Globalization and modern philosophy

While the need for the renovation of critical social theory has been evident for decades, radical critique has disappeared among leading philosophical schools. Mainstream social criticism, having silently accepted the rules of the game, has turned itself to the other side of the same, to a ʻcritical allyʼ of capitalism. As one modern critic puts it, ʻpostcolonial discourse generated in the “First World” academies turns out to be one more product of flexible, post-Fordist capitalism, not its antithesisʼ. [1] After the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the triumphal and seemingly unconditional victory of capitalism, it has become fashionable to talk about all-human values, universalistic morality, discourse ethics, public discourse, and similar concepts, as well as of the unlimited perspectives that await us in the light of modern technological revolutions.

Indeed, there are serious confirmations for such a view. If one were to generalize its underlying assumptions they would be the following: there exists a relatively embedded democratic system; there exists a relative economic prosperity; there exists a relative social stability; the modern technological revolution promises a permanent growth. When combined, all of these promise further improvement in transcending the caution expressed in the word ʻrelativeʼ. Hence, the feeling is that the details can be worked out from within the system. This is most emphatically expressed in the recent collapse of the Marxist option, the most serious challenge to the system. The old claim of the status quo about the lack of realistic alternatives now seems to be justified.

One cannot but remember Popper here. For Popper too, ʻthe injustice and inhumanity of the unrestrained “capitalist system” described by Marx cannot be questionedʼ. The problem consists in ʻinterpretingʼ the situation. Freedom under capitalism is indeed what Marx and Marxists call ʻmerely formal freedomʼ. However, such ʻmerely formal freedomʼ is a realistic foundation and the only warranty for democracy in an ʻopen societyʼ. It makes it possible to ʻcontrolʼ capitalism and exploitation, and this is better than any other alternative. On such matters, says Popper, one must think in more pragmatic terms than Marx. One must realize that control over physical power and exploitation is not only an economic but also a central political problem. So, in order to establish democratic control, one has to establish that ʻmerely formal freedomʼ, [2] offered by capitalism. Popperʼs claim is not that we live in the best world in general, but – as if agreeing with Leibniz – that we live in the best of all possible worlds. The outcome of such reasoning turns out to be identical: although this world is far from perfect, one may work to improve it, but it is not worth taking the risk of radically altering it. Note that this argument was raised at the time of a serious challenge to capitalism.

Today, the legendary fierce attacks on Popper by the Left in the 1960s and early 1970s have ceded their place to a peculiar agreement about the post-communist era. [3] Besides some rhetorical and linguistic differentiations, today sections of both Left and Right share Popperʼs assessment. Hence, modern discourse rotates around the ʻrevivedʼ notion of ʻcivil societyʼ, [4] of its discontents, its nature, its perspectives, and so on. As Rorty sarcastically remarks in his recent ʻAchieving Our Countryʼ, the modern Left, having historically suffered from Marxist radicalism5 has been today transformed into a ʻCultural Leftʼ specializing in what they call the ʻpolitics of differenceʼ or of ʻidentityʼ or ʻrecognitionʼ. He adds:

When the Right proclaims that socialism has failed, and that capitalism is the only alternative, the cultural Left has little to say in reply. For it prefers not to talk about money. Its principal enemy is a mindset rather than a set of economic arrangements – a way of thinking which is sometimes called ʻCold War Ideologyʼ, sometimes ʻtechnocratic rationalityʼ, and sometimes ʻphallogocentrismʼ (the cultural Left comes up with fresh sobriquets every year). It is a mind-set nurtured by the patriarchal and capitalist institutions of the industrial West, and its bad effects are most clearly visible in the United States. [6]

Globalization and modern philosophy

Nectarios limnatis

I would add one significant comment to these remarks. The choice of reply is not just a matter of taste. The modern Left does not ʻoptʼ to deal with something else. To the contrary: it deals with something else because it has nothing to say in reply. Its theoretical impotence in the field of political economy and the abandonment of the latter makes inevitable the turn to other fields of criticism.

In the last few decades critically oriented philosophy has changed its role; it ceases to challenge capitalism as such, and loses sight of a realistic alternative. Its social and political involvement is now grounded on liberal ideals of Kant, Locke and Rousseau. In revitalizing the ʻforgotten in the 20th century notion of civil societyʼ [7] critical philosophy thus appropriates what was earlier considered precisely the theoretical background of capitalism.

This reorientation is matched with a specific focus on and understanding of the ʻforgottenʼ social problems of capitalism that globalization brings to the surface. I will argue that modern critical philosophy has an explicitly ʻWesternʼ vision and fails to assess the proper dimension of globalization and to evaluate capitalism at both its periphery and in its centres. As the most celebrated leader of the ʻsecond generationʼ of the Frankfurt School (which had once emerged as a ʻneo-Marxistʼ), Habermas represents, one might claim, the best of what recent social criticism has produced. [8] He is also known for his political involvement. His work therefore offers a paradigmatic case for the critical purposes of this article.

Compulsory cosmopolitanism

A core aspect of globalization is the abolition of the nation-state. For Habermas the dilemma is one of ʻAnnulment or Sublation?ʼ [9] The former means abolition via domination (through the neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, etc.), whereas the latter represents a democratic transformation. Habermasʼs support for the latter and his proposals for its methodological elaboration are presented in his discussion of Kantʼs essay ʻOn Perpetual Peaceʼ. [10] Habermas suggests that a potential ʻworld commonwealthʼ should develop obligatory policies at the expense of member statesʼ inner and outer sovereignty. Although it has been fiercely criticized, the idea of the compulsory character of international decisions could be extremely fertile as it is based on the acknowledgement of the substantial, organic unity of the world. The democratically minded Habermas is by no means unaware of the Kantian concern about a global ʻgraveyard of freedomʼ. Yet this concern does not annihilate the global perspective: in the same way that policies are obligatory within a separate nationstate today, they should – eventually – be obligatory for unified humanity dealing with its ʻinternalʼ problems.

The process of globalization is far from smooth and linear. Habermas mentions its negative potential and observes that ʻin a stratified world society the asymmetric interdependence between developed, newly industrialized and underdeveloped countries seems to produce irreconcilable opposition of interestsʼ. [11] A radical critique could emerge from this remark; but it does not. According to Habermas, such irreconcilability applies only under the conditions of the absence of relevant organs for ʻglobal governanceʼ that would express a transnational will-formation and administer the obligatory policies mentioned above. Habermas claims that the problem of economic disparities would be solved through the conscientious raising of the standard of living in poor countries, introducing the idea of ʻcompulsory solidarityʼ (Zwangssolidarisierung): ʻThe decisive question, therefore, is whether in civil societies and political public spheres of largely developed regions there can emerge a consciousness of compulsory solidarity.ʼ [12] Habermasʼs suggestion adequately expresses his Kantian moralistic view on politics.

Habermasʼs assessment of global unity is thus contradictory. On the one hand, the problem is touched upon at its centre: both the perspectives of global unity and the results of current stratification are acknowledged. On the other hand, the suggestions and expectations that he expresses are clearly based on an optimistic view about the dynamics of modern capitalist democracy, presuming that it will affect the world community and reorganize international economic relationships. The evaluation of modern capitalism and its potential is the point at which the whole Habermasian strategy stands or falls. Habermas has certainly been a realist thinker, often discerning the utopian facet of political radicalism. But his current call for a ʻcosmopolitan compulsory solidarityʼ is no less utopian (no tendency to enforce such a measure is in place or expected to emerge any time soon).

Apart from posing the dilemma, Habermas does not offer an answer to the question of why the current situation should change. His view represents a moralistic assessment, whereas a critical social science would reveal necessity in social processes and thus would unite the ʻisʼ and the ʻoughtʼ. Seen from that perspective, the difficulty that Habermasʼs assessment faces is twofold. Not only is his ʻoughtʼ utopian; the ʻisʼ is not accidental. The modern status quo is the result of hard necessity, formed by the social and economic interests of world corporations coinciding with the interest of the masses in the capitalist centres. The relative stability of these centres is sustained by the resources brought from the periphery, and counterbalanced by the instability in the periphery. The fragile public support for the capitalist system in its centres is directly related to existing (also fragile) welfare. The change of strategy towards the Third World would negatively affect such welfare, and thus the social and economic structures of the masses in the capitalist centres.

The solution of world contradictions will thus not come from a ʻsocial solidarityʼ movement, reminiscent of Christian morality, but from a resistance movement created from within Third World countries; that is, conceived by those who are directly negatively affected. A realistic concern about the abolition of world inequalities demands a theoretical scrutiny of such resistance, its social and economic roots, and its shape and potential. Modern social theory, instead of assuming a ʻpost-capitalistʼ view, should thus question the objective nature of capitalism as a global socioeconomic system as well as the varieties in its centres and the periphery. As long as the dispute is not brought to the surface, resistance in Third World countries will inevitably be exploited by local nationalist movements, religious fundamentalisms and other inverted forms of protest.

Let us consider Habermasʼs notion of the development of international obligatory policies. A common objection to the possibility of world integration maintains that the existing local particularities exclude organic unity. The objection is clearly unsupported as the tendency towards unification and obliteration of particularities is more and more evident worldwide. The problem, however, is not unity as such but its current negative potential, the way the unity advances today. It actually forms the substance of antiglobalist phobia. Such negative potential has to do with the system itself. Although Habermas acknowledges and discusses the current Machtpolitik, he contrasts only neoliberal policies with other policies within the system of capitalism. However, under the conditions of the power of the market, globalization becomes repression independently of who is in power in capitalist centres, neoliberals or ʻsocial democratsʼ. During the past few years the world community has witnessed the (ab)use of slogans about democracy and human rights under which interventions in the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Somalia were carried out. Of course, the situation in those places called for some involvement. However, interventions were undertaken not to solve the existing problems but to use them (if not create them) in order to enhance Western strategic positions. In other cases, notably the Middle East conflict, the Western reaction ranges from mild to cynical, to say the least.

Habermas offers no theoretical insight about why this happens or why it should change. The same contradiction between ʻisʼ and ʻoughtʼ applies: Habermas poses the problem and juxtaposes its morally right solution, but critical social science needs to demonstrate the necessity of both.

The entire Third World issue rests on an underlying economic exploitation that is not difficult to discern. Occasionally, Habermas implies that the roots of the predicament are of such nature. [13] Nevertheless, those instances do not exhaust the matter. One needs to analyse it systematically, to assess its importance, to explain its inevitability and to outline its solution. Habermas does not, having long ago replaced the essence with the surface of social process by initially ʻcomplementingʼ and then simply substituting the importance of the labour process with that of communication (respectively, the role of political economy with that of communicative reason). The assumption is that the latter proceeds independently of the former, and, even more, that it is able to determine instead of being determined. Habermasʼs vision is the Western vision. It is in the West that democratic consensus, conflict resolution and peaceful transformation have become possible, where the power of public opinion affects policies, and the power of democratic institutions as interceding transformations is given. What Habermasʼs assessment overlooks is that this democratic consensus is not the cause but merely the effect. Democratic consensus becomes possible in the West only under certain economic arrangements, namely, the stability reserve offered by unequal relationships with the Third World. For the Habermasian assessment, however, it is a vicious circle: the stability reserve changes the view of capitalism as being capable of democratic transformations, and this view does not discern the stability reserve.

It is not, then, accidental that in those rare cases when Habermas attempts a socio-economic critique, he does so by employing old and inefficient schemes, especially that of an alleged increasing impoverishment in the capitalist centres. Here is a lucid example: ʻThe sources of social solidarity are drying up so that the living conditions of the former Third World expand in the centres of the Firstʼ, resulting in the creation of a new ʻunderclassʼ. [14] Habermas reiterates common arguments about the widening of ʻthe gap in the living conditions of the employed, underemployed and unemployedʼ, [15] quite in accord with Rortyʼs ideas on this question. Rorty claims that globalization will negatively affect the US population: ʻThe new economic cosmopolitanismʼ, he writes, ʻpresages a future in which the other 75 percent of Americans will find their standard of living steadily shrinking.ʼ Rorty further draws a dramatic picture in which the status quo plots to keep the masses distracted from their true problems:

The aim will be to keep the minds of the proles elsewhere – to keep the bottom 75 percent of Americans and the bottom 95 percent of the worldʼs population busy with ethnic and religious hostilities, and with debates about sexual mores. If the proles can be distracted from their own despair by mediacreated pseudo-events, including the occasional brief and bloody war, the super-rich will have little to fear. [16]

These arguments are reminiscent of a desperate radicalism with which neither Habermas nor Rorty would probably like to be associated. It is a radicalism unconsciously reproduced in the face of a theoretical dead end: the inability to assess capitalism as a global system and capitalism as a global system. For the undeniably contradictory nature of modern Western societies is today subordinated to the broader contradiction(s) of global capitalism.

The old orientation towards the worsening problems of and ʻdecliningʼ life standards in capitalist centres does not take into account the new reality of the particularities of class struggle within the centres, and the differences in the periphery. While ʻrelative impoverishmentʼ (that is, the broadening gap between rich and poor) is beyond question, it has a quite specific content at the beginning of the new century, a content which includes accessibility to a whole spectrum of social goods, radically affecting social behaviour.

The nineteenth-century argument about the ʻabsolute impoverishment of the working classʼ does not suffice when applied to realities of the twenty-firstcentury capitalist centres. In the epoch of global capitalist production, absolute impoverishment affects entire nations on the periphery, but is by no means massive within the centres. Starvation on a world scale has never been more widespread, but this affects the Third World exclusively. This is precisely where ʻsources of social solidarity dry outʼ. Not only does the Habermasian argument underestimate what the masses in the West have achieved; it also has no way to explain their apathy other than to attribute it to manipulation. It resorts to a conspiracy-theory version of history as the result of ʻclass connivanceʼ and, once again, rejects the necessity of social process. However, if 75 per cent of the population were truly economically unstable (with, say, unemployment rates of between 20 and 30 per cent, annihilation of social benefits, a decline in the affordability of basic goods), there would be no ground for the distraction by ʻethnic and religious hostilitiesʼ and the like, as Rorty claims. There would, instead, be catastrophic social instability. There is in fact a real ground for the existing conformity to the system. The conformity of the working mass is the result of the positive outcome of its struggle. But the fragile social stability and welfare within the capitalist centres was not achieved by class struggle alone. The struggle has been successful in the centre because of the redistribution of additional resources offered by the periphery. This success makes possible for the masses to go on accepting the system, and is reflected in the weakening of social criticism. There is no ʻconspiracyʼ in that, but unity and difference of interests in the time of global capitalism. Neither Habermas nor Rorty seems to see that. [17] Furthermore, within their proposed conceptual frameworks universalism is in fact lost. The real concern is not humanity as a whole, but just a part of it – the West – viewed from the perspective of an exaggerated internal conflict. The true issue is occasionally mentioned, but nevertheless bypassed as something of secondary importance. The Third World is remembered to the degree that some of its negative characteristics are reproduced in the capitalist centres.

These references to Habermas should not create the impression that he focuses on the conflicting makeup of globalization, world political economy, Third World matters. In his voluminous work one finds very few references to these issues. However, even fewer references can be found in the works of other leading academics. One of the most widely discussed works in the last decade was Charles Taylorʼs Multiculturalism, [18] in which an interesting argument on the road to the further embedment of democracy, tolerance and mutual recognition in multi-ethnic Western countries is advanced. The principles of a democratic commonwealth are proposed, however, with the Third World simply absent, as if social and economic processes in the West take place entirely independently. Habermasʼs latest collection of essays spanning the past ten years revolves around similar problems, with the focus on a unified Europe taken as a model (instead of Canada, as in the case of Taylor). Habermas dis-cusses the prospect of a world citizen [Weltbürger] on the basis of expanding the European model. He discusses the democratization process, the problem of mutual understanding, the problem of the public sphere and its moral principles. The Third World is mentioned again ʻparentheticallyʼ. Habermas points out the need to bridge the divide between developed and undeveloped countries: ʻthe long-term goal should be to overcome, step by step, the social split and stratification in world society without the impairment of cultural particularitiesʼ. [19] Habermas is surely right about the ʻlong-term goalʼ. But with the problem being mentioned only at the very end of one of his articles (and being impressively absent from the rest of the book) it is clear that the multidimensional Third World issue is not adequately perceived as the key concept in evaluating Western society. Instead, in an inverted scheme, the West plays the role of an exemplar, and Western problems are represented as universal.

Globalization from the south

Within this intellectual framework – which, with few exceptions, [20] characterizes the orientation of many leading political philosophers – the voices from the dissident academy are drowned out, along with those of the starving in the Third World, protesting against their economic suffocation by Western states. Moreover – and not without a contribution from the media – protest against the negative results of globalization, although granted some initial moral justification, is represented overall as protest against any form of globalization in general. It is thus branded as regressive and utopian; as based on an emotional reaction instead of intellectual substantiation; as marginal in influence, politically extremist and irresponsible.

The ʻmoral justificationʼ of the protest is granted in accord with the rules of absolute morality, and with the acknowledgement of the existence of the Third World problem, without considering the production and reproduction of Third World hardships by the West. The assertion of absolute morality is reconciled with tolerance towards immorality, with double standards and indifference. At a time when the additional resources needed to provide basic health and nutrition for everyone in the world are less than what Europeans and Americans annually spend on pet food, [21] no one would seriously claim that the value of life is the same in the West and in the Third World.

In the so-called digital age large areas of the Third World still contain societies that have maintained much of their medieval scaffolding and social structure. Economists have attempted long ago, not without success, to explain how global capitalism embraces and squeezes large regions of the planet, by holding them at a precapitalist stage of development, and using them according to its own needs. [22] It would not be correct to call these societies genuinely precapitalist, since they are a part of the world economy. On the other hand, a society in which the majority of the population is still occupied in agriculture cannot be called a genuinely capitalist society. In the Third World there is today a mosaic of societies existing at various stages of capitalist development as well a mosaic of fractional capitalist structures in each one of them taken separately. These societies remain undeveloped not because of their own lack of dynamic, but primarily because of their inclusion in a system of unequal economic dependencies. Their low economic growth, and the anarchy of their own fractional capitalist structures are not to be identified with their pauperization within global capitalism and its consequences. These two sides are, however, matched; the former exploited and magnified by the latter.

Despite its nefarious political intent, the ʻclash of civilizationsʼ argument is based on the observation of an immense divide in a globalized world. It is a clash between dominant world capitalism, with its culture and mentality, and the feudal remnants still resisting in the capitalist periphery. Western economic policies rapidly broaden the economic and cultural chasm between the two.

Technological advances offer unprecedented opportunities to overcome many of the problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, that plague the modern world. Technology alone does not have the power to transform mentalities and cultures rooted for centuries. [23] The problem demands a permanent, systematic effort for structural change in the long term. Furthermore, any attempt to restructure international economic relationships must be aware of the economic and social cost for the ʻdevelopedʼ nations, although the possibilities of growth offered by new technologies might make the burden of ʻredistributionʼ lighter for those who will ʻloseʼ, and a systematic and planned restructuring of world economic relations would create greater growth possibilities than those existing now.

The challenge for modern capitalism is whether it will be able to integrate the whole of the planet in a constructive way, and not barely as a by-product to accommodate the needs in capitalist centres. It is utopian to expect that this will occur as a result of some good will or unfolding of democratic process in the West alone. The official assessment of the events of September 11 fails to understand the core of the problem, and, despite the claims of those immediately affected in the Third World and of some moderates in the West, the response of the status quo tends towards a restitution of the previously existing order without any change. If there is any change on the horizon, it is aiming at stricter control and preventive mechanisms (created for ʻpreventing terrorismʼ, but potentially preventing any resistance). Nevertheless, the problem is not simply the inability to assess the real roots of the predicament, and the reaction of the status quo is not accidental. If one accepts that Western economic prosperity and social stability (fragile as it is), are largely based on the exploitation of the Third World, it follows that the system is unable to solve the problem, because it is the problem itself that is the ground of the maintenance of the system. It is created and perpetuated by the system.

As precapitalist structures (in the South) are combined with postcapitalist elements (mostly in the North), the latter magnified by the reserves offered by the South, the misleading impression of a technological super-civilization is created. The view of the whole has been overshadowed even in philosophy. Despite the acknowledgement and condemnation of the contradictions between the ʻisʼ and the ʻoughtʼ, the theoretical search for alternatives to capitalism and control over the powers of the market has been abandoned by critical philosophy as utopian. Following a mistaken re-evaluation of the nature of modern Western societies, the discourse has been derailed from the tracks of radical socio-economic critique to cultural and moralistic interpretations and reflections on an abstractly, often even irrationally, understood ʻhuman conditionʼ.

Current critical philosophy indulges in considerations and assessments of an artificial and artificially defined world. This world is artificial because it is based on a multifaceted exploitation of Third World countries (raw materials, intellectual resources, cheap labour force, and so on), not to mention the unsolvable contradictions of current energy consumption and environmental damage. This world is artificially defined because it consists of roughly 20 per cent of the population of the planet. Current philosophical assessments of capitalism as a social system fail to take into account 75–80 per cent of the worldʼs population. The internal problems faced by the West, no matter how serious, are small in relation to the problems of the Third World and certainly misleading for evaluating modern society. The contradictory nature and the importance of social problems in the capitalist centres are not to be reduced. However, for the theoretical evaluation of capitalism as a global social-economic system a broader view is needed.

Globalization changes the optical angle. It refocuses on the ʻforgottenʼ Third World problem and the part it must play in any understanding of the nature of modern society. Critically oriented social philosophy will remain at its dead end until it overcomes this loss of focus. [24] The question now is whether philosophy will be able to discern the real roots of the current crisis of globalization or will remain within the logic of anti-terrorist campaigns, and unwillingly provide theoretical coverage for conservative interventions for in the name of ʻfreedomʼ and ʻdemocracyʼ. This is not to turn philosophy into politics or to pursue new utopias, but to detach it from academic inwardness and a new provinciality, so that philosophy might have the chance to comprehend its time.


1. ^ E. San Juan, Beyond Postcolonial Theory, St. Martinʼs Press, New York, 1998, p. 8.

2. ^ K.R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2, The High Tide of Prophesy: Hegel, Marx and the Aftermath, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1962, pp. 124, 128.

3. ^ Offering his version of kratos dikaiou, in a work which he proposes as his own Philosophy of Right, Habermas writes: Marx and Engels, satisfied with allusions to the Paris Commune, more or less left aside questions of democratic theory. If one takes into consideration the formative philosophical background of both authors, then their blanket rejection of formal right, and even the sphere of right as a whole, could also be explained by the fact that they had read Rousseau and Hegel too much through the eyes of Aristotle, failed to appreciate [verkannt] the normative substance of Kantian universalism and the Enlightenment, and misconceived the idea of a liberated society as something concrete.

J. Habermas, Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy, trans.

William Rehg, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1996, p. 478.

Translations from German have been modified when appropriate.

4. ^ Cf. A. Arato and J.A. Cohen, Civil Society and Political Theory, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1995, esp. the chapter ʻThe Contemporary Revival of Civil Societyʼ, pp. 21–82.

5. ^ ʻMarxism was not only a catastrophe for all the countries in which Marxists took power, but a disaster for the reformist Left in all the countries in which they did not.ʼ

R. Rorty, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, Harvard University Press,

Cambridge MA, 1998, p. 41. Although Rorty grants that Marxist thought has contributed in ʻencouraging us to look for such [moral] purityʼ (p. 45), it would still be better if ʻthe next generation of American leftists found as little resonance in the names of Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin as in those of Herbert Spencer and Benito Mussoliniʼ (p. 51).

6. ^ Ibid., p. 79.

7. ^ See C. Taylor, Philosophical Arguments, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1995, pp. 204–24.

8. ^ The critique applies also to his early work. For Habermas the Third World problem never gained central importance, even at times when it was central in leftist discussions.

See, for example, J. Habermas, Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1973.

9. ^ ʻÜberwindung des Nationalstaates: Abschaffung oder Aufhebung?ʼ, in J. Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory, ed. Ciaran Cronin and Pablo de Greiff, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1999, pp. 124–7.

10. ^ Ibid., pp. 165–201, esp. 179 ff. See also Between Facts and Norms.

11. ^ J. Habermas, The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays, trans. Max Pensky, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2001, p. 54.

12. ^ Ibid, p. 55.

13. ^ Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other, pp. 226 ff., esp. 231.

14. ^ Ibid. pp. 122–3.

15. ^ Habermas, The Postnational Constellation, p. 50.

16. ^ Rorty, Achieving Our Country, pp. 86, 88.

17. ^ This should not overshadow their significant differences.

Rorty claims that ʻthe current leftist habit of taking the long view and looking beyond nationhood to a global polity is as useless as was faith in Marxʼs philosophy of history, for which it has become a substitute.ʼ Rorty, Achieving Our Country, p. 98.

18. ^ C. Taylor, Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, 2nd edn, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1994; See also S. Benhabib, ed., Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1996.

19. ^ J. Habermas, Zeit der Übergänge. Kleine Politische Schriften IX, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2001; see, especially, ʻEuroskepsis, Markteuropa oder Europa der (Welt-)Bürgernʼ, pp. 85–103.

20. ^ Notably, Noam Chomsky, Terrorizing the Neighborhood: American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era, Pressure Drop Press, San Francisco, 1991; Acts of Aggression: Policing Rogue States, Seven Stories Press, New York, 1999; The Umbrella of US Power: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Contradictions of US Policy, Seven Stories Press, New York, 1999.

21. ^ ʻAmericans and Europeans spend $17 billion a year on pet food – $4 billion more than the estimated annual additional total needed to provide basic health and nutrition for everyone in the worldʼ, ʻKofi Annanʼs Astonishing Factsʼ, New York Times, 27 September 1998.

22. ^ For Samir Aminʼs basic argument that local capitalism has been made impossible, see his Unequal Development: An Essay on the Social Formations of Peripheral Capitalism, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1976; also his recent Les Défis de la Mondialisation, LʼHarmattan, Paris, 1996.

23. ^ The idealization of the immediate potential of all masses, including those in the periphery, is the most common illusion of leftist critics, especially Marxists. The historicity of the question, the transformation of subjectivity, on the one hand, and its relation to objective ʻtechnocraticʼ aspects (relevant to social structure, automatization, creativity of labour process, etc.), on the other, are overlooked. See A. Dirlik, Postmodernityʼs Histories: The Past as Legacy and Project, Rowan & Littlefield, New York, 2000, esp. pp. 19–61; V.A. Vazuylin, Logika Istorii. Voprosi Teorii I Metodologii (The Logic of History:

Questions of Theory and Methodology), Moscow State University Press, Moscow, 1988.

24. ^ For a recent interesting Marxist critique see A. Dirlik, The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism, Westview Press, Boulder CO, 1997.