Globalization Then and Now: Increasing Scale Reduces Local Sustainability

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Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere


Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD

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One consequence of globalization is that parts of the world that were once remote and minimally influenced by broader political and economic developments now find themselves profoundly affected by forces beyond their comprehension. Communities that were once self-sufficient and resilient come to depend on larger systems, no longer control their own destinies, and confront adverse environmental changes. Such local consequences result from changes in the vertical scale of political and economic integration. While the term globalization is much used today, the processes vand consequences of globalization have been evident in human history for some time. This paper presents case studies of the effects of distinct episodes of globalization on historical and contemporary societies. Analyses of Epirus, Greece, and northern New Mexico show how disjunctures in scaling between information and power reduce local resiliency and sustainability. Changes in the scale of problems affecting localities impose a requirement for corresponding changes in the scale of environmental information that local community’s process.

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