As part of my research for a novel I have been looking at something we take for granted, our imports and exports. This is a big thing in the UK at the moment with coming of Brexit and the perceived impact on them. I say, ‘perceived’ as we have no real model for how far we’ll sink in the shit. Maybe up to our waists but from my view we’ll probably need air pumped down to us. We’ll be 20,000 leagues under and not even the Nautilus could rescue us. Which brings us neatly back to globalisation.
Nemo hated nation states, the coming of capitalism and war. It’s how we meet him in Verne’s masterpiece, sinking ships from a nation he perceives as a threat to the world: ‘The earth does not want new continents, but new men’. For Nemo the sea is pure and untainted with the past unlike the land. The sea is nature at its most majestic and fearful but the idea globalisation linked to colonialism/capitalism was new in the age of Verne. It wouldn’t become a political tool until the Cold War when it came to define freedom. Since the fall of the USSR we have perceived globalisation as something that can destroy economies and ways of life but this imbues globalisation with an almost demonic figurehead, somewhere in the world a boardroom sits to decide the future of the planet and therein is the lie. Globalisation is not controlled by one mad corporation, it is driven by multiple factors but there is one truth, there is no solution to solve it because there is not just one board in control.
Globalisation is an inherent contributor to climate change and it cannot just be switched off because it is more than goods, a political ideology, a passing fad, it is more frightening, more glorious, more fragile than we think. Even when we run out of oil it will continue for the needs of many and against the will of those who see it as evil and corrupting. It is 20,000 leagues deep within our psyche and to change it means to question what is freedom? What is humanity?