Counterfeit Globalism

from the and-so-it-goes dept

While people argue over the good and bad aspects of globalism, the world doesn’t wait — but it also doesn’t always follow the expected path. Bruce Sterling’s latest piece for Wired Magazine includes a look at the underground economy in Belgrade, which he describes as black globalization — an odd mixture of globalization and the black market. That is, despite an opening of global corporations to the area, the real business is being done by counterfeiters who do brisk business selling fake everything. While Sterling pitches this as some new economic model, that’s not entirely clear. Counterfeit products have always been popular (ever been offered the opportunity to buy a Rolex on the streets of NYC?). Counterfeit products have been popular in plenty of places. The thing that Sterling seems to find so interesting, though, is the fascination with brand over actual product. People buy fake Nikes, even though they’re going to fall apart. It’s not so much for the shoe, he implies, as for the brand and this entrance into the global counterfeit marketplace.

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