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» babble   » current events   » international news and politics   » The irrelevancy of the terms "Global North" and "Global South" by the left

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Author Topic: The irrelevancy of the terms "Global North" and "Global South" by the left
Babbler # 9158

posted 05 May 2006 12:56 PM      Profile for Scribe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps you have been reading alternative press lately, and have come across the terms in quotations in the title of this thread, ie "Global North" and "Global South". If you have, then perhaps you are also perplexed by them, much as I am. For me it is nothing short of narrow-mindedness to try to divide the world into two halves in such a manner, because it ignores the vastness of the planet, and how diverse it truly is. In my own instance, I live aboved the 55th parallel, well to the north of most of the North Americans. There are no corporate headquarters stationed here, only resource extraction firms and the like. No great power brokerages are made here, and rarely are we even visited by the powerful. The supreme hypocrisy for me though, is that most of what is described as the "Global North", is indeed to the south of me. How can the "Global North" be south of where I am? I surely would not include where I live in the ranks of the "Global North", and even less those living farther to the north then I am. Why am I being included in this derisive planetary split?

I reject the Manichaeic division of the world on these grounds: the entire North of the world is not united in it's interests and goals; indeed, the true North, (I consider all areas with a sub-arctic climate as Northern) is just as subjugated by the "Global North" as the "Global South" is. How simplistic the left has truly become! Still fighting over who belongs where, over which side this or that person is on. Perhaps it is because there is a lack of Canadian lefterners writing alternative media, or that there is no concept of Canada by lefterners in the USA. Read some of their articles, they are almost always Usian-centric, with Canada only being mentioned in passing. And even then, it is only of, what I like to call, the Great Cities, or cities living beyond their means, such as Vancouver or Toronto. The only time there is made any mention of areas farther to the north of the Great Cities, is when there is a full-fledged crisis going on, such as the Kashechewan water-crisis, and even then, it is done only in comparison to southern crises - from my perspective - such as what occured during and after Hurricane Katrina. There is no independant thought coming out of the True North, only pieces written by those of the "Global North".

The simple dichotomy between the "Global North" and the "Global South" needs to be smashed forthwith. We, as the left, cannot continue to erect planetary boundaries between ourselves: before it was East and West; now, North and South. If I may, I wish to complexify the current running thesis on global conflict, and, instead of having but two sides of the globe, I would pander that there is three, or more sides. To start with, the "Global North" was never truly situated in the True North, but in, what Tolkien described as being, the "Middle-Earth". When Tolkien conceived his rendering of the Earth, he considered Europe to be in the middle: the Shire would have been situated near Britain (rightly), and Minas Tirith would have been near to Northern Italy. From this vantage point, it becomes clear the me that what is popularly called the "Global North", would more rightly be termed the "Middle North", or the areas of Europe and North America that are situated between the sub-arctic climate zones, and the mediterraean climate zones. Then, by virtue of there being a "Middle North", there would also be a "Middle South": areas such as Venezuela, Egypt, Persia, and the like. Beyond these middle regions, there would be the true directional zones, or the "True North" and the "True South". Perhaps calling these areas "True" is a bit of a bias on my part: if so, I am open to being called on it. I suffer from pride as well

So then, what I have tried to do here is expand the current understanding of the concurrent global relationship - the "Global North" and "Global South" - and have doubled it by the reams, so that the great masses of people living outside of where the two opposing world zones are popularly conceived to be - places such as the New England and Old England, to name a couple - no longer have to be counted along with people that they are really not relevant to them, or where they live. We must avoid any such "Good vs Evil" conceptions of the world: indeed, such conceptions are the residual leftovers of Judeo-Christio-Islamic thinkings and leanings, and as well, their proto-forms, such as Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. We must avoid at all costs such divisions between "Light and Darkness", and instead embrace a world of many shades, such as the shade of Northern Manitoba, where I hail from. Thanks for reading, peace.

From: Thompson, Manitoba | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 3306

posted 05 May 2006 07:21 PM      Profile for Hawkins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The reason why people refer to it as the "Global North" and "Global South" is because those titles refer to a set of countries defined in Academic literature. People who use them will be the first to tell you that they are poor discriptive titles, but thats what is used. How can I say that with confidence? Because most people who use these terms will define the term roughly as "US, Canada, EU, Japan and Australia". If they really were so stupid to think Australia is in the north... You get the point.

If you want to revolutionize a term to better explain the origins of capitalist exploitation, that might be helpful, but I wouldn't over analyse the term literally as most people who use it already do not define it literally.

Just as the Global South incorporates parts of the world (central asia for example) that are not 'south'. But the vast majority of exploitation is the Northern Countries (and their companies) over countries to the south of them (Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, Africa). And in that sense the terms are useful. Yes exploitation occurs within the North (growing inequalities in the US and Canada, Native populations, regional disparities, etc.) but in comparative significance the levels of exploitation along the N-S axis is overwhelming [apologies if you don't think this is true].

Does this 'model' adequately deal with what is happening in China, India, Russia and Global south regional powers (Brazil)? No, it doesn't necessarily work well in those cases either. But the Global North is also often defined as the global economic elites, which continue to extract benefits from places like China, India, and Brazil despite those countries growth in regional/global economic power, and in that sense the N-S language is useful as well.

From: Burlington Ont | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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