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Globalization 874

Posted by JonKatz
from the the-cause-of-the-taliban-or-the-cure? dept.
(First of two parts). Globalism is one of those notions much kicked around and little understood, shrouded in hysteria and knee-jerk cant. People with a host of grievances against technology, multinational corporations and capitalist democracies have made globalism a dirty word, at the same time that many social scientists and economists argue that the equitable spread of technology and a free-market economy is the planet's best hope. Either way, September 11 makes it clear that globalization - pitting fundamentalism against cosmopolitan tolerance - is one of the most important issues in our lifetimes.

In fact, as British political scientist Anthony Giddens writes in his eerily prescient book Runaway World: How Globalism is Reshaping Our Lives, the conflict now underway between the United States and some extremist fundamentalists was inevitable. Cosmopolitans welcome technology and cultural diversity, while fundamentalists find it disturbing and dangerous.

In a globalizing world -- one of its cornerstones being the Net -- technology, information, culture, money, business and imagery are routinely transmitted across the world. Boundaries mean different things now, including the inescapable fact that they are highly porous. This enrages political, social and religious fundamentalists, as we are hurriedly learning. They turn to religion, ethnic identity and nationalism to build "purer" traditions -- and a few turn to violence.

So despite the fact that there's no consensus on exactly what globalism is (my dictionary defines it as the process by which social institutions become adopted on a worldwide scale), the questions torment us: is globalism a force to ease poverty and inequality, by bringing higher standards of living and new technologies to poor and distant regions? Or merely an unprecedented vehicle for promoting the greed, conformity, environmental destruction and profit-at-all-cost ethos of multinational corporations? Perhaps it's both.

Giddens' predictions are coming true before our eyes. The conflict is here, and we seem to be unwilling and unknowing combatants. We, along with our leaders, are astonished at just how much we seem to be hated out there. We see our popular and technological culture despised in much of the world. Fundamentalist extremists have declared a holy war against it, one that may continue for years with bloody and uncertain consequences.

It's not an oversimplification to say that technology is the prime battleground. Technologies from movie cameras to TV sets to the Net are the means by which culture and wealth travel from one part of the world to the other. Fundamentalists have declared war on technology as much as on anything. And from anthrax to passenger jets as missiles, they've shown a sophisticated grasp of how technology can be used to devastating effect against its creators, who revel in making it but not thinking much about it.

In this conflict what Giddens calls "the cosmopolitan approach" is the choice of the people who are reading this column and working in the tech universe. We value free speech, religious freedom, scientific exploration, open communications, cultural choice and diversity. Such tolerance is closely conected to democracy.

Yet democracy and fundamentalism are both spreading world-wide, two seemingly irreconcilable ideologies colliding head-on. As Giddens points out, globalism creates a paradox: democratic cultures are its most enthusiastic proponents, yet globalism doesn't seem to promote democracy so much as corporate profits and practices. In fact, you could argue that globalism seems to expose the limits of democratic structures: Can governments preserve the environment, keep work secure and equitable, ensure fair wages, control capitalism, distribute new technologies equitably, respect diverse cultural values, contain greed and restrict the imagery that Americans love but that frightens and offends large segments of the world population?

In Part Two: Have multinationals hijacked globalism? (Yes.)

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Globalization

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  • Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InfinityWpi (175421) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:05PM (#2497389)
    The only reasons we seem to be surprised at how much we're hated out there is that we don't take the time to learn what our country has done over there, what past attitudes have been, past policies, past responses. Everyone knows America isn't well-liked in certain areas of the world... but precious few man-on-the-street Joe Average Citizens can tell you -why-. That, in a nutshell, is what the problem is. If people knew -why- we were hated, if they took the time to learn about the past instead of repeating it, maybe we could find a way out of this that doesn't involve a billion dollars worth of explosions.
    • Re:Actually... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by imrdkl (302224)
      Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone has their own interests, which leads to different definitions of what actually was a mistake.

      But make no mistake.. it's our love and support of Israel and the Jews which is the cornerstone of the hatred against us in the Muslim world (and other places). Not technology, not globalism, not some past aggression which we were percieved to be a part of.

      Hell, Bin Laden said it himself.

      Drop Israel, and everything will be fine. Or will it?

      • It won't be. Bin Laden had never mentioned Palestine before, and he only brought it up now to rile up support for his cause.

        The point of making mistakes is to learn from them. We have proven that we don't.

        Hell, Bush just appointed Negroponte to be our ambassador to the UN. So just as we laucnh a "War on Terror," we appoint a world-reknowned terrorist to be our UN representative.

        The New World Order will continue apace.
      • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rowdent (203919) <chradcliffeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:04PM (#2497772) Homepage
        Oh of course it has to be the Israeli conflict that is the cause of all this hatred. That makes an awful lot of sense; the US never switched sides during the Iran-Iraqi war, or screwed the Arab countries for the sake of oil or other profitable endeavors. The fact of the matter is that the US has done very terrible things over there. The Ayatollah Khomeini had his reasons for taking hostages two decades ago, and he became a hated man then for protecting the freedoms of his own people.

        Drop Israel, and everything will be fine. Or will it?

        Everything will not be fine if Israel is dropped because Bin Laden will only want more. Israel is not the root of the problem, American business practices and wartime actions are the roots of this conflict. Bin Laden blew up the Pentagon and the WTC for a reason, it was not an act of random violence like most would like to think.
      • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:07PM (#2497789)
        > it's our love and support of Israel and the Jews which is the cornerstone of the hatred against us in the Muslim world (and other places)

        Well-put. It has nothing to do with technology, it has to do with our (poorly-executed) attempt to make good in 1948 for what we stood by and allowed to happen during WW2.

        > Drop Israel, and everything will be fine. Or will it?

        I'm glad you said "Or will it?" Because that's tantamount to dropping the one country in the middle east that's actively capitalist, has a burgeoning high-tech industry, and watching a second genocide.

        The point now is that after 50 years, we're inextricably linked to them - it's no longer old-sk00l or neo-Nazis, it's also the fundie Muslims claiming that Jews (whether in America or Israel) control the world's money supply, and using that as the pretext for continuous bloodshed.

        America is a target and will remain one, whether or not we withdraw support for Israel.

        But to the peaceniks who really do think that dropping support for Israel will end the violence in the Middle East, I'd like you to think very carefully about how hard, and with what weapons, the Israelis will strike back, should they be faced with certain annihilation?

        Bonus points for working out how many years it'll be before any survivors feel the need to build streetlights within 20 miles of the glassy plains around what was once Mecca?

        • Re:Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by dachshund (300733)
          Well said.

          And of course, America stopping financial support to Israel isn't the end-all-be-all that we like to think. Israel will survive, albeit meanly, without American aid. They may resort to unsavory means to replace the lost revenue, but they'll get by. And they'll buy their arms somewhere else.

          If we yank support, we lose our only real lever in that region. Things could get messy fast, and I think every administration in recent history knows it.

        • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rkent (73434) <rkent@noSPAM.post.harvard.edu> on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @05:05PM (#2499286)
          [ warning: this posts actually attempts to reason about the conflict between Israel and Palestine - it could get long! ]

          But to the peaceniks who really do think that dropping support for Israel will end the violence in the Middle East,

          I'm not a "peacenik," and I don't think that leaving Israel high and dry would solve everything, but I do think that America should use its sway to seriously pressure Sharon to change some Israeli policies. Having only been alive since 1978, I won't pretend to know everything about the Israel/Palestine conflict, but it seems like one reasonable demand on Israel is that they withdraw from the occupied territories in Palestine, immediately and completely.

          I don't say this because I think it'll get Osama Bin Laden out of his cave proclaiming a deep and abiding love for America, but rather because it's just The Right Thing To Do. The lands are internationally recognized as belonging to Palestine, and the preponderance of the world urges this withdrawal every single year, but America and Israel basically give them the finger in the name of "maintaining security for the Israeli state." Well, that's about as acceptable as it would be for the US to go occupy BC, Sonora, and Chihuahua because we didn't like Mexican immigration policy or something. It's just not the way you deal with issues.

          That said, if we insisted on the withdrawal from gaza and the west bank, it would obviously have to be accompanied by a strong security force to defend Israel proper to avoid genuinely giving in to Islamic extremists. Israeli security MUST be maintained, that is true. But not by occupying parts of Palestine in a campaign of attrition.

          I don't think this argument is ignorant or antisemitic, but some people attribute both of those modifiers to any argument except total, unwavering support for every action by the Israeli government. But this is a state that occupies other nations' internationally recognized territories, and is willing to summarily execute foreign nationals without providing evidence of guilt of any crime, let alone a trial. If we are going to use US resources to defend a country, it should be one which adheres to values that we as Americans ostensibly hold.
    • Re:Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andres32a (448314)
      I live and was born in a country were the USA isnt the most popular thing around. And I am not a USA fanatic myself. But there is something i can say for sure. I'd rather have the states as the world Superpower than the former USSR or the Nazi GERMANY or China or Afghanistan for that matter.

      The real reason that the states is somewhat not liked in many countries is for its "DUAL POLICY". Liberty and so on is promoted within but the states policies outside the borders have been in several ocations barbaric. My country for instance, has been in a civil war for decades that has been directly or indirectly promoted by the USA.
      In any case... Sept 11 is not justified in any way. Most of the world was as in shock as the USA was.


    • we wouldn't want to get terrorised on christmas.
      so why does donald rumsfeld insist that the bombing will not stop for the muslim holy days of 'ramadan'?

      bin laden is a terrorist without the support of the general muslim population. he is doing his darndest to get more people on his side by trying to convince the muslims that 'this is a war on muslims' instead of just a war on terrorism.

      just to put things in perspective - as horrible as the anthrax scare has been, MORE INNOCENT MUSLIM CIVILIANS HAVE DIED FROM US BOMBING 'ACCIDENTS' THAN PEOPLE HAVE DIED FROM ANTHRAX (check out the BBC or canadian news). this makes a lot of the afghani people VERY VERY nervous.

      if the US continues their bombings during the 'holy month' of ramadan - then it will only give bin laden amunition to dupe the rest of the muslims into thinking this is a war on muslims, and not just on him - do we really want to do that?

      (and i cannot emphasize enough how much my heart goes out to all the many victims of this war so far. no killing is right as far as i'm concerned). lets stop the violence now. violence begets more violence - he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword

      check out the 'AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE'.

      rushing in to help those who are hurt or needy is the true call of the pacifist - killing or violence is not.

      best regards,
      john penner (canada).

      • Re: Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by btlzu2 (99039)
        John Penner said: "we wouldn't want to get terrorised on christmas. so why does donald rumsfeld insist that the bombing will not stop for the muslim holy days of 'ramadan'? "

        Do you honestly think that Christmas would be a concern for any terrorist? Do you think they're sitting around saying, "We've got a great plan, but we just can't do it on Christmas!"

        Give me a break! You can't be softer than the people you're trying to defeat.
        • > > Give me a break! You can't be softer than
          > > the people you're trying to defeat.
          >
          > Being "hard" or "soft" is not what war is about.

          war is a no-win game.

          the only 'good end' to a war, is to find
          a solution such that both parties will stop
          their fighting and killing of each other.

          bombing and retaliation will not bring that about.
          that will only escalate the violence such that more
          people will die on both sides.

          i agree with the general gist of the original post.
          that in order to 'stop the fighting', we have to
          come to undersand the underlying causes that
          brought about the fighting in the first place.

          lets not add fuel to the fire [earthlink.net]

          best regards,
          john penner.

        • Re: Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Cassandra (14615)

          The point of the parent poster was of course that we are not just bombing terrorists, but by not paying respect to Ramadan we act as if we do. Actually less than 1 ppm of the people targeted by the bombs are terrorists--they just happen to live in the wrong country. When the next terrorist act strikes the US I wonder if you are just going to sit back and say, oh that serves the Bush administration right for boming Afghanistan...


          And before you flame me, please note that I don't think the bombing is an all bad thing, just that it isn't an all good thing either.

      • Re: Actually... (Score:4, Redundant)

        by jdgreen7 (524066) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:05PM (#2497774) Homepage
        If you were to study your history a little more before siding with whatever sounds good on TV, you'd know that the profit Muhammed (sp, I know) himself started a war during Rammadan in the 800's. In the Koran, if a warrior fights during Rammadan for the right cause, he will be rewarded greatly. So, with this aspect in mind, America should be rewarded, not yelled at for bombing for a month!

        Don't be so quick to judge. We are bringing justice to a people that have no concept of what justice really is. Should we really wait for a month to go by before attacking again? That gives them a chance to regroup and launch another September 11th.
      • > we wouldn't want to get terrorised on christmas. so why does donald rumsfeld insist that the bombing will not stop for the muslim holy days of 'ramadan'?

        Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about the "Yom Kippur War".

        Pot, kettle, event horizon.


      • bombing the afghans is like bombing sicily
        to get rid of the mafia...

      • by kaladorn (514293) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:39PM (#2498005) Homepage Journal
        violence begets more violence - he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword

        John, did you notice that a lot of people who don't live by the sword get killed by those with swords? I hate to suggest you might be a bit naive, because I suspect that perhaps you understand this truth but if all of us sheep were to disarm, you think the wolves would disarm too? Sorry, but I have to think not.

        I am in agreement that we must understand the nature of the problem on a deeper level than most people seem interested in thinking about it. Only then can we address some of the issues that give the bin Laden's of the world a fertile ground to recruit terrorists from - the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the hopeless. I also agree that certain parts of this 'war on terrorism' could lead to a widening of the conflict... up to and including a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.

        But to suggest that we can allow 6000 murders to go unpunished or unprosecuted is equally reprehensible. I don't (frankly) care what excuse bin Laden has (or the hijackers) - 6000 murders is still 6000 people slaughtered with malice of forethought. The kind of individuals that could do this won't hesitate to do it again and they're far enough gone that attempts at "understanding" will only give them time to work more of their evil. Similarly, waiting for the UN to accomplish anything (ha ha, World Court, good joke...) is pretty utopian and also allows these villains to work their evils.

        It boils down to this: If you are a human being, you have some right to life. Those who would abbrogate your right to life for whatever cause are probably evil. They need to be brought to account. Is that all that needs done? Not by half. Afghanistan and a few other places need rebuilt. They need rebuilt not to make them anti-Islamic or to make them capitalist, but rather to make them a place where the women are not oppressed and where reasonless fundamentalism doesn't reign and where terrorists are made unwelcome. That is why we must dismantle their government and their terrorist networks and seek to bag bin Laden.

        Innocents will get killed. Some new bad feelings will be created. But appeasement or ignoring the problem because the solution might be costly (as we saw clearly in several historical periods) has lead to more death and destruction than a lot of forthright actions. The horror of war is a universal constant, but the horror of the Taliban and Al-Queda is greater.

        And instead of focusing on the few civilian deaths (yes, they are rotten...), try to focus on this: This is probably one of the few wars in history where anyone has TRIED to distinguish between civilian and military targets. No firebombings of Hamburg/Mecca. No Nuclear bombings of Hiroshima/Kabul. There is a conscious effort NOT to hurt those already brutalized by war. Will some be hurt or killed? Probably. But not all that many and the Americans should be lauded (along with their allies) for at least making a firm attempt not to kill those who aren't involved. Ask the Taliban to stop parking military vehicles and HQ inside of civilian neighbourhoods if they value their people. And if they don't, this is further evidence they need removing. I notice Al-Queda and the hijackers don't distinguish between civilian and non-civilian targets. Bin Laden himself said all Americans (and by extension, the rest of us in the civilized capitalist democracies) are his enemies, whether we carry a gun or pay taxes.

        I don't know about you... but when a man declares me his enemy without ever meeting me just based on his assumptions about me, and is willing to kill me for that, I'm more than willing to see him prevented (permanently) from doing harm to me or others like me. He is willing to assign my life and the lives of those he uses as pawns a value of zero or less... so I am forced to consider him a fundamentally broken mind and an evil the world can do without.

        Thomas B. Canada
    • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bribecka (176328) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:28PM (#2497553) Homepage
      That, in a nutshell, is what the problem is. If people knew -why- we were hated, if they took the time to learn about the past instead of repeating it, maybe we could find a way out of this that doesn't involve a billion dollars worth of explosions.

      Unfortunately, no amount of understanding of *why* on our part will ever convince the people who destroyed the WTC to stop doing it. They don't care if we understand--they want us destroyed.

      Bin Laden actually doesn't care about the Palestinians or Iraq or any of that. He wants the world remade in his view--he points to the Taliban as the ultimate form of society. In an interview a few years ago, he said his ultimate goals were not to get the US out of the mideast, but to have a jihad in Egypt, a jihad in Israel, a jihad in Bosnia--basically a Jihad everywhere that will replace all governments with a fundamentalist Muslim one such as the Taliban. It's a different kind of globalization, really.

      Again, no amount of understanding the root of the problem will make that go away. The only thing that these people (the terrorists) understand is having a bomb dropped on them so they can't do anything anymore. It's a sad commentary on humans, but its the truth--do you think enough understanding would have prevented Hitler from attempting world domination? I doubt it--ask Neville Chamberlain.

      • by jdfox (74524) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @03:22PM (#2498701)
        Bin Laden actually doesn't care about the Palestinians or Iraq or any of that. He wants the world remade in his view--he points to the Taliban as the ultimate form of society. In an interview a few years ago, he said his ultimate goals were not to get the US out of the mideast, but to have a jihad in Egypt, a jihad in Israel, a jihad in Bosnia--basically a Jihad everywhere that will replace all governments with a fundamentalist Muslim one such as the Taliban. It's a different kind of globalization, really.

        That's not globalization. He doesn't want to remake the world in his view, and he doesn't want to take over the world. He wants Muslims to retake the Muslim world, which he sees as having been colonized by the West. He really doesn't care what happens to us in the West, so long as we leave Muslims alone.

        Again, no amount of understanding the root of the problem will make that go away. The only thing that these people (the terrorists) understand is having a bomb dropped on them so they can't do anything anymore.

        But you're saying this on the basis of your own understanding of the problem. If that understanding was proven incorrect, then I presume you would revise it. So crack open a book, and maybe you'll learn that your CNN black-hats-white-hats view of the world doesn't stand up to critical scrutiny.

        It's a sad commentary on humans, but its the truth--do you think enough understanding would have prevented Hitler from attempting world domination? I doubt it--ask Neville Chamberlain.

        You're talking about "understanding" after the fact, but you're neglecting the understanding of bad situations before they turn into wars. A better understanding of Germany after WWI would have meant a less onerous Treaty of Versailles being imposed, preventing the perfect conditions for an extremist nationalist rising like the Nazis.

        Similarly, better understanding of what a pile of shit the US has made of its foreign policy in the Muslim world will prevent future Bin Ladens from rising. It's called "fixing the roof while the sun is shining". No-one is asking you to understand the rain in your living room better, only to understand that if you had fixed the roof last week when the hole was pointed out to you, it wouldn't be there now.

        Of course Bin Laden would still exist, even if we had understood the problem better. But he would not have had the army of supporters, both passive and active, that he now commands. Further use of your "bombs are the only language these people understand" analysis will lead to an unending stream of them, more than you and your gov't will ever be able to find, let alone bomb.
      • I tend to get sidetracked in these discussions.

        You are right in one respect, but wrong in another.

        Had the treaty after WW1 been softer, WW2 would probably not have happened. Germany underwent a lot of hardship after WW1, and that was the breeding ground we provided for Hitler. Germans felt unfairly treated.

        So, in a way, Chamberlain was doing the right thing - he was being understanding, for Hitler had reason to be outraged.

        Today, bin Laden arguably has reason to be outraged, too.

        The problem is that in both cases, the mistakes had been made and the process was beyond the point of no return. America can learn from this, and should immediately. Right now, you are upsetting the world, and the world probably will come knocking again and again until you learn your lesson.

        If you're gonna be a world leader, think and act globally. Stop your president from saying outragous, silly things like "wanted, dead or alive" and "either your with us, or you're with the terrorists". Granted, he's learning, but I only think he's learning how to restrain himself. Oh - and that's your misconception to correct if I'm wrong.

        When you occasionally travel abroad, bother to learn a few phrases in the local language - "thank you", "please", "hello", "yes", "no" and "do you speak english?" for starters.

        The list goes on and on. Your nation has an attitude problem almost as big as mine. Maybe it's about time you started doing things right?
    • Re:Actually... (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Bouncings (55215)
      That's wholey absurd. "Why do they hate us?" "How can we make them like us?" "What can we do to earn their trust?" -- all of these questions are signs of ignorance. Why do the Slashdot trolls post comments about hot grits? WHO CARES! The only things we need to learn about fundamentalists is what will help us DESTROY them, not appease them!

      This is a long explanation, but I think the anti-globalization argument is connected to "But why do they hate us argument." They are both equally ignorant points of view. If you are ready for some patriotism, read on. Otherwise, go back to Berkley!

      Did we ask why Hitler hated Jews? No. Would it have helped? No.

      The Blame America First Club (tm) has made it a mission to explain to the masses of compassionate Americans why their wealth, their entertainment, and their freedoms have made so many others unhappy. They say we should share are wealth to be loved around the world. Let's see how that would work:

      The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is about 10 trillion dollars a year. Let's say we gave away 1/4 of that, destroying our economy and impairing our ability to contribute in the future. That would be 2.5 trillion dollars, divided by the population of the earth (6 billion), that comes down to $416 we could give to each person around the earth. They could then piss away that wealth because they don't understand how to invest it or use it to earn more wealth.

      Or, we could allow capitalism to create wealth around the world. Yes, the minimum-wage-labor bigots would cry that we are exploiting 3rd world countries. If we ignore them, they will eventually accumulate wealth, understand the value of currency, and create wealth themselves.

      Simple facts: They hate us because we're powerful, wealthy, intelligent, educated, and yes, free. Nothing but the destruction of all of these will quench their thirst for destruction. And yes, we can and will kill all the terrorists.

      "You know what the great thing about martyers are? They're dead." -- Mike Rosen
      • And yes, we can and will kill all the terrorists.
        Actually, you won't. Because killing them will just make their neighbours hate you more and turn them into terrorists.
        • Because killing them will just make their neighbours hate you more and turn them into terrorists.

          Two points: (A) We aren't running out of bullets, (B) not every neighbour has a death wish or $200,000,000.
      • You miss the point (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BeBoxer (14448) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:02PM (#2497748)
        You miss the point that even if we 'kill all the terrorists', more of them are created every day. You say they hate us because we're powerful, wealthy, intelligent etc. If that is the case, then there are only a few future paths for the U.S. 1) Continue business as usual, and be prepared to deal with the fact that we will always be hated, and will always be the target of violence. 2) Give up our power, wealth, education, etc and turn ourselves into a third world country. 3) Try to spread our wealth and success to the rest of the world.

        Most of the brainwashed American masses think that option (1) is the patriotic option, despite the fact that it puts us in the losing situation of trying to fight the whole world and will probably end up in option (2) in the long run. A true patriot would realize that the only long-term path with any semblance of national security is (3). Note that (3) is not what most corporations think about when they are going overseas. They are most certainly not interested in exporting any of the things which make America a very livable place, such as environmental protections, labor laws, etc. Rather they are looking to avoid all of the pesky government 'intrusions' that try to make them act the least bit responsible or decent. They want the 'right' to pollute as much as they want, pay the lowest possible wages, and run like hell taking all of their capitol as soon as the next country looks like it will accept more pollution and even lower wages. Or as soon as they have extracted all the natural resources. Then people like you wonder why the masses in these countries aren't grateful that we gave them our pollution and paid them slave labor wages and strip mined their country.

        That's why 'globalization' is such a hot topic. Corporations talk about a level playing field, but what they are really looking for is a way out of the basic regulations that keep America from being a 3rd world country. The Blame America First Club, as you like to call it, wants globalization to mean exporting our labor and environmental laws, our democratic government, as well as capital investment. Corporations are interested in maximizing profits by avoiding labor and environmental regulations. Usually this means avoiding any true democracy as well, since most people actually like things like being paid a decent wage and having clean water to drink and vote accordingly.

        When
        • It's capitalism, not social policy, that has made America wealthy. As my numbers point out, if we dedicated 1/4 of everything we make to the rest of the world, it wouldn't accumulate anything but even the lowest paying sallary for a few months.

          If, no the other hand, we embrace global trade and commerce, we can increase our wealth along with everyone else's. I'm not a pecismist, I'm a realist, and I can see a very good future for the world. No one is suggesting that globalization can't involve environment protection, can't have minimum wage regulations, and can't respect others' cultures.

          If you want to know why capitalism doesn't make us hated around the world, consider Japan. No more than 5 decades ago, Japan was our mortal enemy. Now we are close allies and business partners. Do Japanise people hate us for bringing our capitalistic values to their society? NO. And neither do the wealthy few from Saudi Arabia who profit from trade with America.

          Two observations: If you add up all the non-American charity, in the world, it comes to less than half of our charitible efforts. That is, we GIVE twice what the entire rest of the world gives combined. We gave Afghanistan their independence, by giving them weapons and training to fight the USSR.

          We give Muslims trillions of dollars in money for oil. We give them charity, foreign aid, and technology. It's good for us, it's good for them. The fact that THEIR economic systems do not promote a strong middle class is their problem and their choice, not ours. We are blamed because we promote capitalism and trade in Saudi Arabia. But when we refuse to trade and refuse to invest our values in Iraq, we are blamed.

          See a double standard there?
          • We give Muslims trillions of dollars in money for oil. We give them charity, foreign aid, and technology. It's good for us, it's good for them. The fact that THEIR economic systems do not promote a strong middle class is their problem and their choice, not ours. We are blamed because we promote capitalism and trade in Saudi Arabia. But when we refuse to trade and refuse to invest our values in Iraq, we are blamed.

            But we don't promote capitalism and trade in Saudi Arabia, and we sure-as-hell don't promote democracy. Saudi Arabia is ruled by a hereditary elite that gets the benefit of the trillions of dollars of oil that we purchase from them each year, and trickles down a small fraction of that wealth to "the little people" in a manner that's not at all capitalist. There can be no free enterprise without freedom. The good things about capitalism have nothing to do with global mega-corporations making fistfuls of money for their shareholders and upper management, and have everything to do with "two guys in a garage."

      • why their wealth, their entertainment, and their freedoms have made so many others unhappy.

        Oh yes. Your argument makes so much sense. Now I understand. America is hated because the rest of the world is jealous.

        Of course! That's why everyone hates the Swiss! They have the highest Earning Power (GDP per capita) in the world. All that fresh air and beautiful scenery too! And their public services are so efficient. Bastards! The only thing I don't understand is, since they obviously must be really hated, why haven't they had any terrorist attacks yet?
    • Re:Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AugstWest (79042)
      I agree. And there's been no push really in the media or in school to educate the American people on just what the US had done in the middle east for the last 30 years.

      Instead of a nation thinking about innovative ways of dealing with foreign policy, we're getting everyone riled up for a fight.

      As the Onion said, "Privileged Sons of Millionaires Square Off On World Stage."

      We're not learning any lessons, and it's been 3 decades of buildup to this disaster. People wonder why it didn't happen sooner -- because the "intelligence" agencies had caught up with earlier attempts. This one snuck past them.
    • For a better view of why we're hated, consider the USA's actions after WWII and contrast them with our conduct during the Cold War.

      After WWII, we learned from the mistakes of post-WWI and helped both Europe and Japan rebuild. We were taking what we talked about with the American Dream and helping others achieve it. Let's ignore for the moment whether the American Dream should be exported or not - that's not the point. The point is that we were doing what we were saying.

      During the Cold War that all changed. While talking American Dream, our conduct was "Enemy of my enemy is my friend." We turned a blind eye towards their bad habits, and supported them if they were against the communists.

      Defining yourself by what you are not is a terrible way to live a life, IMHO. That goes for a person, an organization, or a country. Perhaps we had to pursue our anti-communist foreign policy, but to have done so in so single-minded and negative a fashion, without similarly acting on our own positive beliefs was unwise. The aftereffects of our negative foreign policy are coming back to roost.
  • by ChadAmberg (460099) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:06PM (#2497392) Homepage
    What type of government could possibly wrap itself around globalization? That is the major stumbling block that I see. The UN has bumbled its way around enough to know that it isn't the answer. Perhaps smaller regional governments (The EU, Pan-African Congress, OAS, etc) are the first answer to get around the poisonous ethnic problems that have caused the latest conflicts in the world. After that, let the global government figure itself out.
  • social threefolding (Score:2, Interesting)

    by johnrpenner (40054)
    globalism can be a boon or bane. social threefolding provides a framework for sustaining rights within a global economy: http://home.earthlink.net/~johnrpenner/Articles/St einer-Social.html [earthlink.net]
  • by Paradox !-) (51314) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:11PM (#2497437) Homepage
    This thesis has also been bandied about by Thomas Friedman in The Lexus and the Olive Tree [amazon.com].

    [Warning, liberal rant below]
    I believe that the forces of integration are long-term stronger and more stable than the forces of disintegration. I believe that the reason that the fringes of cultures are radicalizing is because the centers of cultures are drawing together.

    I am a giant proponent of the theory that ideas clash in a marketplace of public discourse and I believe that globalization is merely expanding that marketplace, and that the discourse that results will be beneficial. We're bound to have some bumps along the road. Heck, we're probably bound to go down some blind alleys, but in the end, increased communications and integration will help us all respect each other individually and discover what makes us all human.
    [End of Liberal Rant]

    Of course, I also believe that the free market is best in 90% of circumstances because it forces individuals to evolve and have goals. My biggest worry is that the concept of individual freedom will be found wanting in the global discussion.

    IMHO. HAND.
    • I think it is far too quickly assumed that the centres of cultures are drawing together in the crusade for a one world economy. In developing countries, the people signing binding trade deals with western economic powers are hardly the centre of their culture. I would argue that the peasant and indigenous population in many countries comprise the centre of their cultures, while the well financed and well armed politicians, who sign away their labour and natural resources, are the fringe.

      Not every culture holds as its highest ideal the individual pursuit of wealth. The western global free market economy is not the only economic system. Radicalisation comes not only from the fringes, but often right square from the centre, from having an economic system imposed upon you by outside forces. It is important for a people to be able to define their own terms of participation in the global economy. When the terms are dictated by outside forces, and by and large for the sake of corporate profits, there WILL be a radicalised response.
      Cheers,
      Rev. Hibachi
      • Not every culture holds as its highest ideal the individual pursuit of wealth.


        Do you plan on going to live in one of these alternatives? I thought not.


        It is important for a people to be able to define their own terms of participation in the global economy.


        Amazing how a single letter can completely reverse the meaning of a sentence. I think it is important for people to define their own terms of participation in the global economy. But "a people" implies some kind of collective decision making and enforcement of that decision. This inevitably comes down to forcing people to stay where they are instead of letting them seek their own fortunes in whatever way seems best to them as individuals.


        Paul.

  • by regexp (302904) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:13PM (#2497447)
    It hasn't been shown to any degree of conclusiveness that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists or fundamentalists of any sort. For all we know so far, it could have been some disgruntled biotech industry worker.
    • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:24PM (#2497527) Homepage
      In fact, there are a number of reasons to suspect that the primary perps behind the anthrax are American, including the way that the accompanying notes were written, and the fact that the targets included a planned parenthood, 2 democrats, media outlets, and the Supreme Court. The radical anti=abortion group The Army of God is on the suspect list. And it's completely homegrown American.
    • by Elvis Maximus (193433) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @02:08PM (#2498204) Homepage

      I actually strongly suspect the anthrax attacks are not originating with al-Qaeda.

      For one thing, the letters [cnn.com] strike me as funny:

      The date at the top is in the format "9/11/01". Only Americans write dates this way (everyone else writes "11/9/01"). Someone who lived here for a while would know we do that, but wouldn't they be more inclined to write "September 11, 2001" or some variation to avoid confusion? Why would they bother to do it our way?
      The letters clearly imply they are from Islamic fundamentalists, but do not begin "bismillah al-rahman al-rahim (in the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful)". Pious Muslims, fundamentalists and otherwise, begin every document, from class notes to business correspondence, this way.
      How come the writer can keep his lines nice and straight on the letter but not on the envelopes?
      The language seems kind of stilted, like what an American would suppose a foreign terrorist would say. "We have this anthrax. You die now." An Arabic-speaker would be likely to say, "we have the anthrax" as that is how you would say it in Arabic. "You will die now" is a construction that exists in Arabic, so it is an error an Arabic speaker is less likely to make.
      "Allah is great" is kind of an awkward construct. A Muslim might write "Allahu akbar" without translation, or "Allah is greatest," which is a better translation. The point of the phrase "Allahu akbar" is that God is greater than anything else, and this is not a distinction that would be lost on a dedicated Muslim whose English is good enough to write these letters.
      al-Qaeda never warned anyone about the embassies, the Cole, the WTC, or any of the failed attacks on other targets. So why do the letters announce they have anthrax in them and advise the recipients to "take penacilin now?"
      Not only does the author know what a 4th grade is (i.e., that we call it 4th grade and not 4th form, 4th year, etc.), but he/she realizes that it is a usual practice for a 4th grade class to write a Senator's office. A recent immigrant from an Arab country might come to know these things, but they would not come naturally to him/her. I would think the author would pick something he/she could feel more sure of.

      Also, some of the targets seem strange to me. A tabloid newspaper? That appeared to be, if not the first target, an early target, and is not exactly a symbol of America to people around the world. If I were an investigator, this is the one I would be looking at most closely. If I were a terrorist wanted to sow fear and confusion, I would send anthrax to random people's homes, or I would steal a load of Publishers' Clearinghouse sweepstakes applications and load them with the bacteria before returning them to the mails.

      It's all circumstantial, of course, but the al-Qaeda angle doesn't seem right to me. I'm betting it's some American guy or guys with a B.Sc. in microbiology.

  • by RobertGraham (28990) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:19PM (#2497479) Homepage
    The Economist recently had an entire issue devoted to globalism. Some of these articles are at http://www.economist.com [economist.com]. The Economist is a weekly news magazine, much like Time/Newsweek/USNews, though it appeals to more educated people.


    JonKatz has an axe to grind; The Economist doesn't. JonKatz will certainly feed your paranoia that the big bad multinationals are out to get you, The Economist will provide a fairer, ballanced set of information.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:33PM (#2497583)
      I read the Economist regularly, and it does provide quality information. However, it is one of the brashest proponents of the free market system, and very much has an axe to grind.
      • it is one of the brashest proponents of the free market system, and very much has an axe to grind

        There is a slight difference. JonKatz doesn't have a firm grasp of the subject matter -- all he has is strong opinions. The Economist certainly has a pro-business slant, but this is based upon a firm grasp of the subject matter.

        This is why JonKatz engenders passionate dislike -- whether we are talking technology, economics, or any other field, his grasp of the subject matter is lower than his readership, yet he makes strong pronouncements based upon his ignorance.

        JonKatz appeals to young geeks who share is values and ignorance. I think it is a rite-of-passage: at some point, people mature and become educated and realize what JonKatz is all about (he certainly would have appealed to me when I was 15 years old).

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:19PM (#2497487) Homepage

    Iraq - supported against Iran during the Iran v Iraq war, seen as an ally of the west and an aid in getting cheaper oil and controlled oil prices... invade Kuwait (dictatorial regime) and the west turn against Iraq (with "democratically" elected president) because of the risks to oil revenues.

    Afghanistan, supported Taliban and Mujahadin against the Soviet Union when they invaded, pushed as "freedom fighters" and "liberators". Soviets leave, so does all of the assistance from the west. Saudi Arabian national accused of leading a group on terrorists in which several (all non-Afghans) commit dreadful attrocities. West decide to invade Afghanistan and attack not the terrorist leader but the previously supported Taliban movement. This of course is unrelated to the desire to have access to the Caspian Sea oil without having to pay Russian pipeline charges.

    It might sound a harsh judgement but these are still the facts. Both of these now supposedly "evil" regimes were previously funded and supported by the very people now set against them... the opinions and views of the Taliban and Sadam Hussien have not changed. It is just now politically and economically sensible to take these views.

    Having a recession..... start a war, increased employment, increased public spending (defence), flag-waving support to gloss over your lack of leadership.
    • by elefantstn (195873) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:26PM (#2497545)

      It's hard to take your argument seriously when it contains such glaring historical mistakes. The US did not support the Taliban against the USSR because the Taliban did not even exist at the time. Certainly some of the Afghani rebels eventually joined the Taliban, but to say we supported the Taliban is like saying that because we supported Poland during the Second World War we supported the Warsaw Pact.


      • Errr no it isn't. This is exactly what happend

        Last year $43m [progress.org] was sent...

        also from CNN Last paragraph [cnn.com] Lots of the Taliban are ex-members of "freedom fighters" including their leader.

        It isn't the same as supporting Poland as there you are supporting a country, integral in itself. Here we are talking about various nutters with guns who we happen to like. Lets not kid ourselves that the currently popular "Northern Alliance" are not a bunch of murdering thugs as well.

        Fund murderous thugs and eventually you get your reward. Previously they had a common enemy (the USSR), then they had each other, then they had their previous paymasters. Same situation as Iraq.
        • I can't believe you would actually reply with that. That gift was in the form of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan who are STARVING TO DEATH. I'm sure you would be the first to cry bloody murder that the US government would allow a famine to continue while it had so much extra money on its hands, but when they do, it sure makes a convenient argument against them later.


          Basically, in your scenario, the US could do absolutely no right. There are, to my knowledge, three broad options the US could pursue in regards to Afghanistan:

          1. Ignore it. Of course, this raises the cry that the US ignores people in suffering (and it would be true). Guess we can't do that.
          2. Topple the ruling regime. This is, on the other hand, just a means to oil in the Caspian Sea, right? It has nothing to do with any sort of self-defense or humanitarian need, we just need more oil. So that's out.
          3. Allow the Taliban to remain in power, but just send humanitarian assistance. Well, we tried that, but as you noted, that is propping up a barbaric regime. So that's no good.

          So then, please enlighten me as to which of these three options is acceptable to you, or give me a fourth which I have not considered. As far as I can tell, you've ruled out every possible course of action.


          • The UK doesn't exactly look too good here, 300 years or so of buggering up the country makes the US' 30 years look pretty small cheese in comparison.

            The point here is that it is important to do things now with a _clue_ about where it could end up.

            Right now is a classic example, the "Northern Alliance" who China regard as supporting terrorism in China. Are a bunch of nutter thugs from whom the Taliban split because the Taliban are religious nutters not just straight nutters. Do we want those people in charge ? No thank you.

            How about using a sensible concept in a country like that like "democracy" and "subsidy". Help to build a democratic goverment and build all those cheap Nike factories in Afghanistan. Make sure the oil revenues are evenly distributed rather than just to the rich elite.

            In Kuwait the west defended a dictatorial regime with a poor human rights record, especially against immigrants from the 3rd world, and replaced it with... exactly the same regime.

            How about replacing a bunch of nutters with a demoncratic goverment.... that _we might not always agree with_. But that has a vested interest in peace.

            Option 4) Work _with_ the other countries in the region, have Pakistan involved in determining the make up and format for elections (I know miltary dictator setting up a democracy), have Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria et al involved in this process.

            Remember this was a war against _terrorism_ NOT against the Taliban, their crime is harbouring a terrorist... who they OFFERED to handover to a neutral country (ala Libya and the Lockerbie suspects).

            Bombing the Red Cross is _not_ the sort of act that will increase stability in the region.
    • There is no difference.

      The real greed is on their side. While we seek only money, the seek power and to take freedoms that others have as proof of their power.
  • The western democracies carved out a place where there could exist such a thing as a middle class. Where a working man could make a living for himself and his family. The western democracies are a haven for capital: they are stable and work by the rule of law.

    So that is why there is work here.

    We compete on the gloabl stage for work. We offer a business advantage over third world competitors in that we are stable and are run by the rule of law. And because we have this advantage over 3rd world, that is the only reason why we have work here at all. Otherwise we would have no work here because we CHARGE HIGH WAGES.
    People, that is a GOOD THING! WE WANT HIGH WAGES!

    WE DON'T WANT LOW WAGES!

    But big corporations want both stability/the rule of law AND low wages. So therefore "open borders immigration" and globalization is what corporations want because it LOWERS WAGES!

    Our politicians want to give them that because the corporations PAY THEM.

    Can you please see that this is a process of negotiation! That there are CONFLICTS OF INTEREST between corporations and the citizens of western democracies?

    When you go to buy a car and the salesman says he wants 100K, you don't just pay him, do you? YOU NEGOTIATE!

    The problem is that corporations have poured so much money into propaganda through so many means that people like Katz beleive the pro-globalization propaganda. Or maybe, Katz is being paid by business lobbies to write pro-globalization propaganda.

    Jon Katz, do you take money from corporate lobbies?
    • Dear, sweet Lord. Never in my most imaginative, feverish nightmares would I have dreamt that someone would actually accuse Jon Katz of being a pro-corporate shill.
    • We compete on the gloabl stage for work. We offer a business advantage over third world competitors in that we are stable and are run by the rule of law. And because we have this advantage over 3rd world, that is the only reason why we have work here at all. Otherwise we would have no work here because we CHARGE HIGH WAGES. People, that is a GOOD THING! WE WANT HIGH WAGES!

      High wages for Westerners. Screw the poor elsewhere! They want to work for us but don't let them! Let them starve instead. We want them to work for us to lower the price of our goods. But don't let them! Let's have our products be overpriced instead! The most important thing is to protect the wages of the middle class.

      Even if a person were as short-sighted and narrow-minded as that, it would still be no argument against globalization. The economics of the situation are that when we send money abroad those people become consumers and they buy stuff we make like K-rad computer games and Intel processors. So they can escape poverty, we get cheaper basic goods and we get paid to do more interesting work than working in a t-shirt factory. What a ripoff, eh?

      If you don't believe the economics, just look at recent history. Ross Perot claimed that NAFTA would send tons of American jobs to Mexico but until the recent slowdown there was virtually no unemployment in the US. We know that low-end jobs did move to Mexico. But we also know that new, high-paying jobs have been created in the tech sector in the last several years. That seems like a good trade to me!

  • Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pinball Wizard (161942) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:20PM (#2497495) Homepage Journal
    Can governments preserve the environment, keep work secure and equitable, ensure fair wages, control capitalism, distribute new technologies equitably, respect diverse cultural values, contain greed and restrict the imagery that Americans love but that frightens and offends large segments of the world population?


    Yes, as long as we retain our sovereignty and don't turn that over to a multi-national body. I think it would dangerous to allow a multi-national organization like the U.N. to have final say in matters of law and of military over the U.S. We have the longest running democracy of any nation, and it works. Thus, I think its dangerous for countries like Britain, with long-established laws, to turn over power to multi-national institutions like the EU. Let each country govern itself and come to agreements with other countries, but never turn over power or the right to have final say to these organizations. Doing so is a recipe for disaster; it places more power into the hands of fewer people, it makes it more likely for a despot to control more lands, and it takes away from people the ability to govern themselves. The right to self-govern is supreme in the U.S. and hopefully will remain so.


    By doing so, we ensure our government responds to us as a people and has control of the military. As long as we have an elected government that controls the military, we don't have to worry too much about the power of other countries, and other multi-national organizations. But if we give up any power to multi-national organizations, we lose ability to govern ourselves, and we lose the freedoms we have worked for over 225 years to create and preserve.

  • Anti-Globalists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:21PM (#2497502) Journal
    globalization - pitting fundamentalism against cosmopolitan tolerance

    Not quite.

    Many anti-globalists are in fact in protest against the prospect of the Disney Planet, McEarth, and the Microsoft World. They are in protest of the potential economic, political, and social rape of the economies and resources of people around the world for the mere financial profit of a few corporations. They are against the corporate democracy where only they voices of the corporations count, and yours do not.

    If you are fighting against Microsoft, you are to a certain degree fighting against globalization. This is a much bigger and more complex picture than so quickly sketched above.

  • Either way, September 11 makes it clear that globalization - pitting fundamentalism against cosmopolitan tolerance - is the biggest, most important story in our lifetimes

    Global Warming is by far the biggest, most important story in our lifetime. We'll all learn that soon enough.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:23PM (#2497521) Homepage Journal
    In my own humble, ininformed, and probably stupid view, the reason Fundamentalists gain so much support is that Globalization is basically capitalism, whereas the societies where it fails are those where people are so dirt poor that they can't afford the products or services offered by cosmopolitan societies. People no better or worse for the fate of their placement of birth, limited access to opportunity and ability to be brainwashed by zealous ideologues.

    It was discovered that one of the great causes of discontent and unrest in Central America in the 60's was unintentional, where Peace Corps workers left out magazines, loaded with american advertisements, where locals saw them. The indiginous people, uninitiated to the ways of Madison Avenue, would see what american had, what their country and culture lacked and it erroded their faith in their own noble cultures. They had to have cars, they had to have women with come hither looks, they had to drink Tanqueray, they had to have a Timex! Discontent breeds revolution, revolution creates upheaval and all the ills (hunger, disease, orphans, maimed bodies, etc.) Enter the "fundamentalist", whether it's Daniel Ortega spouting the promises of Marxism and reclaiming the land in the name of the people, or some Mullah in Afghanistan preaching a glorious afterlife littered with nubile virgins to people desperately poor, the appeal is the same: Anything is better than what we have now.

    The bitterness of people in the middle east has been a long time simmering. From european colonialism to corporate colonialism to the shameful double standard of Israel vs. Arabs (and yet these people come from the same blood, but tell them that.)

    Now the West loses billions of dollars in upset commerce, tourism, etc., and it's the poorest people on earth the US is pitted against in a war which consumes even more billions of dollars. (With hopes from some that war will stimulate the economy(!))

    Jimmy Buffett had it right, if you ever have listened to the Feeding Frenzy CD. Drop a bunch of money on these people, then drop a bunch of catalogs, for the cost of one B-1 bomber we could have full employment, they could have all kinds of toys and we'd have peace. Well, peace if that bully in Israel would stop the acts of war against the palestinians.

    My $0.02 anyway...

    • In my own humble, ininformed, and probably stupid view,

      You make it pretty hard for a guy to flame you for being uninformed.

      the reason Fundamentalists gain so much support is that Globalization is basically capitalism, whereas the societies where it fails are those where people are so dirt poor that they can't afford the products or services offered by cosmopolitan societies. People no better or worse for the fate of their placement of birth, limited access to opportunity and ability to be brainwashed by zealous ideologues.

      This "poverty breeds fundamentalism" view is not supported by the facts. It is usually the middle class and upper middle class that leads the revolution for or against fundamentalism. Where are the fundamentalists from sub-saharan Africa? Why aren't poor Nigerians blowing up planes? Look at Bin Laden and the university-educated students. Do they cite poverty as an issue? The issues are much more subtle and poverty is only one issue, if even that.

      Drop a bunch of money on these people, then drop a bunch of catalogs, for the cost of one B-1 bomber we could have full employment, they could have all kinds of toys and we'd have peace.

      Sorry. It doesn't work that way. Our billion dollars would be turned into weapons and turned back towards us. Nation building isn't about dumping cash into a cauldron of discontent and factionalism.

      Well, peace if that bully in Israel would stop the acts of war against the palestinians.

      Yeah, the fault is all Israel's. The fact that many Palestinians are dedicated to the distruction of the Israeli state and the murder of all Jews isn't relevant. This issue is simple like the other one: just tell those evil Jews to stop beating up on the virtuous Palestinians.

    • "The indiginous people, uninitiated to the ways of Madison Avenue, would see what american had, what their country and culture lacked and it erroded their faith in their own noble cultures."

      Good god... the indigenous geeks have the same reaction when they see Japanese tech magazines! I know I get PO'd whenever I see the neat shit they have in Tokyo, that I'll never be able to lay hands on here in North America.
  • Our corporations fight for the right to have a McDonalds in every country on the planet, snuffing out traditional staples of living, yet tax the shit out of imported food (sugar, bananas, etc.).

    We preach about free trade, yet Shrub gets his panties in a bunch when some country can sell us steel for cheap.

    Our companies fight tooth and nail for the ability to sell to the entire world, yet want people in the US (the richest general population on the planet) to only buy products domestically (no buying cheap drugs from Canada, region-enforced DVD players, etc.).

    We, as a society, can't have it both ways, yet we try so damned hard to have it that way. We dictate to the world our standards which enrich our corporate world (NAFTA, WTO, intellectual property right protection, etc.), but balk at the idea that someone else may produce a better mouse trap for less.

    It sickens me, really.

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:33PM (#2497585) Homepage

    You don't have to be a religious nut harbored by a goverment abroad to be a fundamentalist. In all this hype against Islamic terrorists there appears to have been a careful glossing over of the 2nd worst act of terrorism on US soil.

    Why wasn't a war declared on the sort of organisations that McVeigh belonged to, and the sort of anti-goverment far right views that are regularly expressed on right wing talk shows ?

    Right now I'd say the smart money is on the anthrax being produced in the US, not in another country. And on the US most wanted terrorists one of them was born in Indiana. If this is truly a war on terrorism then we can look forward to seeing the CIA, MI5, French Secret Service and several others all being labelled as such.

    After all what would you call someone who bombed a Red Cross depot ?
  • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:33PM (#2497588) Homepage Journal
    So far when we speak/write about globalization, we're talking about the corporate side of things. But if you really look at it, globalization is little more, and nothing less than an ability to transcend national boundaries. This has historically meant travel, expensive travel, restricting it to the Rich and corporations. Hence that's where we focus our rants on globalizations.

    But two things have happened. First, transportation has gotten cheaper, so it isn't the province of merely the Rich. Second, the Internet has given us Virtual Travel. These changes ease globalization for all, including bringing it into the price range of more people/groups.

    So one can argue that globalized corporations are Evil, though others would contend against that.
    Most would argue that globalized institutions like the Red Cross are Good.
    Then how about other globalized groups like the Mafia and El Quaeda?

    Globalization isn't just for corporatization, any more.
    • When Neo-liberals use the term "globalization" they mean the globalization of the free flow of capital and resources, free from tariffs and cumbersome transportation costs. The purpose is to make private property control the primary agent in the world theatre.

      The International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders represent a different kind of "globalization", for which we used to use the term international. For example, many people make the claim of being an "internationalist", which means that they are loyal to no flag and their ethics are inclusive of the entire world population (but not necessarily a "one-world-government"). I wager that Doctors Without Borders would prefer to be called Internationalist rather than globalist.

      Most opponents of "globalization" are not isolationists (a common straw man of neoliberals). If anything, they want to see even less restrictions on movement, communication, and goods than multinational corporations lobby for, but as a means of feeding people, not extracting profit. Central to this view is the idea of open borders--free and easy immigration for all. Anyone notice how long those people were marooned off the coast of Austrialia? Or how long refugees rot in camps in the U.S.?

      The reason that multinational corporations oppose that kind of globalization, the globalization of population movement, is that they would lose the very profitble factor of geographic advantage -- the ability to pay a sweatshop worker in Burma $0.12/hr rather than a union worker in the U.S. $9.00/hr. So multinational corporations form PAC's and fincance politicians that want to lower trade tariffs while restricting immigration at the same time. And let's not forget IMF policies forbidding the nationalization of industries (or forcing privatization of State industries), cutting of social services, and leveraging loan promises against environmental protection.

      As much as politicians make pretty speeches about "the New World Order" and globalization's bounty of technology and prosperity, the fact is that they are being bankrolled by multinational corporations. Listen closely and you'll hear that they are really saying nothing substantial at all.

      If you start talking about Al Qaeda and the Russian "Mafiya" being globalized then you digress from the commonly accepted meaning of the word (and thus have an uphill semantic battle to fight). They are multinational organizations, for sure. The reason why those groups and corporations are multinational rather than international is that multi- signifies that they have membership/property in various nations, rather than having an ethical inclusiveness to ALL nations. Corporations and terrorist/crime organizations have selfish ethics (ie. a corp's loyalty is to it's stockholders, mafia's is to it's family, a terrorist network is loyal to their cause, etc.) Internationalists are loyal to the Earth and it's inhabitants, regardless of whom they are.

  • by Frank Sullivan (2391) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:35PM (#2497602) Homepage
    The battle isn't changing - only the battleground is.

    The real fight is the ongoing friction between ever-larger units of society - the individual, the tribe, the nation, and now global society. Individuals chafe against the constraints of their own culture. Then as representatives of their own culture, they struggle against the crush of nationalism. Beyond that, the nations are fighting the coming globalism. This is not a fight that will ever be clearly resolved.

    I think by nature humans are individualist and tribalist. However, the lines of those tribes are becoming more and more fluid. I belong to several tribes - SF fandom, Open Source programming, Unitarian Universalism, etc - that overlap some, but are really separate groups, each with their own struggle. As an Open Source advocate, i'm fighting against globalist corporatism on one level. As a Unitarian, i'm fighting against it on another. And against my own tribes, i'm fighting to protect my own identity.

    Our tribes give us our connection to society. That connection is what gives us meaning and purpose, beyond mere survival. Nationalism and globalism simplify the survival question by improving our standard of living, but they don't give us much to feed our spirit. And both nationalism and globalism work to crush our tribes, which get in the way of convenient homogeneity.

    As for the Middle East, look at what they're getting. They see the worst of globalism - Coca-Cola and Britney Spears - while getting nothing of the best of it, like freedom of speech and a growing economy. And we're crushing the strong and beautiful tribe of Arab and Islamic culture. No wonder they are fighting back! However, i don't think the medievalists like bin Laden can win in the long run, either, because they don't offer anything BUT tribalism.

    There's a key... globalist culture provides huge economic incentives to participation, but you pay with your soul. It's great to have a Starbuck's everywhere so you can always get good coffee, but it sucks that Starbuck's is putting the funky individualistic cafes out of business. T-shirts are wiping out tribal dress because they're cheaper (unless you're a geek like me, where the t-shirt and its logo IS your tribal dress. I'm wearing a Klingon Kultural Ekchange shirt under my business casual).

    I could go on. Does any of this make sense?
  • by Philbert Desenex (219355) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:38PM (#2497623) Homepage

    You need to define your terms better - your article, as it stands is gibberish.

    You confuse at least two types of "globalism":

    1. little-g "globalization" constitutes stuff like manufacturing jobs moving to "third world" countries, highly mobile capital moving to whatever stock market around the world is hot, economic things like that. Pretty much irresistable.
    2. Big-G "Globalization" constitutes a political and legal transfer of power from elected governments and the citizenry the governments represent, to appointed, corporate entities. Organizations like WIPO, WTO, RIAA, ICANN and Microsoft constitute the appointed, corporate entities, while DMCA, SSSCA and UCITA constitute the organizational framework that the new, corporate-oriented power structure apparently means to use.

    little-g "globalization" could conceviably take place without Big-G "Globalization", I suppose, but because "globalization" currently comes along with US and Western Europe coporate entities (Ford, Microsoft, British Petroleum, Duetche Telecomm) and US-oriented Popular Culture (Coca Cola, blue jeans, Britney Spears, Hollywood movies), and "Globalization" derives its names and ruling class from US corporate entities, it's easy for some folks to confuse the two. Apparently, you (Jon Katz) haven't made this distinction too clearly.

  • by mindpixel (154865) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:42PM (#2497648) Homepage Journal

    The London School of Economics is giving a Free course called "The Globalisation Debate" at the onlineline University course clearinghouse "Fathom.com [fathom.com]. Their system doesn't permit direct linking, so you will need to search on Globalisation, or the school. Here's the course description:


    Globalisation is a fervidly contested and often misunderstood concept. It has occupied and divided economists, sociologists and anti-capitalists alike. Anti-globalisation protestors have regularly and successfully picketed World Trade Organisation summits as part of their stand against the might of globalisation. Yet, many economists tout the benefits of increased trade, sophisticated telecommunications networks and cross-border investment to developing countries, pointing to the gains workers and unions throughout the world stand to make from closer integration.



    Most people seem to know whether they are for or against globalisation, without pausing to consider what exactly it is and where its effects can be seen. Globalisation might be a term too slippery to be closely defined, but it is a vibrant debate worth engaging in.


    In this seminar two major sociologists put forward their versions of globalisation. For Anthony Giddens, it is a phenomenon characterised by fundamental changes in the world economy, the communications revolution and trade between nation-states in physical commodities, information and currency. For Leslie Sklair, globalisation should be seen as a new phase of capitalism, one that transcends the unit of the nation-state. In an interview, he introduces the globalisation debate and stakes out his position within it. Sklair builds on these arguments through a flash image gallery, which explores how the idea of globalisation is used by transnational corporations.


    The course is taught by Leslie Sklair is a reader in sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is responsible for the doctoral programme in the sociology department. He has been a visiting professor at New York University, San Diego State University and Hong Kong University, and has lectured on globalisation all over the world. His Sociology of the Global System (1995) has been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Persian, Chinese and Spanish. He has conducted fieldwork on transnational corporations in Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Egypt and Australia, and in Europe and North America.

  • Great on Paper (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BurkeChowdah (464221)
    The real thing to examine is this: Is globalism really good, or is it similar to Socialism and various other ideas in that is looks excellent on paper, but in practice, never seems to work out just right. There are many ideas like this that appear to be the solution to everything, but when put into practice, become a big mess. My thought is that many of these things deserve a closer look before being put into practice so that we can avoid slogging through a mess.

    Ed
    • Re:Great on Paper (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Johnson (580)
      Very good idea. With regard to Chicago school free-market capitalism, you can start by looking at "The Chicago boys and the Chilean 'economic miracle'" [clara.net].

      Then you can look at Vandana Shiva's talk [abc.net.au] about free-market's assault on India: everything from the destruction of indigenous jobs by heavy subsidizing of imported soya oil to companies patenting and attempting to forbid Indian farmers to grow crops that the Indian farmers themselves had developed! Basmati, Neem: natural products developed in India, but patents were taken out on these things by U.S. companies. Ever heard the name Monsanto? Unless you try and take a closer look at what people in India are saying, you won't: you're not going to hear about this from U.S. media- or 'globalized' media, for that matter. When was the last time you heard the name Bhopal [corpwatch.org]? And yet more people died at Bhopal than in the WTC terrorist attack- by now, more than twice as many. Bhopal was caused by intentional negligence motivated by a desire to cut costs and economize, the better to compete in the global market... to this day, the reaction of Union Carbide has been to hush it up, even to the point of refusing to specify the poisons involved, which would help medical relief efforts that are _still_ relevant... but saying what was in the poison gas would be bad PR and possibly lead to some form of liability, so silence is still kept...

      Yes- do please take a closer look at these things. The more you look, the more you see- and it matters.

  • Globalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argv (36682) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:47PM (#2497658)
    The increase in religious fundamentalism is, in my opinion, the result of the spread of Western liberal culture through the Internet, television etc... The liberation of women from their historic roles, secularism and commercialism are anathema to many religious groups; including not least Christian fundamentalists in the United States.

    Globalization is primarily a commercial function, and I don't believe it has a thing to do with the radicalization of opinions in the third world. Most people are happy to work for next to nothing for a rapacious Western conglomerate because their only other choice IS nothing.

    Anti-American feelings in the Islamic world is primarily a response to U.S. support for Israel. Finland has some global corporations and you don't here people screaming "Death to Israel, death to Finland!".

    Finding a way to reconcile Israel with her Arab neighbors would be a good start in reducing radicalism in the Islamic world. Religious fundamentalism is something we should not worry about, hell, maybe they're right.

    Economic globalization is a fundamental choice that each nation is free to make, and again is none of our business.
  • Religion has historically been used as a motivator for war. From the Inquisition to the Holy wars in Turkey it has been used to get men to fight, but it has never been the reason to fight.

    In this case as well you are seeing a reaction to rampant captialism (globalization) wrapped in the wonderfully motivating skin of religious fundamentalism.

    Middle Easterners do not hate the working man in America. They hate the huge multi-nationals and their US military police force that secures them further profit at the expense of lives and sometimes countries.

    This country has been living off of the fat of the rest of the world for 2 generations or longer. Wouldn't you resent a country that swoops in bombs and kills many of your population and then sets up your government for you, all in the name of oil profit?

    How come there is no Italian or Japanese military base on US soil? How come there is NO other countries military base on US soil, yet we have 60+ major military installation in other countries in the world?

    Globalization is the problem not the solution.
  • by Spud Zeppelin (13403) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @12:52PM (#2497687)

    ...for people to come out and lambaste Katz, but it's unusual for me: I prefer to do my Karma Whoring in more meaningful ways, like occasionally posting useful information.

    But not this time! Katz, you have clearly gotten in over your head. The non-sequitor upon which this essay is based is an utter disaster. How can you conclude there is ANY relationship at all between a cosmopolitan world-view and acceptance of free trade? I can think of several respected scholars (former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, for one) who firmly believe that the notion of national identities, particularly in business, are passe, but still support the use of tariff mechanisms by nations to protect their domestic social institutions. Read The Work of Nations sometime for insight into Reich's concept of "Strategic Trade."

    I realize that the two columns you do here are only a small component of your journalistic work week, but it would behoove you to contemplate that before undertaking an essay on the interrelationship between societal openness and macroeconomics, when you obviously didn't have the opportunity to thoroughly research the macroeconomics piece. What eludes me is how the views of such prominent a figure as Reich could fly under your radar!?

  • The problem of globalization is this; our culture gets to countries before our money does. There is nobody in the world that wouldn't want to make the income of the average middle-class American. What people don't want is to be inundated with western culture and ideas.

    Not only do people not want our way of life, they are not in a position to accept our way of life. It is well known, within political science, that a republic must have a strong middle-class and third world countries do not have one, it is part of the antiquated definition of being third world.

    However globalization is doing something that the world's poor like and the American middle-class hates, it is equalizing the wealth. Poor countries, like Singapore, are getting western blue collar jobs dumping sizable amounts of wealth into those countries. While on the other side of that it is making all blue collar professions in the west all but disappear and as this happens the only thing for blue collar workers to do is get better educated and find a white collar job. While they do this they flood the market driving the wages down for what use to be a staple for middle class life. Now both the middle and lower classes are both in white collar jobs making the destination all but nonexistent.

    The disappearance of the middle class in America and the west is a frightening but all too real consequence of our global economy. No longer will we have an American upper, middle, and lower class; we will not have an Egyptian upper, middle, and lower class, or distinct classes for Europe or China or anywhere else. We will have a World upper, middle, and lower class. This means that the much of the world's poor will be brought above the poverty line at the expense of the West's affluent middle class. And this is a threat to the stability of our Republic that nobody relizes.

  • by hiroko (110942)
    I believe that most (if not all) of the downsides of globalisation stem for the way that most big corporations take no responsibility for the environment and human welfare. Their remit is to maximise shareholder value, and that's what they do.

    IMHO, governments should bring the corporations back to an ecologically and sociological responsible position through regulation. This way their duties to the shareholders would be leveled with duties to the environment and society.

    I'm not against commerce and the synergies available in large companies, but there must be a way to get those large companies to help distribute the benefits to _all_ the stakeholders - rather than just the senior execs and major shareholders.
  • God....damn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mystery_bowler (472698) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @01:30PM (#2497939) Homepage
    For those of you who can't stand being enlightened, avert your eyes. Here's some truth for you:

    The fundamentalists hate Western culture and they want everyone who lives a life any different from theirs to die. They want Western culture destroyed and will willingly put themselves to death to further their cause.

    Why? Because the want their culture to be the dominant one, that's why. It's as simple as that. When one Northern Alliance soldier was asked why he was fighting the Taliban, he said "Because they are not from my tribe." Tribes. That's all this is.

    We, and by we I mean the whole of Western society, are a tribe. That's all we are in the eyes of those who want us dead. We are a tribe and the fundamentalists can never belong to our tribe because our way of life is incompatible with theirs. But the fundamentalists can't slow down the spread of our tribe because people the world over and absolutely dying to become part of our tribe. The fundamentalists have been passed over and left in the "has-been" section of the primitive world. And, because of fear, lack of understanding, desperation, whatever, the fundamentalists seek to tear apart the society to which they can not belong.

    As I look around the room where I work, I see people who wouldn't assume that they are the same as me. We've got different color skin, different religious backgrounds. But to these terrorists, these religious extremists...we are the same. And we are not them. And thus, we must die.

    I want to take a moment to address another couple of statements I read in this thread, without bothering to make multiple repies.

    Yes, we've most likely killed more Afghan civilians than whoever is putting Anthrax in the mail has with their attacks. From all accounts, that still leaves more than 5,000 civilians on our side. If you want to draw parallels between agressive acts, you'd better include all of them.

    Violence creates more violence. Indeed. But what choice do we have? It is obvious that there are people in the world who hate us so much, they would like nothing better than to kill our people. No political or humanitarian acts will ever stop this way of thinking. The very existence of our nation is a threat to the way of life for extermists such as the terrorists holed up in Afghanistan. Therefore, the only choice we have is to make an example of the Taliban. An example that illustrates a point to other governments: "If you don't keep it under control, you won't stay in power."

    Back to globalization. Pay close attention to this, because it's 100% pure truth. We can't stop globilization of Western culture. Why? BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE WANT IT! The Japanese imported music, movies and baseball just to be more like us! Envy for our success and relatively secure life will drive other cultures to want to be like Western cultures. We don't have to be active in the globalization of Western culture...it'll happen without us.

  • I've been following the news about anti-WTO protests and the like, and what I've noticed is that the media is consistently portraying matters in an inaccurate way (big surprise, I know). This conflict is often portrayed as those who want free trade on one side, and those who are anti-globalization on the other side. That's just not true. They also make the claim that the protesters are only a bunch of spoiled, liberal rich kids who know nothing about conditions in the third-world countries they are supposedly protesting for. That's just not true. They also make the claim that people in the third-world are very much in favor of globalization that this is what they need to get out of poverty. That's just not true.


    The reality is quite different. Although there are all sorts of groups among the protesters, including, for instance, union members protesting loss of jobs in this country, the general view of the anti-WTO crowd is NOT anti-globalization. Most agree that free trade can be a very good thing. What they are protesting is the MANNER in which free trade is being pushed.


    With trade organizations taking precedence over local government regulations, environmental and labor laws are being pushed aside in the name of free trade. In such a case, there will be some people in those third-world countries who will benefit, while many common people have it even worse. Think of the child laborers making Nike shoes, for instance. The owner of the factory is doing quite well with free trade, but that 8-year-old working the machine in the corner is not having such a nice life. So the protesters are basically saying, 'Have free trade, but do it in a socially-responsible manner that upholds the worth of the individual.'


    Since capitalism and free trade in a pure form doesn't really care about the worth of the individual except as the individual provides work or cash, the media lies about the situation to color people's perception of this debate. They reduce the complex arguments down to "Free Trade Bad," which is not at all the message being argued.

  • Jon,

    I think you kind of misjudge that globalization has been a recent trend.

    I say that is completely wrong. After all, during the zenith of the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD the entire Mediterranean Sea was under Roman control, so Roman culture homogenized the culture of that part of the world. The same happened when Islam spread starting the 7th Century AD, which by 1000 AD created an fairly homogeneous Moslem culture that went from southern Spain to the west, down the east coast of Africa to the south, and much of central Asia to the east. And Arab merchants based in the Arabian Peninsula in those days became extremely wealthy, just like the multinational corporations of today.

    In short, the globalization of today is just repeating what happened 1000 to 2000 years ago, only we have faster means of goods transport.
  • Life and Debt [imdb.com], an interesting documentary (haven't seen it yet) about the globalization process effects on Jamaica, with special emphasis on the IMF. Turning it essentially into nothiung more than a tourist trap, with all local industry disappearing and a huge debt load. An example - IMF policies require you to end farm subsidies, while the US can (and does) subsidize farm products. Local farmers can't compete go out of business.
  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @02:03PM (#2498172) Homepage Journal

    In Part Two: Have multinationals hijacked globalism? (Yes.)

    Great! Glad you answered that one. Now I don't have to read the second of two parts.

    JonKatz, here are some "Great Rules for Writing" from William Safire in the New York Times:

    Do not put statements in the negative form.

    And don't start sentences with a conjunction.

    It is incumbent on one to avoid archaisms.

    If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

    Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

    Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.

    De-accession euphemisms.

    If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

    Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

    Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

    Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.

    Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

  • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @03:23PM (#2498703) Homepage
    As usual we have a buzz word laden piece by Katz that shows zero insight (and another part to come, God help us).

    Globalism is not and has never been a political movement. It is no more than a social and political trend that began with the Industrial Revolution. Geography is less of a constraint than it was in past. Airline travel, the telephone, satelite TV and the Internet mean that you can live in one country and have the same communications access as if you lived in another country on a different continent.

    Anti-globalism is a political movement of sorts. There is no real cohesion between the aims of the various factions however. In many cases the aims are completely opposed.

    Bin Laden is not an anti-globalist in any meaningful sense, he is anti-US but his political aims are global. He wants to return the world to the middle ages one country at a time, starting with Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Palestein but continuing on to Andaloucia (Spain), Africa etc.

    Some of the anti-globalists are anti-democratic tin pot nationalists who want to declare independence for their little fragment of a nation state so that they have a better chance of getting power themselves.

    Other 'anti-globalists' are tin-pot union leaders looking for some form of protectionism that will discriminate against goods produced by foreign workers.

    Most of the 'anti-globalists' are not protesting about the process of globalisation however but the limited form in which it is taking place. As they see it the West is busy exporting the working practices and political structures of the nineteenth century while trying to deter democratization that might threaten Western interests.

    As a political critique it was far more accurate in the 1970s than today. The list of dictators supported by the West and in particular the US is very long. The US subverted democratic governments in Chile and the Congo and replaced them with mass murderers.

    US administration policy since the cold war, and in particular since the Clinton administration has been to end support for most of the worst regimes. Marcos, Pinochet, Suharto and the rest have been consigned to the dustbin of history. It is therefore somewhat strange to start an unfocused 'the US can do no right' movement at this time. There are several areas where the US is standing on the wrong side of history, proping up the gulf dictatorships for example, however US foreign policy is much reformed.

    The biggest problem of globalism is ex-patriate meddling in their former home countries, particularly in the second and third generations. Sean Connery's calls for an independent Scotland made from a Spanish golf course are ridiculous and harmless enough. The funding of the IRA by Irish Americans or the Sikh separatists in India by Bradford shopkeepers was not. The problem with ex-patriates is that they can believe all the propaganda they like, they can fund all the murder they like and live in perfect safety far from the consequences of their meddling.

    The funding of Israeli settlements by US Jews and the funding of extreemist Madrasah schools in Pakistan by Saudis are just another example of a type of meddling from a long distance that is hated by the majority in the countries that are subjected to it.

  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @03:45PM (#2498858) Homepage Journal
    "equitable spread of technology and a free-market economy"

    Jon, you can't have equitable spread of anything and a free-market economy unless you have a really strange definition of equitable (most dictionaries will not include 'I got mine' as a definition).

    Economies are inevitably controlled in some fashion- one term for this is 'dirigiste' (sp?) which means 'directed'. One result of this is the evening out of the ungovernable boom and bust cycles of free-market capitalism. There is plenty of reason to think that a worldwide ungoverned boom and bust cycle would be a bad thing.

    Globalization does not have to mean uncontrolled freemarket Chicago School capitalism- it is just a convenient label for this, as uncontrolled freemarket Chicago School capitalism pushes for a global boom (as was once, foolishly, written about in Wired, in the 'Long Boom' issue) without a moment of thought for the resulting global _bust_ that will follow.

    Equitable spread of technology yes- but free market economy is the last way you're gonna get that.

  • by nabucco (24057) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @07:48PM (#2500285)
    Katz's statements and many of the OBL discussing points are absurd. It sounds like all of you people are bourgeoise from the United States who get most of your news from US corporate-owned media. I know George W. Bush said in his first press conference that these attacks happened because "they hate freedom", but that's equally ridiculous as well. All of the posters who say "They will hate us no matter what" seem to know very little about who "they" are or why they feel as they do.

    In Osama Bin Laden's message to the American people, which the White House asked newspapers and television to not show, he said the primary reason this happened is because the US military has been occupying his homeland, Saudi Arabia, for a decade. This is usually breezed over in American media, if mentioned at all, but it's what set him against the US to begin with. This is a quite rational, political reason, in fact he got kicked out of Saudi Arabia by the US-friendly monarch of Saudi Arabia for advocating American withdrawal. This makes a lot more sense than the loopy reasons being thrown about here and elsewhere. The people who talk like that have counterparts in the Muslim world, who say we're "evil crusaders bombing Afghanistan because we hate Islam, and no matter what anyone does, the US will always hate Islam and arabs". Someone made a reply here in which they cynically said that OBL never mentioned the Palestinians before 9/11. They have a decent point, this may be so, and many leaders in Islamic countries have used the nexus of Israel and the Palestinians to try to rally broader support from the Muslim world.

    Regarding Katz's statement - first, I'm set back by his arrogant view that America is the torch-bearer of cosmopolitan enlightenment, and the world is blessed by the spread of our enlightenment. This is the same kind of manifest destiny, imperialistic, colonial idea that America and the European powers held in centuries past - what results from this type of colonialism? South Africa. The Vietnam War. The antagonisms between Hindus and Muslims on the Indian subcontinent that the British antagonized.

    Katz's view on the benevolence of multi-national corporations, capitalism and technology are repulsive to me as a working class American, who knows what reaction a third world nation, who's corrupt bourgeoise politicians borrow from the US and Europeans in the name of the country, only to have the WTO turn around and demand that the country pay up for the money the corrupt bourgeoise of the country stole. What do you think the money borrowed by Pakistan and other countries went towards, building roads in poor, rural areas? Ha! Then the WTO comes in, and has the government privatize all the public utilities (which means that they all become owned by foreign corporations), do away with social welfare programs and so forth.

    That's to say nothing of the laundry list of things multinational corporations have done in third world countries, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Perhaps Dow Chemical Union Carbide's gas spill in Bhopal, India which killed thousands and injured hundreds of thousands. I can't educate people as to what the US media has not been educating it's citizens of US involvement around the world in in a short post. You'll have to check out the role of Shell in Nigeria, Nike in Indonesia, Phillip Morris in Thailand (making the US use GATT to sell it's deadly tobacco drugs - and without warning labels, and too children, just like it did decades ago in the US). It's a laugh that the US is sending $1 billion to Colombia to fight drugs - how come we're not spending $1 billion on other drug-producing countries? Hell, the head of the US army "anti-drug" force was caught red-hand trafficking drugs into the US. The US began by stealing the Panama canal a century ago, funded the Colombian military for prior decades because it was "fighting Soviet communist proxies". The Soviet Union folds, but the same money and military support keeps flowing, but now the US military's PR department has changed the reason to "fighting drugs". I could go on and on forever.

    It's funny how the US is going to rid the world of fundamentalism when polls show that the US is the most religously fundamentalized country in the industrial world. If the federal government lifted church/state restrictions, the South and the West would put back creationist science, prayer in school and so forth quicker than you'd believe.

    A Christian nation like the US should know the bible verse Matthew 7:1-5

    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

  • by ktlyst (517231) on Tuesday October 30, 2001 @07:51PM (#2500306)
    I suggest that you read Barbara Garson's book, reviewed here [salon.com] by Salon.

    In it, she argues that no world government can regulate the financial industry. Every attempt leads to offshore loopholes. The financial industry actually regulates world governments. Every time a government votes to increase spending for health, education and other social services, the financial centers vote by sucking their money out of that country. Since capital is so concentrated these days thanks to mergers and consolidations, the effects are immediate and chilling.

    Many times, people are living in wretched conditions because their governments promised to secure loans given to private corporations that end up failing. Indonesia, for example, closed 250,000 clinics, 6 million children dropped out of school, and the infant mortality rate has risen 30 percent, in order to raise taxes to pay back bad loans.

    You can't help but think that that is going to have an effect on our ability to function as a civil society. People should have education and health care, it leads to technological breakthroughs and satisfying lives. Money should have a social cost associated with it. If that makes me a pinko commie, then so be it.

    It seems to me that our foreign policy in the last half of the 20th century was to secure low wages for industry and keep democracies out of power in Central and South America, SouthEast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. It's only fair that what's good for American citizens should be fair for our global brethren.

    Ghandi said, "There are many things I'd die for, but nothing I would kill for." The terrorists would act differently if they truly had social justice as an end and not chaos, but they'd have a lot less sympathy around the world if our monetary policy were different. I think there are other ways to solve imbalance than crashing a plane into a building. I just wish someone would point them out to me.

    I'd also suggest reading Warren Wagar's Short History of the Future [powells.com], in which he argues that a corporate global economy is eventually superceded by local government/ communal anarchy. Many of his decade-old predictions have already come true.

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