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The world has changed, and denial is the reaction to these upheavals most frequently observed by historians. Blocking out reality is a convenient way to handle fears and uncertainties and to have a short but costly respite. Some are nostalgic for the Cold War, others look to bursts of American leadership, while there are many who cling desperately to the idea of the West personifying the world’s nobility. Yet this scant interest in the global and pronounced penchant for reproducing the past continues to aggravate the problems. A proliferation of international violence that is fragmented and less and less controllable, growing inequalities, enormous social and ecological challenges that have not been dealt with, collapsing states and our shared resources perishing. In fact, it all comes down to asking questions about “globalization.” And yet the complexity of the phenomenon deserves better. Behaving correctly in a world that is no longer on the scale of adjacent countries but of the entire planet calls for at least an effort to adapt. It should also lead to a minimum stocktaking of our established categories. When the project changes that much in size, yesterday’s tools may not be as relevant as they once were.
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- Chapter 8
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