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The Globalization Reader, 5th Edition by John Boli, Frank J. Lechner

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Introduction

After the tumultuous protests in 1999 directed at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle, meetings of international financial institutions and leaders became the prime targets of people and groups opposed to their policies. Large demonstrations decrying globalization were organized across Europe. In 2001, groups critical of globalization gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, for the World Social Forum, which became an annual counterpoint to the elite World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Initially, the groups behind these and similar actions were described as the antiglobalization movement, and they signaled an important shift in both popular and scholarly views of globalization. The generally positive, at times even exuberant tone of discussions of globalization in the 1990s was swept aside by a global backlash. Globalization, the critics said, was hardly a panacea for the world's ills; it was in fact the main culprit behind many global problems. For groups engaged in this backlash, globalization has a particular meaning: it is primarily an economic force, emanating from the West, that imposes an unjust, unequal, and environmentally harmful capitalist system on the world to the detriment of local cultures and democratic self-control. This critical view has shaped subsequent global discourse about globalization. To some extent, globalization now is what its critics make of it.

The antiglobalization label turned out to be a poor fit, not least ...

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