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The word village has the evocative power of ancient shared social values based on solidarity, equality, and common expectations for the betterment of life. The book's title is borrowed from McLuhan's apt metaphor, but questions its underlying assumptions. The contributors recast some of the basic elements of the complex phenomenon of the so-called globalization. Trade laws, industrial relations, economic and political systems are analyzed in a critical perspective. Moreover, environment and sustainable development, languages' rights, education, mobility and migrations are discussed in view of contemporary changes that societies are undergoing throughout the world. The vulnerability of societies caught up in new networks of interdependence due to reduced distances also are put to the fore, in the context of the new accelerated circulation of information, ideas, goods, and human beings. Provacative reading for scholars interested in a multinational, Euro-Atlanticist perspective on globalization.
The international discourse is most recently focused on some negative outgrowths of world economy, especially after the Seattle Round (December 1999) and its unexpected uprising of protests. The researches of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (University of Genoa), in cooperation with scholars from Europe, Canada and the United States, offer in this collection of essays a multinational contribution which is part of their work in progress on the multifaceted issue of the contemporary global village. The book features some optimistic outcomes, and some worries about what the new millennium will not achieve, despite the common and transnational efforts, that is to say a fair re-distribution of resources to reach what R. W. Fogel defines a post-modern equality, based on values as well as on material wealth. In sum, the essayists wonder if some of the hidden promises of globalization will develop in a better new century.
In the 21st century - the age of the budget airline - where quick and reliable air travel is available to a large segment of society, it seems hard to comprehend that it is less than 250 years since the first human took to the skies. Although the wing of the bird seemed like the most obvious natural mechanism to attempt replicate, it was actually contained hot air, as demonstrated by the Montgolfiers and their balloon, that gave birth to the era human aviation. Since the first manned balloon flight in 1783, developments have come thick and fast, the airship, the aeroplane, and finally the space shuttle. This reprint of a classic publication by John A. Haddock, from 1872, details an eventful balloon ascent made by the author. The following is an except from the preface: 'Within the past two or three years I have often been requested to re-publish my account of that celebrated trip, and have at last consented to do so, in order to afford my friends and the public an opportunity of perusing it, and to enable them to comprehend how a man apparently sensible as regards business affairs and every-day life, may sometimes do a foolish thing that will seriously affect his business prospects, and cause great and unnecessary distress to his friends. For now, as I look back upon the events I am about to relate, I can but regard my balloon voyage as almost impiously hazardous and foolish, and meriting censure rather than commendation.'
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