Definierbar ist nur das, was keine Geschichte hat.
Friedrich Nietz sche
We hear from nearly all sides that we are living in a global era in which a
technico- economic network increasingly joins together the four corners
of the globe, and democracy imposes itself as the necessary condition
for po liti cal life. Rapid technological and economic development would
seem, according to certain people, to go hand in hand with the triumph
of democracy, as if they mutually reinforced one another. Some have even
come to proclaim the end of history, thereby striving to surreptitiously
recuperate, by perverting its fundamental meaning, a certain Marxian
discourse. Yet it is not at all necessary to go to such lengths in order to be
caught within the same historico- political imaginary.1 In de pen dently of
ideological orientations, historical common sense induces us to conceive
of our age as one in which the world has become truly global, new tech-
nologies have been veritable game- changers, and the idea of democracy
reigns supreme.
However, this image of a global age, as advanced as it is civilized, is far
from going without saying. Is it legitimate, for instance, to speak of global-
ization while one- sixth of the world’s population is living in slums— which
are sometimes cut off from national and international modes of gover-
nance, as well as from many forms of networked communication— and
global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of an infinitesimal
Toward a Counter- History of the Pres ent
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