Falling Off the Edge

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 April, 2010, 12:00am

Falling Off the Edge
by Alex Perry
Pan, HK$104

Falling Off the Edge has been revised and updated with a new afterword. Author Alex Perry says much has happened since 2008 that has intensified the anti-globalisation movement he identifies in the book. The economic slowdown, for example, has added to the urgency of the grievances of everyone from India's Naxalites, to Somali pirates (who, he writes, see themselves as taking revenge on a global economy that has shut them out), to factory workers in Guangdong, where 76,000 factories closed in the first half of 2008 alone, leaving many, who had travelled far, without work. Perry, Time magazine's Africa bureau chief, says globalisation 'takes the inequalities of capitalism and gives them to the globe, often to places where governments are unable or unwilling to control them'. Which is why, he argues, globalisation starts wars. His stories, mostly from the developing world, are interesting, although readers may find the thread that binds them thin in parts. His approach - 'messier than a linear academic thesis', he admits - may not appeal to readers who want straightforward explanations. Real life, he states, is more complicated.