Markus Stocker bio photo

Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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It is probably clear to everyone who followed at least marginally the peculiarities of the recent global recession, where global, I think, more accurately subsumes in particular the 20% or so wealthy – in economic terms – inhabitants of the Earth, that societies are linked together. Be it in the virtual world through Twitter, Facebook or Youtube, channels that recently proved to be important in giving some freedom to the voices of people in Iran. Be it in the real world through free trade agreements or intergovernmental organizations. That we are linked may be sensed by how the global recession spread like a flu.

Do we, the inhabitants, want this? Some say, we are a people with local interests, it’s our politicians who salivate over the globe. Some, at least for food, wouldn’t want to give up the local shop with Swiss chocolate, the local pizzaiolo with faithful copies of wood oven Italian pizza, the local Japanese sushi or the Nepalese restaurant. Some grow vegetables and fruit in their backyard and some feel unloved while holding a wedding ring with a too small diamond, happily ignorant whether they have blood all over them. So, do we want to be globally interconnected? Right now, perhaps there are more who say “No-global, I just lost my job because of it.” After Obama will have saved the world and things get back to “normal,” we might hear again more often “Honey, what do you think about a safari trip in Africa for this summer holidays?” Listening to my own country, I can sense a continuous mistrust towards globalization; after all we are the prominent island in Europe that is not in the EU. So, it is not clear to me what we want.

If we truly are a people happily ignorant about what lies across the immense oceans that protect us, a people with local interests, then, perhaps, among other things, the list of intergovernmental organizations would (have to) be shorter, maybe disappear. If, instead, we want a people unified into a single society and function together, then we might finally have to stop to push through local interests and start to internalize local interests that are not our own.

The healthy balance probably is somewhere in between the two extremes.