Today in Bilbao, the day before in New York, tomorrow in the Uk: between two aircraft, Saskia Sassen, professor of sociology at Columbia University, in New York, goes, discussion, provokes. For twenty years, examines globalization in all its dimensions, economic, financial, political, social, and environmental. Cosmopolitan, this polyglot born in the Netherlands in 1949, grew up in Buenos Aires before studying in France, in Italy and in the united States. In these days published in the united States Expulsions. Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press).
The interview with Olivier Guez for the parisian newspaper Le Monde.
In his new book, forward you that globalization has entered a phase of “expulsion”. What does it mean for it?
In these last two decades, a growing number of people, of companies and of physical places have been “expelled” from the economic and social order. Some workers poor lack any kind of social protection. Nine million american families lost their homes after the crisis of the subprime. In the large metropolises of the world, the “middle classes” are gradually expelled from the centre of the cities, inaccessible to your pocket. The prison population in american has increased by 600% in these last forty years. Hydraulic fracturing of soils to extract shale gas transformed in desert ecosystems, and contaminates the soil and the water, as if to cast it out of the biosphere chunks of life. Hundreds of thousands of villagers have been evacuated from that foreign powers, both state and private, have been acquiring land in the four corners of the world: since 2006, 220 million hectares of land have been purchased, mainly in Africa.
All of these phenomena, without links manifests, how to respond, in his opinion, to a unique logic?
Are disconnected in appearance from one another and each is explained separately. The fate of an unemployed excluded not obviously has nothing to do with a lake polluted in Russia or in the US does Not preclude, in my view, enroll in a new dynamic, systemic, complex and radical, which requires a framework of reading unpublished. I have the feeling that in recent years we have crossed an invisible line, as if we had gone to the other side of “something”. In many fields – economics, finance, inequality, environment, humanitarian disasters –, the curves are accentuated and the “expulsions” are accelerated. Their victims disappear like sinking ships on the high seas, without a trace, at least on the surface. Already do not count.
What is the difference between “excluded” and an “expelled”?
The excluded person is a victim, a loser, more or less marginal, an abnormality in a certain way, while the expelled is a direct consequence of the current functioning of capitalism. You can be an individual or a social category, as the excluded, but also a space, an ecosystem, an entire region. The expelled is a product of the current transformations of capitalism, which has entered, in my view, in logics of extraction and destruction, its corollary.
What is to say?
Before, during the “thirty glorious” in the West, but also in the communist world and the Third World, despite its failures, the growth of the working classes and middle was the base of the system. Was the logical distributive and inclusive. The system, with all its flaws, worked in this way. No longer is the case. That is the reason why they lose foot the petty bourgeoisie and even a not insignificant part of the middle classes. Their children are the main victims: they have respected the rules of the system and have done thoroughly all that was required of them – studies, practices, quite a few sacrifices – in order to continue the social progress of their of their parents. Not have failed and, however, the system has ejected: there is not room enough for them.
Who are the “strippers”?
I am not speaking of some individuals, or even of multinational obnubiladas by its turnover and its quotation on the Stock exchange. For me it is “formations predatory”: a combination of heterogeneous and geographically dispersed managers of large businesses, bankers, of lawyers, of accountants, of mathematicians, of physicists, of elites and globalized seconded by capabilities systemic extremely powerful –machines, technological networks, etc.– that add and manipulate knowledge and data as composed as a complex, immensely complex, to tell the truth. No one controls the whole process. The deregulation of finance, from the 80’s, have been allowed to put on foot such formations, predatory and the key are are the products, functions of functions that multiply the winnings that losses and allow this extreme concentration and unheard of riches.
What are the consequences of the paradigm that you described?
Amputation of the expelled workers, forests, glaciers,…–, economies contract and the biosphere degrades, the warming of the climate and the melting of the permafrost will accelerate at an unexpected rate. The concentration of wealth encourages the processes of expulsion of two types: the one of the most disadvantaged and the super-rich. Are released from the society in which they live physically. Evolve in a parallel world reserved for his caste, and no longer assume their civic responsibilities. In summary, the algorithm of neo-liberalism no longer works.
The world you describe is very bleak. Do not charge a little ink?
I don’t think. Bag to the light phenomena underlying, still ends for some. And the logic that denounce that coexists with forms of governance more refined and more sophisticated. My aim is to sound the alarm signal. We are in a moment of sway. The erosion of the “middle classes”, actor, historical fundamental of the two preceding centuries, and a vector of democracy, I am especially concerned. At the political level is very dangerous, it is found everywhere from now on.
How to resist these formations predatory?
It is difficult: due to its complex nature, these crowds of individuals, institutions, and networks of machines are hardly identifiable and traceable. That said, I think that the movementOccupy and its derivatives “indignados”, the arab spring or the demonstrations in Kiev, despite socio-political contexts eminently different, are interesting answers. The expelled reaproprian of the public space. Anchoring in a “hole” – always a plaza mayor, a place of passage – and putting in place a local society temporary hipermediatizada, the expelled, the invisible globalization created territory. Even when you do not have nor claims accurate or policy direction, encounter a presence in global cities, these metropolises in which globalization is embodied and unfolds. In the absence of pointing to a place of authority, and identified with their troubles – a royal palace, a national assembly, the headquarters of a multinational corporation, a center of production,… -, the expelled occupy a space indeterminate symbolically strong in the city to vindicate their trampled rights of citizens.
What result, in your opinion?
If it is considered as comets, the die is cast, in effect. I have a tendency to assimilate to a start of the trajectory, and every “occupation” is a little stone. Is this the embryo of a way? I don’t know. But the movement of nationalities in the NINETEENTH century, and feminism, they also began with small touches, until the cells fire they began to carry out its conjunction and form a whole. These movements will perhaps encourage states to launch global initiatives in the field of environment, access to water and food. .
What event could trigger the “conjunction”?
A new financial crisis. You end up getting, I’m sure. Step finance through the screen from thirty years ago: the markets are too unstable, you must analyze too much data, too many tools, too much money, the West is no longer the only in govern markets. I don’t know when to intervene with this crisis and what will be its amplitude, but I have the impression that something is cooked on a slow fire. In fact, we all have the impression that the system is very fragile.
Translation for www.sinpermiso.info: Luke Anton
Original source article: Le Monde, April 26, 2014
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