At my adult ed class we discussed globalisation and political economy, the need for nations to balance their public spending, production and export, and manage their currency exchange values. The idea of the developing world becoming more like the western economies in order to thrive the free market.

I asked the tutor: why do we promote poorer nations joining the free market if we know that there are always losers in the free market, and the losers will probably be the poorer nations? Surely a global economy isn’t such a great aim. She replied that it’s the way things are going, it’s a trend not a goal.

On the one hand we have well-meaning thinkers producing models of how things are (Maslow) and some also saying how things should be (Marx). Many of these models can only be roughly retrofitted to history. But we stride into poorer cultures with our theories and models and practices and think that we’re helping them; that our experience can inform theirs, and help them. All well-meaning.

The global economy waxes and wanes, while we apply meaures and counter measures to keep it manageable. In truth it’s like controlling water, we can make it go up, down, fast, slow, hot, cold, but it has it’s own logic. And while we employ fiscal and economic experts to study what’s going on, we’re saying to the poorest peoples of the world “come on in, the water’s lovely!”.

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