13 books that changed history: The Lugano Report

The eleventh proposal in this list of 13 Books that changed history is as valid today as it was at the time of its publication, since the reality of globalization did not lose, in the course of these nearly 20 years, not one iota of its destructive capacity: The Lugano Report, by Susan George.

The Lugano Report (1999) imagines an undesirable future (although more feasible than it might seem at a first glance), in which a group of leaders put on the table the possible strategies to follow in order to ensure that the wealthy and powerful, the winners of globalization can maintain their privileges and comforts in a future in which the current logic of the most brutal capitalism, its methods and maneuvers, are no longer capable of satisfying the inexhaustible longing for accumulation and control of the winners of the game of capitalism. Thus, no matter how shocking George’s fictional exercise to imagine this possible future is, the premise from which the author starts is a fact that was already certain at the time of publication of the book, and is an indisputable reality today: that the current mechanisms of globalization lead to an absolutely unsustainable economic, social, political and environmental system.

Sociologist, political scientist, economist, philosopher and, above all, activist, Susan George (1934) is one of the most recognized and respected living voices of left-wing thought worldwide, and in particular, she is one of the scholars who deepened in the logics and consequences of globalization. The Lugano Report (in its original version, The Lugano Report: On Preserving Capitalism in the 21st Century) is arguably her most iconic and cited work, probably because of its ambitious and daring character, and the fact that she used fictional narration to speak of such a real subject. This was not, however, the first book in which George carried out an analysis of the world social and economic reality. Before The Lugano Report came works such as How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons be World Hunger (published in 1976); A Fate Worse Than Debt (published in 1988); The Debt Boomerang (published in 1992); or Faith and Credit: The World Bank’s Secular Empire (published in 1994).

Structured with a prologue (depending on the edition), the text of the report itself, and an epilogue or annex by George herself in which she clarifies the fictitious nature of the work, The Lugano Report manages to inoculate readers with a justified concern, as they go on reading a very technical (almost scientific) appearance report that presents a devastating conclusion: that the only way to guarantee the level of privilege and comfort of the powerful in the future will be the drastic reduction (although disguised by wars, diseases, natural disasters, etc) of the population, at any rate. And the fear comes when we realize that, deep down, this scenario does not seem so improbable to us either.

📷 Image by Tyler Merbler.

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