Despite the linguistic paradox, our environment has become global. Almost everything we come in contact with, from our clothes to our homes to our foods to our phones, is only in our hands after passing through a supply chain that spans the globe. The system mediating this material flow is the economy, whose invisible hand began stretching out of Western Europe hundreds of years ago.
Since WWII, globalization has exploded as a paradigm defining ambiguous and slippery historical processes. It implies the contraction of space and time all over the world, the homogenization of culture everywhere, and most importantly a utopian capitalism spanning the globe and located in the future.
This market globalism has inspired a variety of reactionary counter-globalisms, which aim to subvert its terms while remaining global in scale. These oppositional frameworks approach their work with civil disobedience and militant resistance, but it may be that subversion must begin where hegemony is rooted: in a world-picture.
The global first became possible in Ptolemy’s projection, was reified by Mercator, and achieved consummation in the Blue Marble. Lang wrote that the project of mapping the world made global capitalist hegemony thinkable. If this is true, an alter-globalized world must begin with a reconceptualization of the space in which we live our lives.