Volume 92, Issue 70

Tuesday, February 2, 1999


In Dyer need of a change

Hemp album hangs itself

Show stopping revue at McManus

In Dyer need of a change

Gazette file photo
HE'S THE KIND OF GUY YOU JUST FEEL YOU CAN TALK TO. Genie Award winner and journalist Gwynne Dyer pays a visit to the McKellar Room in the University Community Centre tomorrow at 4 p.m..

By Aaron Wherry

Gazette Staff

As the millennium approaches, many people are searching for answers to life's mysteries. What will the year 2000 bring and where is our world headed?

Widely honoured Canadian author, journalist and filmmaker, Gwynne Dyer says he feels some of these questions can be answered by exploring and recognizing the global market and use of soft power.

"A lot of people are still using the old paradigms, that is, global capitalism, the military machine, nationalism, ethnic diversity – the sort of stuff you can take from anywhere over the past 500 years and apply into the present," Dyer states. "Tremendous amounts of what is happening in the world aren't running on these old tracks. That's what I mean when I talk about the global market and soft power – the two major categories, I think, where the world is unfolding differently."

The term "global market" is often related to either world economics, Bill Gates or Forbes Magazine, but the phrase carries much deeper connotations.

"The global market isn't the triumphant monopoly of capitalism, it is a much more complicated phenomenon and on the whole a much more hopeful phenomenon," Dyer explains. Instead, according to Dyer, the focus should be placed on the human aspects.

"The real aspect of the global market is liberation, for people in every culture. The only way you can avoid the subversive aspects of the global market, which is a global intellectual and economic market, is to lock yourself away and become some sort of hermit kingdom. And even that is going to be very difficult because your people won't stand for it," Dyer says.

"So the idea of a global market is actually much broader and on the whole a very promising one, even though it causes huge amounts of casualties like any social change does."

Dyer postulates one of the positive results of globalization is the emergence of soft power, which is relatively new to society. "Soft power is what you begin to see operating as a consequence of liberation and political, social and intellectual change that the global market is driving," he says. "Hard power is a million dollars and a tank – either will get you quite a long way in the world. But we discount things like goodwill, empathy, being of assistance to others and expressing outrage at tyranny.

"I think that is very old thinking. A lot of what is actually happening in this world now, even what we construe to be hard power at work, is actually soft power. If the world were the way people think it is, driven by the hard power sources, we wouldn't worry about the war in the Balkans, we'd just leave them to kill each other," he expands.

"The fact that we are willing to use hard power, like fighter bombers, to stop the killings at considerable expense and at the risk of our own people's lives is a demonstration something else is at work. We are going through all of this trying to figure out how to stop the killings because we can't stand to see it happen. It's far more prominent in the world now, than it has been in the past."

These two theories have given Dyer a far more positive outlook on life. Unlike many of today's pundits who view the coming of a new century with fear, Dyer sees a positive, happier, more peaceful new world order evolving.

"The nature of the world and the nature of human nature are not going to change unrecognizably, but the arrangements, the relationships are changing and the consequences are more reasonable and more humane. As a result we have a far less violent world."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999