It is not often that you get a chance to test a political theory in practice, particularly when it is one of global reach. A few years ago I read an essay in The New York Review of Books by Professor
To the contrary, there was rich variety across the whole spectrum of political organisation, from North Korean dictatorship at one extreme to -- take your pick -- the most egalitarian of democracies at the other. This sparked the thought in me that globalization might even be a spur to national feeling, as people fought to preserve their identities against the rising sludge of homogenization. So, when I was asked to make a television documentary series examining power in six great cities of the world, it looked like a perfect opportunity to test the limits of globalization. And so it proved.
When I got to examine the six cities --
Of course, at a rather superficial level, you will find the same things everywhere. Designer fashion, Italian restaurants, Irish-themed pubs and American fast food are rampant in all the cities. It's a shock to eat a sandwich in a
Marching to their own beat
Some of the very rich appear to be in perpetual motion as they flit from home to home around the world, occasionally returning to the nest like migratory birds.
Despite all this, don't think that these cities are starting to look, and behave, like each other. Each marches to its own beat. That is the main conclusion I have drawn from our film series. What to make, for instance, of the inchoate city of
Here to my astonishment -- compare and contrast with NYPD headquarters -- the man in charge of hunting down the Mafia works from an agreeable urban palazzo, with no evident security apart from a rackety old X-ray machine and a steel-plated o¸ ce door. And he survived an assassination attempt.
Replete with consumer goods, and a spanking new urban middle class, it is a hotbed of opposition to Putin. It reminded me of embourgeoise
Vibrant, cosmopolitan and open to all the talents it may be. But, an Englishman's word was once his bond. No more, I fear, after so many recent scandals. To find the old-fashioned values that used to characterise
- Testing the Limits of Globalization
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- Beyond Money
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- Is Treating The Symptoms The Way Forward?
- Heads of State Show Lack of Faith in Own Health-Care Systems
- On Drugs and Democracy
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- The Persistent Threat to Soft Targets
- The Rich Grabbing Bigger Slices of Pie
- 21 Trillion Dollars Hidden in Tax Havens
- Geopolitics The World is Changing Minute by Minute
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- Blowing Up History
- United Nations Human Rights Council is Irredeemable
- Triumph of Green Capital
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