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Globalism Post 9/11 1021

Posted by JonKatz
from the a-new-book-takes-on-a-different-world dept.
September 11 is transforming our notions about a raft of subjects, from economics to technology. Thanks to our myopic and narcissistic media and opportunistic, short-sighted politicians, we are only beginning to grasp the ways in which computer networks are changing, even radicalizing much of the world, sometimes in great, sometimes horrific ways. Six months ago, most Americans were stunned to discover how differently others in the world regard us from the way we see ourselves. Globalism is a major reason. Invasive American culture -- from movies, music, fast-food -- have highlighted political and religious differences, from Europe to the Middle East and South Asia. So have networked, hi-tech economies based on information and tech, argues a new book by George Soros.

We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it. Such forces make America not only the world's leading superpower, but probably its most feared and hated nation. As the U.S. evolved rapidly from an industrial to a data-based economy, much of the world hasn't come along, or doesn't want to.

Our technology is running away from the rest of the planet, from genomics to supercomputing to bio-tech research to weaponry. Globalism, arguably the single most significant political issue on the planet even before 9/11, is even more critical now, even though there is little consensus on what it is or how we should feel about it or even define it. Deep-thinking billionaire philanthropist Soros jumps in with a significant new book -- George Soros on Globalization -- in which he advances some exciting and startling ideas about the future.

Anti-globalization protests have become a staple of international summit meetings, Soros points out, a sort of "fragmented potpourri of laments about life in the modern world." A ferocious advocate of open societies, he takes on what's good and bad about globalism, and how we might put it to better use. We'll take up that discussion here.

As Soros points out, 'Globalization' is a much overused term with a wide variety of meanings and contexts. Soros uses it to mean the development of global financial markets and the growth of trans-national corporations, along with their increasing power over national economies. "I believe that most of the problems that people associate with globalism," writes Soros, "including the penetration of market values into areas where they do not traditionally belong, can be attributed to these phenomena."

One could also blame the globalization of information and culture; the spread of television, Internet and other forms of communication; and the increased mobility and commercialization of ideas.

But Soros understandably concentrates on economic issues. Globalization as he defines it, is new. At the end of World War II, most countries strictly controlled international capital transactions. International capital movement accelerated in the early 1980s under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and financial markets became truly global only in the early 1990s, Soros says, after the collapse of the Soviet empire.

That period also happens to coincide with the most explosive growth of the Net and the Web, perfect engines for the new data-driven economies and systems for the rapid movement -- literally -- of capital.

By contrast, as we can see on the evening news most nights, while governments may not be able to restrict the flow of capital, they're still fairly effective at controlling the movement of people. (Although even there, the Net ultimately makes that more difficult, at least in terms of intellectual property and ideas. This kind of content is liquid, no longer confinable within territorial boundaries.

Since capital is the essential ingredient of contemporary production and economies, countries compete to attract it. It's no accident that nations who can't or won't are also incubators for political discontent and terrorism. Globalism has transformed our historic economic and social arrangements. Since capital can move anywhere in seconds, any nation-state's ability to exercise control over an economy has been radically undermined. This was a huge club the British held over the Chinese government during negotiations over the transfer of Hong Kong. The Chinese were forced to be somewhat more democratic when, with the stroke of a key, billions of dollars in capital could have fled Hong Kong in a micro-second, even if its people couldn't.

"The globalization of financial markets," argues Soros," has rendered the welfare state that came into existence after World War II obsolete, because the people who require a social safety net cannot leave the country, but the capital the welfare state used to tax can."

This was no accident, he explains, even if few Americans had any idea it was happening. The Reagan administration (along with Thatcher) was determined to reduce the state's ability to interfere in the economy and, helped enormously by globalization's rise, it succeeded.

So, exuberantly costumed demonstrations aside, globalism is not about to evaporate or even weaken, not any time soon. Quite the opposite: nation-states and their constituents now have to choose between globalism (and its attendant prosperity) or religious fanaticism. This leaves us with the central question:


Next: Is Globalism good or evil?

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Globalism Post 9/11

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  • The real question is :

    Is Jon Katz good or evil ? Or just plain irritating ?
    • Chaotic neutral?

      • That's like asking if weather is Good or Evil. To the extent we're going to have a multinational economy (and who doesn't want to have fresh strawberries in December, and laptops made in Taiwan), globalism, as strictly defined, is the way this all works.

        Globalism gives us many wonderful things we all want. The question isn't Globalism: yes or no. The question is how best to encourage its benefits and deal with its disadvantages. No one has proposed any alternative to Globalism that isn't much worse than things are today, let alone how good they could be.

        One of the charming ironies of global capitalism is that it achieves the "from each according to their abilities" part of the socialist creed far better than pure socialism ever did. Of course, a pure capitalism doesn't address the "to each according to their needs" part at all, which is why there aren't any pure capitalist societies in the world, and why we need to strengthen and improve the World Bank and IMF, not eliminate them.

        What we want is a global economy where people can compete ferociously on production, but where there is properly integrated environmental protection, and a safety net where none starve, and all can get a good education irrespective of the economic success or failure of their parents.

        Global capitalism means we can all get goods and services as the lowest cost available for the quality we need. Remember, the two ways you get richer are through wages going up and prices going down. Those who want high steel tariffs want to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

        For those curious about the details, check out David Ricardo.
  • by mesocyclone (80188) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:05PM (#3270890) Homepage Journal
    It's no accident that nations who can't or won't [attract capital] are also incubators for political discontent and terrorism

    Oh - you're right. Poor Saudi Arabia.
    • by Stonehand (71085) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:20PM (#3271030) Homepage
      For all their oil, neither their GDP ('bout US $9000 per capita as of 1998) nor massive budget deficit (expenditures $44B, revenue $32.3B => exceeds revenue by ~36.2%) is impressive.

      But then, that's not surprising in an economy so full of patronage that 40% of the labor force is in government.
    • Saudi Arabia has one of the worst divisions of capital in the world. As time goes on, the standard of living of average Saudis is falling, even as more and more money pours into the country, even given the absence of taxes on personal wealth. The wealth is so concentrated in the hands of the few that the monarchy requires US muscle to keep folks like Osama from turning the nation into a theocracy (which was one of his major goals).

      Now compare this to the West, where standards of wealth for the average citizen have been improving for over a century.

      • by istartedi (132515) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:13PM (#3271507) Journal

        I think I heard somewhere that this is almost always true for countries that derive their wealth from natural resources. So, paradoxicly, striking oil can actually be bad news for the economy.

        It's probably part economics and part psychology. People get the idea that they don't really have to create to be wealthy. They figure they can just sell all their natural resources, and that will supply the wealth. In the short run, this is true. In the long run, they are actually depleting their wealth.

        Now, that need not be the case if people turn towards activities that are sustainable and not dependant on the resource (gold, oil, diamonds, whatever).

        To do this, the Saudis need to develop industries that don't have anything to do with oil. The problem is, that's such a leap, and because they are still swimming in oil wealth it is probably a very hard sell.

        If I were the King of Saudi Arabia (that sounds so quaint, doesn't it?) I would be pushing for the development of automotive plants, chip fabs, irrigation projects, and innovative urban designs to take advantage of the desert environment (think ubiquitous solar power). That's plainly the future after the oil runs out and/or the west stops needing it. However, can you imagine trying to sell this vision to the Saudis now?

        So, the Saudis supply the raw material, but we supply the "human capital" and in the process of doing so we enrich ourselves while the Saudis impoverish their land. They are in very deep doo-doo if they don't wake up.

      • by mesocyclone (80188) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:27PM (#3271618) Homepage Journal
        This is irrelevant to the issue of terrorism, because the terrorists themselves were not poor. They had a very good standard of living by world standards.


        The issues pushing theocracy are much less economic in SA. These issues include:

        -The despotic, repressive monarchy which itself is hedonistic while requiring its citizens to adhere to strict wahhabism.

        -The extremist nature of Wahhibism, and its vicious ideas.

        -a general Arab resentment of the West because the West has replaced Arabia as the center of progress and culture. This is made worse by the obvious popularity of western culture - even as that culture insults all religions and religious ideas.

        If the men involved in terrorism had been from poor families, one could pay more attention to the economic motive. But they were not. Many were quite well off, in fact.

  • Having Deja vu?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099)
    Having Deja vu??

    Nope, just do a simple search [slashdot.org] (for the afraid, this is Jon's EIGHTH Globalism story).

    Rehashing old stories?

    You bet!!!

    The Globalism horse is DEAD.
    Please please please please please come up with a better buzzword/topic to use in your stories, and lets move on.
  • by rde (17364)
    nation-states and their constituents now have to choose between globalism (and its attendant prosperity) or religious fanaticism

    Come off it. The main reason that many people (me included) have problems with globalisation is because of its attendant misery. If globalisation were truly beneficial to all parties, few (okay, fewer) would object.

    And as for the alternative being 'religious fanaticism': jesus. I can't even begin to outline an objection to that one.

    Another opinion from your humble servant: McDonald's, Paramount, et al are, I suspect, victims in all this. If globalisation were truly fair, only dieticians would object to McDonald's. And only the french would complain about Hollywood. The rest of the world chooses on an individual basis whether they want to watch a particular film.
    • Come off it. The main reason that many people (me included) have problems with globalisation is because of its attendant misery. If globalisation were truly beneficial to all parties, few (okay, fewer) would object.


      Ummm, run that by me again? I've never had anyone who was sufficiently able to convince me that the Globalisation of the marketplace was bad for anyone... I mean, more job opportunities, more labor, more businesses, free trade with everyone. Really the only possible problem is getting decent labor laws passed worldwide. Once that happens everyone should be benefitted. So I don't see why there should be an objection to globalism/globalisation in and of itself. I can see an objection to poorly implemented or badly corrupted globalism though...

      Kintanon
      • It's bad for the inefficient, such as US steel producers or protectionism/subsidy-dependent folks everywhere. Unions and other labour groups forth tend to operate on the basis of trying to protect everyone, not just the competent...
      • Re:-1 troll (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rde (17364)
        Sorry; I wasn't clear. You're right: it's not globalisation that's the problem, it's the implementation thereof. 'Merely' getting decent laws passed is a significant part of the problem, and the world would be a happier place if this sort of thing took place before opening markets, rather than after.
        Example link, rather than have me rehash old arguments: alternet [alternet.org].
        • This I have to agree with 100%. Globalisation isn't something that should be rushed into. It should be carefully planned and implemented so that it actually works properly. Of course, that's unlikely to happen, sigh, but still I can always hope.

          Kintanon
      • Re:-1 troll (Score:2, Insightful)

        I've never had anyone who was sufficiently able to convince me that the Globalisation of the marketplace was bad for anyone...
        Really the only possible problem is getting decent labor laws passed worldwide.

        I guess if you can convince yourself, you don't need anyone else to do it for you.

        A reason that globalization is bad is because "globalization" is, from one point of view, the erosion of corporate accountability. For a corporation all about maximizing profits. What is supposed to happen in "democracy" is that government is accountable to the public, and business is accountable to government (and thus, the people), but this has been shifted; more and more, government is accountable to business, and the public is moving to the bottom of the heap. Businesses can and do get away with exploiting people and environment (think sweatshops, mercury-laden mine effluent) because they are only accountable to the bottom line, and not the people they affect.

        • A reason that globalization is bad is because "globalization" is, from one point of view, the erosion of corporate accountability.

          I think you have it backwards. Globalisation would increase corporate accountability. If labor laws etc... are enforcable worldwide then the corp can't just pick up and move it's operations to a different company to avoid the laws. Right now if, for example, Microsoft really did get drilled by the DOJ they could just pick up shop and move to Zimbabwe if they wanted to and continue to do business pretty much as usual. In a global market that would be impossible because Zimbabwe would have also condemned MSFT and they would have to stand by that judgement to do business anywhere.

          Kintanon
    • The rest of the world chooses on an individual basis whether they want to watch a particular film.

      In a world where individual choice was as championed as it is here on /. this would be true. However, most nations don't have more than a couple of choices available to them. They don't have video stores, independant films to download off the net or the resources to make their own films free from censorship. So Hollywood becomes the defacto choice for a lot of people especially when the government of said country is subsidized by the big studios for distribution rights. Even in a truly fair globalized world, individual choice would barely be available.
      • Re:-1 troll (Score:4, Insightful)

        by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:47PM (#3271276)
        However, most nations don't have more than a couple of choices available to them. They don't have video stores, independant films to download off the net or the resources to make their own films free from censorship. So Hollywood becomes the defacto choice.

        And that's our fault??

        I'm an American and currently live in Mexico. Almost all the movies down here are the same movies we see in the U.S., just subtitled (or dubbed, in the case of Disney films meant for children).

        A couple of years ago there was actually a law proposed before the Mexican Congress whereby Mexican movie theaters would be required by law to show a minimum percentage (40%?) of Mexican movies.

        The law didn't even get passed. It went down in flames because most of the Mexican public knows that Mexican movies are crap and they don't want it forced down their throats. Movie theaters complained because they knew no-one (relatively) would go to see the latest BS turned out by the Mexican movie industry and their ticket sales would suffer as a result.

        So now, years later, even though Mexicans sometimes think Americans are arrogant (until they actually MEET us in person!) and academics and critics complain about the American cultural invasion, in the end, it is the Mexican population and culture that craves it. They watch our movies. They watch our sitcoms. They drive to the Texas border to buy CD players, DVD players, laptops, PDAs, washing machines, etc.

        The United States isn't forcing anyone to watch our movies, buy our products, or accept our culture. They are doing that all by themselves.

        If they don't like it they have an option: abstain!

        If Mexico stops watching American movies and Hollywood succeeds at having a military invasion launched against Mexico, ok, valid point. Until then, these people should find something else to bitch and moan about.

        Yes, the United States is the most powerful country. Yes, we're not perfect and will use that power when it behooves us. But NO, we are not the source of the world's problems. Most of the worlds' problems are much closer to the source than to the United States (i.e., lack of democracy, dictatorships, governments exploiting their people, etc.)

  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:08PM (#3270924)
    I fail to see how anything in this article differs substantially from anything said about globalization pre-9/11... especially by Jon Katz. I guess next week we'll be treated to a similarly-rehashed version of the (already useless) discussion of whether globalization is a good thing.

    Hey editors, if you're hurting for money (see also: subscriptions), maybe you should tell Katz that either he comes up with original material or you're taking him off the payroll.

    • He is actually trying to get atention from those americans that still do not care about globalization. After all, what happened in 9/11 was somehow related to bad international affairs that the US is still maintaining. for globalization to really work we, the US, should try to take it more seriously and really help those in need... or we could do nothing and have more terrorism in our own nation.
    • Thank you. Enough barely-coherent articles about subjects the author is far from understanding. Is JonKatz actually Taco's kid brother or something?
  • My eyes glaze over.

    Seriously, I can't get halfway through a Katz paragraph without halving my attention span.
  • Pro-Star Trek

    Anti-Globalism

    Pro-Libertarian

    Anti-Microsoft

  • Evolution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moofdaddy (570503)
    Could it be argued this is the next stage of human evolution? Perhapse evolution isn't the right word for this. But if we're changing over our society, from the primitive economic structure utilized by the rest of the world towards a more advanced, digital society in general...isn't that the next step? If what we do truely proves to be superior in the next few years, won't natural selection then come into play with other parts of the world who are resistent to the changes come about? If they don't evolve they are at risk of dying out and being overcome.
    • Yup, it's evolution, but not like you think. We've accidentally created a new life form -- the corporation. Corporations need humans to live, but that doesn't make us important to them, any more than you or I think much about our intestinal flora.

      It used to be possible to kill a corporation, but that's harder and harder to do these days, as their pet lobbyists gut the laws that allowed that.

      Humans aren't (quite) irrelevant, but the idea that we're the dominant specie on the planet is becoming an illusion. Or maybe it's just becoming more of an illusion.

  • "Six months ago, most Americans were stunned to discover how differently others in the world regard us from the way we see ourselves."

    wow, so you just recently removed your head from your ass...its about time you joined the rest of us...

    ...now move on.

    dude.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:11PM (#3270953) Journal
    We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it.

    Much of the world hated us when we weren't running away from it.

    For example [nationalreview.com]


    Syrian Radio blared before the 1967 war, "The Arab seas and the fish in them will feed on the Americans' rotting imperialist bodies." Thirty-five years before Mr. Atta's work on 9/11, Radio Cairo trumped Syrian calumny with the macabre but now prescient warning, "Millions of Arabs are preparing to blow up all of America's interests, all of America's installations, and your entire existence, America." The same big lies that we see today on al Jazeera were the everyday stuff of the latter 1960s -- when official government radio stations blared out daily untruths that Americans had bombed Arab countries during the Six Day War and so prevented a "sure" Muslim victory.
    • by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:40PM (#3271203) Homepage Journal

      I was going to say that most Americans are not actively running away from the world. [What stands for "news" in many Arabic language daily papers would leave many of us open-mouthed and incredulous.]

      Rather, we ignore the rest of the world and consider America to be our world.

      That's why most Americans were aghast and surprised by the 9/11 attack, because most of them didn't have any clue about the ideas that circulating in the rest of the world.

      Our own media bears much responsibility in this regard, because it, too, has largely become part of an apparatus of market-based forces - infotainment used to embed valuable advertisements. George Soros makes a good point there.

      I think the scariest part of globalism is that with free movement of corporations between nations, there will be a tendency for those corporations to be attracted to nations with a vacuum of regulations, enabling them to operate in what they find to be the friendliest environment from a pure market perspective. Zero corporate taxes, little corporate liability or responsibility apart from "returning shareholder value".

      Unfortunately, I don't think a good, rational consensus can yet be built at the international level as to a proper corporate regulatory environment. There are too many special interests that would burden things in all kinds of contorted ways, pretty much as many nation states have done. There simply has to be a way of achieving some balanced policy that combines both perspectives, where returned shareholder value is everything, and where cost is no object to achieving a global optimum of human happiness.

      As a consequence, you'll see more and more nations gravitating towards being run for corporate interests, which have only the small inertial forces of ethics among their chief executives preventing them from abandoning even more traditional human values and morals in order to achieve a better return on shareholder value.

      It will probably be some years before this evolution of nation/corporate states comes to a head, but inevitably it will.

      While I strongly believe that free, unfettered flow of accurate information and individual empowerment (such as democracy) are vital to finding a good solution, these two particular ideals may not necessarily be included in either the solutions that provide maximum shareholder value, or in some of the proposed solutions that supposedly provide optimum global human happiness.

      • Many of the knee-jerk rabidly anti-American arguments here are prejudiced if not simply incompetent. Americans were not "surprised" at being attacked because they have some sort of fantasy about everyone in the world liking them. People are "surprised" that anyone would have the utter lack of decency and humanity required to carry off such a horrific attack against innocent people. In short, Americans tend to expect the best from people -- they tend to hope and expect that other people are moral and just. This is the characteristic American openness that in some ways helped make 9/11 possible. Don't get me wrong -- I like that openness, though I dislike when people exploit it.

        Saying that America is at the same time insular and has profound reach and influence in the world is a convenient argument of fiction designed to drag America's name through the mud either way you go. No nation is perfect and all nations are guilty by their collective natures.

        I would agree with you that the free movement of corporations amongst nations can represent a risk, but it can also represent a protection. Nations must be able to compete with each other for the benefits that corporations can bring. The consistent basis for protection against abuse of that flexibility is norms of international law that protect individuals as well as corporations from harmful and illegal influences.

        It's really tiring to hear the old line though of "it's America's fault" when either a) barely a shred of discussion is offered to support the argument, or b) no contrary examples are offered to explain the horrible actions perpetrated by other nations.

        The problem is not that the world is overrun by American influence and culture. The problem is that the world needs to stop being so obsessed with America and get on with the business of minding their own business, with a healthy understanding that both 1) extreme attachments to nationalism and 2) knee-jerk accusations of nationalism represent the same kind of prejudice.

        I find it ironic and interesting that the same people in one breath accuse America on the one hand of being isolated and ignorant of the rest of the world, and on the other hand of being too involved and too present in the world.

        Nothing will satisfy such people. They argue toward self-defamation, and not toward the truth.
        • by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:42PM (#3271733) Homepage Journal

          People are "surprised" that anyone would have the utter lack of decency and humanity required to carry off such a horrific attack against innocent people.

          I didn't express myself clearly or you didn't understand what I meant.

          I don't blame the United States for the events of 9/11. I think that quite clearly the perpetrators of that event need to shoulder full responsibility for it, as well as those who trained them and provided financial support.

          But you fall into the same cultural pit of isolation as the rest of us peasants. What you can call utter lack of decency (and, I, too, FWIW), believe it or not, others can refer to as a strike against Satanic and infidel immorality, justified by God. Those hijackers went to their deaths believing they were doing a good thing not an evil deed. I don't believe it was a good deed, but the fact is, they did and, more to the point, there are many people out there in the world who still do believe that sort of thing.

          It's probably as incomprehensible to you as to most Americans that believe that innocent civilians should not be the targets of political violence. But there it is. It's real. They believe something different, even if you think it's a crock.


          I find it ironic and interesting that the same people in one breath accuse America on the one hand of being isolated and ignorant of the rest of the world, and on the other hand of being too involved and too present in the world.
          It's like this: most Americans don't know a foreign language, don't read foreign media or watch foreign television. Most everything they understand about the outside world comes through network television news. I submit that they are therefore isolated and ignorant of the rest of the world.

          Meanwhile, many of the world's largest corporations are based in the USA. Their trade ventures into the rest of the world are very important, both to us and to the rest of the world, because of the economic benefits that derive from such trade.

          What those countries see are not you and me. They see vice presidents of American corporations, negotiating business arrangements in their countries. Those Americans have a different culture, act in different ways, and are yet quite important. You may think that Americans are represented by the State Department. That's only a small part of it. America is represented by corporate officers overseas and by the media which it broadcasts, such as Baywatch, Dallas, etc.

          You and I may know that America is not what is portrayed on television, but most of the rest world sees only that. They think we're all materialistic airheads, concerned more about our looks than the well-being of our fellow man, ready to go on a gun-crazed killing spree out of vengeance for some trifle.

          I think America is more than that, but I harbor no illusions that just because we are good, that the rest of the world will automatically know it just as we know it.

          • by sillyopolis (558926) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @03:05PM (#3272313)
            It may be you took my post as responding to you in particular, when I was referring to the general character of posts -- not yours per se. Yours inspired a response, but I realize you see more than the single-minded vision of America being at the root of all problems.

            However, there are some problems with your response.

            You write: "It's probably as incomprehensible to you as to most Americans that believe that innocent civilians should not be the targets of political violence. But there it is. It's real. They believe something different, even if you think it's a crock."

            Go back and read my post -- I think you didn't read my understanding correctly. I am not deying that ignorant and violent people exist or that they have different points of view (this seems to be your impression of my post): JUST the opposite.

            I'm not saying it's incomprehensible; in fact I'm saying you misjudge people when you accuse them of being "suprised" in a manner that lacks apprehension. The shock people experienced on 9/11 was overwhelmingly shock at the horror of the event, and the nature of the target. It's one thing to see a military target attacked, but when a civilian target is hit, yes indeed, that represents surprise: not an act of violence has occurred, but that it has been carried out against civilians.

            I may grant you that this punctured some sense of safety many Americans have felt, but that does not change the simple fact that *most Americans do understand that some people hate America.* One would have to have been blind in the last half century to not understand that.

            Your theory that Americans don't know or care what's going on in the world is simply untrue. Americans may not be interested in getting involved in every conflict that you want them to get involved in, but I can assure you that when they do, some of the same people who protest lack of involvement (not necessarily you in this case) will be right there to criticize that interest and involvement. The arguments about involvement or non-involvement are generally hollow and have no serious consequence. In the international, arena, America is criticized for being involved; and then, for not being involved. A difference of principle or opinion is considered ignorance, rather than a difference of opinion. I tell you many times, this perception by outsiders is itself a shallow kind of ignorance. This is not my prognosis for how the whole world operates, but I highlight it here because it is an arrogance that is often overlooked.

            Some people can never be made happy, no matter what choices America makes. The fact of my personal experience in this lifetime is that most Americans are good hearted people and do care about others, and are interested. Is everyone an intellectual pyramid about what's going on in the world? No more than in other places in the world -- why measure people according to nations in this regard? Is there a nation in the world that you can single out as being particulary informed about America? Do you see why I might find failure in this point?

            Whether most Americans speak more than one language or not may deprive them of some cultural breadth, but that is more than made up for in the rich tapestry of immigrant culture that has helped build America over the generations. Language is a feature of culture but it's not the only feature. Furthermore, 10% of the U.S. population is foreign born, and these influences do contribute to what people understand about the world. How many nations can say that? Yes, there are people who don't appreciate that instruction and influence, but the tact of blaming people en masse for what they don't understand and with the flimsiest of explanations is a completely ineffective method of instruction. The aggregate effect of that in media and public discourse conditions people to listen less to criticism, not more.

            I'm not denying flaws -- certainly they exist (who can say that's not true of any nation?). But there are some people in America and elsewhere who will deny the virtues of America or deny the flaws of other nations out of hand -- as a reflexive movement. That's the only thing I have a problem with -- not you or your post (and please remember the liberty I've taken to express some general comments here that are not tied to what you said -- this is not aimed at you per se).

            As for what happened on 9/11, it's not a matter of being incomprehensible to me. I comprehend it exactly: it's *reprehensible* to me. Somehow, although it may not suit your definition, I manage myself to be aghast at what I find reprehensible. However it does not indicate a lack of understanding or previous expectation on my part. There's a difference.

            In short, I fully expect more horrible terrorist attacks against innocents to occur in the world, and quite possibly in America again in the future. If you pursue the mathematical odds, history would suggest this is inevitable on one scale or another. I would say other Americans equally share that understanding. However people will still be shocked and aghast when such things happen. It is not a sound basis for criticizing the level of understanding of what differences in opinion exist in the world.

            On another point: Yes, some people think they did a good thing, but it's morally and ethically unjustifiable. I understand some people have a different point of view but that doesn't compel me to pander to it as being a view worthy of equal treatment. The celebration of and actual death of innocent people purely on the basis of nationality, race, gender, or any other accepted social classification you can think of is wrong. Period. If you wish you can write it off as an existential equality, but I'm not an existentialist and perhaps you are not either, but if you are we shall forever differ on this point!

            I fully understand there are many and varied viewpoints in the world. If you begin from the vantage point that I don't understand this, you fail to see the nuance I am trying to illustrate here. The point is not that I can't see that nuance. I can, and I fully appreciate the presence of that ignorance in many parts of the world -- an ignorance that suggests to people that they can use violence against innocent people as a means to protest or solve a problem. There are people in every part of the world who have that misguided view -- I take no position on which nation has or has not ignorance. They all have a share.

            In your recent post you write, "I think America is more than that, but I harbor no illusions that just because we are good, that the rest of the world will automatically know it just as we know it."

            If you have this patience for the world, perhaps you should take a step back and exercise the same patience -- or at least positive effort -- for America. You may recall in your earler post, you write:

            "That's why most Americans were aghast and surprised by the 9/11 attack, because most of them didn't have any clue about the ideas that circulating in the rest of the world."

            If you "harbor no illusions" about the rest of the world "automatically" understanding America, then why do you 'blame' Americans for not automatically understanding the rest of the world?

            I see this as a double standard.

            -silly
    • Thank You (Score:3, Flamebait)

      by Ars-Fartsica (166957)
      Thank you for pointing out that what lefties in the West perceive as grass-roots poltical banter out of the Middle East is simply the same message they have promoting for decades: the destruction of Israel, the destruction of the West, the imposition of autocracy.

      Now why the Islamic cultures despise the West is obvious - their culture is in decline, their dictatorial and dogmatic structures cannot withstand open examination, and they seek to villify what they see as the agent of change, instead of recognizing and adapting to change itself.


    • "Besides all of that, what have the bleedin' Romans ever done for us?"

      HOODED MAN IN THE BACK RAISES HAND.

      "Oh, Piss off!"

  • Running Away? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e1en0r (529063) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:11PM (#3270959) Homepage
    We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it.

    Funny, I thought they hated us for sticking our noses in their business.
    • Incorrect (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:47PM (#3271268)
      Funny, I thought they hated us for sticking our noses in their business.

      Modern Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist without the US sticking its nose very far into the Middle East. The regime is propped up with US aid and oil money, although paradoxically it is the Saudis funding most of the anti Western efforts.

      The reason they hate the West is because the West, for all its trash culture, is a free culture, and their model of rule is a contradiction of freedom. Their culture is in decline, their power is eroding, and they know that if their own populaces were empowered, most of them would be executed.

    • Re:Running Away? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kibo (256105) <naw#gmail. c o m> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:31PM (#3271655) Homepage
      I think that's why they say they hate us, but in reality the people who do hate the US are just stupid and poor.

      They see us making trade demands from everyone, our fingers in too many pies, and think it greedy or maybe arrogant. But it's just that we're the largest trading partner of most countries. Our national interests are simply more distributed, and unsurprisingly, our foreign policy follows our interests. But there's a strange sort of dichotomy. I think it might come from the value placed on individuality, where by and large people take care of their own crap. Perhaps other cultures see national agreements more holistically. And perhaps expect something more than free trade for any concessions made, and we've left the building. We're watching Access Hollywood for an update on the personal dramas of Britney and Justin, or something equally mundane. A baby who inexplicably fell down a well, whatever. And the populace of other countries feels that the US is too conceited for it power, or too powerful for its conceit. But the truth is much less interesting. It's simply a matter of my goods for your money or my money for your goods, and if you expect me to even entertain the prospect of this process, there are going to be a few things we need to agree on first.

      Then you have people, such as the palestinians, who expect to just be happy because some book I've never read says they deserve it. They picked a fight, they lost. And now they're really loosing. (Good.) They expect the US to wave a magic wand and just solve all their problems for them, without any effort on their part. Even if the world did work that way, and history has consistantly shown us it doesn't, why on Earth would we possibly intervene on behalf of the palestinians, given the past years events, and the occasions they choose for celebration?

      If it wasn't in such a tragic context, even Arafat's recent statments would be funny. According to him the US is directly responsible for palestinian deaths because the Isralies use some american hardware, and the palestinians are not directly responsible Isralie civilian casualties because they are short on saritonin re-uptake inhibitors, or something. They really feel entitled to everything, and it's somehow our obligation to just give it to them, and they shouldn't even have to stop killing innocent people to get it. It's pretty obvious I've got no pity left for the palestinians. But I do think they have an excuse of sorts.

      Some of the data I've read suggests the the majority of the people in the muslim world, which is vastly poorer than the west on a per capita average, are illiterate. Being illiterate and raised in enviroments that even in their mildest forms I would consider reactionary and fundementalist, and having few sources of information, they grow up without bullshit detectors. This and the fact they grow up with a religion that extols, in some instances, the murder of civilians and suicide, and a culture where people think nothing of using people for political ends, well it's to be expected. But we can't make them rich, we can't make them smart, we can't grow bullshit detectors in vasts and have missionaries and peace corps volunteers insert them using a novel out-patient procedure. They've got to help themselves, too bad for them they don't see it that way. Too bad for us too.

      Well, at least I get to see some stuff blow up on CNN. There's the steel lining I guess.
    • Re:Running Away? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by delcielo (217760) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:40PM (#3271718) Journal
      They hate us for sticking our nose in their business when they don't want it; and they hate us for not sticking our nose in their business when they feel they need it.

      Perfect case in point: "Why isn't America, the richest nation on Earth, doing something about the famine in Somalia?" So the U.S. starts shipping food over as fast as it can. The warlords steal the food from the people. So the U.S. sends troops in to protect the food/people. "Why is America interfering with poor little Somalia? Why is America hunting the muslim warlords? It must be because they're muslims. The infidels are attacking."
  • Check... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DickPhallus (472621) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:11PM (#3270963)
    Buzzword check:

    Post-9/11, check
    Globalism, check
    Trans-national Corporations, check
    Explosive growth of the net, check

    I'm a bit disappointed, where's the post-columbine tie-in?
    • Re:Check... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dimator (71399)
      Ahhh, ever since I've blocked JonKatz stories from my homepage, I've been a much happier surfer. (Don't ask me how I found this one.)

  • So, exuberantly costumed demonstrations aside, globalism is not about to evaporate or even weaken, not any time soon. Quite the opposite: nation-states and their constituents now have to choose between globalism (and its attendant prosperity) or religious fanaticism. This leaves us with the central question:

    Next: Is Globalism good or evil?

    I have to disagree; it's a simplistic question and somewhat moot. Obviously globalization has its positive and negative aspects. The central question to me seems more something along the lines of "Is globalization now inevitable and if so, should we be working to shift the focus to people's welfare across the globe or will the prosperity of these new multi-national corporations 'trickle-down' (to go back and reference the Reagan era again) to the people of the world?"

    Also Katz; I would request that you learn; to use your semicolons; please (not like this).

  • by ejaytee (186527) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:16PM (#3271002)

    This series has become not so much commentary as a diarrhetic stream of self-righteous sewage.

    Please, Mr. Katz, save your future tantrums for the walls of the public restroom stall of your choice. Speaking for myself, I have nothing better to do whilst engaged in such places, and I wouldn't feel such a sense of loss if I invested the time to read your writings at times such as those.

    Your anti-globalization mantra is poorly constructed. You toss in so many unsupported perjoratives in the process of hating globalization and its perceived dark army of supporters that I begin to dislike you intensely and view you with suspicion.

    Your juvenile rantings have a curious boomerang effect, as I begin to feel warmly about globalization. My reasoning is simple: any issue against which a nincompoop such as yourself might rail is worthy of consideration.

    grep -v Katz

  • This reminds me of the last episode of the Simpsons where Homer goes to Brazil wearing a tee-shirt that says : "You can't stop us" with a picture of the United States devouring the planet :)
  • If globalization is such a problem, then just localize all the variables where they are needed or passed and only use two global functions per file. Geesh, what kind of coffee did you people drink?

  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:20PM (#3271033)
    When we went to fight for Saudi Arabia, or our oil interests, whichever you prefer, we were very carful not to offend anyone. Soldiers were told to drink only in their tents, and avoid the girl lovin' yeehaw cowboy attitude of America. But wait a second? They invited us! The politicians didn't care, and the rules still applied so we wouldn't alienate them.
    But just because "they" may not like our ways, doesn't mean it's a bad thing, in some places there are no womens rights. The women might not even care because they've had it drilled in to their brains all their lives that they were meant to stay at home and not vote. It's been part of their culture for centuries, what makes the US right all of a sudden? Nothing really, but that doesn't make it easier to sit back and watch the women be oppresed and say "oh, they don't mind." So it's kinda, might makes right, and the US has the might.
    There is the myth that church and state are seperated in the US. But none of the constitutional rights go against the ten commandments and we're one nation "under god". Why? Because we had to go by *something*. We couldn't make laws to make everybody happy, so we decided on "Christian" laws. We choose that adultery is bad, but in some parts of africa, it's expected to give your wife to company. Again, what makes the US right? Well, we have the aids problem a little more under control, but the only moral reasoning is that it comes from the bible. Still, in the US it's illegal.
    What I'm trying to say is, we can't decide for people what is right or wrong. But if another culture sees our culture and likes it, why stop them from joining? Where does it cross the line from preserving their culture to oppressing them and isolating them from the outside world?
  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:20PM (#3271034) Homepage
    The primary enduring effect is that we now have a whole bunch of crackpots who keep insisting that some mysterious changes have taken place tranforming the whole world. These changes are a psychological phenomenon that factors only in *some* people's lives. Then there are those who don't perceive any changes, but simply repeat the message that there are changes without thinking critically, like the crowd of people in the well-known story about the Emperor's new clothes. Whenever a sufficient number of people claim to perceive something, there are those who pretend to also perceive it for fear of being seen as strange, stupid or lacking in perception. The net effect is a mass self-bullshitting.

    The secondary enduring effect is that some psychotic, paranoid redneck idiots are using September's attacks as an excuse to increase their destructive interference in other people's lives in the name of national security, patriotism or whatever.
  • Although Katz didn't imply religion equals to poverty, this generalization is prevalent and incorrect. IMHO, religious fanaticism that is anti-technology and anti-equality keeps in place barriers to social/cultural and material wealth.

    I think that social/cultural wealth is a must in any nation, but developing nations do not want or cannot accept in a rapid sweep the rise of material wealth.

    In the short run, there is a definite argument for globalism to create material wealth, eliminating poverty. The long-run consequences, however, must be considered. What do developing nations do when suddenly they have a great amount of material wealth? The culutural change associated with socioeconomic class restructuring is staggering. It is important, I think, to adopt a respect for slowed growth in less materially developed nations.

    As tech enthusiasts, Slashdot readers need to consider the effects of their work, and start guiding their efforts to be more humanistic, while still maintaining a *fair* amount of free markets. Explain, without boasting, the positive effects of improved technology, and explain the pros and cons of democracy/capitalism. The unbalanced explanations to many new adopters of democracy/capitalism/globalism have been unfair. If visionaries explain the future obstacles, countries will be better prepared to face change. Adopt other cultures' points of view if you want them to accept yours, and do not feel superior because your technology is.
  • Six months ago, most Americans were stunned to discover how differently others in the world regard us from the way we see ourselves. Globalism is a major reason.

    So's state-controlled media in, say, the Middle East perpetually broadcasting anti-American (and anti-Semitic) propaganda to give their captive populations an external "enemy" to blame for the misery caused by their corrupt dictatorships. Maybe pervasive Internet access would end-run this, but it hasn't done the job yet, even in a ridiculously wealthy nation like Saudi Arabian royal dictatorship.

    We might do more to suggest to those captive populations that they do what Americans did over two centuries ago: overthrow their dictatorships in favor of a constitutionally limited republic. Yes, there's downside risk, but is it that much worse than the current situation?
  • The point here is that if you believe in an economy, you will invest there. If you don't you will put your money elsewhere. If you already have money there, you want to be able to get it out if conditions change. If you can't get your money out, do you really want to invest there?

    This is where the Hong-Kong story is wrong, it doesn't matter what the British Government do or say, it is the markets themselves that will judge. A significant factor in the case of Hong Kong would have been the Bank of China that was putting most of its Forex transactions through Hong Kong. They would also have advised retaining the status quo, even though it would cost some face.

    The issue though is the trans-national corp. Who regulates it? This is a separate issue to capital flow. Here the corporate HQ gravitates to the best tax/regulatory environment. Is that really correct?

    • But what if the companies who are sloshing the money around are primarily based in just a few very rich countries?

      It is clear that some people see this as being primarily US money and thus putting the blame on US, whether or not it is deserved.

  • Invasive American culture -- from movies, music, fast-food

    It always gets my hackles up to hear our culture described as "invasive". Nobody's forcing people to go into the Moscow Pizza Hut or buy Coca-Cola in Beijing.

  • by neema (170845) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:35PM (#3271150) Homepage
    "We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it."

    Ah yes, thank you for pointing that out. It's not because much of the world hates us for running into shit we should of kept out of and then exploiting everything around us.

    We were truly "running away from the world" as the United States killed over 100,000 Filipinos in the 1899 Filipino-American War. (And consequently returning to the Phillipines in 1945 to defeat the leftist Huks and install a series of puppet presidents, namely Ferdinand Marcos who sucked the country dry of capital for three decades and then retired into Hawaii).

    They most certainly don't hate us for the CIA's 1953 takedown of democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran and the subsequent installment of a repressing and torturing Shah.

    Or the other takedown of 1953, Jacobo Arbenz, who was a democratically elected president and had such "evil" plans like land reform, civil liberties and nationalizing the Washington-connected United Fruit Company. More US political installments and US trained death squads leads to another 100,000 victims.

    Or the US attempts to overthrow the Syrian goverment. Twice.

    It's not that we're hated because we still, to this day, Israel with billions of dollars of aid, despite its harsh treatment of Palestinians and massacres in Lebanon.

    Or the million or so who died as a result of 1957 Sukarno-Indonesia scandal (which had such tidbits like the CIA making a fake sex film to try to blackmail him).

    Or Vietnam.

    Or the '69 carpet bombings of Cambodia where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died. The end result being the US helping the genocidal manial Pol Pot to take over who declares "Year Zero," kills anyone with an education, or even wearing glasses, and sends everyone to the countryside to work in agricultural labor camps. More than two million die in his "killing fields".

    Certainly, the world doesn't hate us for the infamous Congo/Zaire affair where a man calling for the liberation of Congo's economy and politics, Patrice Lumumba, is assasinated with the help of the CIA and then chopped into little bits and then burned in acid. Mobutu Sese Seko takes over, changes the name to Zaire, and begins one of the most corrupt and bloody dictatorships in modern times. Thirty years later, despite its rich natural resources, the people of the Congo are still dirt-poor, Mobutu is a multibillionaire, and the country is in chaos. In 1997, Mobutu is overthrown, and retires to the Cote d'Azur. The country slides into a civil war that has killed more than one million.

    I guess that our "running away" consists of violence in Cuba, Chile, East Timor, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Colombia.

    So Katz, before you point the finger to an "invasive American culture" as a cause of hatred from lots of the world, why don't you try pointing the finger at an "invasive America"?

    As a 17 year old, I get enough of this "They hate us because we have all this good shit" on the news and at school. At least places like this news website should be reserved for some insight past what the media feeds us and into the real matters at hand.
    • Unfortunately one of the saddest chapters of the Cold War/ wars by proxy was the overthrow of Allende and the placement of Pinochet as a US puppet. What followed was a sad tale of oppression that truly betrayed the good intentions of American citizens.
    • They most certainly don't hate us for the CIA's 1953 takedown of democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran and the subsequent installment of a repressing and torturing Shah.

      Anything that happened between 1943 and 1989 is a result of the Cold War and blame can be placed on any number of countries/leaders. There is no excuse for killing of any kind in my book (except maybe capital punishment). None of these things were necessarily 'right' or 'good', but they may have been the best thing at the time to do. Besides, countries make mistakes just like you and me. Throwing up a list of the brightest and most horrible as an attack is childish and naive.

      It's not that we're hated because we still, to this day, Israel with billions of dollars of aid, despite its harsh treatment of Palestinians and massacres in Lebanon.

      Tell that to the jews in America that have tremendous political clout. The US is a republic that more often than not listens to it's constituents and that is why Israel gets the guns and planes. Add to that the need for an American interest in the region and you have a strong impetus for the US to stay involved in Israel.

      As a 17 year old, I get enough of this "They hate us because we have all this good shit" on the news and at school.

      Maybe you should spend some time in a foreign school where they feed you the "We hate Americans because they starve our children" line every day when in fact the dictator has 58% of the countries wealth, food, electricity and clean water in his 100 palaces. Then you can begin to be justified in claiming to want to know "the real matters at hand."
      • You need a clue. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reknamorken (526925)
        Maybe you should get real. It looks to me like you took this persons declaration of age to be something to attack his ideas with. That's ridiculous.

        As someone who is twice his age I agree with most of what he said. AND, more importantly, I think his arguments hold large amounts of truth. To respond to you directly:

        Blaming everything that has happened between 1943 and 1989 on the Cold War is a bit silly. The Cold War is a symptom of something else. It's the result of power struggles. Power struggles and the control for dominance is just that. And, IMHO, it's hardly ever justified. It's basically a form of mental masturbation and usually performed by insecure little boys who haven't figured out how to deal with their own personal problems. The reasons, however, are usually couched in some kind of rah-rah about protecting the world or some other such trite crap.

        Surprisingly, I agree with you about the Jewish constituency; however, you ignored some things. I'm not Jewish and I am, frankly, quite sick of American Jew's support (those that do) of Israeli behavior. Israel is the South Africa of this decade. There is no excuse for the ongoing institutionalized indentured servitude (really slavery if you don't want to mince words) and mistreatment of the Palestinian peoples. It's very much akin to the justification of South African slavery. Did you know that Nelson Mandella and the ANC were classified as "terrorists" by both the South African and American governments in the early 80s?

        Your last argument is the most ridiculous and clearly shows that while the rest of your article is appears logical that you are operating on the basis of emotions for your deductive reasoning. In a huge number of cases the "dictator" in question that you refer to was backed by the U.S. Liberty, human rights, etc. are for American people, not people in other countries. Aren't you paying attention to the what the U.S. government does as foreign policy as opposed to what they say?

        I doubt you have even been overseas. Having spent a fair bit of my time overseas I can say that A) your claim of how the propaganda machines function is exaggerated and B) people in other countries are frequently understanding of the difference between American people and the American governmen, and C) you have totally ignored that where there is a propaganda machine in place it's probably a small flame next to the might mechanisms of the American mass media which affect the globe.

        Anyway, mod this down as a troll, but you clearly needed a clue. Here it is. Take it or leave it.

  • Foreigners have an often contradictory relationship with American culture - they loathe it, yet they desperately want to absorb it as quickly as possible. Advertisers have known about this relationship for years.

    As for the "culture war" between the West and the Islamic countries, it boils down to one simple truth - a closed repressive culture is being overrun by one that glorifies and even exploits openness.

    These regimes are frightened by Western culture because they realize their rule cannot withstand open examination, but instead must be enforced autocratically or through religious dogma.

    • Yeah, this is offtopic, and will get modded down... but...

      Taco, if you are looking for a replacement for Katz, might I suggest the author of the parent post (Ars-Fartsica)?
      Just check out his journal. Not only is it a nice set of original content that is well written, it is all technical and written for the "nerd population."

      Personally, I'd much rather read what Ars has to say on the frontpage, than Katz.
    • These regimes are frightened by Western culture because they realize their rule cannot withstand open examination, but instead must be enforced autocratically or through religious dogma.

      Now you know what al-Jazeera TV--the most popular satellite TV channel in the Middle East--is loved and loathed by people who watch it. This channel often asks questions that would be considered extreme heresy by the local Imam or mullah, namely the place of women in Islam, questions about whether the parts of the Sunnah (Islamic laws) are even relevant today, and how to modernize Islam to be relevant in 2002.

      The questions asked by this channel may be just the thing to get Islamic religious leaders to get off their duffs and get a concensus (sp?) about improving Islam's image to the non-Islamic world. This was exactly what the Council of Trent in the 16th Century and the Second Vatican Council in the 20th Century did to the Roman Catholic Church. Islam desperately need to hold such a council, IMHO.
  • /me prariedoggs up over cubicle, looks around.

    Everything looks pretty unchanged here.

  • Two sides (Score:3, Informative)

    by skilef (525335) <{ten.zzznuv} {ta} {xilf}> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:45PM (#3271251)
    A medal has two sides. The US, as the most dominant country in the world, is trying to share (with force, in some cases) their moral values and experiences. On the other hand it becomes obvious to the rest of the world that the US government only cares about other countries when it's benificial for them. Look at the Kyoto-agreement. There was consensus on the topic: developed countries realized they had to take a few steps back.
    Two years later, president Bush jr. decides it's not going to work and distantiates from the whole agreement. Other countries decide to continue with their efforts (and expenses!) while realizing the US will only get more ahead..

    I'm european myself and after I talked to a friend who's been in Africa I realized that some people can't be changed the way we (western people) see it's best for them:
    'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime' is a slogan used by a couple of charity programs here in Europe. This is true to a certain extent, but attitude is even more important.. Most of the African people don't have the attitude we need from them to make this slogan work. People who went to Africa will agree..
  • If America hadn't time after time again, meddled in affairs that were not its own, we would see less countries and groups wanting to get even with us. Also, you will notice that we seem to only meddle with small countries that have some resource we consider important (oil) or a resource we fear (drugs). Why else did we get involved in the Vietnam war? The Korean War, the Russian-Afghani conflict, the Israel-Palenstine conflict, ect. You sure don't see us trying to get involved with say, people starving in Ethopia. People try and say that we were involved in the above conflicts/wars because we care about justice and someone was being hurt. Well, folks, why then do other counties not get involved if it's such as simple case of justice? Does no one else REALLY care? I think not. It's that we care for the wrong reasons, and try to disguise the reasons with politically acceptable ones.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:47PM (#3271269)
    I have to be honest here, if it wasn't for the media and control freaks in politics and the public I wouldn't notice anything different in my life from the 9/11 events. Blowing up two buildings in NYC doesn't automatically mean that my eating, driving, working, etc has changed in the least. Everything people have said has been either based on dealing with the government (limits on public access), airports (hellish lines), or emotional reponses to something that they basically have only experienced on TV. So I wish people would stop referring to "how our lives have changed after 9/11", they haven't unless you let it change them and if we were honest with ourselves odds are it hasn't changed most people's lives.

    I've reached the point where I'm becoming more discriminating in what I let effect me. Just because the media reports on something doesn't mean I have to have an emotional response. People get worked up over the Middle East but really, unless you have relatives over there or you are going broke from paying $0.10 more a gallon on gas it doesn't matter the least in your life.

    The amount of news pouring in from all over the world simply requires some sort of prioritizing. It is like classified information, if everything, no matter how trivial, is marked secret then nothing is really classified. If you allow everything you see on TV to effect you then nothing truly effects you because you are emotionally spread out so thinly.
  • by SirSlud (67381) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:48PM (#3271284) Homepage
    Pretty much all the open market reforms placed on countries needing financial assistance in Europe over the past decade have seen their GDP decline by virtue of the leverage that the IMF has when negotiating loans. The wealth gap has only increased since the late 70s, with no counter-trends in sight. Free market capitalism has indeed spurred technological growth and 'innovation' (I think its a misnomer half the time that term is used) at rates herefore unseen, but at great economic cost to the players with little or no economic leverage to ensure that their domestic interests are covered in trade agreemens and stipulations on IMF loans.

    All of this leads me to my contention: Globalism-as-the-worlds-savior is a religion just as much as any other religion is. We've yet to see it pay off across the board (obviously, many have made gains, but those gains are overshadowed by an increasing number of ultra-poor in many nations who've had to borrow from the IMF.)

    I always felt that the whole game was no different from religion - a promise that will come to fruition 'in the future sometime' (according to WTO/IMF aligned proponants of globalisation), if only we accept that many will suffer in the meantime.

    Any ideological system that is sufficiently complex takes a whackload of faith in order to implement, usually gets abused by those at the helm of the decision making, and is gobbled up by the majority of those who benifit directly from said system with little question or belief that that system could be having negative effects on out-of-sight societies.

    That globalisms 'empower society by encouraging the desire for material gain' ideology is directly in competition with Islamic religions' view that material gain (becoming richer than your neighbour) is something to be discouraged (or in the very least, not encouraged) goes a long way, IMHO, to illustrate the underlying ideological conflict we're seeing in current events.

    I just can't shake the feeling that 'globalism', as a buzzword, and as a trend whose sordid details most people are unaware of, requires just as much faith to live by as any other religion. And that, I find, is kind of interesting.
  • I think I'm going to go drain the ocean, or blow up Canada or something, just so Katz has a new "post-" something to talk about.
  • Who is this JonKatz dude anyway? Is he cute? He doesn't seem too bright though...

    PPA, the girl next door.
  • by Roger Whittaker (134499) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:55PM (#3271346) Homepage
    That's not how it looks from here!

    "We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it."

    The US is establishing bases in areas of the world where it never had any influence before: Tajikistan,Uzbekistan and Georgia to name but three.

    What we are seeing is both Globalisation and a new kind of military Imperialism and it is very frightening.


  • Thanks to our myopic and narcissistic media

    Honestly, Katz, I didn't realize you were talking about yourself on this one.
  • An English stance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by waterbiscuit (241198) <milly AT janetec ... internet DOT com> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @12:59PM (#3271380) Journal
    I really hope this doesn't get modded down, but I have to say that the world itself is, well, pretty unchanged. Contrary to the belief of apparently nearly every American alive, America does not constitute the whole world apart from the Middle East.

    America seems to have adopted the 9/11 tragedy as a tragedy for the world. It is not. It is a tragedy for those in the WTC. Of course we sympathise for those. I don't know the exact figures, but less than 4000 people died. How many people do you think there are who are starving, dying of famine, etc etc? I'm sorry, you do not merit our totally undivided sympathy.

    Americans seem to think that they are so powerful that a terrorist attack on them is a terrorist attack on the civilised world. This is simply not true. It is a terrorist attack on America, and nothing more. What gives America the right to assume that the whole world is hugely affected by what happens to them? I can certainly say that absolutely nothing has changed here.

    I hate to be so totally against America like this, but I cannot help but feel that you've got to realise that there's a lot of other non-Middle-East countries out there who remain unaffected and who do not have such a superiority complex about themselves as to assume that they reflect the feelings of the world. As for the Middle East itself, well they have their opinions too, and they're not so uncivilised as you might think.
  • by enkidu (13673) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:01PM (#3271402) Homepage Journal
    The parts of the world that hate us, (even those that do hate us seem to love other parts of the U.S.), don't hate us because we have so much power, or because we export so much of our "decadent" culture, or because they "hate our freedom", or even because we are turning our back" on the rest of the world. They hate the U.S. because they view us as hypocrites. And so we are.

    We talk of free trade and then enact tariffs to protect our industries from "unfair" trading. We talk of democracy and we support repressive, undemocratic regimes. We talk of justice and refuse it to innocent victims of our bombings. We talk of international rules but ignore them when it doesn't suit us. We talk of equality but treat all others as inferiors. We talk of freedom but want our "partner" nations to do what we tell them to do. What do you expect?

    And who is to blame? We all are to blame. The media is to blame for ignoring their public responsibility, printing and broadcasting spineless mush (like this piece) that serve the interests of corporations and stability. The government is to blame for supporting coroporate profits to the exclusion of higher social and diplomatic goals. And we the public are to blame, for electing these bozos, for giving them high approval ratings when they do not deserve them, for not demanding better coverage of the foreign press and international affairs, for being content with our computers, our SUV's, our anime cartoons and our prosperity with no thought as to how these things are produced. We are to blame because we allow our government to continue to act hypocritically and we say nothing.

    So don't give me that bullshit about "abandoning" the global arena. Globalization isn't the problem. It's our hypocrisy that is pissing people off. And it's pissing me off too.

  • poor reporting (Score:2, Informative)

    by Petrox (525639)
    For those of ya'll who didn't know, and because Jon Katz didn't include this stuff in his review, George Soros is quite an interesting guy. His personal background is quite important to consider in the context of such a book on globalization. George Soros is a very wealthy man, who made his millions doing currency speculation (you know, the kind of thing that, unfettered, ruined many East Asian economies circa 1997-1998). He has since turned philanthropist, running the Open Society [soros.org] institute. OSI is dedicated [soros.org] to:

    "promote the development and maintenance of open societies around the world. OSI does this by supporting an array of activities dealing with educational, social, legal, and health care reform, and by encouraging alternative approaches to complex and controversial issues."

    From what I understand, he is committed personally and professionally to helping ensure that globalization proceeds in an open, democratic (in a broad sense) manner.

  • Katz is one of the reasons I won't subscribe. "Just don't read his stories" you might say. Well, for me it is a matter of respect. Why are his stories posted? It is bordering on ridiculous. I don't think it is just /. readers bias against Jon, it is the fact that it is repeatedly shown that he writes unthoughtful pieces of little substance. The fact that his stories are posted is almost mocking the readers here, goading them to respond. If /. cannot respect the readers any more than that, then I will never subscribe. It was cute and funny for a while, but now it is just pathetic.
  • by nadador (3747) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:13PM (#3271505)
    Katz already answered his own question, "Is globalism good or evil?" by the very context of his remarks here. He pits globalism as the necessary evil against religous fanaticism by making the rather remarkable leap that countries unwilling to bow to the will of the modern market will undoubtedly spin out in a blaze of religiosity.

    Antiglobalists, and Katz to some extent, fall prey to the currently very vogue deconstructionist view of the universe. In that sense, the only proposal of their vitriolic spew is to attack the organic unity of any tradition or political philosophy that the avante garde determine is their next target. The great problem with adopting a Derrida-esque view of the universe is that you aren't left with much but nihlistic fatalism and a sense of martyrdom. There's an article in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs that points this out perfectly. The author (whose name escapes me at the moment) states that antiglobalists make the assumption that desconstructionism (a philosophical movement that sprung out of a reaction to formalist literary theory) should not be considered to be a more appropriate or humane or sanctified way of viewing the universe than economics, at least not a priori. His point is that deconstructing globalism doesn't necessarily get you anywhere, and its not even a necessarily appropriate thing to do.

    So Katz secures his place in the vanguard of populist philosophy by lamenting the evils of globalism while recognizing its pacifying effect on populaces that, in Katz view, are likely to succumb to religious fanaticism. We all admire the irony and struggle in Katz' voice. Lets all have a quiet moment and think about what a great writer Katz is.

    The only problem is that Katz' deconstruction of globalism hasn't left us with anything productive. The net gain to the universe is zero. No new knowledge has been propogated, no new thought inspired - just insipid moaning and ranting and raving.

    All I'm asking is that when we discuss matters of such great importance that our goal be to synthesize some new rational thought that actually produces a net gain for the universe. If we discuss globalism, let's discuss ways of mitigating its faults rather than eloquently rehashing all of the arguments against it.
  • Useless babble (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radicalsubversiv (558571) <michaelNO@SPAMsherrards.org> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:16PM (#3271526) Homepage Journal

    Nothing like a bad mix of George Soros and techno-futurism to come up with vapid social analysis.

    We seem to be running away from the world, and much of the world hates us for it.

    Americans are doing a good job of ignoring the rest of the world, thanks to the woefully narrow focus of most of our news media. The U.S. government, on the other hand, continues to get better and better at interfering with the rest of the world, often in ways we don't even hear about. How many ./ers know there are American "military advisors" (a la Vietnam) in Colombia and the Phillippines right now?

    As the U.S. evolved rapidly from an industrial to a data-based economy, much of the world hasn't come along, or doesn't want to.

    Mr. Katz, who do you think manufactures your sneakers? Your car? Your computer? Regardless of whether the U.S. now has a "data-based economy," someone has to do the producing. And, quite frankly, the fact that good-paying industrial union jobs in the U.S. have evaporated, only to be replaced with temp work for 13-year-old Indonesian girls earning a few dollars a day, doesn't strike me as much cause for celebration.

    A ferocious advocate of open societies ..

    No, Mr. Soros is a ferocious advocate of open markets. Big difference.

    ... they're still fairly effective at controlling the movement of people. (Although even there, the Net ultimately makes that more difficult, at least in terms of intellectual property and ideas. This kind of content is liquid, no longer confinable within territorial boundaries.

    Since when does "people == content"? I'm all for the Net's revolutionary impact on intellectual 'property,' but it doesn't have much effect on whether peaceful people can cross borders freely. That privilege is reserved for capital.

    nation-states and their constituents now have to choose between globalism (and its attendant prosperity) or religious fanaticism.

    This is a false choice: Enron or Osama. I pick neither. Unfortunately for Mr. Soros, the romantic notion that ordinary people, not financial markets, ought to make the decisions that affect their lives, lingers in the hearts of many.
  • Religious holidays (Score:3, Interesting)

    by strombrg (62192) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:37PM (#3271689) Homepage

    You forgot to mention religious holidays.

    Personally, I don't see how Muslims could avoid being worried about the way globalism is likely to push christmas and other christian holidays on them. Many christians really get an attitude when you don't want to celebrate their religious holidays with them, and many of these people control the popular media which is being exported, increasingly, to foreign nations. It quite literally is a threat to the Muslim way of life, as well as the ways of life of other religious peoples, as well as atheists, some agnostics, and probably others too.
  • by alexander.morgan (317764) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:37PM (#3271692)
    The question is not about "good" or "evil." The question is about the definition of globalism.

    Corporations and the U.S. Government confuse globalism with corporate imperialism. Or perhaps they don't. It just sounds better. Corporate imperialism is what people hate, not globalism, except as the term is used by the powers that be.

    To make globalism work, we need to give people control, including the power to move around the world as easily as corporations and capital. We need to respect the degree to which communities want their lifestyle altered by participating in the global community. And we need to give the people a real say in government, not Mickey Mouse elections based on sound bites and FUD, with a choice between grits and boiled pork.

    Further, we need to see the exploitation of third world labor in the same light as the exploitation of mineral resources. When we ship labor overseas, to reduce cost, it must be accompanied by benefits such as education, not just the billowing bank accounts of a few dictators and corporate moguls.

    Western countries and the U.S. in particular, must also start to walk the talk. All western political and corporate leaders are good at parroting free trade sound bites. But they are much less adept at letting the market work its magic. The current U.S. vs. Europe steel debacle is just one of the many examples. Take a look at all the regulations and restrictions limiting clothing imports into the U.S. You might say, that is to protect U.S. clothing manufacturers--so much for free trade. But then why not limit the export of programming jobs to India, or help television manufacturers in the U.S.? The reason, among others, is to keep third world countries in their place, and to protect the artificially inflated market of designer brands in western countries. As long as U.S. corporations are in control, everything is OK. But if it looks like control might shift to another country, then trade restrictions are imposed.

    And finally, intellectual property law reform is badly needed. As it is, the IP laws are bad for the people in developed countries. But much worse, for people in developing countries they are just a further tool for indefinite enslavement, and in many cases, such as availability of drugs, they are a matter of survival.

    The overwhelming hate Americans experience in many parts of the world is certainly related to these issues. As is a completely out of touch and unjust U.S. centric foreign policy, but that is the subject of another essay. Many of these people who hate the U.S. don't hate Americans, they hate what a select few Americans do to their countries and people. Remember when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire?" Well, those same Russians are still there, but obviously not so evil anymore. The current administration believes that propaganda can help sell American values to the third world. But how do you sell enslavement and exploitation to the looser? Military force, of course, mixed with plenty of FUD and a little well place cash. The promise of a future more bleak than it already is. That is the theory anyway. September 11 should have been a wake-up call to yes, defend ourselves, but also to reevaluate our view of the world.

    Obviously, all of this cannot happen overnight. The world's problems are not solved by moving three or four billion poor people to the U.S. or Western Europe. But there is no reason why the government should restrict the movement of the workforce between countries with a similar economic status. There is no reason why we can't develop a "free trade" system that benefits all parties. There is no reason why social responsibility cannot be part of globalism.

    In the end, the U.S. Government and U.S. corporations (if there is a difference), must learn to ask and give, not to tell and take. Then perhaps, American values will be admired. And interestingly enough, this is also the recipe for unlimited wealth, because it is giving of service and value, that creates wealth. I should think the collapse of the Roman, Spanish, British, etc.. empire has taught us that much. Perhaps it has, but it is not relevant until after the next election cycle, or the golden parachute kicks in.

    Talking about the world is interesting, but the first step must be cleaning up the mess at home. Would you hire an interior decorator who lives in a dump? It may be a surprise to Americans, but even Western Europeans ridicule the U.S. legal and political system. The U.S. may spend tons of money on medical care, but its infant mortality rate is among the world's worst. Social Security? Or do you mean social insecurity? Even with all the news coverage, it is always an eye opener to see the reaction of people from Europe when they catch a glimpse of U.S. poverty. Clean up at home, and lead the world by example. Just remember how well it worked when your parents said: "Do as I tell you, not as I do."

    The bottom line is: Globalism is Good. Corporate (or State) Imperialism is Bad.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @03:29PM (#3272484)
    ...there is a solution that is simple, obvious, elegant, and wrong.

    Eventually I'll get to Soros, but for now let's look at the choice of words in the post:

    Our invasive American culture is THEIR choice - last time I checked, the McDonald's franchise punch list did not include armed invasion. Soneone in every place where there's a McD's, Coca Cola, Polo, or US motion picure - the locals had to make it so. You don't get too many US franchises without someone on the receiving end, real estate, vendors, zoning, import & export officials letting if not inviting you to do it.

    Also - let's not cross the line and infer by omission that 9/11 was or is any indication of the opinion of anyone but the perpetrators of the terrorism. "Others" is far too unbounded a term to us to describe the marginal combatants who sent two flying bombs into the financial center of the US.

    The world has been "globalized" in the modern sense since WWI. This all is nothing new. What is new is the speed at which it can happen, and the facility with which anyone can get their nose in front of a camera. Giant puppets don't mean anything except that they are easier to see and therefore take advantage of the technology of video cameras and the individual predelictions of the TV news producers.

    We say "globalization" as if there were any other choice for the only known planet filled with one race of planet-shaping beings.

    The real action point comes down to individuals and entities that make the decisions. Nike is responsible for what they do, not America. And before you say it's our laws that let Nike (as an example) do (whatever), it takes two to tango. Is a Nike factory a forced invasion? Is Nike removing Asian teens from their six-figure suites and putting them in a factory? Fill in your favorite offender. The country they're in wanted them there - if they didn't, they wouldn't be there. They decided that this was the best offer they could get. Just like we all decide that minimum wage is right where we want it. If it weren't, we'd vote out anyone who disagreed with it right? Again. Individual choice. The politician's to vote a certain way and ours to sack them. But we have yet to learn the ppower of our (voting) choices, even after the 2000 elections.

    And it works both ways. The upper south is now an annex of Asian auto manufacturers. Fuji Heavy makes tanks, but they didn't need them to raise their Subaru plants. Alabama just gave away the store to Hyundai to get them in the state. It was a company and a state government who did this.

    Point is, hammering away at an abstract called 'globalization' will do little to change whatever someone wants changed. Put down the puppets, become someone who can make a decision in the direction you wish to, and do something real.

    I teach. Every day I make sure that at least in part, my aid to my students includes the messsage that doing is better than wishing, that action is more effective than mentalism, that if you don't work for what you want you will get what someone else wants you to have.

    None of this involves carnage against living beings for living as they do. 9/11 is not the untinkable thought in the minds of the rest of the world. While I think Dubya is a little too fond of hearing himself say 'evildoers', it does boil down to individuals who decide to make war, or who design or agree to a sweatshop. Someone has to decide to do these things. We need to make individuals more congizant, enlightened of their actions and consequences.

    Globalization's not inherently evil, it's not inherently good. It's inevitable. Consider it as a technology and realize that it only is considerable in specific instances. We learned this lesson at Trinity, but alas, teachers know that that wonderful mental agent called transference never works the way its supposed to.

  • by TheMonkeyDepartment (413269) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @03:45PM (#3272616)
    I am so tired of reading complaints about "invasive American culture." It is oh-so-trendy-and-intellectually-hip to bash things American, just by virtue of the fact that they originate from America. But if you blindly do so, you demonstrate yourself to be badly biased and ignorant of reality.

    Throughout the world there is a voracious appetite for American culture. We are not "invading" anything. If a French businessman opens up a McDonald's franchise on the corner of his street, his business is free to succeed or fail based on the demand for the product. Somebody must like McDonald's Hamburgers over there, because the restaurants somehow stay in business. Should the French businessman be denied the right to open and operate his own McDonald's? Doesn't he have the right to make money how he wants? Just because something is distributed in a chain or franchise arrangement (whether it's a restaurant, supermarket or store), it doesn't make it automatically crappy and evil.

    Here in Texas, I am constantly seeing reminders that we are not the vicious cultural stormtrooper that we are made out to be. Wildly successful businesses started by Mexican or Vietnamese business owners are everywhere. I see Spanish-language advertisements all over the place on billboards. Many of my friends listen to Indian pop music, drink Australian beer and eat Japanese food. And they do this without a second thought -- not "wow I'm being so cool and hip for consuming this stuff," but because these things have really woven themselves into the culture. Americans seek out and embrace other cultures.

    I have traveled through more than 20 states, and I have seen it with my own eyes: Americans, for the most part, are genuinely interested in foreign cultures, willing to embrace new ideas and learn about the world. If anything, this made 9/11 all the more tragic and disturbing, because the perpetrators were so terribly misguided in their beliefs about the American people.

    It's unfair and ignorant to say that all muslims are kill-crazy bombsmiths. It's unfair and ignorant to say that all Frenchmen are rude, snotty, disheveled little toads. And it's equally unfair to say that American culture is ruthlessly invading the rest of the world, or that the American people are spoiled SUV-driving yuppies, because its a grossly unfair and ignorant characterization.
  • by trumpetplayer (520581) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @03:12AM (#3275654) Homepage
    I don't agree with the point of mixing up these two: Globalization and 9/11 attack, I'll explain my view. For me, the attack MAY BE just "somebody doesn't like the things that the USA do out there", and I won't go into discussion about their licity although I would like to mention that I am in principle against any kind of violence and therefore neither I like the USA intrusism nor I like the attack.

    Now for the globalization movement. I think that there are many different people with many different reasons to be against this "invention" out there. I am myself firmly against the globalization movement so I'll explain my reasons.

    Ecological reasons:
    It is stupid to ellaborate a biscuit in Spain (actually my home country) and sell it in Australia while ellaborating some other biscuits there in Australia to sell them in Spain, well understood that good conditions are given for the two countries to ellaborate their own biscuits using either cooking recipe. Full stop. Now a bit further. If doing this is convenient for many companies, as it is the case, then big warning: Something is wrong. And so we arrive to the next chapter, social reasons.

    Social reasons:
    (Or how these companies, the multinationals, do business.) So it is in fact convenient for many companies to manufacture their products far away, even spending much money in trasportation. It is simple to imagine (or perhaps not so simple) to what extent the worker is being exploited. The concept is so obvious that I won't explain it, I will just say that, at least in Europe, chances are that if you pick any article of clothing in a store and have a look, it has been manufactured in China or Korea. For a cup of rice. You may say: If we rejected to buy those, that people would die. No. If we did so, their corrupt governments could not take place and convenient social laws would be adopted, just in our privilleged countries.

    Choice reasons:
    We consumers lose our freedom of choice. You may say: If you prefer to pay more and avoid exploitation, well, you are free to do so and let people decide by their own instead of trying to ban globalization or anything. Wrong. If we haven't got the information, then it's impossible for us to know what is going on. It would be neccessary for every piece of product to have a hundred of stickers telling how, when and where it was manufactured, impossible, paranoid. The result would be pretty much the same as with the EULAs. To use the same example: WE THINK THAT "Write Your Own Damn Code" IS GOOD, BUT WE DON'T CARE ABOUT "Grow Your Own Vegetables". Or buy them to a near neighbour or at least NEAR, say in your home country. Not patriotism or anything, it is just that we know better what is going on AT HOME than far away.

    Economical reasons:
    Read this: World Bank Secret Documents Consumes Argentina [gregpalast.com]

    My opinions are just opinions, and I am even often changing my views. But my point is that these reasons, wrong or right, make sense, I am not a hippy or anarchist but a design engineer, I LIKE to think. Therefore I don't like this link between the 9/11 attack and globalization.

    If you find this interesting, this link may be of interest to you: Znet (Zmag) [znet.org], specially here [zmag.org].

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