Global harming

January 30, 2004

In his review of Michael Albert's Parecon: Life After Capitalism (Books, THES , January 23) Paul Ormerod trots out facile shibboleths that have been intoned by corporate apparatchiks for the past 30 years. The book at least raises such issues as "capitalist globalisation produces poverty, ill health and shortened life spans". Famine did not exist as we see it today until advanced agricultural systems were introduced by ancient civilisations. The scale is unprecedented and has a real, if complex, relation to current systems of agriculture, trade and manufacture.

If Ormerod had a global/ historical perspective, he would know that certain indigenous groups that live without the aid of modern medicine and so on have some of the longest recorded and healthiest lives. The false dawn of 20th-century affluence in the metropolitan world was indeed the first time since the Mesolithic period when the European diet was good enough to allow us to grow to our full height.

Mo Dodson
London Metropolitan University

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