"There is no alternative" to globalization. It is inevitable. You may not like it, but there is nothing you can do about it. If you oppose globalization, you are opposed to human progress. All of these are common beliefs among those who track globalization. (See Thomas Friedman's books on globalization.) Bob Goudzwaard once lumped these beliefs together under the TINA (There Is No Alternative) label.
But one of the main lessons of Advent is that God breaks into human history to redeem His people in unexpected ways. We are not abandoned or alone. So we hope. We wait for the Lord. We know that someday the Kingdom will be fully and finally established on earth. Now, there is an alternative.
When I first started writing on globalization, I hadn't yet internalized this lesson of Advent. Nor had I read enough about hopeful practices that demonstrate practical alternatives to globalization. Instead, I tended to share the assumption that globalization was a juggernaut that operated whether or not we liked it.
Now, by Advent 2010, a number of authors have demonstrated the power of alternative practices in their own personal, individual journeys. They show us that even the individual alone can do things (not to mention whole communities).
There are authors who track down the laborers who toil to stitch our clothes:
- Kelsey Timmerman, Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes (2009)
- Joe Bennett, Where Underpants Come From: From Cotton Fields to Checkout Counters --Travels Through the New China and Into the New Global Economy (2009)
- Pietra Rivoli, Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy (2005)
- Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon, Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet (2008)
- Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (2008)
- Bill McKibben, Deep Economy (2008)
- Eric Brende, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology (2004)
- Colin Beavan, No Impact Man (2009)
- Doug Fine, Farewell, My Subaru (2008)
- Judith Levine, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (2007)
- Sara Bongiorni, A Year Without "Made in China" (2007)
- Craig Kielburger, Free the Children (1998)
- John Bowe, Nobodies: American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the Global Economy (2008)
There Are Alternatives.