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Strategic Inflation of Expectations and Inconsequential Drift

Explores ballooning, and its associations, as a problematic metaphor of strategic governance.

Globallooning -- Strategic Inflation of Expectations and Inconsequential Drift
Metaphor in global discourse
Global warming -- things are getting "hotter"
"Hot air"
Confidence-building and hope-mongering
"Inflation", "growth" and "development"
"Balloons" vs "Bubbles": a strategic reframing of globalization
Balloon-related strategic metaphors
Balloon design and construction
Balloon operation and governance
Challenge of symbol conflation: "Sun", "Earth", "Moon"?
"Global" complex of metaphoric associations and connotations
Configuration of balloons as an appropriate metaphor for global strategy
Governance of strategic vehicles as "timeships"

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This is an effort to identify the critical combination of factors contributing to consensus on the success of a global conference -- achieving "lift-off" and ensuring it "flies" . It is partly inspired by the G8 Summit in Italy (July 2009) when media reports noted the failure to meet unpublished targets of development aid set at the Gleneagles G8 Summit (2005). Reports also noted that despite failure to provide any form of remedial support to those affected by the earthquake at the Summit location, a basketball court had been constructed for one of the eight conference participants and a jogging track for another.

As at Gleneagles, announcement of historic agreement was expected on major issues, notably global warming -- in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen, 2009). Can there be any doubt that the G8 Summit will be rated a success -- by its participants? By history? And Copenhagen?

The G8 Summit occurs following the financial crisis of 2008, during its continuing dramatic consequences for many national economies, and without any immediate prospect of successfully regulating the banking system which had enabled the crisis. Announcements continue to focus on the vital need to rebuild confidence in the global financial system. The usual appeals continue to be made by the "usual suspects" regarding the plight of hundreds of millions in many countries.

It is readily assumed that there is consensus on the understanding of "globalization" and "global". However, as discussed by Wendy Larner and William Walters (Globalization as Governmentality. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 29, 2004) with regard to presentations at a meeting of the International Sociological Association (2002):

The shared collective conception was one of epochal macrolevel change. The intellectual challenge was to specify more clearly the content of this change, to develop more rigorous accounts of hegemonic projects and institutions, to examine the consequences for different places and people, and to identify how globalization was being resisted. Our argument is that... globalization is treated as a transformation in the very structure of the world. This is true not just of mainstream accounts, but even many of those employing critical perspectives.

As argued by Melba Cuddy-Keane (Globalization and the Image: Imagining the Global, Paper for 2002 MLA Convention New York, Society for Critical Exchange) the world is now witness to a conjunction between the charting of space and the charting of knowledge -- a conjunction that raises the question of the relation between the turn to spatial tropes and increasingly globalized consciousness of the world.

This is written at a time when the death of Robert McNamara has engendered further reflections on the hyper-rationalism for which he was responsible in defining the strategy of the Vietnam War with its far higher death rate than that in Afghanistan -- where similarly rational strategies have been attempted, in an 8-year military disaster, despite using the most advanced military technology available. At the same time further revelations are emerging regarding the degree of cover-up of repugnant "enhanced interrogation" that has been a key feature of the "battle for hearts and minds" in that arena -- all in the name of enabling democratic values.

The concern here is with the ongoing development of value-based strategy of questionable efficacy -- in the glow of which people are expected to bask, ignoring its shadow. The focus in what follows is on the cognitive frameworks through which such changes are to be comprehended, given the manner in which they are accompanied by totally problematic dimensions, as discussed separately (Abuse of Faith in Governance: mystery of the unasked question, 2009; Viable Global Governance through Bullfighting: challenge of transcendence, 2009; Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council: misleading as vital to governance of the future? 2007).

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