Second Nature Home > Short Essays by Dan Bruiger >

Global Monoculture

The fusion of globalism and technology moves toward ultimate power while promising heaven in a global shopping mall. It offers the same standard franchises and consumer goods the world over, in the same global culture with the same international architecture in every city. This was parodied in Jacque Tati’s prescient extravaganza of the 1970s, Playtime, where glimpses of famous Parisian monuments are only seen reflected in the closing doors of glass office towers. While genetic engineers propose headless chickens and immortality as consumer rights, with the freedom to plug our bodiless minds into a variety of optional artificial embodiments, we might remember the lesson of a more recent film, The Matrix: that human beings could themselves become little more than headless chickens, cultivated for someone else’s benefit. It can be no great consolation that our overlords are not yet intelligent machines, but only our mortal fellows, the human masters of a global financial empire. One way or the other, slaves and machines are interchangeable from the perspective of the mechanist vision and the world economic machine, which will use whichever is cheaper—or the most cost-effective combination. It should come as no great surprise that the dream of limitless freedom, based on riches wantonly taken from nature and the rest of the world, inevitably bears an impossible price to pay.

RELATED TAGS: [globalism and technology, Jacques Tati, Playtime, The Matrix, global shopping mall, universal consumerism, International Style, world economic machine]

© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.