo-liberalism, rather than being purely defensive, can seek to change social rules to create a democratic and diverse economy.
Her research also looked at human motivation and subjectivity. The idea put forward by economists proposing that we are all rational egotists was challenged by her careful research. It showed that while people could be self-interested and short-termist, it was possible to promote more co-operative human behaviour. Above all, she was critical of an economics that simplified and distorted human social life. Both she and Vincent argued that language, culture and ecology, had to be taken into account when developing institutions that would work. Indeed he noted, in rejecting a fundamentalist faith in mainstream economics, “Absurd doctrines can meet standards of logical rigor and mathematical proof but yield disastrous consequences when used to inform actions. Human actions need to draw on general principles that can be applied to particular time and place exigencies that vary with ecological and cultural circumstances”.
Elinor Ostrom was a very practical political ecologist who argued that we should respect the next seven generations and challenged consumerism, noting, “We need to get people away from the notion that you have to have a fancy car and a huge house… Some of our mentality about what it means to have a good life is, I think, not going to help us in the next 50 years. We have to think through how to choose a meaningful life where we’re helping one another in ways that really help the Earth”. At the same time she was interested in the details that might make a greener society work, rather simply issuing broad slogans. Both of the Ostroms and their co-workers showed that alternatives to a society dominated by a few individuals were possible. For those of us who want to create a democratic society that moves beyond short-term profit, I would argue their ideas are essential.
I have drunk deeply from her ideas, simply stating she was an advocate of commons and applying or misapplying her design features to different situations is inadequate, it is valuable to read her work and reflect on it. Governing the Commons is essential, of course, but she left literally hundreds of papers, most of them freely available on cyber space (http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc). As a serious thinker focusing on the most important questions, her work is necessary if we are to develop economic systems that respect humanity, sustain ecology and work democratically.I would like to give her the last word. In 1997 she summarised her approach in contrast to business-as-usual and short-term greed and I think it is rather clear:
“Our problem is how to craft rules at multiple levels that enable humans to adapt, learn, and change over time so that we are sustaining the very valuable natural resources that we inherited so that we may be able to pass them on. I am deeply indebted to the indigenous peoples in the US who had an image of seven generations being the appropriate time to think about the future. I think we should all reinstate in our mind the seven-generation rule. When we make really major decisions, we should ask not only what will it do for me today, but what will it do for my children, my children’s children, and their children’s children into the future”.
Derek Wall is International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales, his latest book is The Commons in History (MIT 2014) and  he has also just published The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom: Commons, Contestation and Craft. He teaches political economy in Goldsmiths College, University of London. A committed ecosocialist he also writes for the Morning Star.

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