This week I have had an article published in an international peer reviewed journal called Glocalism. The article is about food production, and reports on many of the arguments that I touched upon in my recent food series.

The article, rather catchily entitled “Collective food Purchasing Networks in Italy as a Case Study of Responsible Innovation” by J. Hankins and C. Grasseni is free and can be downloaded here. It is slightly more of an academic article than my blog writing, is co-authored with anthropologist Cristina Grasseni, and reports our joint fieldwork looking at alternative food production networks in Italy and the USA.


As I said above the article is in the journal Glocalism, which is all about glocalism. So what is glocalism? Well it is all in the name, it is being local and global at the same time. To take part of the explanation offered by the Globus and Locus Association

“The term “glocalism” identifies the momentous changes generated by globalization, changes which have resulted in a permanent intertwining of the global and the local dimensions. In fact, there is no longer any place on the planet which has not been touched to a growing degree by various types of global flows and, at the same time, there are no global flows which are not increasingly parsed according to the many different characteristics of the places”.

Do you agree with this? That globalism means that the local can only exist in relation to the global? Or that globalization has effected every corner of the world?


If we think about changes in the environment that maybe we should accept this line. If we think about how event in one part of the world effect others (or all) then we can see the local as part of a global system. If we look for local solutions to a problem are we in some way involving the global? If we are talking about anything that has to do with poverty, or pollution, or the environment, or anything related to technology, then we would probably have to accept that these are not local issues, but global. A house in Detroit is not sold for $1000 because of the state of Detroit, but because the world that Detroit is in has produced a situation that makes a house in Detroit (some areas) worth $1000.

If we think about technology use through this framework, we can see how much the Internet (to give one example) is taking the local and moving it into the global. The proportion of our world’s population living in cities of a million or more has risen from thirty-seven percent in 1970 to fifty percent today. By 2030 more than two-thirds of world population will be in large cities, and most of them will be in Asia. Why is this? Well one reason is the need to operate via high speed Internet. The infrastructure is in the big cities, and it has become a necessary part of working life.

So the fact that a city in India or Thailand has high speed Internet infrastructure effects mobility across the globe, the local and the global are entwined. This has an effect on food production capability, transport, the environment, and everything else you might like to think about across the globe.

How about that for a thought on an autumn morning in front of the computer in the Netherlands or a wintry start to a New York day shovelling snow?

Broadband speeds – are you getting what you pay for?

The comparison site uSwitch recently did a study into UK broadband speeds, and found that during peak times, internet speeds were on average 35% lower, than in off peak times.

The research was based on two million download tests, concluded that during peak surfing times, which are between 7 and 9 in the evening, speeds were the slowest than at any other time of the day. If you want super fast speeds, it is recommended that you go on between 2 and 3 in the morning.

The time differences were more/less extreme, depending on the region of the country. The average broadband speed in the UK is 6.2mbps at peak times and 9.6mbps in the early hours of the morning. However, this is much more extreme for some regions. For example, the difference in Weston-super-Mare was 64%! At off-peak speeds were around 9.5mbps, whilst at peak times they were just 3.4mbps, a massive difference.

Wadebridge, (Cornwall) saw a 48% difference in speeds, with an average of 4.1mbps at off-peak times and just 2.1mbps during peak times.

Broadband is becoming ever more important in our digital, globalised world, and such variation is seen as unacceptable by many in modern times. Broadband is very important for business, as well as luxuries, such as on-demand TV, and even potentially internet TVs.

Global broadband connections map

A connected world - super fast broadband, brought about by fiber optic connections has revolutionised telecommunications

Ofcom says that on average, UK consumers download around 17 gigabytes of data every month using their home connection. That is a fair amount, and to put the speed differences into context, were this all to be downloaded at off-peak times in Weston-super-Mare, it would take around 4 hours to download that data at off peak times, however it would take around 13 hours to download at peak times, a staggering difference!

Critics have said that consumers are being misled by the maximum speeds that internet service provides love to advertise, even though it is rare that anyone should ever get them. Because of this, as of April 2012, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will no longer allow firms to advertise maximum speeds unless at lease 10% of their users receive them.

For more information check out this article: Broadband speeds fall 35% at peak times.

This article is about the UK, but I am sure that it is the same all over the world.

What do you think, is this fair, or are we, the consumer, getting ripped off?

If Velcro wasn’t a rip off, broadband certainly is! Sorry, I couldn’t help it 😉