Design values in globalism – the vitality of return and exchange
Design Column #4 The circle is round
‘The World is Deglobalizing at Breakneck Speed’ – so read the title of a long article in the Financieele Dagblad on 4 March this year. Over the last few decades there has been far-reaching globalization in which different economies, politics and cultures have become increasingly interwoven at an international level. A widespread consumer culture brought about the scaling-up of our production processes and a worldwide distribution of labour. The international flows of money that accompanied this peaked in 2007.
In the article, the author Marcel de Boer describes the present downward spiral of economic growth. The article was published in response to a report – ‘Financial globalization: Retreat or reset’ – by a leading think tank, the McKinsey Global Institute. This report confirmed that international credit is at an end and that global flows of money have decreased by 60% compared to the peak in 2007. The financial crisis has meant that countries and companies post 2007 are now more often opting to look to themselves. In the first instance governments protect their own interests and become inward-looking, without examining the international impact of their measures.
‘Design Column #4 The Circle Is Round’ features four stories that provide a counterweight to this current tendency towards withdrawal and defence. In different ways the projects show that thinking in terms of boundaries and linear developments is by no means always relevant. When doors appear to close, opportunities arise elsewhere. The 100 million tons of plastic waste that is congregating in the world’s oceans is not bound by national borders. Newer and bigger is not always better. Growth is cyclical; the circle is round.
It is an illusion to think that far-reaching ‘deglobalization’ could happen in the current system. We are all part of the same global system. The McKinsey report advocates reform, ‘resetting’ the present financial model, so that a more sustainable phase of the world economy can begin. The design projects take issue with this, suggest deeper insight into our contemporary global condition, and offer creative alternatives.
The series Design Column is supported by Creative Industries Fund NL and Bankgiro Loterij.
the design projects
Maaike Roozenburg, Smart Replicas
Maaike Roozenburg, 17th-century teacups, porcelain, collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, photography: Maaike Roozenburg