Thursday, October 19, 2006


Pyongyang Metro, originally uploaded by my new office.

As the value of the "development project" buy the world bank and others, becomes more dubious, other plans for the future of the planet have room to expand and take the place of that previous model. A country or region's degree of "under-globalization" could be a new lens to replace the rhetoric and sound of inevitability around the measures of "underdeveloped, developing and developed" nations. However you feel about globalization, it is likely mixed. And mixed is more likely how people in many parts of the world feel about the changes occurring around them at the moment.
As the US continues to out-source and as a result "un-develop" it's own economy, the development model of the last century takes another blow. This and other trends will continue and the only useful meta-distinction that may remain is that between "globalized" and "under-globalized" locals. The scale and distinctions (boarders) of these places become much smaller as communities try to maintain their "sense of place" (to use a new urbanest term), and people seek to preserve or invent what make their environment unique. I'm not totally against these forces however. My hope is that like the unbroken mountain range of 100 million years ago which once connected all of North and South America and lead to an incredible spike in the range of species diversity because of it's networked and connected nature, the cultures of the world today can gain diversity and strength through their interaction.
Places like Pyongyang, North Korea are decidedly under-globalized and as a result poss an interesting parallel to the "under-developed" regions of the last century. Like the orientalist fetishisation of the casaba or barrio for its otherness, now anywhere that is under-globalized can take on parallel alure. Anywhere that is lacking in plastic signs and english menus, or people without a shred of sarcasm (this may not deserve to be in the list but it has held true in my experience), is ripe for fetishisation.
This can be seen in a deluded form in people's urning for the uniqueness of small towns in america, but when it pervades an entire country and builds up behind a damn of sanctions and travel restriction, like in the case of North Korea, this isolationist cocktail can provide a powerful punch to the "hardcore-cultural-connasseur."
Alright, this blog entry has good pedantic and out of hand so I think that I will just stop there. When I think too much in the above voice I start feeling like the really lame step-dad in michel gondry's "science of sleep." I still haven't found a "voice" for this blog that I like, but maybe it just needs to be the outlet for the above voice so that I don't bore people in conversation by slipping into it, conversely I'm reinforcing it buy indulging in it... not sure?


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