Global markets, democracy, and Overheating

I was recently invited to give a guest lecture at the University of Oslo on the role of the global market in undermining national democracy.

In it I described how the national emphasis on economic competitiveness compromises the capacity of political leaders to act on global problems or, indeed, to represent the interests of their citizens. The consequences of this destructive international competition can be felt in all spheres – from the environment to human rights, to tax regulation etc.

It is to these consequences that the work of Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, who I was fortunate enough to meet following my lecture, is directed. A research director at the Department of Social Anthropology at UiO, Eriksen’s ‘Overheating’ project is an in-depth ethnographic study of the crises of globalisation – including environmental issues, financial and cultural sustainability.

The project, which includes work in Australia, Sierra Leone and Peru, offers some fascinating insight and tangible examples of the negative impacts of globalisation as a process on people and the environment around the world. From it, it is not hard to extrapolate how destructive international competition might have a hand in exacerbating those negative effects.

You can learn more about ‘Overheating’ here, or about Professor Eriksen’s work at his website.

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