Deglobalisation and Deep Adaptation

Aug 10, 2020 by

The session started with the discussion with Andreas Novy, concerning his lecture about deglobalisation. According to Novy, the neoliberal globalisation process that started in the 1980s is based on liberal globalism or illiberal cosmopolitanism: deep integration based on eroded territorial integrity, free trade and global financial markets. There are many signs that this order is about to end and that we are entering a deglobalization process, which is going to be accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as global supply chains are in crisis and countries are re-localising enterprises that produce medical facilities and goods useful to fight the pandemic. The ideology that is driving this new process is called nationalistic capitalism (protectionism, climate change denialism, opposition to Enlightenment) by Novy: Trump and in the USA should be seen as one the most important leaders of this trend.

According to Rodrik, hyper-globalization cannot coexist with democracy and the nation state. One has to pick only two out these three options. According to Novy, between liberal globalism and nationalist capitalism, a third alternative is needed to tackle ecological and social issues: socio-economic democratization based on planetary co-existence.

With Novy, we discussed a topic that re-appeared in different lectures: universal basic services (UBS) and universal basic income (UBI). Novy favours UBS, since it opens the space to a public discussion about which services are basic. A question concerning the European Union was asked: Does Rodrik see the EU as part of the hyper globalisation project? Novy disagrees, but still considers the EU as an ordo-liberal institution, far from promoting a mixed economy. However, Novy thinks that the situation would be worse without the EU (its dismantling would unleash nationalistic sentiments) and the people should fight for an increase of the space of manoeuvre for municipal and local institutions. Generally speaking, democracy has a link to a territorial and local level, but we need global hierarchies to protect us from climate change deniers, as Bolsonaro and Trump.

In the paper of Deep Adaptation by Jen Bendell, we could learn about the near-term societal collapse that we all face due to climate change. Also, we can obtain from the paper different concerns related to human hope, in the terms that it would be possible to slow down climate change or sustain the global civilization.

As mentioned in the paper, a deep climate adaptation would not be achievable with just resilience, but going to second steps like the relinquishment, which involves people and communities letting go certain assets, behaviors and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Also, it was mentioned that restoration and reconciliation should be implemented.

The author also explains that in his personal work, he changed his research perspective, moving from corporate sustainability to more leadership and communications, which provide him more tools to take action to support community development using local currencies. He makes relevance, that one should focus on works that allow to make concrete changes instead of dedicating oneself to theories or problems without being able to generate any action.

What also needs to be highlighted, is that human extinction and the end of the world, is something that has been widely discussed in various academic disciplines. Due to that, in the following years, our work decisions would be more influenced by the emotional or psychological implications of the societal collapse.


Written by: Ruggero and Renata

Based on the sessions with Andreas Novy and Helga Kromp-Kolb during the AEMS 2020.