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The Dark Side of Globalization

by Chris Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 03:03:49 PM EST

The diary discusses the negative aspects of globalization: -crime networks -poverty -environmental problems


The impact of the phenomenon Globalization is so pervasive and important in all spheres of the human interrelations nowadays that the whole process can be regarded as a new kind of transformation in the history similar to the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, from the Middle Ages to Renaissance, and from Renaissance to industrial capitalism. The professors David Held and Anthony McGrew argue that "Globalization, in short, can be thought of as the widening, intensifying, speeding up, and growing impact of world-wide interconnectedness."1 However, another definition, based on causes of the process, formulates the term as the mixture of economic, financial, and political events that shift the power of shaping the human development beyond the grasp of the nation state. This very shift creates insecurity and conflicts and hinders the progress, although it simultaneously promotes democracy, liberty, and equality. Two major long-term problems are the rise of global crime and the negative effects of Globalization on the environment.

The rise of global crime deserves special attention because the process totally contradicts to the concepts of security and peace that are so vital in the modern understanding of liberty and democracy. The scale of some law violations is really immense and is indeed facilitated by the world-wide interconnectedness. Moises Naim, an editor of Foreign Policy, concludes that

 "the illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people, and money is booming. Like the war on terrorism, the fight to control these illicit markets pits governments against agile, stateless, and resourceful networks empowered by globalization. Governments will continue to lose these wars until they adopt new strategies to deal with a larger, unprecedented struggle that now shapes the world as much as confrontations between nation-states once did."2

The crime networks are stronger than the governments because they "pioneer" in a millieu
more prone to "remunerate" the most capable competitors. Free trade liberalization, financial freedom, fading of state borders, corruption and many other factors hinder successful governmental interference and alleviate the networks. If there is a conflict, there is also a need for arms. And the conflicts, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, happen due to the fight between local elites and paramilitary groups over key resources like oil, diamonds, rubber, copper. Are not these resources essential for the global industry? This very same industry shifts the production to low-paid workers and children (North Africa, East Asia, and Latin America) in order to remain competitive under the Globalization.

Not only does Globalization sharpens the rich-poor gap and foster global crime and conflicts, but also "scars" the global environment irreversibly. The depletion of vital components, necessary for the equilibrium between nature and men, like the tropical forests, the animal diversity, and clean water can not be substituted with any advances created by the Globalization process. The fragile environment rather loses the battle with the global consumer who does not think in a longer perspective. After all, poverty and environmental problems are implicitly connected to each other:

"Lord May, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, warned that there is mounting scientific evidence to show that global warming is the biggest single threat to the world today - especially developing countries. The latest study reveals for instance that the rise in man-made greenhouse gases may already be responsible for an increase in drought conditions and risk of famine in eastern Africa. Britain's most senior independent scientist has warned that global warming threatens to ruin the international initiative to lift Africa out of poverty."3

The poverty, the environmental change, the rise of global crime are not born by Globalization per se, but fostered and alleviated by it. The process creates global problems and at the same time there are no global solutions. Governments and institutions that are capable to resolve these sensitive issues do not feel obliged to do it, as the problems are global and not in their competence. Or the efforts done are rather cosmetic and short-term based. What do abstract terms like liberty, world democracy and global progress mean when men are starving, children at 10 are fighting, the clean water is scarce, and crime is frightening us all?

References:

1.Globalization
2.Five Wars of Globalization
3.Climate Change "Could Ruin Drive to Eradicate Poverty"



Display:
Globalization is unstoppable.


What do abstract terms like liberty, world democracy and global progress mean when men are starving, children at 10 are fighting, the clean water is scarce, and crime is frightening us all?

They certainly do not mean much to the common people like you and me,who still possess a sense of human compassion for the problems of the poor and the starving. But those abstract terms definetely do sound good when they come out of the mouth of the strong political leaders, who are trying to convince everybody that globalization necessarily is a positive thing, when one of its major failures is that it has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. But you explained those things better than me:)

I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde

by Little L (ljolito (at) gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 05:50:09 PM EST
liberty, world democracy and global progress

two little words may help to clarify the question:  for whom?

for the rentier, technocrat and trustifarian class that owns/manages the transnat businesses, occupies the revolving doors between boardrooms and parliaments/congresses/military, and always flies first class, the world looks pretty darned good as it's shaping up right now.

it's worth remembering that the first "democracy" (in ancient Greece) was a democracy of land owning adult males.  women, slaves, indentured servants, furriners, and all others simply didn't count.  and for many of the elite, this is still the correct and natural model of democracy.  they use democratic (or at least Robert's Rules) procedures in their elite non-elected governing bodies like the WTO, at Davos, in GATT talks etc.  popular democracy, that's a whole other thing.

they have ever-increasing liberty to drive down the cost of labour, move capital across national borders in the blink of an eye, incorporate here and bank there, dodge taxes and all "restrictions and impositions" on their absolute freedom to seek profit.

and this increase in liberty, plus the enormous improvement in the quality of goods and services accessible to the elite, is what they call "progress".  if someone's swimming in polluted waters or drinking same, if someone's twitching and dying in a rusty trailer on the edge of factory ag land from overexposure to cholinase inhibitors, it sure ain't them or their kids.  that's just an "external" cost, and a trivial one at that -- "the price of progress" doncha know.

so, for those who get to define the dominant public discourse, those who get interviewed ad nauseam on tame corporate media, those who get to tell us what reality isband what's good for us, globalisation is all good.  it's democratic (for them) and it increases liberty (for them) and creates progress -- for them.  which is why they refer contemptuously to welfare states or democratic socialism as backwards, moribund, inefficient, etc. -- these models also create liberty, democracy and progress but for the wrong people :-)

to Bush's base, l'Eétat c'est nous

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 07:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
damn.....just damn....

you are incredible.....brilliant synopsis

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 08:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I meant posing the questions about these abstract terms like liberty and democracy that go along  with the praise of Globalization. At least for me it is obvious that only few people benefit from the process and they are the richest men. Even in the developed countries the majority is dependent on mortgages, credit card debt, high medical cost,etc.
Like Mill has observed 150 years ago the population leaves in poverty due to the capitalist machine.
And it seems we have not eradicated these problems
since he mentioned them. That questions the 150 years of our precios progress...


I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 04:26:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
btw that should be cholinesterase inhibitor.  I remember the symptom mnemonic (SLUD) better than the toxic agent.  iirc it is in the notorious organophosphate family.  it is interesting that while CDC officially categorises these as "non-persistent," Cornell's taxonomy of industrial/ag toxins notes tersely that "Organophosphates tend to be persistent and to bioconcentrate in environmental systems."

Read-it-and-Weep-Department -- this gives some idea of what organophosphate exposure can do to a mammal.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 06:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people, and money is booming. Like the war on terrorism, the fight to control these illicit markets pits governments against agile, stateless, and resourceful networks empowered by globalization. Governments will continue to lose these wars until they adopt new strategies to deal with a larger, unprecedented struggle that now shapes the world as much as confrontations between nation-states once did.

Consider another viewpoint, though a bit grim one. After the Cold War, all the funding was withdrawn from Afghanistan. The old elite was basically eradicated and new elite appeared - warlords, some of which trading with the US government. Ironically enough, this provides a certain amount of stability in the region. So, governments are probably not fighting the crime, but rather legalizing it (or in Afghanistan's case, the warlords are basically the government, the elites).

Also, Pakistan is quoted to be a Yugoslavia, but with a nuclear "taste". Pakistan is comprised of many ethnicities, each protecting their own kinsmen. Some critics claim that Pakistan exists only for the sake of the Pakistani army and no local tribe actually needs a Pakistani government or it's protection.

Be careful! Is it classified?

by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 07:00:22 PM EST
The old elite was basically eradicated and new elite appeared...

I personally do not think that it is so easy to eradicate the old elite. I do not follow closely the situation in Pakistan, but if you look at the ex-communist regimes, there are implicit evidences that
the old structures still exercise an immense amount of political and economic power through their connections, resiliense to the new conditions, and never ending ambitions to stay involved in states' affairs. No one gives up so easily the bone...

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel

by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 06:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are actually right. What I meant was that the old political line was abruptly discontinued by the recent events (recent meaning 10-20 years, but that's a rough estimation by all accounts).

FWIK, there is a current conflict between the old elite (situated in the country) and the new elite, basically warlords, operating from the cities. Indeed, who wants to give up political and economical power?

The Pashtun, a tribe found in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are foreseen as the new power group in the region.

Be careful! Is it classified?

by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What you quoted was about Afghanistan - and there, indeed, the old elite was wiped out: I mean the Shah's elite and the pro-Soviet elite. But what you say about the difficulty of eradicating old elites in general, and 'post-communist' elites in particular, I think is right.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:52:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
warlords, some of which trading with the US government. Ironically enough, this provides a certain amount of stability in the region.

I wouldn't call that stability. After both the Soviets and the CIA pulled out, the warlords first conducted a terrible civil war. That civil war was kind of ended by the Taleban, which conquered most of their territories. Then the US let the warlords back - but they conduct their own fiefdoms, their soldiers are no better for the population than the Taleban (in fact, some Afghanis say, worse: by allowing free reign of common criminals), clash with each other ocassionally - and all the while the Taleban conducts a guerilla campaign, lately with Iraq as the model.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<laugh> I suppose I perceive the US warlord funding as a sort of a foreign economical investment. We can see what a free market economy can do to an economically and politically devastated country. I suppose we agree that current "government" is no better than the Taleban.

Be careful! Is it classified?
by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:26:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would agree that the current government is "no good", but it is definitely better than the taliban. The latter are apparently targeting schools and teachers in an effort to eradicate girls' education and any trace of a modern curriculum.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, outside of the gaze of CNN and othere looking-for-propaganda Western media, the warlords kept up the same in most places outside Kabul anyway. Ismail Khan, the warlord recently removed by the central government, even introduced the same religious police. Not to mention the rape rampages of the warlords' soldiers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:38:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I say "the current government" I mean "the mayor of Kabul", of course.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not an economist, and don't know enough about it to have a sensible opinion. But it's pretty clear that "globalism" is not a new phenomenon.

  • The Eastern spice trade spread ideas (and plagues) across all of Asia and Europe.
  • The African salt trade supported travel across the Sahara even in the 15th century, and was associated with the slave trade.
  • America was settled by Europeans, and there was considerable trade in goods, services, and workers between the continents.
  • The British farming system collapsed in the late 1800s due to imported grain and meat from America and Australia.

I'm not sure what is so different today from how it's always been...
by asdf on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 08:45:42 PM EST
in a word, speed...?

and I'm thinking of Glick's book Faster, among other things.

air travel speed vs clipper ship or even diesel ship speed;  internet speed vs air mail speed or even telex, telegraph, fax speed.  fantastically complex embezzlements can now be perpetrated in the blink of an eye, clever Ponzi schemes grow and crash in a day's trading;  whole economies can be crashed in a few days of predatory currency speculation.  things could collapse fast in the old days too, but usually not such large things, or at least that's my impression...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 08:58:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear asdf, I agree with you that global factors played an important role back in the past( as you have mentioned), but now we live in a time of great technological, economic, and political transformation.
The speed and the global scale of the occuring events are essential. I do not want to engage in predictions, but if there is a major crisis, which will shatter the society, it will probably happen overnight, not in the span of years as it was back in history; and the problem is that we will not be prepared for it.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 06:47:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shortly.

No doubt about the problems the appearance of transnational companies and financial system has produced on the environment. But it goes quite hand in hand with the technological development and our (western) fundational myths about progress and property. So, it is not the main reason but it certainly helps to make it worst.

Regarding crime and all that stuff. I do not think it has to do with globalizationa at all. I think it has to do with forbidding things... I am little bit libertarian on these issues you see. Legalize drugs ..a d e-voula...

And finally, regarding the gap between rich and poor.. I have my doubts. There is no doubt there are multiple cases where policies or the direct openning of borders or following the Washington consensus has produced poverty and more poverty... But globalization is not only a particular Washington Consensus or some particular neoliberal policy. Globalization is also the ability of India , SOuth Korea or China  to  generate inderdependent policies. They  do not do what others tell them to do but interact globally with the world as they see fit it. Similarly, Lula in Brazil is trying to do it....and these approaches have produced the fastest and deepest reduction in poverty level of all human history...So open and controlled seems to work... I do not exactly what to think....I guess it all depends what globalization exactly means or what you mean by globalization.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:45:05 AM EST
Globalization fosters and facilitates crime networks
through the lack of control on  a global level. If you consider  when does global crime increse and compare it with the imposition of Globalization, you will be astonished how the time spans overlap.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 04:29:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most countries are unable to hold control on a local level, so what control can we expect at a global level? It's not globalization by itself, but the free trade imposed as part of the globalization process. And free trade, I have to agree with you Chris, not always means peace (though this is one of the US slogans when imposing their economical system over other countries).

Be careful! Is it classified?
by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The free trade liberalization creates niches, which are used by networks to distribute goods and services that are sometimes illegal. The implicit impact of free trade is under questions: the liberalization also
facilitates the easy access to the so-called "grey"
or even "black" markets that boom nowadays.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said, you are completely on spot. But if you are trying to control the global market, who do you propose take control? Are you talking about a single power, or should every state regulate as mush as possible, by itself?

Be careful! Is it classified?
by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Darin, I will not disclose all my ideas to such sensitive issues...
:)))
I'm kidding,as I am still student,I do not possess such sophisticated knowledge to solve large scale
problems.What about you? Do you have any proposals?

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one issue is that we have globalisation of capital, investment, trade and finance, but with no corresponding globalisation of regulation, taxation, surveillance, policing, democratic accountability, citizenship, freedom of movement.

ordinary people can get shot for trying to cross borders that money and investment and corporate property can cross with ease at top speed in any direction.  we have globalised business without globalised governance, globalised capital and management without a globalised labour movement, etc.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:39:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt about the problems the appearance of transnational companies and financial system has produced on the environment. But it goes quite hand in hand with the technological development and our (western) fundational myths about progress and property.

You are certainly right in that the more closed-off economies of 'communist' dictatures were even worse on the environment - just because of this progress myth. However, transnational companies are a rather special obstacle to solving the problem.

Regarding crime and all that stuff. I do not think it has to do with globalizationa at all.

That's a strange opinion, at least with a Central-Eastern European eye. Organised crime was rather limited to nonexistent during the dictature here, in significant part due to less open borders. You are also limiting the scope of your views to drugs - you should also think of arms trade and trade in women. Do you want to legalise the latter?

Similarly, Lula in Brazil is trying to do it...

...and cooperates with IMF, woos Western investors and legalises GM food.

nd these approaches have produced the fastest and deepest reduction in poverty level of all human history

Where? Not in China, not in India, and not that dramatic in Brazil either. What measure of poverty do you think of? Not average per capita GDP, I hope!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About the second point. Yes. I take your point. It really helps in some cases. I was talking more about the issues what are illegal. So globalization helps.. but the root is not globalization.

Regarding the last part, no, I was not talking about GDP per capita except for South Korea. I just counted the number of people above 2 dollars income per day...I know it is not that much..In any case, I think people become poor in certain cases more because of the specific policy that because of globalization as a general concept.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodo you ask:
You are also limiting the scope of your views to drugs - you should also think of arms trade and trade in women. Do you want to legalise the latter?

I would propose the question is not, do we want to legalise the trade of people? -which obviously we don't, but, do we want to lessen, and ultimately eradicate, the conditions that pressure people to enter into the types of relationships where they find themselves being bought and sold?

In sex trafficking and labor trafficking the trafficker is most often taking advantage of the vulnerability of someone who can not migrate using legal means.

A smuggling, or trafficking network, offers someone a service and opportunity they could not get in their country of origin -perceived access to greater opportunity through entrance into a foreign country that they can not access "legally". Once they have entered into a relationship with these networks they can then become ensnared in a brutally exploitative situation.

People use smuggling networks or end up in trafficking networks to access opportunities they cannot get through legitimate means of migration. The majority of people in this world cannot migrate through means legitimated by destination countries.

Thus to parallel kcurie's drug legalization model, if destination countries offered people with legal means to move to and from more freely, the need for the services offered by smuggling networks would be greatly reduced, if not made useless all together. The corresponding opportunity for exploitation and abuse by these networks, which we refer to as trafficking, would equally reduce.

On the country of origin side, one thing that can contribute to the "push" factors are economic policies from developed countries that are weighted in favor of the developed country. To ask a country made up of small and mid-size farmers to open their market to cheap agricultural products grown on highly subsidized industrial scale farms can remove the economic means of survival from an entire class of people. (I should add, highly subsidized industrial scale farms that often used exploited, and sometimes trafficked, migrant labor).

Once this class of people have lost their means of making a living, well... they have to go look for work, which most often means the need to migrate.

Developed countries' talking points about globalization often discuss the movement of goods and services but rarely include discussions about the movement of people.

It is ironic that with one hand politicians from developed countries make big bold noble statements against the evils of human trafficking and the "commodification" of people, and then with the other hand push imbalanced trade policies and greater restrictions on the flow of people across their borders.

If interested, here is a link to an audio interview on the potential for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to contribute to the conditions that could lead to an increase in human trafficking.

by aden on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To ask a country made up of small and mid-size farmers to open their market to cheap agricultural products grown on highly subsidized industrial scale farms

just to connect another dot here:  industrial scale farms which are often completely petro-dependent, squander water on an epic scale, and are runnung a net-negative topsoil balance yearly.  in other words it is often a case of pitting a small relatively sustainable business against a corporate megamachine in the process of liquidation.  and the sustainable model will always lose in the short term.  then the industrial ag transnat will buy out the bankrupted small farmers and proceed to liquidate soil and water resources in their country as well...

meanwhile both the original hostile intrusion of factory ag products from industrial A into rural B in phase 1, and the ruthless extraction of soil and water resources in phase 2. will depend on fossil-intensive longhaul air and ship transport.

which of the eurotribbles is it who says, "when locusts move on they leave nothing behind"?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good point.
by aden on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point--if true. My limited experience is that the big industrial farms in the U.S. are very aware of the optimum use of water, fertilizer, and fuel to maximize production. Are small farmers so careful?
by asdf on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's so much an issue of moral character, as of skewed notions of what's "optimum".  third world farmers generally grow whatever crops are well adapted to the local climate and resources, because they don't work in the tradition of "throw enough fossil fuel at the problem and it will go away" that informs e.g. factory farming of water-intensive crops in regions of California that are naturally semi-arid.  (I'm not downplaying the remarkable achievements of pre-petro cultures in large-scale irrigation, but most of them led over time to the same results as fossil-fuelled massive irrigation projects:  soil loss and saline incursion... a notable exception being Bali, iirc, where an extremely complex and fascinating system of terracing and collective water management was developed over many centuries, only to be wrecked by well-meaning and arrogant Western "experts" during the so-called "green revolution," but that's a whole other interesting story).

"maximising production" also means something quite different if your production is staple foodstuffs for local consumption, vs cashcropping for longhaul luxury trade (table flowers, beef, gourmet veg).   and then there is the whole meat consumption issue, i.e. "maximising production" may mean growing lucrative soy feedstock for cattle for Western tables instead of essential staples for human consumption.  which automatically intensifies the corporate factory farm's existing tendency to monocropping with all the long-term vulnerabilities and inefficiencies that this entails.  there's a difference between growing feedstock and growing food.

an aside:  A full 90% of an agricultural business' electricity bill is likely associated with water use. In addition, the 8 million acres in California devoted to crops consume 80% of the total water pumped in the state.
Energy Savings in Agriculture

I recall from a discussion with farming friends a couple of years ago, mention of a problem with mechanised industrial ag wrt the reduction of soil into hardpan by at least two factors  impoverishment of organic material and microbial life in the soil due to pesticide and synthetic fertiliser application, and use of heavy mechanised farm equipment which crushes and compacts the soil;  the ensuing dead soil and hardpan was unable to absorb or retain water like healthy soil and therefore more and more water had to be applied to damaged soil in order to maintain crop life.  soil that is rich in organic (mulch and micro-organisms) matter retains water longer and soaks it up faster.  there's also the issue of the runoff from hardpan contaminating streams etc... all of which makes factory ag less "efficient" in water use by any real-world measure, no matter how it may look in terms of cowrie shells (dollars).

suicidally wasteful practises may very well seem "optimal" to the industrial agriculturist if the price of fossil inputs is subsidised (it is), the price of water is subsidised (it is, massively), and the subsidised price of fossil fuel for long haul transport makes it "smart" to grow intensive exotic monocrops for distant markets.  presented with the same skewed opportunities to get-rich-quick by bankrupting the soil and wasting water, a fair percentage of peasant farmers might get just as greedy and do likewise.  but in general third world countries have not had these options, and have had over millennia to adapt their farming methods to what was sustainable w/in whatever ecosystem millennia of their farming methods has left, if you see what I mean.  sorry if this is a bit incoherent, long day...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 02:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dio not you think sometimes immigration could be detrimental(in economic terms) to the local people,especially the workers with less qualifications. For example, in California the wage has fallen to 2-4$ per hour due to the illegal Mexican immigrants. And the employers prefer them to the Americans who can not anyway keep a reasonable standard of living with such wages. When I studied in Vienna, the Easteuropean students worked for 40 % less money that the Austrian. And that causes negative feelings for both sides: the low-paid are feeling inferior and the Austrian are xenophobic.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 04:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very happy to see your first diary, Chris, on a topic that is of ... global <s>interest.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 04:21:33 AM EST
Thank you! I appreciate the support from you and all the bloggers that made interesting comments on my diary:)))

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 06:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find this all a little pessimistic. Isn't this blog an example of 'globalisation' at its best?

Globalisation is neutral. Unfortunately you can't separate 'good' globalisation (more immigration, communication, the forging of international protest, the broadening of horizons, more awareness of global catastrophy) from 'bad' globalisation (international crime networks, capital flight and speculation, rush to the bottom of labour/ environmental standards). They are both results of the same global human impulse to communicate, connect.

The only answer ultimately is multilateral government and international co-operation, and that's why we're on this blog.

by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:45:56 AM EST
Well, that's why I called the diary "The Dark Side..."
I have made a research only on negative aspects, still your counterarguments about many positive effects are valid. The pro-globalist actually oppose the opinion that globalization fosters poverty and crime growth. On the contrary they argue that poverty, child mortality, illiteracy are "on the wane." After all, the variety of opinions is the precondition for the  truth, as John Stuard Mill(as long as I recollect it)has postulated it.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, you're right, a laissez faire attitude to globalisation is a sure way to accentuate the negative. In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries undeard of economic inequality and urban criminality were unleashed as a side effect of the political and economic freedom brought by the bourgeois enlightenment and revolutions. Eventually it was recognised that only the action of a benign state could correct the imbalances and Social Democracy was born. In the same way the global society will also eventually realise that freedom of globalisation has a price that must be corrected by collective action.

We have to recognise the problems and forge global solutions. The EU was ahead of its time in that respect but its now slipping behind the curve

by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I say 'unheard of inequality' I am, strictly speaking, wrong, the industrial proletariat was probably richer (in money terms) than the peasantry that preceded them. But the proletariat were more exposed to the wealth of others and the opportunities they might have if they were just a bit better off. and so they lived much unhealthier, unfulfilling lives (please see Marx) - and that's another parallel with the present.
by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:30:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the industrial proletariat was probably richer (in money terms) than the peasantry that preceded them.

Wealthier in what terms? Unhealthier, unfulfilling lives look like being poorer to me.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The materialistic conception of history is the cornerstone of Marx' ideas. He considered the economic inequality to be prevailing component in the differences between the classes. His arguments, that political equality does not mean much when such economic disparities are present, are still valid today. But under communism it was reverse-economic equality but lack of liberties. So may be the answer lies somewhere in between...
A social welfare state with certain strong responsiblities in the public sector.(Like the Swedish Model)

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think globalisation has any positives at all.

It's a policy of systematic exploitation which privileges the rich at the expense of the poor. While poverty is sometimes eliminated, the cost is literally incalculable. 'Growth' is really based on accumulating a huge ecological debt, and this will have to be repaid at some point, one way or another.

So while India and China are developing, their own ecologies are falling apart, and unless something dramatic changes, there really isn't more than a century of this kind of progress left. Meanwhile Africa is deliberately kept down at heel so that resources can be exploited as cheaply as possible.

So globalisation - which is really just violent theft and bribery with annual accounts - shouldn't be confused with global awareness. Which could potentially be about the West meeting 'less developed' cultures on equal terms instead of assuming that the Western approach is the best one, and the only possible one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
violent theft and bribery with annual accounts

nicely put.

in the absence of transparency and rule-enforcement all business inevitably becomes crime;  profit can always be maximised through cheating and exploitation.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't this blog an example of 'globalisation' at its best?

Yes, but how does a bunch of Westerners with enough money for an internet connection discussing the world balance just one sweatshop, for example?

They are both results of the same global human impulse to communicate, connect.

If it were just a human impulse... But different policies by various elites have created one particular form of globalisation, which doesn't have to be the only form possible. (BTW, the 'anti-globalisation movement' prefers to call itself Altermondialist - that name expresses that it doesn't really want to crawl back into nation states, it wants a different kind of globalisation.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But different policies by various elites have created one particular form of globalisation, which doesn't have to be the only form possible. (BTW, the 'anti-globalisation movement' prefers to call itself Altermondialist - that name expresses that it doesn't really want to crawl back into nation states, it wants a different kind of globalisation.)

A different globalization? Do you mean in terms of whether it is politically, economically or socially driven, or just another type of economical globalization?

Be careful! Is it classified?

by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both :-) A politically and socially driven globalisation with a different version of economic globalisation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about cultural imperialism? Do you think that the promotion of Western values undermine old, rare, and historically significant cultures and at the same time
decreases cultural diversity worldwide? I have not included this aspect in the diary.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 11:43:16 AM EST
Some of the values, which are traditionally promoted as being the Western values, like freedom of speech for example, are actually universal. There is nothing wrong about Western values, because they have created a system, which, in any case and despite all its imperfections, has proved to be working. The problem is that everybody is already tired of listening about those.
On the other hand, you are right that by globally promoting Western values, the cultural diversity of the different places all over the world is undermined. Of course, at the end of the day, it always comes to money, power and influence. Rich countries always will have the means to advertise their own cultures and the rest will just fall under the label "exotic".

I can resist anything but temptation.- Oscar Wilde
by Little L (ljolito (at) gmail (dot) com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 12:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because cultures can only be undermined by their own carriers in a free society.  I can't force people of other cultures to eat pork or cow, or go out drinking every Friday night, or watch profanity-filled movies.  I can't force them to listen to rock music or accept my God (or lackthereof).

There's a claim often made by opponents of globalization that says it will destroy cultures by somehow forcing our culture upon them, and it's nonsense.  People will make their own decisions about their cultures, because cultures are tied directly to our individual and collective fundamental beliefs -- as nations, as families, and so on.  And no one can take away your beliefs.

Whether someone accepts the West's culture or his own is his choice.  But isn't it better to have a choice about such a thing?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Tibet is modernising rapidly, thanks to booming China's billions, but at what cost to its unique culture?

...for those expecting a Shangri-la in the Himalayas, the club's existence is likely to be a disappointment. But it is a striking example of the disorientating changes in modern Tibet, as economic migrants rush into one of the most spiritual places on earth, hoping to cash in on breakneck economic development that is raising the living standards of its impoverished people but heightening inequality and destroying a unique culture.

 ...Lhasa is already being transformed. Ten years ago, the streets around the Jokhang Temple were filled with pilgrims. Today, they are filled with tourists haggling at souvenir shops.

...Tibetan life remains spiritual, but materialistic global values are seeping in through television and the internet.

...Clubs like JJs can be seen in every major town. For the urban young, these are exciting times. For the rural old, something essential is being lost. Those caught in the middle admit they are confused.


The spoiling of Shangri-la

The credentials for finding this article should go to a
professor of mine in International Political Economy

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel

by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see how this changes anything.  "Materialistic global values are seeping in through television and the internet" because citizens of Tibet are apparently looking for them or accepting them when they happen to come across displays of such values.  But this, in no way, forces others to live by materialistic values.  Am I missing something?  Is someone forcing the people of Tibet to buy televisions and internet access?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Tibet has been unique cultural centre centuries before Columbus has discovered America?
Does such heritage have to gradually dissapear due to  McDonalds' and Levi's ways of perceiving the world horizon?

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:09:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Tibet has been unique cultural centre centuries before Columbus has discovered America?

Yes, but many other areas have been, as well.  I have nothing against Tibet, and I'd love for its culture to be preserved, but these are people -- not Smithsonian artifacts.

The heritage doesn't disappear because of McDonald's and Levi's.  That's just "rubbish" (practicing my Britishisms ;-).  People don't have to buy Levi's jeans or McDonald's Big Macs.  I don't know why people shop with those two companies, anyway.  The latter is sewage on a bun, and the former is over-priced clothing that falls apart within a year.

Further, I don't understand why it's taken as a given that consumerism cannot be coupled with a maintenance of one's heritage.

Is it fair to ask that the people of Tibet maintain their traditional culture without giving them all of the available choices?

It's just as ridiculous as the claim that Wal-Mart is destroying "small-town America," which brings up images of the pretty, little Main Street stores and the local Methodist church and the harmonious community and all of that other bullshit.  (For me, it brings up images of anti-abortion protests, religious nutjobs, segregation, hunters shooting furry woodland creatures, and pseudo-patriotism.)  If people stopped shopping at Wal-Mart (or McDonald's or whatever other chain), it wouldn't be an issue.

If the traditional culture of Tibet is held to be so important among its people, it will remain important.  But people deserve to make their own choices.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 03:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well yes and no, Drew...  remember that Mall-Wart, B&N and similar chains often run a new store at a loss for 1 to 3 years in order to undercut all local retailer prices and drive the smaller retailers out of biz, then restores prices to their national average.  and that the cheapness of their goods is predicated on near-slave labour in estremely undemocratic China...

so the "fairness" with which they compete for the dollars of consumers (who may themselves have been impoverished by the foldup of American manufacturing and the rise of monopoly ag) is dubious.  yes, it's short sighted of the locals to cooperate in the pithing of their own state and county and town economies;  but the poker game is somewhat rigged as well.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and this reminds me of what, I am told, all con artists understand (a secret of the trade):  the sucker wants to be deceived.  we know the prices at WalMart are "too good to be true".  people commonly collude to some extent in their own deception, which imho doesn't really make grifters and flimflam men any less culpable.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's more of a sign of financial desperation, in many cases, than wanting to be suckered in a con game.  People from rural areas, in my admittedly-limited experience, are taking the biggest hit in today's "booming" (hahaha) economy.  The coastal cities are doing fine, despite being ground zero for the housing bubble, and they always will, because they're always going to have something to offer the world economy -- if nothing else, a lot of consumers with high levels of education and diversified economies.  Life is not so easy for the rural areas of the country.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 08:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much of that is true.  I don't disagree, and we desperately need to strengthen our anti-trust laws -- and, more importantly, we need to enforce them, because, after all, laws don't mean anything if they're not enforced -- in small-town and rural areas, because I think it's fairly clear that small markets are much more vulnerable to monopolistic practices.

However, in many cases, Wal-Mart has moved into areas where the manufacturing jobs had already left and the small retailers were not making any money because of the local economy being crippled by the plant moving to China or Mexico.

You'll get no argument from me about the Chinese Communist Party being a brutal regime that promotes slave labor and steals peasants' property.  And any group that brags about being the "Heir to Mao" will win no brownie points from me.

But we're just as guilty on that issue, because we're the ones who have promoted trade without promoting worker rights, too.  As I said, we shouldn't trade with countries that force children to work and that don't enshrine, for example, the right to organize.  (I think "Mall-Wart" -- I love that, by the way; well said -- employees in China recently gained this right by lobbying the managers and the local party official(s), but I may be thinking of another company.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  If so, at least it's a start, but we need to back them up.  If Americans really want the world to love them, as they say they do, they'll start rebuilding their relations by pounding the table on human rights -- starting with China.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 08:27:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, what is missing from this discussion of Tibet is that "the urban young" are mostly Chinese implants into the country, as part of a systematic policy to destroy Tibetan culture...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yes, I know it's not relevant to the cultural imperialism of the West, but it deserves remembering whenever we talk about Tibet.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I simply meant that people around the globe are losing their diversity. I do not like it, somebody may share another opinion. It is a open question...:)))

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:24:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing is that we can't both wish for third world countries to become rich (by proclaiming: "one mobile phone to every bedouin!"), and expect that once they do they will retain their culture.

To become rich nowadays means to embrace capitalism, and this means embracing notions of consumerism, possession, increased purchasing power, and in particular this means obtaining the possibility to purchase exotic/luxury items. And since one man's local product is another man's exotic/luxurious product, rich Bengladeshis buy vintage Indian cars, rich Indians buy Ferraris, rich Italians buy Rolls Royces ...

So either we stop wanting the third world to emulate our path (so that they can save their culture), or we choose another path, for example the one of degrowth, which I somewhat affect.

God what am I saying? Ok, this was just typed as I thought it.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:51:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We won't have to embrace degrowth. It will be force upon us by the rise of India and China. There are just so many PPP dollars to go around.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:55:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point, and that's why I think that we have to prepare for degrowth. Better be prepared for it than not.

The rise of global competitors and upcoming energy problems should start pushing us down this other path we haven't yet tested, an alternative to communism and capitalism. Europe could show the way ...

The very least we need to do is to start eating more potatoes and less bananas, like in the good old days.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 03:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
down this other path we haven't yet tested, an alternative to communism and capitalism. Europe could show the way ...
or else, down that other path we have already tested, an alternative to communism and capitalism. Europe once showed the way ...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 03:03:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as long as China is dependent on our consumption.  After all, they can only sell what we can buy.  We're not going to experience degrowth.  American gains are European and Asian gains.  European gains are American and Asian gains.  And so on.  The only thing I see that poses a serious risk to long-term growth is the environment.  We need get off of the oil, yesterday.  And we need to dedicate ourselves to also helping developing countries, like China and India, to avoid the level of dependency America now suffers from.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 03:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Chinese are dependent on your consumption but they earn U.S. dollars from it. Some scholars argue that with these immense sums they buy U.S. treasury bonds and they possess so many of them that the Americans are paying the interests  through their taxes. And the economy is implicitly dependent on foreign owners of bonds. So you are right about the American dependency on countries with low-paid labor and cheap products.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 04:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, Americans pay the interest through their taxes.  The main problem is the budget deficit.  Our interest payments in America are rising at frightening rates, and I've got to believe that this is exactly what the Republicans want, because it will cripple our ability to finance our welfare state.

But remember that, if America collapsed, China (and/or our other lenders) would be left holding useless pieces of paper.  Trade creates "inescapable interdependencies," as von Mises -- whom, for the record, I despise -- rightly, I think, referred to it.  It's the beauty and, at the same time, the horror of capitalism.  A crippled America translates to very bad news in Asia.

At this point in time, America is still, easily, the dominant partner in the relationship.  But, if America does not use that dominance to demand a liberalized yuan, both countries will wind up in one hell of a mess in the future.  (And I, my friend, will be well-insulated in Europe. ;-)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 05:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These peaces of paper will actually mean nothing without
America's financial and economic prosperity, as they are not anymore backed by gold. I guess this fact leaves carte blanche to financial speculators and bankers to play the role of semi-gods all around the globe ;)))

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 05:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but backing the currency with gold is a bad idea, because it essentially means pegging the currency to something that doesn't react in a reasonable way to the market.  Gold doesn't naturally fall in price when the economy slows.  In fact, it does the opposite, because investors know that the government needs to pump up the money supply and inflate away the recession.  (Gold has traditionally been the ultimate hedge against inflation.)  Speculators played the role of semi-gods -- or, more accurately, semi-Satans -- much more back in the days of the gold standard.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 08:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With fractional reserve banking, it is the private banks and not the government that decide how much money to create. Sure, the government can set the very short-term interest at which they will lend money to the banks, but that is a very indirect way to control the money supply...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 08:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is very indirect.  Agreed.  And the government -- by "government," I mean the elected officials -- has no power over the lending rate.  (Its only power over the money supply is through spending.)  The central bank controls the lending rate, obviously.  The objective of the game should be to involve the central bank and government only to the extent that it is necessary.  It's good to try to find ways for the market to move rates as needed.  The problem with gold is that it doesn't move as the item should move for the given purpose.  Gold could be a shooting upwards in value while the economy plunges into recession.  It's better to let the economics and banking gurus determine the supply, even if it is an elitist model.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 09:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't trust the private banking gurus, because they have a conflict of interest.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 09:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the system is imperfect, obviously, but that it has worked fairly well, especially since the Volcker Era.  What are the other options?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 11:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. What do you think of these writings on money? Are they crackpots, or do they have a point?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 11:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to reply, after I finish reading some of the articles, at the bottom of the thread, so that we have a bit more room to read.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 12:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could also make it a separate diary.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 05:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure if I can write enough to get an entire diary out of it.  But it's a good idea.  By the way, sorry for the delayed response.  A huge story broke on Katrina and a clear lie from Bush, and I'm getting a great deal of enjoyment out of watching these little bastards get fried, finally, for their incompetence in New Orleans.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 07:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not incompetence, it's worse.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 05:46:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, apparently it is.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 07:50:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a theory that when the money supply in Ancient
Rome was reduced by 90% the common people lost their lands and homes.With the demise of plentiful money the people lost their confidence in the government and Rome
plunged into the gloom of the Dark Ages...

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 03:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only thing I see that poses a serious risk to long-term growth is the environment.

I would have put this precisely the other way around :-)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 07:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if long-term growth doesn't involve developing clean energy sources, which it will, since we have no other choice.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 07:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this gets back to the Polyannic assumption that the only limiting factor is energy.

whereas there are whole clusters of limiting factors to growth, both sources and sinks, and unless we posit star trek technology, energy alone is not sufficient to solve them.  but this s/b a separate thread I think...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 05:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry, pollyannic with 2 L's -- if I'm going to neologise I should at least get the root right :-)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 05:25:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  That's very true.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 03:47:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the urban young, these are exciting times. For the rural old, something essential is being lost. Those caught in the middle admit they are confused.

Young people apparently love it, judging by that sentence.  And, again, the rural old don't need to participate.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a claim often made by opponents of globalization that says it will destroy cultures by somehow forcing our culture upon them, and it's nonsense.

It's not nonsense at all, because it's always backed by a propaganda onslaught called 'advertising.'

Your point is like trying to argue that people chose to stay behind the Iron Curtain. When there's no alternative, when you can't physically move somewhere else with alternative values, and when the media are saturated with On Message slogans peddling conformity of taste and interest, in what sense are people being offered a truly free choice?

Globalisation doesn't work on the basis of 'Well, here's an alternative way of doing things - which part or parts of it are you interested in?' It always comes with aggressive hard sell, and it's this deliberate homogenisation of values that's one of the most insidiously poisonous things about it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 05:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's nothing like the Iron Curtain.  People know of the alternative, and the alternative is available to them.  No one's forcing the people of Tibet to give up their values.  No one's forcing them to buy televisions and computers.  You can say that media advertising is propaganda -- that's certainly true.  But do you run out to the store to buy every product they advertise for?  No.  Why would you expect the people of Tibet to do so?  You have tastes and preferences, following from your own cultural likes and dislikes, and so do they.  You can't force people to accept a new set of values in a free society.  They accept these on their own.

Now, keeping people in the dark, so that they will maintain only the lifestyle of the past -- yes, that is like the Iron Curtain.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 07:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crime networks were all operating very well long before our modern fear of globalization came to be -- "modern fear," because, as asdf pointed out, globalization is nothing new, even if it's much faster today.  Globalization has changed nothing about the drug trade except perhaps the communications.  At the end of the day, a certain group of people will want to get high, and producers will meet that demand.

The best answer we have so far to human trade, if we really want to work toward solving it, is more liberalization of immigration laws.  People shouldn't have to seek out brutal thugs who will make them slaves simply to go looking for a better life.  We should be welcoming them.  But, if I walked outside, right now, and told people -- even those who claim the throne of "moral outrage" -- that it was part of the solution, they wouldn't listen to me.  They would be angry, because I, the obnoxious liberal, believe "in lettin' them there 'furreners' take our jobs!"

People aren't buying and borrowing their way out of North Korea or Haiti because of globalization making it easier to get to China or Florida.  They would've tried to get out, anyway.  Young Asian women were being sent to Los Angeles as prostitutes long before anyone had even considered NAFTA.

These acts are carried out because of a lack of freedom and opportunity -- and, obviously (in the case of said brutal thugs), because business is apparently good.  Just as with drugs, if we'll only take away their market by opening up, they'll all fall down.  Why pay for a fake green card and a drive over the Mexican border inside the dashboard of a truck when the country you want to join will happily let you in, anyway, and even offer you help to get here and get back on your feet?

Relating poverty to environmental catastrophe is certainly reasonable, and Lord May is right to bring up Africa.  What we need is reform of institutions like the WTO, building around the focus of trade with environmental and worker rights -- ending child labor, establishing the right to organize (the right to unionize being included in that), and so on.  If countries choose to allow, for example, children (or any other workers but especially children) to be forced to work in factories under incredibly dangerous conditions, sanctions should automatically follow.  No subjective analysis.  If you commit crime A, you suffer penalty x until you've solved the problem.  Period.

Globalization can be our best friend or our worst enemy.  It is what we make it.  Poor people in globalized economies were poorer prior to globalization.  (Many have made the argument to me that globalization has caused the poverty we see in the developing world.  In some cases, this is probably very true, but it is largely false.)  When Roy, the auto-worker from Michigan, loses his job at the Buick plant and cannot immediately find another job, he can go to the state and federal governments and receive at least a minimal level of help.  When Hu, the auto-worker from Guangzhou, loses his job and cannot find another one, he might not eat.  I've said it many times: A low-paying job that barely keeps the lights on every month is better than no job at all.

People in industrialized cities are China are, in some cases, buying apartments that they could never have imagined three decades ago.  Surely this is not a bad thing.  It's globalization that has allowed China to boom for so long.  It's the revenue from that boom that has allowed the government to begin looking at policies to relieve poverty and truly-massive inequality in the rural provinces.  This is a good thing.

We need to set the rules of the game on a global level, beyond the narrow scope of our current international institutions.  They only enforce what they are required to enforce.  Governments and institutions do not feel obliged to solve problems, because they are not required to do so.  And they will not be required to do so until there is a sufficient demand.  It's our choice.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:40:43 PM EST
We need to set the rules of the game on a global level, beyond the narrow scope of our current international institutions.

What do you mean by this, any particular proposals?
Who will execute these rules and can we empower any institution or organization to such an extend?

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel

by Chris on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 02:04:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by this, any particular proposals?

Ha.  No.  Believe me when I say that I'm just about the last person you would want designing policies.  (I am, however, perfectly comfortable with throwing darts at them -- shallow though it may be.)  Jerome is the man to see on that sort of thing.

Who will execute these rules and can we empower any institution or organization to such an extend?

We could do it through the WTO.  Right now, its only concern is enforcing trade laws, but it could be doing a great deal more to our benefit if we would only reform it.  (Again, I don't claim to be an expert on writing policy.)  What the WTO should, in my opinion, be used for is an international institution with the power of sanction that is, first, concerned with enforcing standards to ensure "fair trade" -- meaning, clean air and water, reduction of greenhouse emissions, and the aforementioned worker protection, along with, I'm sure, other standards -- and, second, with enforcing the "free" aspects of trade, as in ensuring open markets between countries who have agreed to its rules and regulations.  A legal, binding commitment to the first of these should be a requirement of gaining membership.  Non-members should not be allowed to enjoy the benefits of trade.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 05:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To expect the common good from such vampires is lunacy.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 12:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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