Ethical Perspectives 13 (4):647-672 (2006)

This paper investigates a manner for taking a stand against the current naturalistic tendencies within the current form of globalized capitalism that see it merely as the logical expression of triumphant market forces working upon productive assets. Taking a cue from the French concept of alter-mondalisme, as opposed to the English syntagma anti-globalism, this paper argues that our current form of globalised capitalism is simply a form having no specific ontological necessity – i.e., globalism as it now is, is not the inevitable result of natural forces, but is rather a complex emergent entity. Cosmopolitical citizenship, characterized by critical global citizens, means principled refusal to accept this entity as determining the possible and the impossible. Instead of being the creature of simply naturalistic, neo-liberal economics, capital is a cultural system, a social relationship based on a particular political power structure. Thinking otherwise makes issues of social justice meaningless within capitalism. The current concentration of economic power tends to spread certain behavioral norms that sustain it, which is a systemic phenomenon that can be called the cultural system of capitalism, a shared ideology.Viewing it such, we can move from an ethical study of the rational foundations of moral norms to a political reflection on the democratic construction of social norms. Hence, democratic experimentalism can arise, in which various possibilities and norms of one subset or region of capitalist interaction are played off against each other subset or region in a subversive attempt at forming new possibilities for organizing economic and political processes. This will also protect the plurality of ways of life from overweening global capitalism: another world is possible
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DOI 10.2143/EP.13.4.2018713
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