I was in my late teens in the late 1990’s when the term “globalization” was being bandied about quite a bit. I fell in with a crowd of leftists as one often does at that age, and at that time the left was panicked about globalization of trade, investment and multi-lateral agreements. In Canada, this was led by the likes of Maude Barlow and her Council of Canadians as well as the big unions.
I went to Seattle in 1999 to protest the World Trade Organization because I thought it an injustice that a super-national body like that could pressure nations into writing laws that benefited multinational corporations instead of their citizens. Much of this debate between left-wing activists and their opponents in the establishment revolved around sovereignty—would it be located at the national level or at the international level in organizations like the WTO and IMF?
Is the solution to globalism then local democracy? Certainly, moving government power from the national to the local level is a step in the right direction, but I don’t think it’s a cure-all. The town-hall meetings of early New England may have worked ok among the relatively homogeneous participants of that day, but I don’t see it working too well in cosmopolitan places like Vancouver.