CHAPTER 2 2/10/00 3:40 pm Page 1 2. Scenario no. 2: the Hundred Flowers ‘2000-2010: A decade without government’ is the title given by Everywhere’s Citizens to its special issue reviewing the first ten years of the century. This magazine - produced by a huge international association of the same name with millions of members: individuals, businesses and NGOs in all countries - is one of many examples of grassroots initiatives throughout the world. The weekly edition of this electronic publication reports on new experiments taking place, often on a modest scale, in a number of different fields ranging from commerce to culture, through welfare and environmental protection. Some observers are convinced that these burgeoning local projects signal the beginnings of a global participative democracy; the process is in fact completely rudderless, and the world is settling into an unstable equilibrium over which neither governments nor multinationals have any influence, given their dearth of room for manoeuvre and lack of legitimacy. Economic performance is disappointing on the whole, even relative to the diminished expectations of the end of the twentieth century. The increasingly uneven distribution of wealth, the proliferation of international crime and the multiplication of small regional conflicts are destabilizing the global system, but it still continues to muddle along. Europe, for its part, is evolving just as patchily as its partners. Some regions have sunk into a lethargy from which it seems they will never rouse themselves, while others are forging ahead with remarkable vitality and enthusiasm:...
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