“What Is the Difference Between Globalization and Neoliberalism?”

Last week someone asked me, “What is the difference between globalization and neoliberalism?” The question isn’t as innocent as it sounds. If all of us are imprecated in the cat-and-mouse game of cause and effect, who wouldn’t apprehend the pair—at the bare minimum—as kissing cousins to the twin towers? Sure to go down, in historical terms, this is how the world turns: purgative reportage from Iraq serves as the perennial reality-check, presumptive as the corrective, Well, at least, I don’t live in Fallujah. Packing a one-two punch, purple-hearted Michigan slumps deeper into the driver’s seat of depression. Aggressively passive, voters pass Proposition 2, designer-drug legislation with the intent to euthanize affirmative action (euphemised “The Civil Rights Initiative”), even as the state’s Supreme Court rescinds queer Michiganders’ bare-boned benefits. I wonder, Where did I move? A friend explains to me the intricacies of false advertising, Here is the shape of the mitt, we’re somewhere to the thumb’s Left. Directionally impaired, tone-deaf, I take cartography in like a fist. Stone-butch blues infuse the landscape with touching resistance. Industry, like a snow-bird, flexes its mobile muscles, while, individuals (hermetically sealed) orchestrate equally market-driven Jackie Brown heists of citizenship. I will grant you the once removed diehard few who stay put for museums’ erections. One for the auto, two for the Arab-American, three for the Motor City’s revitalization (Don’t mourn, organize). In the hospital, I sit elongated hours with my son. A woman eyes us and no one in particular, Is your kid Mexican? Calloused malice, like a flag at half-mast, hangs haggard as her expression when summoned. Six degrees of separation, peripheral as vision, somebody’s piling it on: Once upon a time, it would have made a world of difference to partake of the blue pill instead of the red. Let’s split the difference—civilization and its discontents, globalization/neoliberalism, the New World’s Borderization. How schmaltzy to recycle the local’s ashes when the trans-planted’s rejection looms, imminent as an organ. The chickens have come home to roost, environmentalism’s ogres are loose, and we can only talk about the whether. Or not. Underground, centrifugal truth pacts a Faustian plot. Lot’s pillar salts and melts, but recasts its lot with the dammed—“new ethnicities” on the horizon that slouch toward Bethlehem, terra-forming interactive screens. The night is young, middle age, a means to an end. Sipping creature comforts, pretend that the performatively tautological amends the conciliatory constellations of History, that the sciences of fiction stand on the shoulders of their own—two feet under. If you follow this totemically taboo logic, even planets become subaltern subjects. Witness Pluto’s recent downgrade. Now try to make an alternate case for the “Recline of the West.” Expect nothing less than a free Fall into the postscriptual.


Image Credits: Mexican Kid by Anastasia Petukhova