Gardening and the Global Economy

Sparks pointed out that over a quarter of the world’s population lives without electricity today. Thus, at least 1.25 billion people in the world are without internet. How can we account for these large disparities in the global economy?
Of all the theorists of globalization, Arjun Appadurai rocks my world. In his work explaining, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”, he takes a more holistic approach in accounting for the wide fault lines that exist between nations and their experience of globalization’s effects.

This disjuncture is deeper understood in viewing the relationship between Appadurai’s, “five dimensions of global cultural flow: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, and ideoscapes. It is no surprise that he uses the suffix ‘scape’ to point to the fluid and ever-evolving qualities of these complex and diverse landscapes. The constitutional make up of these scapes and the way in which they function in relation to one another, determines the power and effect of globalization in a given nation.
I am a big fan of gardening. Reading Appadurai’s theory and all his scape talk made my mind drift to the field. What determines what can grow, where and how much of it? THE SOIL. If we understand each nation’s scape as a different type of soil–with diverse nutrient content, moisture content, surrounding land characteristics, etc– and consequently, it’s strengths and weaknesses for growing certain types of crops, we can better understand the disjunctive and differences in the global culture economy.
So, what is the “nutrient content” and “moisture make-up” of a country that determines what will grow and what will wither? Both local factors and global systems are taken into account in Appadurai’s scapes description as, “deeply perspectival constructs, inflected very much by the historical, linguistic and political situatedness of different sorts of actors: nation-states, multinationals, Diaspora communities, sub-national groupings and movements [religious, political and economic] and even face-to face groups, such as villages, neighborhoods and families.”
All of these factors need to be assessed as a horticulturist would measure his/her soil: scientifically, yet with a dirty hand in his/her specimen. That’s to say, in order to tackle these disparities, say, for example, bringing electricity (and the internet) to all corners of the earth, it takes a body that is approaching the nations’ scapes both scientifically and as a subjective participant; one who uses the scientific method to control for variables, yet is immersed in the culture to know it’s beliefs, values and ideas that are the life-force to the nation’s citizens.  Although this form of analysis demands more work, effort and time to understand each nation’s complex DNA, it seems the only way to promote growth from the root up.

Check out, ASHOKA: http://www.ashoka.org/about.
It is a social entrepreneurship organization doing just the work of a horticulturist described above: overcoming differences in global economy through proper diagnosis, innovation technology and sustained development of social changes by working directly with the individuals, groups and infrastructures that constitute the nation.

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