introduction:
culture and politics in the
imaginaries of globalization
Sometimes we come across eloquent stories from writers whom we would
rather not cite. A few months ago I read this story by Philippe Sollers: “Two
plus two equals six, says the tyrant. Two plus two equals five, says the moder-
ate tyrant. The heroic individual who remembers, with all its risks and dan-
gers, that two plus two equals four, is told by the police: You don’t really want
to return to the times when two plus two equaled four.”
You wouldn’t want to return to the times of the dictatorships and the guer-
rillas, say the politicians. Nor would you want to return to the years of hyper-
inflation, warn the economists. At the same time, we wonder how much clout
can be gained by the countries seeking regional integration in order to protect
themselves from globalization in the new world disorder: the United States
with Europe against Japan and China, the United States with Latin America
so that the Europeans do not appropriate the Latin American market. In the
meantime we Latin Americans have established free trade agreements among
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