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Multinationals And Globalism

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the not-the-same-thing dept.

Technology 573

(Last of two parts): Is globalism as relentlessly evil and corrupt a force as all those nasty demonstrations in Seattle and Milan would suggest? Anti-globalists sometimes seem to confuse corporatism with globalism, lumping in all sorts of issues under one term. There are plenty of economists and social scientists who maintain that globalization -- including the spread of new information and business technologies -- can not only be a great force for good, but in some forms represents the only feasible cure for global poverty and inequality. They also argue that political leaders have to meet more, not less, about these problems.

Many anti-globalization interests, Jay Walljasper writes in the latest Utne Reader, have coalesced in the belief that growing poverty, environmental destruction and social breakdown, with continuing bloodshed seen around the world, are the direct results of an international political and economic system that places most of the world's wealth and power in the hands of unaccountable and powerful corporations. "To these activists," writes Walljasper, "a new era of global peace and justice can be achieved by reinvigorating local communities and creating a new international system that promotes cooperation over competition."

Sounds great. In fact, it sounds like the early Wired Magazine manifestos about the Net, some of which I wrote. But would such a system work? Even if it did, who would pay for it and maintain it? And who will curb those corporations whose economic, lobbying and political power far outstrips any of those groups protesting their existence? Why would citizens in the west pay to "reinvigorate" local communities elsewhere and create a new international system? Globalism thrives on the contributions of corporations who want to profit from it, not from the efforts of governments or civic groups advancing democratic ideals.

The idea that globalism could even bolster those ideals is a view not widely held by fundamentalists or by certain educated elites in Europe and the United States. The institutions that to most minds represent the global economy -- the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization -- have become reviled and distrusted in these circles, their meetings developing into bloody standoffs. Political leaders in economically-advanced countries can no longer meet to talk about trade or economic issues without sparking riots.

The protesters opposing them represent a variety of causes, from the loss of good domestic jobs to the lowering of global wages to denouncing sweatshops to decrying environmental desctruction. They have quieter allies, too; even in prosperous Western economies, support for trade liberalization has declined and governments are accused of caving in to business interests. Liberal politicians from Bill Clinton to Britain's Tony Blair have expressed puzzlement and frustration at this sometimes anarchic, unthinking political fury; they claim such organizations are vital if wealth, technology and economic opportunity ever gets equitably distributed around the world.

Moreover, an editorial in the Economist magazine argues that anti-business protesters have their arguments upside down -- with genuinely dangerous consequences for the sometimes just causes they hope to advance. On the whole, says the Economist, stricter regulation of international business won't reduce profits. "What it may well do, though, by disabling markets in their civilizing role, is to give companies new opportunities to make even bigger profits at the expense of society at large." Companies pressured to increase wages will simply move, close overseas plants or charge more, thus make more profits. Afterwards, "The companies, having shafted their third world competition and protected their domestic markets, count their bigger profits (higher wage costs notwithstanding). And the third world workers displaced from locally-owned factories explain to their children why the West's new deal for the victims of capitalism requires them to starve."

If you follow these violent and confusing protests -- many now organized online -- you get the impression that some of these demonstrators confuse globalism with corporatism, since large companies are among the most vocal advocates of globalism and so far are its primary beneficiaries. The trappings of corporatism -- using technologies to create low wages and new markets, while suppressing individual enterprise and distinctive cultures -- have already encircled the world. McDonald's is much more symbolic of globalism than a small village in India getting wired for the Net, even though the latter may ultimately be more significant. And many political scientists equate Afghanistan's poverty, political extremism and instability to the fact that globalization hasn't yet reached the country.

The world's biggest companies sometimes appear more powerful than the world's biggest governments. (Microsoft's long and successful battle with the U.S. Justice Department is a good case in point). In the United States, they control our media and popular culture and are the primary contributors to the political system. Their lobbyists are the single most influential political force in Washington.

It's not surprising that many people feel instrinsically uncomfortable with globalism. Humanists aren't the spokespeople for globalization -- economic interests are. Corporations appear to be unchecked, and corporations have little inate social responsibility. They exist to generate profits, not advance social agendas or protect the environment, so they inevitably spark enormous resentment in foreign cultures whose citizens want jobs but are then puzzled by their own resulting lack of prosperity. These foreign workers also find that new globalizing technologies undermine their own national identities and religious and political values, all increasingly subsumed by the homogenized Disneyfication and Wal-Marting of the world that has swallowed up U.S. popular culture and countless small business, from pharmacies to family farms. The U.S. comes to seem like a remote, sometimes monstrous, always greedy and insensitive force.

But Giddens argues that democracy -- and the globalism inextricably linked with it -- is the most powerful emerging idea of the 21st century. Few states in the world don't call themselves democratic now, even when they aren't, like China and North Korea. In fact, the only countries are explicitly refer to themselves as non-democratic are the remaining semi-feudal monarchies or fundamentalist entities -- Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria.

Democracy's spread has now in fact created a bloody confrontation with fundamentalism, a holy war. Both sides refer to one another in evil blasphemers. Lost in this confrontation is the idea that Democracy isn't only about multi-national markets, cheap labor and business opportunities. It's about the liberation of information, freedom of religious and cultural choice, and a brorader value system with a complex civic structure. Yet another good reason why multinationals ought not to appear more powerful than governments (they aren't) and become the sole face and voice of globalization.

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katzalism (-1)

beee (98582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507527)


Doesn't anyone remember the last article? (2, Redundant)

mikeage (119105) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507531)

Have multinationals hijacked globalism? (Yes.)

Re:Doesn't anyone remember the last article? (-1, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507549)

Same trite as last article.
Also notice that lack of "News for nerds" in the whole article.

Best thing I can suggest is not to post to this article (easiest way to demonstrate that we don't like it).

Got plenty 'o' karma to burn.......

Re:Doesn't anyone remember the last article? (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507615)

They just wanna start arguments bordering on flame wars.

Ehh, let's get it kicked off.

> But Giddens argues that democracy -- and the
> globalism inextricably linked with it -- is the
> most powerful emerging idea of the 21st century.

Ironically, this parallels, indeed extends the communist idea that wars are not between the proletariat, or working class, of nations, but between those vying for power. Democracy, the leveling wind of those who dare stand out,

Oh, wait a minute. I'm pegged at 50 high karma.

What a stupid idea this guy has. Democracy, the "powerful" emerging idea, is in conflict with Freedom, the powerful emerging idea of the previous century and a half. In so far as democracy conflicts with freedom, it can be a bad thing, more often than not (dare I suggest all the time?)

In the case of globalization, it certainly is. The stripping of idiotic local socialist regulations (and let's face it, blocking or highly taxing imports is a socialist concept) benefits everyone. Let those whiners be dragged kicking and screaming into a world where everyone is better off, not because of socialism, but because it was stomped out. Let them live that down, that their world view, even partially implemented, led to a worse world, especially for those very poor and "working class" to begin with, much like the doctor who bled his patients to cure them of every disease seeing modern medicine of the 21st century. Well, we thought we were doing the right thing. It felt right.

Re:Doesn't anyone remember the last article? (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507736)

...(and let's face it, blocking or highly taxing imports is a socialist concept)...
No, it's not. Socialism does not mean a highly regulated economy, it means an economic system based on exchange of labor rather than ownership of capital. Socialism does not necessarily imply a highly regulated market or a command economy.


Anomymous Coward (303315) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507533)

that is all.

no more text, you can stop reading.

Hey..didn't we just see this article? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507536)

Well, didn't we? I mean, duh, i did'nt actually read it, but it's Katz and the title is almost the same, so it must essentally be the same spouting of poop.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507539)


My god... a decent Katz article... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507544)

Relatively well though out and everything. I'm speechless. ;)

Second POST (-1, Offtopic)

racerx509 (204322) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507553)


end third world debt.. (1)

Absynthe (34189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507559)

I can't believe anyone isn't ashamed of the first world running something that resembles so closely one of those paycheck loan places that litter the landscape.
Can someone please explain why this is acceptable behavior?

Re:end third world debt.. (2, Insightful)

Zico (14255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507581)

Ya know, if you can't pay it back, maybe you just ought not borrow the money in the first place. Why is the first world supposed to be a charity who gives and gives and gives to people who can't get their own shit together?

Re:end third world debt.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507624)

<cyanide> !firepants says i hate jon katz and slashdot
<armypants> I HATE J0N KATZ `N SLASHD0T

Re:end third world debt.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507647)

<pron\dotdash> !firepants says rob malda is the best programmer on the face of the earth and jon katz is the best writer. why isn't he working for the NY Times? he should get his butt in gear.


Re:end third world debt.. (0, Troll)

Flick (43714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507663)

A rather simple-minded view of things. How many times have you received and accepted one of those great credit card offers when you know that a credit line of $5000 is more than you can pay back. We have done that around the world though organizations like the World Bank. We are wealthy and we have screwed with enough countries so that we can be a little generious. The more markets we create by allowing countries to climb out of their debt, the better our economic future will be. We don't have to let the debt go without some strings attached, but at the very least we should consider the broader implications of keeping these countries down when we first offered them an opportunity to sink into debt.

Re:end third world debt.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507706)

"when we first offered them an opportunity to sink into debt"

Credit is a valuable tool. The only thing any creditor "allows" is an opportunity to have credit. If it is used correctly, it can be very valuable and useful. If it is mistreated, it can be overwhelming.

The only person responsible for individuals or countries who are "sinking in debt" are the individuals or countries themselves who misused the debt. Forcing creditors to "end debt" is immoral, and would reduce the amount of credit available to individuals/countries in the future.

Instead of supporting things like ending debt to people/countries who "can't afford it", why don't people support ideas like taking responsibility for yourself and living up to agreements that were entered into voluntarily?

Re:end third world debt.. (2, Insightful)

linca (314351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507673)

The third world countries borrowed money when the rates of the goods they were exporting were high. Then the rates went down ; now the third world countries can't pay back their debt. Third world countries had no real control over those rates, yet they should live in poverty forever? It is the first world's job to cancel those debts, not out of charity, but out of solidarity and fraternity. Because they really deserve being able to develop, and that is not possible in stateless countries.

Re:end third world debt.. (4, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507631)

Give me a break. If you don't want the money (you meaning collective third world countries) and don't plan to use it to build out your economic infrastructure so you can pay it back with interest, then DON'T BORROW IT. If I borrow money to pay for my college education because it's hard to get grants, then I whine and say "you should cancel my debt, I just graduated from college, blah blah blah" everyone will tell me to go fsck myself, and rightfully so. Nobody forced an education on me, nobody forces economic development on the third world.

Either learn to play the game according to the rules which are quite fair, or fuck off and retreat into isolationism. Grow your own goddamned corn and feed yourselves, and build your own industrial infrastructure, and your own educational institutions, and call us in 200 years.

Re:end third world debt.. (2, Interesting)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507679)

It's all based on faulty concepts that government knows best, build infrastructure and a powerful economy will magically appear.

Meanwhile, silly laws penalizing companies remain in place, heavy handed things more for the purpose of allowing local officials to extort money, and silly environmental regulations to appease the western masters all make the country a place no sane corporation would go, and no local one to form in the first place. When everyone and their brother gets a cut before you, the business man, does, then, surprise surprise! To hell with it.

And thus no economy develops to pay back the loan. They are juvenile attempts to ape a strong economy by duplicating the window dressing rather than the hard working guts.

Re:end third world debt.. (1)

Absynthe (34189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507696)

Let me give you two examples of third world "citizens"
India does not "play fair" they ignore IP copywrites. They have bad ole socialist type tarriffs. They are progressing. Largest democracy in the world.
Pakistan "plays fair", they wound up having to close the public school system and fell back on the religious schools where the kids learn nothing but rote memorization of the Koran. In case you haven't figured it out, the well being of the third world has become a direct threat to your life.

Re:end third world debt.. (1)

linca (314351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507708)

Of course, if it had been democratically elected leaders who had made the loans... But instead those who borrowed the money were first-world-backed dictators. If I force you to make a loan, will you be happy to have to pay it back?
And it doesn't take 200 years to develop into an industrialized countries. Taiwan and South Korea did it in 50 years.

Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (5, Interesting)

Anton Anatopopov (529711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507561)

As Naomi Klein [] said in her bestselling book on the subject, 'No Logo [] ' the problem with globalization is that corporations simply move to the country with the weakest labor protection laws.

If we are going to have globalization of business profit making, should we not also have globalization of ethical awareness too ?

It is easy to dismiss this because it happens far away in another country, but the events of September 11th should have given us a heads-up that we need to pay close attention to the poorer parts of the world if we are to avoid our own destruction.

There are 34 pages from 'No Logo' available by following the Amazon link I have included above. Read them. You might not agree, but you will be better informed.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507584)

should we not also have globalization of ethical awareness too ?

Go ahead. Build an organization dedicated to it. Sounds great, I'd like to see it.

You think throwing rocks at IMF meetings will get that acoomplished? Ever? No matter how many rocks?

Watch: After a company moves in, exploits the workers for a while, the workers' rules and regulations eventually catch up... and you know what? They never would change if something didn't change them! Look how long the world was stagnant. The USA changes the world with industrialism and everyone hates it... even though everyones' standard of living is rising. Everyones'.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507601)

Labor protection laws are BUNK.

When you go to a country that you think has slave labor, do you realize that many of these so called sweat shops are really shops with people who are THANKFUL to have a job? They're making 5-10 times more than they would be making anywhere else, and the environment, while difficult, still allows them to make their families prosper so maybe their kids won't have to "struggle" and "work as hard."

It's terrible labor laws and government intervention that has made America impossible to produce in. Other countries with "slave labor sweatshops" are nothing of the sort when you really look into the realities of the worker-business contract.

If people don't want to work so hard, why do they do it? Because its an opportunity to pull their families and their communities out of the toilet.

The way to not support sweat shops if you don't like them is to NOT buy their products. End it the capitalist consumer way, don't get government involved.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507638)

Spot on, my libertarian friend.

Take a certain shrimp farm in Costa Rica. A certain environmental consulting corporation here in America owns it.

They rebuilt it. They used better science to keep more of the shrimp alive, to get more (uh oh, look out now) PROFITS!

I hear the manager at said shrimp farm makes the piddly horrendous sum of $16,000 US per year! How can this vile environmental corporation enslave this foreman! He's the dude in charge, pay him at least $20k!

But you know what? The guy lives like a king. He has more money than any of his friends. He's ecstatic.

Not that I'm intimately familiar with said shrimp farm or anything.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507702)

And here's where the problem comes in, because many people on the left side of this argument equate the Costa Rica situation with that in, say, Indonesia. I agree with you completely about Costa Rica, but that's not at all the same as the situation in Nike's sweatshops, for example.

People on BOTH sides need to look at the realities in EACH situation instead of lumping them all together. That way the left can't say "it's all evil exploitation" and the right can't say "it's all voluntary improvement in the standard of living". Because neither description fits all or even most of the cases at issue.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

bradasch (516015) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507723)

May I ask you, first... Do you live in a third world country? I do. And I agree with you. Yes, corporations sometimes (or most times, whatever) install themselves in other countries and boost production and profits with better tecnology and science. And some people get better salaries for that.


The vast majority of the workers are underpaid. I see this myself everyday here in Brazil.

You can choose where to look at. You can see the manager, well paid, living as a king. Or, you can look at the bulk of workers, the other 99%, with low wages. It's all a question of choice.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

TypoDaemon (43268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507644)

no, no, no, no, no.

that isn't the way it works. people are supposed to be supported [] by their government.

welfare for all, they say, but then there's no one to pick up the check.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (5, Interesting)

Anton Anatopopov (529711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507648)

You clearly do not know what you are talking about. Ask anyone who has visited the free trade zones in China, or the sweatshop labor factories in Indonesia.

Apart from anything else, these people are forced to work ludicrously long hours for peanuts. It may make you feel better if you can pretend that everything is OK and that these people are being exploited by choice, but it simply is not true.

As a libertarian, you should realise that coercion cannot play a part in any civilised society, so why then do you think people are working 20 hour shifts ?

It is this dumb Amrerican 'head in the sand' attitude which shows no knowledge of the world outside our comfortable fat consumerist existance which makes the rest of the world hate us.

Note, I said HATE. Not dislike, they actually hate us, and the exploitative money hungry moral-free value system we represent.

Just try starting a branch of the 'libertarian party' in China and see how far you get.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2, Insightful)

TypoDaemon (43268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507687)

coercion implies force, which you would realize if you knew anything about libertarian philosophy. what force is used to get these people to work 20 hour shifts? is the government going up to people with a gun and telling them to work, then giving them money besides?

there's always a choice. i refuse to believe that the *only* thing a person can do is to go into a sweatshop. it may not be a fair choice, mind you, but there's always some choice to be made.

and, a little note: they hate us because we're the rich, good-looking kid on the playground who is smart enough not to give his lunch away everyday to the kids who are too stupid to find their own money.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507744)

> what force is used to get these people to work
> 20 hour shifts?

When they try to strike to be able to work less, they are beaten and possibly shot.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507729)

You clearly do not know what you are talking about. Ask anyone who has visited the free trade zones in China, or the sweatshop labor factories in Indonesia. Apart from anything else, these people are forced to work ludicrously long hours for peanuts.

There is one word that is wrong in there and it is the central point you are missing. Those people are NOT forced. Even China, I believe has long since ceased slave labor. Those people work those ridiculously long hours because it is better work for more money than whatever their alternatives are. If we withdraw the option, then they have to go back to whatever even worse work they had before.

As a libertarian, you should realise that coercion cannot play a part in any civilised society, so why then do you think people are working 20 hour shifts ?

They are working 20 hour shifts because that is how much they need to work to make the amount of money they need to survive. If they were given the option of 8 hour shifts, they probably wouldn't make enough money to survive and they probably wouldn't survive. I don't think that's what your advocating.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

pyat (303115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507649)

you, sir, are an idiot!

how can you talk bullshit like "contract" when the people making the contract are in such a shitty position they have NO CHOICE!

If i put a gun to your head and tell you to lick my boots or i kill you right here right now, you would probably be very glad to lick my boots. This does not make it a fair contract, or one that outside observers should be comfortable watching.


Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507717)

No one put a gun to their heads. They have no energy, are too lazy to revolt and usurp their government. It took the USSR a long time to fall, China will also.

Everyone who works in a sweat shop (EVERYONE) thanks their maker every day that they have a job in a country where work is near impossible to find.

I've done the research. I've been to China, the Phillipines, Costa Rica, Mexico. I've seen the horrendous work environments. But I've also seen those same people feed their children and teach them to read and send them to school so THEY won't have to work as low paid overworked workers. They are not slaves, they are free to up and walk out if they want to. Then who would feed their family?

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507737)

If i put a gun to your head and tell you to lick my boots or i kill you right here right now, you would probably be very glad to lick my boots.

When Nike's private army starts abducting workers from their homes at gunpoint, your analogy will be accurate.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507681)

> Labor protection laws are BUNK.

Why don't you go back to the 1900's and try being an eight year old working the loom 12-14hrs. a day.

> They're making 5-10 times more than they would
> be making anywhere else

And in some cases, forcefully relocated from their former homes so the factory can be built there! Now they live in a nice dustridden hovel, just like Grapes O' Wrath, but without the truck!

If they're happy about the situation, why do they go on hunger strikes and the like...that is until the local five-oh, paid by the local head of government, who of course is paid by the corporations who decided to build there so they can get those nice Tariff Free Zones, comes in and either beats them into submission or just shoots them in the back?

The truth is, these folks are the cost of third-world countries becoming industrialized. The PROBLEM is, unless they rise up and put the smack down on corrupt officials, they'll always be under the thumb of corporations, like Nike, and will never have a good standard of living. The way WE were able to get from point A (pre-industrial) to point B (current) is our GOVERNMENT allowed us to pass child labor laws and the like. Now we have a good standard of living, and a good economy affects everybody, not just the local "head of corrupt regime X".

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

TypoDaemon (43268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507749)

from this paper [] about working conditions during the industrial revolution:

"Child Labor. Another qualitative argument brought forth by the pessimists is that children were forced to endure long hours of work in unhealthy conditions. Although the existence of child labor cannot be denied, it is clear that most pessimists have overstated both its magnitude and the effects on the health of the children involved. In fact, much of the evidence for the pessimist's case comes from the very famous, yet very inaccurate, reports from the government committees investigating the factory system. Almost all of the "condition of England" novels by Dickens, as well as the works of Engels and the Hammonds, have been in large part based on these committee reports (Jefferson, p. 189). Politically motivated and seriously defective, the evidence in these reports is marred by the fact that the doctors who testified against child labor in the factories had not even been in a factory and refused to testify under oath (Hutt, pp. 161-167). Moreover, the great improvement in mortality rates seems to indicate that either child labor was not extensive as before or was less harmful. Indeed, it was the great improvement in productivity instigated by the industrial revolution that has enabled Western societies to banish child labor."

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507694)

Though your arguments are clear and correct, there still remain islands (pun intended) of 'bad' sweatshop labor.

Take the case of the clothing factories in the CNMI (makers of fine Polo, Liz Claiborne, J. Crew, and Banana Republic clothes, among others). Chinese laborers are lured into the labor by the promise of American dollars and a better life, but their 'saviors' charge them usuriously high rates to transport them from their home country. They then get to work off their debt by working in the factories. However, they likely have no place to stay so they live in the company barracks which also charges rent, leaving the workers penniless and unable to improve their lot.

This is not a bash of those clothiers named above, most have actually pulled their manufacturing out of Saipan. However, when discussing sweatshops, it must be made clear to the companies taking advantage of cheap overseas labor that it is unacceptable to allow such abuses of the system to occur.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507620)

If that was truly the case then no one would be employed in the US and global wages would quickly rise because everyone would move to the countries with no labor laws and begin fighting over labor, hence a rise in wages.

Its a simplistic arguement to just say "corporations move to where they can exploit workers".

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (3)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507623)

As Naomi Klein [] said in her bestselling book on the subject, 'No Logo []' the problem with globalization is that corporations simply move to the country with the weakest labor protection laws.

The majority of the world has essentially no labor protection whatsoever. That's because they are too poor to be able to afford that protection. When companies move jobs to places where there is no labor protection, they are moving jobs to poor countries. That helps the poor people there. Preventing corporations from moving the jobs hurts those people.

Even in rich countries, organized labor is a sell out of the impoverished for the middle class. How many times have we heard labor fight against a company trying to hire part-timers. The part-timers tend to be immigrants working three or four jobs. The full-timers tend to be well-connected people with relatively hefty salaries.

If we are going to have globalization of business profit making, should we not also have globalization of ethical awareness too ?

Yes. We should. So let's globalize ethical awareness, not prevent the movement of jobs to the places where people need them most. It is pretty clear world-wide that once a particular society gets to a particular level of income they develop the same labor protections we have here. Why would you deny them the opportunity to work up to that point?

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

john82 (68332) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507642)

It is easy to dismiss this because it happens far away in another country, but the events of September 11th should have given us a heads-up that we need to pay close attention to the poorer parts of the world if we are to avoid our own destruction.

There is no connection between the events on that date and your premise. Nothing at all. You are trying to attach grand purpose to the acts of extremists and in the process justify them. You have missed the point entirely. In a very old tactic, a group of people with problems they can't quite get their hands around, blame their lot on someone else. There is nothing noble involved, no taking a stand for the rights of others. Just an act of murderous cowardice. Don't try to muddy it with feigned higher purpose.

I've read No Logo (3, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507700)

What it gave me was an admiration for the corporations, and how they will co-opt anything, even forces aiming at their own destruction.

When corporations do truly evil things, activist groups can act as checks and balances against them.

But it's important to note that if you want the people of desperately poor countries to thrive, they need to start at the bottom and work their way up. Rich countries don't spring up in a day; in early America, there were appalling working conditions, which gradually got better as the nation got richer. The same general pattern occured in Japan, South Korea and just about everywhere else that's prosperous now.

The nations that turned their back on capitalism and trade have fared far worse; consider India, most of Africa and the Middle East as examples. We complain about people being paid $ 0.50 a day for their work; in Afghanistan that would feel like wealth.

In the end, capitalism may be a terrible system, its main virtue being that every other system is worse. The way capitalism works is that people try and do as well as they can. If the jobs given by the multinational corporations were really bad, well, they can always try and find work elsewhere. Often the reason wages are so low is that there isn't work to be found. This is hardly the fault of multinational corporations!

I am not saying that multinationals are perfect, but this is an imperfect world, at best. The multinationals have provided opportunity in desolate places where opportunities are scarce.

And I must admit to disliking the homogination of the world, the McDonalds and Burger Kings and the like. The best way to fight this is simply not to eat there. The only way American culture and businesses can succeed is that people want their products. Somehow it doesn't seem like depriving people of what they want is going to make the world a better place.

It may be very colourful and very idealistic to protest the WTO and trade, but trade produces an improvement in the status of everyone in the world. If those poor people don't make our stuff, they'd probably be picking rice in a paddy, working 12 back-breaking hours a day.


Re:I've read No Logo (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507718)

What the hell are you talking about? India turned its back on Capitalism? Not any time recently....

Re:I've read No Logo (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507748)

Great post. I read it after I wrote my post, and now mine seems very dim. Couldn't agree more.

Thus, I hope my post will serve as nice padding under yours, hopefully drawing attention to it.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (1)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507727)

A lot of people think that labor laws are what prevents "sweat shops" from existing here in North America.

In reality, working conditions are good because there is a large number of possible employers (including welfare), and employees are free to choose those that don't make their lives hell.

Hopefully if business continues to grow in developing countries, the economy will create better jobs, and working conditions will get better naturally.

Wait, I know how we can make the lives of Nigerians better, we'll make a minimum wage of $6.00 an hour. No wait, how about $9.00. Then they can afford all the things we do!

I would be very scared if the representatives I elected (by voting), changed their minds on important issues because of a confused crowd of rock throwers.

Re:Globalization is bad, We did not vote for it. (2, Informative)

cDarwin (161053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507734)

I have often wondered whether, when Rome was at her peak, her citizens ever paused to imagine, perhaps between distractions at the Colloseum, that their peerless, unassailable empire was about to be overrun by hoards of barbarians from the outlying provinces. The Dark Ages, which soon followed, were frighteningly reminiscent of the world envisioned by islamist fundamentalists. Just a thought.

Please Read the Economist (5, Interesting)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507569)

Realizing I'll get flamed to hell and back...

Please please please, all of you liberal, or socialist, or leftist, black-mask wearing protesters please read the Economist article.

Would you really stop large corporations? Would you really want to deny people in the 3rd world a chance to move ahead far more quickly than America ever did?

I totally agree that cultural homogenization is horrendous, but the vast majority of people the world over apparently don't agree! That doesn't prevent small, unique businesses and institutions from existing! There are still mom-and-pop ISPs out there! There are still small manufacturing companies!

Why do you folks insist that the world is coming to an end, and that multinationals are taking us there?? Reading too much cyberpunk fiction?

(note: I hate the homogeneity. I abhor Walmart, McD's, and their ilk. I'll buy by stuff from tiny stores when I can. Because I want to support local, unique business, even if that means I have to pay a few extra bucks. How about you?)

Re:Please Read the Economist (4, Interesting)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507639)

There is something to be said for McD's and Walmart though... If I go to Singapore and I just want to eat... I don't want an adventure, I don't want to taste local offerins, I simply want to eat. McD's offers me something I know. I get a crappy burger cooked by mediocre workers who aren't ever going to get paid well as long as they stay at McD's.

If I am in Cumshot, Iowa and I need to purchase a calculator like the one I have on my desk Wal-Mart proabably has it. Mom's Calculator Shack might, but who knows?

I don't want every person in Singapore to give up their local eats, but I don't think putting a McD's in a city is potentially dangerous to the cultural well being of a people. Anymore than putting Yi Sung kitchen down the block is.

Homogeny is not evil.

Re:Please Read the Economist (3, Interesting)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507668)

Would you really want to deny people in the 3rd world a chance to move ahead far more quickly than America ever did?

<devilsadvocate> Do you call Nike's sweatshops and government assisted oppression of attempts to break them "moving ahead far more quickly than America ever did?" Yes, we had sweatshops here. We also had an established and reasonably open press and government which allowed us to take the necessary steps to break them. If you don't think that corporations have learned from experience and are taking steps to prevent the same thing from occurring overseas, you've got your head where it doesn't belong.</devilsadvocate>

I think that the Economist article makes good points, and globalization shouldn't be confused with corporatism, but corporatism is definitely a big problem.

Re:Please Read the Economist (5, Interesting)

elefantstn (195873) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507712)

If you think the Nike "sweatshops" are in any way comparable to what passed for factories in America (and Western Europe) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you have another thing coming. While the greatest transgression that Nike has allegedly committed is not giving bathroom breaks, factories here regularly for all intents and purposes purchased orphan children and used them in the most dangerous situations because they had no one to complain on their behalf. Crushed by a coal machine vs. having to hold it too long: you decide.

Re:Please Read the Economist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507721)

Is the third world country really better off without sweatshops. It's not a slave market. People are not forced to work there. We always assume that if that twelve year-old girl in singapore was did not work at the sweat shop then she would go to school. It would be more likely that her family would put her on the sex slave market for the cash. Which do you think is prefable.

Cyberpunk fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507743)


Fast becoming a contradiction of terms. Maybe the old world is coming to an end, and the new one, characterized by what until recently was known as cyberpunk "fiction", is just beginning.

And yes, the multinationals are taking us there. Anyone who hasn't noticed the increasing importance of business protection over consumer protection in this country in the last 5 years hasn't wanted to see it. Throw in a clamp-down of civil liberties in the wake of national disaster, and you've got yourself the premise for every cyberpunk "fiction" out there. What's missing is worldwide population collapse.

Which reminds me, where are all the Soviet smallpox samples? Present and accounted for, under lock and key? That's a relief.

Hey Katz! (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507574)

Does /. [] pay you by the word?

problem is just a poem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507578)

When man get all kinds of money and power, and try's upon time, it ends up getting shit upon.
^ that is what is called a given.

But that given can be proven false.

So, then, back in the day when the star ate some moon shit upon the earth ago....

Globalism is not the problem: Government is (5, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507582)

Globalism is never a problem for anyone -- it allows competition to level the paying field for even the poorest nations as long as they have the people who want to work for it.

Where globalism, capitalism, and "Big Business" get ugly is when the government (any government) intervenes in any way: whether its a subsidy, a tariff, an embargo, even a bailout (a la airlines). The minute a government steals from the citizens in order to help a business, the system falls apart. Those who worked hard to make their business profitable get hurt for their smarts (Look at the airline industry, there are numerous airlines HIRING right now, and some of which who are still profitable). Instead, our government takes the biggest ones, with the worst track record of profitability, and bail them out, hurting the little guy who was making it work.

Big Business will always fail with no government intervention, eventually. 10 smaller companies in a co-op situation will always do better in the long run if they have the competitive edge and no sanctions to hurt them or subsidies to help the Big Business competition.

It's evident that totally free trade can "save the world." It's more evident that our country will never allow it. Sanctions against Iraq destroyed that country (NOT Saddam Hussein as the media and government portrays as the culprit). Sanctions and subsidies destroyed the wheat crop in Columbia, then destroyed the coffee crop. What was left? Coca. Now our government intervenes to destroy that crop.

In order to have a peaceful society, we need to get government ENTIRELY out of free trade. Let businesses and people deal with whomever they want, bar none. I can understand if government may want to limit arms sales, but other than that, I can see no reason to ever limit or subsidies trade or business of any kind. In a totally free economy, there will always be winners and losers. Unfortunately, government intervention makes losers into smaller losers, and the winners into big losers. Tell them to stay out, and you'll see happy people all over the world, able to buy and sell their wares at prices that they deem proper.

We believe that without the government, prices would skyrocket (they wouldn't, supply and demand and competition prevent that), or we'd have shortages (again, suppy and demand and competition would help), or we'd see our economy fail because other countries do it cheaper (they do, and better, sometimes its even our unions that make our businesses unprofitable, not necessarily our business tactics).

Jet Blue as an example (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507598)

Goooooo Jet Blue. :)

I love those planes with the leather seats all the way to the last row and each one has a little TV in the back of the one in front... outstanding. Now, when the hell are they coming to DC? :)

Re:Jet Blue as an example (2)

dada21 (163177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507627)

What really saddens me now is that with this terrible government bailout of the badly run airlines, we are setting two precedents:

1. That people have a right to fly airplanes cheaply (you don't).

2. That people have a right to keep their jobs even though its their fault that the companies are doing bad (overhired workforce, union regulations preventing company from reorganizing or lowering salaries, too many forced benefits, etc).

I can't believe we sat back and let this happen. This is the United States, not the U.S.S.R... The government should have paid the airlines for the days that they grounded them (understandable) but all airlines should have been prepared to cut their staff in the event of tragedy. It'll be shortterm anyway.

Good point about Jet Blue :) I'm a fan of theirs too, haven't flown it though :(

Re:Globalism is not the problem: Government is (2, Interesting)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507652)

"Where globalism, capitalism, and "Big Business" get ugly is when the government (any government) intervenes in any way"

Typical libertarian short-sightedness. What's the difference between a government and a very rich non-governmental entity? Not much. They both potentially have an immense power over the individuals.

"But the corporations have to face the free market!" Well that's right, to a certain extent. Just like it is true that most governments have to face democratic polls.

There are many cases where the "free market" is just not sufficient to prevent abuse. It's often less costly to just dump your waste in the open for everyone to share than pay for it's processing. "But the people will stop buying product from polluting corporations!" Not when said corporations can buy the medias, advertising agencies, bully their opponents to have them shut up.

Libertarianism is also implicitly based on one flawed assumption -- that every economic entity (individuals and corporations alike) will act rationally. Newsflash: it's wrong. Corporations often do stupid stuff, because they're after all just a bunch of people, some of them can be stupid or act stupid at times. And more specifically, individuals can do stupid thing.

And if it happens that said stupid individuals goes irrational, while being extremely rich, he can do a lot of harm, if there's no governmental / democratic institution to safeguard against him. What's to prevent a billion-dollar mogul from buying lots of land and burn it down or spread nuclear waste all over it? In a libertarian world, it's his money, he can do whatever he wants with it, and nobody's here to stop him.

You don't have money? You ain't got no right. That's libertarianism.

That said, I'm pretty close to libertarian views myself, I can agree to most of their program. But there blind faith in the regulatory values of the free market is irrational. And "money" should not be allowed to buy anything.

Re:Globalism is not the problem: Government is (2)

dada21 (163177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507697)

"What's the difference between a government and a very rich non-governmental entity?"

A _ton_ of difference. A corporation is easy to kill over a short period of time. Look at bridgestone. Ford is hurting. General Motors was targeted by Nader, but it fell apart of its own problems. What happened to Silo consumer electronics stores? There's a long list of where big corporations fall apart beause consumers were unhappy. Governments are near impossible to topple.

"It's often less costly to just dump your waste in the open for everyone to share than pay for it's processing."

Another reason government should never own "open land." When land is owned by private citizens or corporations, pollution is a non-problem. Why? If a corporation pollute on or into another person's property, that's a crime -- littering or destroying the value of another's property. That corporation would get screwed.

Where is almost all the big pollution in our country? On government land, rented to big corporations. Of course they pollute. You ever rent an apartment and keep it up like it was owned by you? Of course not. If government would sell the land to corporations and private individuals, those entities would have a stake in the future value of the land. Polluting their own land is stupid (throws the value of the land into the trash) and if they accidentally polluted onto someone else's property they'd be held liable for billions. Not good business practice. The Greens are so wrong on the environmental issues its not funny. Government pollutes or helps to pollute.

"Corporations often do stupid stuff, because they're after all just a bunch of people, some of them can be stupid or act stupid at times. "

You're right. And that's where personal responsibility and liability comes in. Many libertarians (small 'L') are anti-corporate protection laws. I don't believe in people being able to hide behind unconstitutional limited liability laws. If someone messes up, they will be held responsible. If government messes up, are they EVER? Waco? Ruby Ridge? Etc etc? No. Even when the government ADMITS doing wrong, it never has any reason (or legal ramification) to fix the problem. Private entities and individuals do!

"And "money" should not be allowed to buy anything. "

Then what should? If you want a nice piece of property, WORK FOR IT. You want the best food? WORK FOR IT. You want to get to work quicker in your own car? WORK FOR IT. What can you name that money SHOULDN'T buy? It's probably bought right now with money because the GOVERNMENT REGULATES IT. If the Government would stop regulating everything in site, money wouldn't be such a powerful ally to politicians and PACs/Big Business. Limit the power of government, and campaign contributions will hit $0 from corporations, within 1 day.

Re:Globalism is not the problem: Government is (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507738)

percicly why I think FDR was the wrost president in the nations history. he began this government intervention in 1932 and subscribed to the dumb ass kanesien(sp?) economic philosophy that has been so hard to give up. if the governement did not subsidize business, then taxes would go way down, and the market would be much healthier. kanes' stupid CIG crap was rediculouse a depression occures when the economy is over inflated, why should a government take more of the peoples money to help to prop up the faulse bubble?

mr katz (1, Informative)

drfrog (145882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507587)

how can you say this?

people , who were protesting peacefully ,
in one case was shot , outright by those hired to protect multi national and globalization efforts and interests

the goal of globalization is still the same
the rich get richer and the poor

the people in my own city of vancouver were pepper sprayed on the Prime Minsiters authority
just because another known mass murder mr saharto
from indonesia was in town

if you know anything of world politics you know that canada and the u.s.a. have been exploiting indonesia for a looooong time

its obvious you dont though!

in seattle police officers were crying
cuz they were told to pepper spray and tear gas their own citizens, probably people they knew!

is this what democracy looks like?

go to

and look around for globalization links

maybe youll learn something

Re:mr katz (2)

invenustus (56481) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507654)

The grammar and sentence structure in this post made it difficult to quote, but I'll use this:
shot.... by those hired to protect multi national and globalization efforts and interests
Those hired? Let's be specific here. Who did the shooting? Government agents, intervening on behalf of the wealthy, as governments have since the beginning of history. And the solution these protestors see is to make governments MORE powerful. What's wrong with this picture?

Re:mr katz (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507676)

If globalization keeps me locked and loaded with DVDs, gadgets, medical care, and cheeseburgers, then I say screw Indonesia.

Practically everyone reading slashdot is at the very top of the global pyramid. The world is a zero sum game, and I am quite happy with my current state which is all that really matters in the end.

This really isn't intended to be a troll post, its just everyone keeps arguing that globalization is good cause it will help the 3rd world, or its bad cause it hurts the third world.

How about globalization is good cause it helps me?

Re:mr katz (3, Flamebait)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507719)

Shot by police defending themselves against rioters who were attacking private and public property.

I only regret that the other rioters weren't shot too.

Yes, you have a right to PEACEFUL protest, that does not mean you can go march up to the doorstep of the G-whatever meeting and bang on the windows where the world leaders are meeting with your 10000 closest friends, many of whom are violent anarchists. As soon as you lose track of the fact that your rights only extend to peaceful protest and not to violence (unless somebody is committing violence against you, that is a somewhat different scenario), you deserve a smack down.

I'm not saying I approve of all corporate activities, a lot of them are morally despicable. But that's why we have laws. If you want to get things changed, and encourage more responsible corporate behavior, you could try making the UN something other than an anti-semitic whining camp run by third world rights violators and jealous Europeans. An effective governing body that put a real global framework of trade laws in place to force fair play on everybody - international tariffs to enforce passing equitable worker's rights laws in the third world countries that supposedly have lots of "exploited" workers, etc. etc.

Of course, no country wants to give up any portion of its sovereignty, even the weak and poor ones. Furthermore, the big problem with the UN is that since many of its members aren't representative in any way (non-democratic) the body as a whole does not necessarily represent the best interests of the people of the world.
Oh, and did I mention that many of said third world countries being so dreadfully "exploited" don't see anything wrong at all? They are getting cash infusions, their workers are employed, and they don't want to scare off the companies that are supporting local economies there. Maybe that's why it hasn't happened.

In other words, the only way to prevent corporate exploitation is to get a consensus that such a thing exists. There is no such consensus because it doesn't seem to bother those who are exploited, and the exploitation is purely voluntary in nature. The people that seem to be really bothered are the whiny protestors who go around destroying public and private property and then don't seem to understand why they are more hated than the corporations they are protesting against.

Karma Suicide (-1, Offtopic)

istartedi (132515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507588)

Yes folks, I'm tired. Getting modded up at 50 and getting nothing from it is such a bore. Bouncing around in the high 40s just isn't worth it anymore. In fact, you might even say I'M AS MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.

That's why I'm going to blow my Karma brains out, right here on national TV, err... um... international web... err.. whatever. You get the idea.

Heck, I might even go for negative karma. I mean, VA Linux, err... um... VA Software or VA Chicken Processing or whatever business they are in this week is going to fold soon anyway. What difference does it really make? So go ahead mods, do your worst.


While I'm waiting for the form submission timeout, let me take this opportunity to tell you all what a bunch of Commie Leftist trash Linux is, and how RMS et. al. play right into the hands of Al Qaeda, The Farakhans, and various other Neo-Nazi groups.

Re:Karma Suicide (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507610)

Before you waste it read this []

MOD PARENT UP! (0, Offtopic)

volpe (58112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507660)

Because it's funny, and it might just piss the author off even more!

Re:Karma Suicide (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507741)

Just FYI, you'll be taken much more seriously in the future if you include a goatsex link [] .

Meeting in secret (2, Insightful)

Sheepy (78169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507593)

I am under the impression that a great part of the fustration felt by the demonstrators at G7 meetings (and others) is due to the fact that these meetings are held in private.

If there was a rule that all meetings involving representatives of a democracy must be open to inspection by the voters then I believe there would not be so much fustration.

Of course the reason these meetings are held in secret is that the G7 leaders (and others) are discussing and agreeing things that their voters would not agree with. So much for democracy.

Re:Meeting in secret (3, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507675)

Of course the reason these meetings are held in secret is that the G7 leaders (and others) are discussing and agreeing things that their voters would not agree with. So much for democracy.

Actually, the problem is that much of what they are discussing is things that their corporations would not agree with. When the American representative says to the Japanese representative, "Okay, we'll lower our tariffs on steel if you lower your tarrifs on computer chips" they hear screams of bloody murder from their steel and computer chip manufacturers. The beneficiaries of these policies are ordinary people, Joe Blow. But we can't be bothered to lobby on our own behalf. "Lower steel prices NOW!"

You're completely right... (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507716)

.. to an extent. If the meetings were not held in secret, it would silence people like me. Who would like to know what the ACTUAL agenda is for these meetings, in detail, and how it effects us.

There will still be protesters regardless, but it would shut up a vast majority of people. (at least my group who went to Quebec City).

Globalisation is bad (0, Flamebait)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507596)

It just gives the damned dirty wogs jobs that are only slightly better than sweating in the fields. Why should we do anything for them anyway? They don't appreciate it at all! Do you think anyone in the USA is thankful that the Brits shipped their ideas of industrial revolution and capitalism over there? Of course not! Those ideas didn't do one bit of good for the USA! And promoting jobs in poor countries will just mean that the people in those countries will have no reason to leave. And we want them to stay where they are, so that we can continue to snipe at the lack of progress their societies are making, thus proving our intellectual superiority!

And that's why I support those who fight to end globalisation! To keep the wogs in their place!

The victims of McAmerica (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507603) Yes, it's a wily read...but keep in mind that this guy spent several years alone in a cabin. How together would you be?

Protesters vs. "free trade" (5, Interesting)

Moorlock (128824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507604)

Anti-globalists sometimes seem to confuse corporatism with globalism, lumping in all sorts of issues under one term.

In my experience, this is more true of the confused and lazy reporting about "anti-globalists" than of the actual activists.

The activists have sincere, complex concerns that don't reduce well to sound-bites. So the media reduces them to sound-bites anyway, for their own purposes, and then commentators use these sound-bites to complain that the activists are simplistic.

I mean, heck, if you get your information from the news media, you might have the impression that a coalition of government representatives working on regulating the global market is really an organization in favor of free trade.

Hell, even the Libertarians are falling for this one. A little hint for the Randoids: You get a bunch of governments together in a room to agree on a set of rules and regulations about the economy and I guarandamntee you that "free trade" isn't going to come out the other end.

Re:Protesters vs. "free trade" (3, Insightful)

invenustus (56481) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507704)

A little hint for the Randoids: You get a bunch of governments together in a room to agree on a set of rules and regulations about the economy and I guarandamntee you that "free trade" isn't going to come out the other end.
As a Libertarian, let me be the first to agree with you. And even if I didn't agree with that , I would still sympathize with protestors whose rights were being violated.

But I can't put all the blame for attitudes towards these protestors on media coverage. I know these people. Some of them are my friends. Even the intelligent ones believe a lot of things that are completely opposed to Libertarianism. They really do believe deep down that when a government intervenes in the economy, it does so most of the time on behalf of the poor, and that such intervention is the only way to ensure social justice. And that's a way of thinking I have trouble relating to.

So in fact, there is a lot to dislike about this protest movement without being "fooled".

Speaking of lumping together... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507606)

Did Katz really say: "lumping in all sorts of issues under one term"?

Whoo! I guess he knows what he's talking about...

Now really? (1)

Ryan_Terry (444764) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507607)

Democracy's spread has now in fact created a bloody confrontation with fundamentalism...

I think Katz is overstating this here. Is democracy te cause? I would have to argue with him that the bloody confrontation is an unfortunate side effect, but not a direct consequence of democracy's spread. People act in differnet ways to new stimuli (in this case democracy) this doesn't mean that the new stimuli is always the cause. I believe the people involved are the cause.

To illustrate this point I would use the example of the Heavens Gate group. They all killed themselves to ride the light when Hailey's Comet came. Does that make their deaths a result of the comet? I would think not...

Ironic (2)

thesparkle (174382) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507608)

"Corporations appear to be unchecked, and corporations have little inate social responsibility. They exist to generate profits, not advance social agendas or protect the environment"

The same can be used to describe more than a few politicans, but in the U.S. and abroad.

local cultures and thought control (2, Insightful)

necrognome (236545) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507611)

This may be an unpopular idea, but it seems that one of the only ways to preserve local cultures is to somehow limit the expressive possibilities of global media. i.e. limits on corporate or mass-marketed speech. This happens in France with its film industry to some extent, IIRC.

Is this what we really want? Are thoughts/images/ideas produced by U.S. media automatically suspect or hegemonic? Eventually you will have, in any given country, the government or "cultural review board" decreeing that ideas developed within to be preferable to ideas developed outside the borders.

Hopefully I'm not the only one who finds this disturbing.

Recent study on Globalization and Poverty (4, Informative)

merger (235225) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507613)

A study contracted by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was released this month discussing the effects of globalization on poverty. One of the key points to the study was:

The evidence also shows that international income inequality has narrowed over the past 30 years when countries ' population sizes and the purchasing power of local incomes are considered. The very poorest countries now represent less than 8 per cent of the world 's population compared with just over 45 per cent in 1970.In countries that have embraced the opportunities created by integration with world markets, globalisation has enabled stronger income growth. But national policies have not always been sufficient to ensure that the benefits of this growth are enjoyed by all.

The study can be found at: tml []

What on earth (0)

davidmb (213267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507614)

Democracy isn't only about multi-national markets, cheap labor and business opportunities. It's about the liberation of information, freedom of religious and cultural choice, and a brorader value system with a complex civic structure

Democracy isn't about any of those things, although they may appear in a democratic society. Democracy is about government by the people. If the people don't want multi-national markets, cheap labor and business opportunities, then democracy should reject them.

Will Someone please buy Katz a dictionary, so he'll stop trying to write his own.

Economist argument (1)

Parsec (1702) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507630)

What an interesting circular argument for lower wages the Economist has. The solution would probably be to impose a tariff for using sweatshop labor "wages" rather than a minimum wage law in the U.S.. What I mean by that is require all company employees to have a liveable wage for your product to be sold in the U.S., it doesn't even have to be a set number of $ but can be adjusted per-country based on a set standard of living for the work done.

For example, we could require Nike to pay those assembling their products in (I don't remember where Nike's operations are now) to be able to afford basic housing and food for themselves, a spouse, and a child on 40 hours of work.

As an added bonus, with this tariff structure we could provide incentives to the company to invest in public transportation (and other works) in that country to reduce pollution and improve communities.

Re:Economist argument (1)

Another MacHack (32639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507709)

A child? Why should we be subsidizing population expansion?

What's the point? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507632)

What exactly is the point of this Katzian blurb? I can't for the life of me find it. Is he opposed to globalization? Is he for it? Is the just defining it? Or, is this just a stream-of-consciousness piece that happens to revolve around globalization?

Globalism without responsibility (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507650)

I mean some of the Katz stuff has been strange but this is just bizarre stuff.

Anti-Globalism is only these organised people in Seattle and Milan, or the "Social Elite" WTF does that mean ?

Globalism is the driving of companies cultures and values down the throats of people. It is the logging in Canada which is allowed under NAFTA if not under previous Canadian Law. It is the proliferation of McDonalds, the illegal practices of Microsoft and the abject failure of the US goverment to do anything about either. It is the US complaining that Europe helps 3rd world nations by taxing their imports less than those of Dole.

And above all it is this....

It is the worlds largest economy being the world's largest polluter, with drawing from the GLOBAL organisation that was dealing with pollution. It is the US vetoing the concept of an internation court. It is the banning of the anti-chemical and biological weapons treaty by the US.

Quite simply Globalism as it now stands is the US trying to enforce its opinion as "globalism" and refusing to count the cost of its policies.

Reasons JonKatz must be stopped (2)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507653)

Number 347 -- "In fact, it sounds like the early Wired Magazine manifestos about the Net, some of which I wrote."

Real writers do not feel the need to refer to themselves constantly.

Real writers can lucidly get a point across; So JonKatz, are you in the Globalization is evil camp or the Globalization is not evil and going to happen anywy camp?

Globalisation v The Way It Was Before (5, Interesting)

BenHmm (90784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507665)

Ok, oblig disclaimer - I'm white, privately educated, English, live in Kensington, London, and once worked for Rupert Murdoch. Hence, on paper at least, I'm unusually evil.

Having said that...

Globalisation can only, in the end, work out as a force for good. I say In The End, so bear with me a second...

Klein's NoLogo theories (nicely offset by having her name in massive print, and her picture on the back, *sigh*) are nice, but forget the fact that Globalisation works on all levels: education included. As corporations spread across the world, so does the rest of the world come badck to the corporations. Sept11 is an extreme example of this, but so is the Globalisation'd media reporting on Nike sweatshops in Vietnam, or human rights abuses in China. Anything - anything at all - that forces connections between different cultures can only add to increased understanding.

Whether that understanding is developed in the first instance as a tool to exploit is somewhat irrelevent, because the same globalisation process is used by those who want to help.

You really only need look at the change in mindset that has been brought round by globalisation. Take a generation or two back - little knowledge of the rest of the world compared with today (well, at least in Europe).

A silly example: food. Look at food from 30 years ago: Spaghetti Bolognaise was an exotic dish in the UK. Now I can get Sushi at the corner shop. 30 years ago it was John Wayne, now it's John Woo.

Taco's hobby is obscure Japanese animation, my wife loves African guitar music. THAT is just as much globalisation as the spectre of nasty corporations.

Globalism != Good Government (1)

The Panther! (448321) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507670)

And many political scientists equate Afghanistan's poverty, political extremism and instability to the fact that globalization hasn't yet reached the country.

I don't understand is why people think that government doing a mediocre job at current scope will perform equally or better at a worldwide scope. There are places in the Appalachian mountains where running water is uncommon. Why should Afghanistan or any other region be given special treatment? Capitalist, Christian, Islamic, etc ideologies all teach that you reap what you sow. They've sown war from their country's birth, and have nothing to show for it. America and Europe have a great deal because we've all worked for it. Globalism and socialism and communism are nothing more than mechanisms to redistribute wealth from people who have built it to people who do not deserve it.

I'm sorry if you don't agree, but fuck everyone who thinks that's a good idea. I'm keeping my car and my house and my computer.

No Formal Representation (1)

invid (163714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507671)

The engines of globalism such as the United Nations and the WTO do not answer to the public. The people running global organization are not elected. This is the primary reason why people feel alienated from globalization. The United Nations and the WTO are acting like world government bodies--yet they have no mandate from the citizens of the world. The authority vested in these bodies come from power, not from any social contract. As long as this state of affairs continues there will be dissent--and there should be.

Common Sense (2, Interesting)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507674)

The problem with globalisation, or capitalisation, or anything is that people do not apply common sense when purchasing.

When I buy a bag of coffee grounds I automatically go for the fairtrade bag as I know the grower gets more money than the Kenco bag.

When I buy apples I buy British ones, not South African, as it makes no sense, to me, to kart apples half way round the world when we grow perfectly good ones at home.

When I buy clothes I try to establish where they were made before buying - and buy only from reputable manufacturers.

I'm not saying this is easy, theres not a label on Nikes saying 'sweat shop and child labour likely used to make these', but come on, if we don't buy the products the practices don't make them money.

I object to Time-Warner-AOL so I don't go to see films, I don't buy magazines or videos by that company if I can avoid it (I buy Fortune - shoot me!).

I buy 90% of my food from local, often farm, shops. It costs me a couple of extra hours a month in shopping time, and maybe 10% more. I don't drink Coke, I dont eat McD.

Apply a little common sense. If you think something is wrong have principles. Its not the companies that are at fault - its the man in the street for letting it happen.

Dont let Bush trash Alaska. Seriously. Don't!

Globalism as an Evolutionary Strategy (1, Offtopic)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507689)

We take, as the primary condition, the "spatial-structure" of the non- iterated case of the Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) which as been shown by M. Oliphant in "Evolving cooperation in the non-iterated prisoner's dilemma: The importance of spatial organization [] " to be necessary for the evolution of C as well as for Saussurean communication (cooperative communication) in "The Dilemma of Saussurean Communication [] " -- the more complex iterated version of the PD being necessary only for environments in which TFT is the only strategy under which C can emerge as a stable strategy (environments in which kin-selection is not operative do to a high probability of interaction with non-kin).

What Oliphant means by "spatial structure" is that interaction, including mating, occurs only with individuals who were born near each other. This is a realistic first-order approximation of the structure of evolutionary history in most species -- allowing for Saussurean Communication as well as C to become stable within inbreeding groups.


Given the presence of Saussurean communication evolved in the presence of kin, the potential arises for successful mutations that combine D with signals that impute kinship thereby eliciting C from the recipients.

This is the primordial origin of the H strategy, and the C thereby elicited is first-order extended phenotypic [] cooperation.

However, given Oliphant's assumption of spatial structure, H quickly dies out as Saussurean communication and C are selected out of its environment and H individuals are interacting with other H individuals so frequently that the payoff for D sinks below the average payoffs of neighboring inbreeding groups not exhibiting H.

H, therefore, becomes stable only with ongoing migration to unexploited inbreeding groups.

Migratory behavior makes H persist.

Migration and H can therefore be considered codependent evolutionary strategies.


Once migratory behavior has arisen (giving persistence to H) the complexity introduced by the iterated PD becomes necessary to explain global demographic stability. Global demographic stability can persist (even if Saussauran communication is globally sacrificed as a defensive measure against H signals) only if repeat encounters allow a TFT strategy to emerge based on recognition of individuals who have previously exhibited D behavior. Moreover, if the TFT must be xenophobic -- that is, the TFT must presume an unknown immigrant to be H and therefore initially exhibit D toward any unknown immigrant. The H immigrant must, therefore, evolve toward initial sycophantry: in the initial encounter, the immigrant H must unconditionally exhibit C despite the expectation of a non-reciprocal exploitative initial response.

This initial investment for H can pay off only if sufficient C is elicited in the host population to provide enough exploitable individuals to make up for the cost of initial sycophantry . Stable Saussarian communication in the host inbreeding group is crucial for this condition to be met -- otherwise all individuals of the host inbreeding group will D in their first interaction with the H immigrant, causing the H strategy to fail in that environment. Therefore, reputational Saussurean communication, elicited by initial sycophantry, is crucial to the persistence of H in the presence of xenophobic TFT.

The C elicited by reputational Saussurean communication in response to sycophantic H is second-order extended phenotypic cooperation.

Such second-order extended phenotypics is the origin of biologically pathogenic memes as weapons in genetic arms races and are, in the most primitive form, "recommendation" memes.

The existence of such second-order extended phenotypics means it is inevitable that the H individuals will evolve to emit false recommendation signals for themselves and "defamation" signals for members of the host population. Since it takes longer to receive TFT responses to a defamation (or false recommendation) signal than it does to actually exploit (or be exploited), the defamation signals will target individuals that are reacting to exploitation or are passing on warning memes from those who have been exploited. Defamation memes targeting the members of the host population that react to exploitation is a third-order extended phenotype, attacking the host population's TFT response and generating the equivalent of an extended phenotypic auto-immune deficiency within the host population.

Having stabilized enough of the nonkin inbreeding group in C- exhibiting TFT, H individuals will then exhibit D toward nonkin to recoup the costs of initial sycophantry and then continue to D so as to reap the primary benefits of the H strategy. Mass emigration ensues as the exploitable population diminishes to the point that the costs imposed by D-responses from the host population's TFT strategy (enhanced by reputational Sassurean communication which is also inhibited by second and third order extended phenotypes as described above) exceed the benefits of further exploitation.


To this stage of evolution, only H populations are migrating, and the exploited populations are homogeneous inbreeding groups. As the genetic arms race continues, and the H strategy advances beyond the sycophant adaptations to extended phenotypic promotion of C and inhibition of TFT, there comes a point where it is advantageous to H individuals to promote random migrations in non-H populations.

The reason for this is that non-H populations, being dependent on spatial structure (kin selection) for the primary stability of C within their populations, as described above, become dependent on the extended phenotypic promotion of C provided by H individuals. The H individuals thereby remove the ability of non-H populations to sustain C within themselves in the absence of H extended phenotypic influence. This has the effect of extending time during which H populations can reap the benefits of their strategy subsequent to losses due to initial sycophantry. The tolerance of non-H populations for being exploited by H individuals dramatically increases since they are under the threat of other nonkin populations whose ability to invoke TFT to stabilize C with nonkin has been suppressed by the general suppression of their TFT phenotypes by the extended phenotypes of the H population.


Thus we can see that in addition to the theory that heterogenous populations make hypocrite populations less visible to an otherwise homogeneous population that may be preparing to expell them in a tit- for-tat reaction subsequent to hypocritical exploitation, there is an selective pressure for evolutionarily advanced hypocrite populations to promote immigration to homogeneous host populations subsequent to or in conjunction with defection against those populations: to create dependence on the presence of the hypocrite population, and its evolved (extended phenotypic) ability to elicit cooperative behavior in non-kin, thereby extending the time during which the pay off subsequent to initial defection may be reaped beyond the recovery of losses due to initial sycophantry.

small correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507701)

it was genoa, not milan.

Re: Flamebait, Su: More flamebait (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507713)

Firstly, Jon, many to most of the protesters, intellectual elites etc. involved in the anti-globalization movement are "reformed" socialists. Or, not so reformed, as the case may be. They're not going to address questions of who is going to "pay" for things, and how corporations are going to behave in their world order, because such things exist in a thought space which they don't occupy. When they say anti-globalization, what they *really* mean is internationalisation, from the far flung remote left fringe of the political spectrum. Not all of the people in the anti-globalization movement think this way, but the smart ones, the ones inclined to address hypothetical economic questions, are red as lenin.

The last time we had a really major downturn in the business cycle (I think for various reasons, primarily the fundamental self interest and lack of foresight on the part of W's handlers, that this one is going to be major) we (partially) averted the destruction of western, liberal, capitalist society through a significant redistribution of wealth and class power. I'm sure you're familiar with the new deal, the rise of unions, etc.

The real problem with the globalization of world capital is that it is heavily geared toward preventing this sort of correction from happening. Actual rightists are endangering, and not in an eventual sense, the survival of capitalism by stripping it of any ability to exert social conscience.

The reason that the American working class is still happy with their dwindling share of economic resources is not because they're numbed by television. It is because, in historial terms, they have it really good. The ratio of CEO pay to laborers pay is, yes, criminal. However, the american working class (by an large) have TVs and VCRs and shelter and plenty to eat; as long as that's the case they aren't going to be truly riled by how many Rolls Royces Bill Gates owns.

The only way for capitalism to survive is to enforce such a social contract, at the bare minimum, for the three fifths of the world's people who don't presently benefit from it.

While I agree that globalization promises many wonderful things, if we cannot have it on any terms that don't destroy the many, more wonderful and more vital, things which the mixed economics of the 20th Century have achieved; and could achieve in under developed countries if we exported it instead of a globalised corporate state, we have to put the brakes on.

the problem is capitalism (1)

pyat (303115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507714)

the reason people are unhappy with the way the system works is because we have constructed a system which aims to reward capital. The aim of the whole game is that the guys who have money today have more money tomorrow, and a bit more the day after that.

Anything else is just tacked on afterwards. But the problem is that the things tacked on afterwards are the things that make life worth living (like having a bit of control over your life, having a sense of self worth, community and so on).

Instead we get a capitalist system which is run by the minority for the benefit of the minority! Big surprise that it doesn't turn out with something that makes most people happy, but you are all so trapped inside the box that you don't dare question it!

I laugh (you gotta, and at least that's free :-)

Katz rules!!! (1)

karma corruptor (533558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507720)

in a nutshell this is why: "Sounds great. In fact, it sounds like the early Wired Magazine manifestos about the Net, some of which I wrote."

utopians == bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2507722)

communism == oppressive governmemt == low standard of living

socialism == oppressive regulation == low standard of living

social justice == state control over who makes what wages == same thing as lack of social mobility during the middle ages

capitalism == ability to improve the standard of living for you and your family

Many of our academic/government worker communist believers do not truely believe in communism. They talk about it but do nothing activly to get it adopted by the government. This is cowardly. You cannot be a communist believer if you:
1. own any stock or bonds --> you're helping private ownership of corporations --> this includes pension funds (e.g., TIAA-CREF, TRS)
2. work for anything other than the government --> including who your spouse and children work for
3. protest your property taxes instead of letting the government make the right decisions for you
4. listen to any news source other than official government sources
5. read/subscribe to any privately owned magazines/journals

Who's Confused? (2)

jagapen (11417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507733)

Is globalism as relentlessly evil and corrupt a force as all those nasty demonstrations in Seattle and Milan would suggest? Anti-globalists sometimes seem to confuse corporatism with globalism, lumping in all sorts of issues under one term.

The news out of the demonstrations was that thousands of people were protesting so-called "free trade" where representatives of powerful business interests met behind barricades to further the process of allowing multi-national corporations to flout national sovereignty through shadowy, unaccountable organizations that can overrule laws and regulations designed to protect laborers and consumers (i.e. people) as "anti-competitive."

Quite a number of these protesters promote the idea of "fair trade," i.e. globalism that raises the standard of living for the vast majority of the people on this planet through better working conditions, more healthful products, and a cleaner environment.

Mr. Katz, if you're gonna rag on people over vocabulary, at least get it right yourself

Here's globalization for ya: (0)

kaldari (199727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507735)

Regionalism (5, Insightful)

FallLine (12211) | more than 12 years ago | (#2507739)

I, for one, get tired of hearing all this hub-bub about how large corporations are "supressing" local culture or somehow magically putting mom-and-pops out of business (with the implication that they're superior). The simple fact of the matter is that, by and large, where these corporations prevail, the corporations are prevailing with the will and consent of each and every one of their customers. The local culture or shop may do one or two things better, but overall, the failing institutions are failing for a reason: the disruptive corporation/culture is providing something the individual prefers, on the aggregate. People don't go and do business with corporations that they think are worse; they shop the shops that do the best by them on the aggregate. These choices are made on a wide variety of grounds: speed, price, selection, quality of service, novelty, consistency, and so on. No matter what poor judgement you feel these choices are made with, they are just that, choices, many of them. Rather than allowing the individual to exercise free will, a vocal minority wants to regulate and legislate this choice out of existence.

It's the highest form of snobbery and arrogance. If you don't like the choices made, then try to enlighten the individuals; bring hard evidence to the table. If you feel the companies are succeeding because of unethical practices, then fight those unethical practices and/or push for greater transparency.....But do NOT try to assert your value system on other people by force and the rule of law. It's unfair and inefficient.
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