Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Page of History: the 1834 Canut Revolt in Lyon (2015)

From the January 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard
Last year was the 180th anniversary of the 1834 Canut revolt in Lyon. Engels had described the earlier Canut revolt in 1831 as 'the first working-class rising' (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific) in the early years of the modern capitalist period. In October last year the OECD released its study How Was Life? Global Well-Being Since 1820 which concluded that 'global income inequality has returned to levels recorded in the 1820s – when the Industrial Revolution produced sizeable wealth gaps between the rich and poor' (Common Dreams, 2 October). This study was shortly followed by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2014 which stated that 'the richest 1 percent of the world's population own more than 48 percent of global wealth' (Guardian, 14 October).
It is said that modern capitalism was born in 1825 after Britain revoked its law against joint-stock companies (the 1720 Bubble Act), Britain had gone on the Gold Standard in 1821, the business cycle began, and the 'Panic of 1825' was the start of modern economic cycles and crises. It was the first international economic crisis occurring in peacetime.
Capitalism imprisoned the working class in either workhouses, the 'bastilles of the proletariat' or in the factory described by Marx as 'The House of Terror... realised a few years later in the shape of a gigantic Workhouse for the industrial worker... called the Factory' (Capital).The 1832 'Great' Reform Act did not extend the franchise to the working class, and when on 16 October 1834 (180 years ago) the Palace of Westminster (House of Commons) burned down, the people cheered in the street.
In France at this time during Louis Philippe's reign of 1830-48, a very small portion of the bourgeoisie ruled the kingdom, the July monarchy gave freedom to the industrial, commercial and financial bourgeoisie, enriching the bourgeoisie and attacking the working class who were attempting to organise themselves. Greed was at the heart of French capitalism typified in Prime Minister Guizot's slogan 'Enrichessez-vous' (Enrich yourselves) from 'Enrichissez-vous par le travail, par l'epargne et par la probit' (Enrich yourselves by work, saving and probity' (, and artist Honoré Daumier caricatured the bourgeoisie perceiving the meanness and mediocrity of the bourgeois class. Marx pointed out that 'the July monarchy was nothing other than a joint stock company for the exploitation of France's national wealth' (The Class Struggles in France) while republican Lamartine worried that 'the proletarian question is one that will cause the terrible explosion in present-day society, if society and government decline to fathom and resolve it' (War and Peace in an Age of Upheaval).
Silk Weavers
In Lyon, the second city of France, the main industry was textiles in particular the silk weaving industry which had begun in Lyon in the fifteenth century, and would become the capital of the European silk trade. By the middle of the seventeenth century over 14,000 looms were in use in Lyon spinning the silk from the silk worms in the mulberry trees grown in the departments of Drôme, Gard, Vaucluse, and Ardèche. By 1830 Lyon had a population of 133,000 people, of which 25 percent worked in the 'Fabrique'. Silk and silk-related products accounted for half of Lyon's total commercial income and a third of the value of all French exports.
The Lyonnais silk weavers were known as 'Canuts' which probably derives from 'canette', a spool used in silk weaving. The Canuts worked on huge Jacquard mechanical looms in poor working conditions largely in the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood. The Jacquard loom was introduced after 1801 and greatly benefited silk production although for the worker it was expensive and enormous: it needed its own building with extra high ceilings and reinforced floors. The Canut lived and worked in the same building as the loom, and the weaver bore the costs of maintaining the loom. There were about 8,000 chief weaving craftsmen (Canuts), and 30,000 apprentices, women, and errand boys who lived and worked with the Canuts, everybody working 14 to 18 hours a day in buildings lacking ventilation.
The Lyonnais bourgeois class of silk manufacturers and bankers were known as 'fabricants' and numbered about 1,400. They, through the 'Fabrique' governed the Lyonnais silk trade, and contracted with the Canuts for a specific order or per price. The Fabrique had a raft of anti-worker regulations such as in wage disputes, the employer's word was taken without question while workers had to prove wrongdoing, and also associations (ie. trade unions) of more than 20 workers were prohibited. One hated regulation was that 'each worker was required by law to carry a booklet called a 'livret', in which his or her employer kept notes on the terms of service, personal conduct, debts etc' (Silk in Lyons Erika Budde). The Fabrique also wanted to abolish the professional requirements (apprenticeships) to be a 'master weaver' so anyone who could afford a loom could become one. The Canuts had a thriving working class culture with a great emphasis on education; 'by the late 1700s, 70 percent of male silk workers were literate' (Budde), and Lyon had two workers newspapers. Marx wrote that 'the working-class, stunned at first by the noise and turmoil of the new system of production, recovered, in some measure, its senses, its resistance began' (Capital).
In 1831 there was competition from imported English silk which led to price decreases, the economy was in a downturn, and the Canuts struggled to maintain an adequate standard of living. The Canuts wanted a minimum price for silk which was refused by the Lyonnais bourgeoisie. In October 1831 the Canuts seized the arsenal and repulsed the localNational Guard with a slogan of 'vivre libre en travaillant ou mourir en combattant!' (live free working or die fighting!). This was the first working class uprising in modern capitalism. The revolt was quickly suppressed by Napoleonic officer Marshal Soult with 20,000 soldiers, and with little bloodshed. Engels identified that 'the class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie came to the front' (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific).
The Lyonnais bourgeoisie refused to set a tariff, a fixed minimum, statutory wage for the Canut silk weavers which they had during the Napoleonic Empire. In 1833-34 the Lyonnais silk industry was booming, and Canut wages had increased which led the Comte d'Argout, Governor of the Bank of France to write to the King: 'the manufacture is in a state of simply fabulous prosperity' (Guy Antonetti Louis-Philippe). The Lyonnais bourgeoisie sought to lower the wages of the Canuts which caused a general strike in Lyon in February 1834. The Canut leaders of employees' benevolent associations such as Medailles de la Societe de Secours Mutuels des Ouvriers de Sole (Silkworkers Provident Society) were arrested and sent for trial in April.
Bloody repression
At the same time as the Canut leaders were on trial, the French parliament was discussing restrictions on republican groups, collective bargaining and the rights of association for workers. This anti-working class legislation was passed on 9 April 1834. On the same day the Canuts took over parts of Lyon, erecting barricades, raiding the barracks and taking arms from the arsenal. The National Guard were forced to evacuate the town. The Canuts adopted the French Republican Calendar, 9 April 1834 becoming Germinal 22, Year XLII of the Republic in homage to the 1789 great bourgeois French Revolution. This revolution did not solve the socio-economic problems facing the working class in France. The Canut revolt was not a political revolt but an economic one, at this time the franchise being limited to the bourgeois class.
The bourgeois class strategy under the leadership of Thiers, the Interior Minister, was to abandon Lyon to the Canut rebels, surround it and then retake it, a tactic again used by Thiers against the working class in the 1871 Paris Commune. Thiers was a resolute enemy of the working class, described eloquently by Marx as 'that monstrous gnome, [who] has charmed the French bourgeoisie for almost half a century, because he is the most consummate intellectual expression of their own class corruption... consistent only in his greed for wealth and his hatred of the men that produce it' (The Civil War in France). Thiers had Lyon subjected to artillery bombardment then had the army retake the town between 11 and 15 April during what became known as 'sanglante semaine' (bloody week). The Canut revolt was crushed with 600 workers, men, women and children killed by the army and police and 10,000 workers imprisoned or deported to the colonies.
The bourgeois class were just practising their revenge on the working class which would find fulfilment in the 1848 June Days in Paris when 10,000 workers were either killed or injured, while over 4,000 were deported to Algeria. All this pales compared to the suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune when 30,000 communards were killed by a vicious bourgeoisie. The capitalist class is ruthless when they feel threatened in their minority ownership of property and capital.
The Canut revolt of 1834 as the first major working class uprising in modern capitalism signifies that 'philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat' (Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right) but the lessons of the 1834 Canut revolt were not learned by the working class for several decades. Engels pointed out in a letter to Paul Lafargue of 11 March 1892 that 'the era of barricades and street fighting has gone for good; if the military fight, resistance becomes madness.'
Engels on street fighting
Engels summarised the nineteenth century of working class street fighting in his 1895 Introduction to Marx's The Class Struggles in France: 'rebellion in the old style, street fighting with barricades, which decided the issue everywhere up to 1848, had become largely outdated... everywhere the bourgeoisie had thrown in its lot with governments... and feasted the military moving against insurrection. The barricade had lost its magic; the soldier no longer saw behind it the 'people' but rebels, subversives, plunderers, levellers, the scum of society; the officer had in the course of time become versed in the tactical forms of street fighting, he no longer marched straight ahead and without cover against the improvised breastwork, but went round it through gardens, yards and houses.'
In the same essay Engels saw 'with this successful utilization of universal suffrage, however, an entirely new method of proletarian struggle came into operation, and this method quickly took on a more tangible form' with organised working class political parties such as the German Social Democratic Party, and from 1904 the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Since control of parliament is obtained via elections based on universal suffrage, a socialist majority can win control of the machinery of government and the state through winning a parliamentary majority via the ballot box. The state is the institution with the power to employ socially-sanctioned physical force, it is an expression of and enforcer of class society. On the eve of a socialist election victory, the working class would already be convinced of the need for socialism and would have organised themselves in parties, unions, councils and other bodies ready to keep production and administration going, and socialist ideas would also have penetrated into the armed forces. If die-hard capitalists attempted a coup against a socialist majority, the armed forces would tend to side with those who have the undisputed democratic legitimacy, ie. those who want socialism. Even anarchists concede that 'the majority of military personnel are working class, and however indoctrinated they are, we doubt that they will be prepared on the whole to shoot down their friends, neighbours and relatives' (Beyond Resistance).

As socialists we remember the working class struggles of yesteryear such as the Canut revolt of 1834. Slavoj Žižek paraphrasing Walter Benjamin says 'the authentic revolution is not only directed towards the future but it redeems the past failed revolutions. All the ghosts as it were; the living dead of the past revolution, which are roaming around, unsatisfied will finally, find their home' (The Perverts’ Guide to Ideology).
Steve Clayton

Right to work? (1988)

From the October 1988 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is sometimes said by socialists—perhaps half jokingly—that campaigns for the "right to work" are part of a conspiracy by the capitalist class to confuse the minds of workers. Certainly, there used to be a campaign in the 1970s called "The Right to Work", which was a front organisation for the Socialist Workers' Party. And you can't get a more confused and confusing bunch of people than they are.

So why do socialists object to the demand for the "right to work"? Because in effect the "right to work" is a demand to be employed and employment is servile, exploitative and a denial of workers' needs according to ability. But to understand these claims we must briefly look at the history and function of employment, of wage labour.

The wages system (including salaries) is the central social relationship of capitalism. All the other features of capitalism — money, commodity production and the state — can be said to facilitate the functioning of wage labour. This is so because it is through wage labour that the capitalist class gets its privileged income and accumulates capital. Because the capitalist class own the means of life (factories, offices, farms, transport and so on) we workers, as a class, are forced to sell our labour power by time in exchange for wages and salaries. During our time in employment we have the capacity to produce a a greater value of goods and services than the value of the wages we receive. This socially produced surplus value is appropriated by the capitalist class. It is because the working class is compelled to sell its labour power that it is possible to speak of wage slavery and workers are exploited in the process. Moreover, the wage labour and capital relationship is a barrier to the fulfillment of human needs. One of the most important human needs is useful and creative work in co-operation with others and this is central to what socialism will be. But within capitalism this vital need is constantly being frustrated by the inherent class antagonism of wage labour and capital.

Of course, wage labour existed before capitalism but it was not the predominant method of exploitation. In Western Europe capitalism was preceded by feudalism, in which exploitation took place through serf labour. Under such a system the peasants had some control of the land they worked, to provide for their own subsistence needs. However, the peasants were compelled to perform surplus labour for the ruling class (for example, working two or three days a week on the lord's land). The surplus wealth was directly and physically appropriated by the landowning aristocracy and the Church. Exploitation was plain to see. The illusion that exploitation ceased when the peasants became "free" wage workers derives from the way that wage labour conceals the extraction of surplus labour. We cannot distinguish between necessary and surplus labour during our time in employment, but both are there nevertheless. It's how the rich get rich.

Nor did the peasants, for the most part, freely and voluntarily take up wage labour. Through the enclosure movement many were forcibly deprived of their land and had to look for employment in the towns and cities. As capitalism took on its industrial form in Britain, in the late 18th century, even the old cottage system of putting out work became transformed in to wage labour. The new working class could see the situation for what it was and they didn't like it. Some demanded the abolition of the wages system. But eventually wage slavery developed a slave mentality and a slave's demand: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work". And during the inevitable phases of of economic depression and high unemployment could be heard the equally pathetic demand to be exploited, the "right to work".

We are still an exploited class no matter how high a particular wage or salary might be. The demands of profitability and markets sales dictate that there never can be a "right to work" in capitalism. Calls for such a right pose no threat to the capitalist class and their system of employment. On the contrary, such a demand encourages the capitalists to believe that wage labour and capital are here to stay, that they are eternally the masters. Indeed, it would seem that demands for employment are more plausible coming from the capitalists. In the state capitalist countries (like Russia, China, Cuba) employment is an offer the workers cannot refuse. In Britain the new Employment Training Scheme for the long-term unemployed may become compulsory. It seems that our masters are concerned that some of us may be losing our appetite for wage slavery. Just imagine a movement demanding the right not to work — for wages or for capital. Now that really would worry our masters!

But wage slavery is not kept going by any conspiracy. All that is required is a slave mentality by the great majority, unwilling to realise that the fetters which bind them can be broken.

William Morris as a socialist (1965)

Book Review from the March 1965 issue of the Socialist Standard

William Morris: The Man and The Myth, by R. Page Arnot.

William Morris, the poet and designer of the Victorian era, is not generally thought of as a Marxian Socialist. He is either praised for his artistic contributions or pictured as a Utopian sentimentalist. In fact Morris was a prominent and active member of one of the pioneer Marxist organisations in Britain, the Socialist League, which was founded in 1884 by a group of people who broke away from the Social Democratic Federation because of the dictatorial attitude of its founder, H. M. Hyndman.

The League, in the words of its manifesto, advocated "the principles of revolutionary international socialism." This manifesto was written by Morris. Morris also served on the League's executive committee, edited its official journal, wrote pamphlets and leaflets, addressed indoor and street-corner meetings and sold its literature. An examination of his writings will show that Morris had a clear grasp of the theory of exploitation and the materialist conception of history.

Economics, and history were not, however, his specialities. Where Morris can be said to have made a real contribution to socialist theory is in bringing out the positive side of Socialism. Anyone who regards his News from Nowhere as mere Utopianism misses the point altogether. Morris was not painting a detailed picture of the future society rather was he outlining what he saw as the possibilities of Socialism. He was attempting to describe what relations between people could be like when freed from the cash nexus. Other of his writings such as Art, Labour and Socialism and Useful Work versus Useless Toil explains why is a drudgery under capitalism and how it can be pleasure under socialism.

William Morris's views are interesting for another reason. The early Marxian Socialism movement in Britain and North America spent much time in discussing whether a Socialist party should have a programme of immediate demands, of parliamentary reforms. This question came uo for discussion at the annual conference of the Socialist League in 1887.

The League contained many diverse elements including out-an-out anarchists. Some of the branches (supported incidentally by Engels) were in favour of trying to get into Parliament and drawing up a list of "palliatives" as a parliamentary programme. The anarchists, naturally, were opposed to this. So was William Morris, but for different reasons. While not opposed to parliamentary action altogether, Morris was opposed to the League acquiring a programme of palliatives or reforms.

In his opinion there was a need of "a body of principle" to abstain from such opportunism. He suggested that for a Socialist organisation to contest elections on such a programme would end in the election of Socialists on non-Socialist votes. Morris was, however, prepared to work with those who favoured a reform programme and after he had resigned from the League following its capture by the anarchist section he signed a manifesto, together with Hyndman and Bernard Shaw, calling for a united socialist party.

Twenty years after the breakaway of the Socialist League from the SDF, another break occurred—and for the same reasons, Hyndman's dictatorial attitude and the organisation's opportunism. Those who broke away were to form the Socialist Party of Great Britain. From the very beginning, after the benefit of further discussions of the issue of a reform programme especially in America, the Socialist Party was—and still is—uncompromisingly opposed to a programme of immediate demands.

It would be ungenerous of us not to recognise that William Morris usefully contributed to the discussion among early socialist which led to the adoption of this principle by our party. Morris was quite conscious of the fact that his position was a departure from that of German Social Democracy.

This book contains further information on Morris' position on this question, with the publication for the first time of some of his letters to J. L. Mahon, who was for a time the secretary of the League. Page Arnot has done some useful research but the commentary in this book, despite the new material, is incredibly bad.

Arnot creates a new myth, one of Morris as a forerunner of the so-called Communist Party of which he (Arnot) is a member. We are told that because of his position on reforms Morris was a "leftist" of the sort attacked by Lenin in his Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (incidentally a type which has always been given short-shrift by the Communist Party). Surely the choicest piece of distortion is that which tells us that the British Road to Socialism, the current programme of Arnot's party, is a detailed version of News From Nowhere!
Adam Buick

Capitalism - driverless train (2000)

From the September 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

For more than 90 percent of history and what we can deduce of prehistory, people were autonomous. They produced what they needed and consumed it, guided by millennia of inherited skills, whether as hunter-gatherers, herders, or cultivators. In some places, prisoners of tribal wars were used as slaves but this was nowhere the prevailing mode of production. Where conspicuous consumption required that some could reap where they had not sown, as Adam Smith put it, this was achieved by extortion, less frequently by wholesale theft. A law of logic, even more than of history shows why parasites rarely kill their hosts.

All this changed when the extortionists had the clever idea of stealing not only the produce but the means, i.e. the land itself. Done on a wide enough scale, it provided not only capital in the form of land but destitute people who had no alternative but to work for wages. The activity began in England during the reign of Henry VII (the late 1400s) and has been maintained ever since.

Out of control
The creation of order relies upon feedback, negative feedback, information that guides self-correction like the rudder on a boat, the sensor on a guided missile, or the thermostat on the radiator. Human societies behaved like this until those homesteaders were driven off their land in the fifteenth century and subsequently almost everywhere else in the world. The division of society into those who had land/wealth/power and the majority who did not have enough to free themselves from being beholden to the robbers and their heirs blocked the feedback or drowned the information in "noise". Put simply, the homesteaders could always repair the roof damaged in a gale, or even rebuild the house with the help of neighbours. The salary earner who has just been fired has no means of paying the mortgage and has to face being put onto the street like those thousands stuck with "negative equity" at the end of the 1980s, and who had their houses "repossessed" by the building societies. There was no self-correction or feedback.

The experience of disasters during the 20th century, both natural and man-made, has led to demands for an explanation in the hope that action can be taken to deal with situations like the possibility of a stock-market crash, or when war, environmental devastation, mass starvation, or epidemics threaten us. The natural sciences: physics, chemistry, have always been looked to for an understanding of the non-living world, and tremendous progress has been made in recent centuries. No such progress has been made in the social sciences of economics and politics. The economist Paul Ormerod wrote recently in The Death of Economics that he had wasted his life on the subject. The financier George Soros was scathing and the electronic-engineer-turned-economist Brian Arthur turned his testing criteria on economics and concluded that most of its premisses were simply false. He argued that the market does not tend to equilibrium, does not supply the best product at the lowest social cost and that virtually all of the other assumptions dear to economists, whether free-marketeers or reformists, were false.

The same has happened in political science and sociology. Psychology, as other than a medical subject when it tends to be called psychiatry, flourishes only in the United States, along with astrology and witchcraft. The gurus of yesteryear, Freud, Adler and Jung, are mistaken for a pop-group by the young or are not taken seriously by the old in Europe, their place of origin.

None of the foregoing need mean that the social sciences are beyond scientific investigation, just that they have not been subjected to it. Instead of the routine observation-classification-hypothesis-and testing that the natural sciences have adopted since the end of the Age of Faith, the social sciences have wandered about in a fog of anecdotes, arguments from Authority (Lacan said or Freud found, etc) and an atomistic view of the subject matter, which is really about relations and not the human atoms themselves.

This last is the main source of the problem and comes as a consequence of taking the capitalist market as the paradigm. The division of society into those who live from wealth and the great majority who have to hustle because they have little or no wealth (many Americans whom we have been told are the richest of all, have negative wealth, because they are living on credit) means there is no community to analyse. A community can consist only of autonomous people; a business or an army cannot be a real community, neither can a country or a continent divided into employers and workers. A political, social, or economic analysis without this fact as the starting point is like Hamlet without the Prince.

World domination
American governments have enjoyed world domination at least since the end of World War Two. British governments enjoyed similar power until the beginning of the First World War which bankrupted the European powers and left the world market to American business. General Clausewitz said that war was the continuation of diplomacy by other means. He could have argued that trade is the continuation of war in a similar way. The inter-war years were characterised by conflicts over trade and charges of dumping, protectionism, and attempts to control the market. The US economy, which had grown up during the 19th century behind the highest tariff wall in history, was now the advocate of free-trade, or at least was until the Wall Street Crash in 1929, when, with a quarter of the labour force unemployed, it retreated back into its shell.

It was only the beginnings of preparation for the Second World War that revived capitalism in the middle 1930s. At this same time the American government found itself in control of the world monetary system. Britain's government had taken the pound off the gold standard and the dollar took over. Keynesian economics preached that the cause of capitalist crises was lack of demand and the solution was to print more money. Under FD Roosevelt the American government took it up enthusiastically, using dollars printed in the back room to buy up raw materials, companies and markets around the world, and also gold, which lent credence to the dollar.

The size of the American economy allowed it to increase this dominance after the war. Competition from European film-makers was crushed and the only work for actors and directors was in Hollywood which could dump the ends of its production runs on Europe for little more than the cost of the celluloid. Publishing and television has gone the same way in Britain where a common language does not present any barrier whereas Continental media industries can use theirs as a partial defence.

With the advent of television the take-over continued and similarly with recorded music and book publishing. Seventy-eight percent of the "British" press is foreign-owned, mostly identified with American-based interests. We are not in the business of defending British capitalism or any other version; workers do not, by definition, own newspapers, but it is hard enough identifying our interests filtered by London, let alone through Washington.

Most of the old publishing houses, Hodder, Unwin, etc are now merely a floor in a New York corporate skyscraper and while the reason for publishing is sale and profit, as it always was in the last analysis, James Joyce and Marcel Proust could today not expect anything more than a rejection slip. The first because he is too obscure for the mass market, and the second because a twelve-volume novel would take up too much space in an airport kiosk.

With scholarly work, most of the writers tend to be American because the new requirements dovetail into their academic system where universities function like businesses competing for government and private funds. Teachers are expected to produce written material to promote the university, under the maxim: "Publish or Perish", regardless of whether the writer has anything of value to say or not. American teachers complain that their students are interested only in making money. The most popular degree is that of MBA (Master of Business Administration). Ideas and scholarship are for nerds and losers.

What's it all about?
The business columns are always full of booms or slumps. Ten years ago the Japanese economy crashed. In Tokyo property is worth one-seventh of what it was before the crash. The American stock-market is propelled by people borrowing to invest in the electronic media, often in companies which have not even traded, let alone made a profit. The shares are being bought upon the assumption that they will continue to rise on the Exchange. This is just what happened in 1929 and it ended up with half the workforce unemployed.

Could the integration of the European market and economy save us from such a threat? Short-term, possibly. The anticipation of longer production runs, easier access to the richest market in the world, and protection from American producers where it is sought—in effect, to enjoy the privileges American producers enjoyed for most of the last century—could generate a euphoria to keep production running for a while.

But ultimately the logic, or lack of it, peculiar to capitalism must take over. The "information" from consumers as to their needs and wants is impeded by the "noise" from the market—and from the lack of means, of what economists delicately call "effective" demand, i.e. consumers lack the money, so production has to stop.

Political organisation even on a continental basis will still not match the economic spread of the market which is world-wide, but it would still not affect the issue anyway. The real cause of capitalist crises lies in the division of people into producers and consumers: gain for the one is loss for the other, there is no common interest and therefore no community. The disequilibrium that results is at the bottom of all the stop-go, booms and slumps, that characterise the "system"—or lack of it.

It is at this point that we part company with George Soros, Lester Thurow, Paul Krugman, Benjamin Barber, Daniel Burstein, Manuel Castells, and all the other writers and academics who are trying to make sense of what is happening. This is not to minimise their contribution. But the mass of facts they produce is not matched by any paradigm or hypothesis to make sense of them, and to guide any action to deal with them.

Whether globalisation is a good or a bad thing is neither here nor there. For the great mass of people there is no choice as long as the market-based system is maintained. The forces driving capitalism do not include their/our wishes. A class-divided society does not have control via feedback, or self-correction, merely random behaviour like a driverless train, an avalanche, or a rockfall.
Ken Smith