Seabrook, Jeremy. Consuming Cultures: Globalization and Local Lives. Jeremy Seabrook. 2004. New International Publications. UK.

“Globalization threatens to extinguish much that is essential to human survival”.

There is a thriving industry in books about globalization; I have read many and have learned much from good authors

Consuming Cultures by Jeremy Seabrook: A Book Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Mao and Elvis in Shenzhen, China.

and activists. But if I was looking for just one book to recommend to a newly interested friend, a student or seasoned activist – this would be it.

Seabrook gives us the history, the background, the results of globalization which he defines as: the emergence of a single worldwide economy that has declared war on all other cultures. By definition globalization makes all other cultures local.

Globalization consumes other cultures and in the process affects more than economies. It radically transforms the lives of millions of people. In the process it destroys their traditions, impoverishes their lives and destroys dreams and wisdom. Seabrook describes the lives of people forced from their land into urban squalor, paralleling the history of his family only three generations back, he understands and empathizes with globalization’s flotsam and jetsam. When he details lives shattered by a force which is far greater than economic he explains, “Economic globalization violates many deeply held moral and spiritual values.” It is soul-destroying. Witness the obscene consuming culture of the minority world that destroys global resources while it destroys the soul of the consumer. Seabrook documents these processes in vivid heart-wrenching stories that form the substance of the dry statistics.

Seabrook writes about the many cultures of living resistance to globalization. Where ever we live we can join some organization working on this most urgent issue of our times; we can find meaning in our lives and companions in the struggle which will help us overcome the loneliness and isolation of globalization enforced individualism. We soon learn that this most important issue is connected to all we hold dear – peace with justice, a sustainable, healthy environment and safe and dignified life for all.

The New International inspires the world’s independent media; the magazine just keeps getting better. Now they have an excellent booklist with this winner and their series of No-Nonsense Guides to everything from AIDS to terrorism. For clear information on any topic check www.newint.org first.

Filed under Book Reviews, Jeremy Seabrook