The incessantly growing commercialisation and globalisation of the world is something that no-one will have been able to ignore. In this country the problem has manifested itself in small and irritating ways. More adverts on television, advertising posters popping up in places as diverse as gents toilets and backs of bus tickets, and the proliferation of Starbucks and McDonalds.
While this multinational intoxication is verging on the smothering side of comfort, it would certainly be hard to argue that in the 'developed' world we are the principal losers in the modernisation process. Indeed, for those on the frontline modernisation is a painful misnomer, as we have learned of workers in China, the Phillipines, India, El Salvador and numerous other countries who are effectively working in bonded slavery, paid less than a dollar an hour to produce clothes with retail prices higher than month's wages.
It is with this backdrop that No Logo, something of a political polemic by Naomi Klein, has hit multifarious bestseller lists.
The 'story' begins with an examination of the culture of the brand, the development of the ability to sell an ideal rather than, for example, an actual item of clothing or a type of coffee. To be fair to these brands how they went about this was increasingly ingenious, and this in itself can't lead to the human rights abuses that have come to light in the race for world domination. But in trying to achieve a truly global presence and public conciousness the separation between the brand and the product became a growing gulf, as the brands realised that they could outsource the actual creation of the product, something whichh wasn't making them money. And so came into being the EPZs.
Economic Production Zones, ostensibly areas in developing countries aimed at initially bringing production and jobs in with the promise and inducement of tax breaks. Apparently the theory is that these moves then initiate a growth in the local economy - something which has become something of a firy tale as producers jump from EPZ to EPZ to take advantage of new tax breaks.
The story itself of the move from producer suppliers to brands is a fascinating one, and Klein beings in tales of her own visits to EPZs, the development of anti-globalisation movements such as Reclaim the Streets, and more direct actions such as the McLibel trial to enhance the various points made during the course of the book. In itself, however, the book isn't a page-turner - this is probably more to do with it being a non-fiction piece, and a piece which does tend in places to repeat itself a bit. Furthermore the book is a reflection of wht we have been hearing and learning for some time now, so a lot of the information is already known, maybe now just in a bit more detail. A worthwhile (and some might say worthy) addition to your bookshelf, though maybe in the spirit of the book itself, you should search it out from a charity shop or independent bookstore, or even borrow it from a friend, to further your knowledge of this politically and economically volatile subject.