hi all, the topic for this post is "globalization".
globalization has affected all of us. it sounds like a political term. but its really seeped into our lives in ways both overt and covert. arguably, we are marinating in its juices.
maybe the biggest "overt" way is electronics and cyberspace. the elecronics of this new generation is phenomenal. big screen tvs used to be the domain of rock stars on mtv "cribs" and now you can buy em at walmart. computers are ubiquitous. cell phones are virtually a realization of the iconic dick tracy "wrist radio" of another generation.
when I was a late teenager in highschool I went to a so-called "leadership conference". this is a sort of junket for high schoolers and their teachers, a field trip to get out of the stifling classroom for a day. a few students were chosen, those that teachers favored as the least disruptive in classes full of disruption.
I had very subversive and anti-authority thoughts from a young age, but I was also very effective at subterfuge and camouflage, getting very good grades in spite of my "conscientious objection" to the whole damn system/establishment. yeah I was even one of those "junior escorts" for senior graduation. a strange ritual.
I recall a local celebrity who was on a lot of tv commercials for furniture or something at the conference, probably the only one the students recognized, a novelty. he spoke favorably about "globalization". the whole topic of the conference was globalization. this was about 1992 or so. they mainly talked about how it would decrease the cost of products based on cutting down tariffs or import taxes, and that consumers would benefit.
they said that all countries could specialize in that which they make most efficiently. this is actually a concept that goes all the way back to Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations in 1776, the same year as the declaration of independence and the founding of our country [and try that synhronicity on for anyone who doesnt believe in planets lining up or astrology]
it was all transparent propaganda, to me at least, but to nobody else in the room. not even the teachers questioned anything stated. it was like pronouncements handed down by a relgious authority but the audience was spellbound and fully attentive.
the "other side" of the equation was so invisible, it was hard to pinpoint. I had that sense of cognitive dissonance. I asked in this conference about worker protection or environmental protection. if our products are going to be made overseas, say china, what about that maybe they dont have the same worker protection or environmental protection that we do in this country?
I dont recall his reply. he was startled, and I probably startled everyone else in the room after that single question also. its amazing how sometimes an entire worldview can shatter with a single pointed question, like a sheet of glass. or maybe something like the way luke skywalker blew up the death star by shooting down the exhaust pipe.
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one of the worlds foremost globalist propagandists and cheerleaders is tom friedman. he's very rich through marrying a billionaire heiress. he wrote, "the world is flat", which I read not too long ago. it is effectively and well written. but it also feels like a big sham to me, like the meeting that I went to as a high schooler. its just a more sophisticated veneer on that old story.
yeah tom I read your whole longwinded book, you obviously have a very high IQ, are erudite, and articulate, and I think you're a bozo. the book is nothing more than one-sided propaganda. the astonshing thing about you, tom, is that you seem to fully believe in this false religion. you cannot even grasp a dark side to your shiny, sparkling, vacuous rhetoric.
here's the truth about globalization, that Ive come to after 20 yrs. globalization is about corporations doing whatever they want around the world with impunity. impunity is an understatement. metaphorical rape is more accurate. the kind that goes unreported by the powerless victim.
not respecting laws about environmental or worker protection. its about Rule by Corporatocracy. but only in very disguised version. nobody ever talks about Corporatocracy. its very well & effecitvely disguised. we are like fish swimming in the water of Corporatocracy. we cannot perceive the water, its invisible to us.
obama says he wants to close so-called "tax loopholes" related to corporate and individual tax havens. to me weak taxation is a basic artifact of globalization. its about corporations having the freedom to move their money wherever they want, to create massive flows of cash in a "shadow banking system" that avoid government regulation not merely by US laws, but all government laws. its about making entire governments subservient to corporations via eg the IMF dictating "austerity" laws based on economics, breaking the spine of entire nations to make them prostrate.
the whole word "loophole" itself is misleading. it suggests that its an inadvertent oversight that massive flows of cash are sloshing around without taxation or regulation. this is not a mistake, its BY DESIGN. the systems are being ENGINEERED by faceless bueaucrats to operate that way. "modus operandii".
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lets see, maybe "globalization" might involve improved ability/mobility of workers to work in different places in the world. in the 90s, that was one of the rumors used to sell the magical, fairy-dust laced "globalization".
aha, gotcha. of course not. in the US this is governed by H1B visas which are difficult to obtain. there are only a few hundred thousand per year available, and they involve piles of paperwork to obtain, and many are turned down. its a political hot potato especially in a recession, and the quotas tend to get strong political forces pushing them downward.
individuals cannot really submit this paperwork, only corporations with administrators. the worker gets to come to the US and typically work for below-market-rate salaries. they do this because they dont want to leave and work in their home country where salaries are lower. the worker cannot just come to the US to work anywhere, decreasing their leverage, they must already have a sponsoring company named.
and the US has a LIBERAL immigration policy compared to other countries.
Ive read how in Dubai, they promise penniless foreign workers a good working environment where they can send money back to their families. once there, their passports are *confiscated* and they are worked liked slaves in some of the harshest working conditions on the planet [desert construction]. some commit suicide.
hmm, that reminds me, foxconn is a large corporation headquartered in china that builds a lot of electronics products including Apples iphone, and it has experienced a large spurt of worker suicides in an apparently highly oppresive atmosphere. even sony has "expressed concern". yeah Im concerned about that too.
do you want to know what "globalization" looks like? try the movie Slumdog Millionaire. now theres a brief glimpse into the dark reality.
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let see, what else could "globalization" mean? maybe that our entire massive, insanely costly military industrial complex hyperventilates and gets fixated on in substantial, remote, shadowy/illusory threats in afghanistan, pakistan, and iraq? yep. check. so that a single madman/fanatic named Osama can hide in a cave and cause our entire country to tremble in terror by "remote control". (yeah, we're not the only one with that technology, apparently.) 9/11 was supposedly funded with maybe only $100K. quite the "bang for the buck" there.
yeah, 9/11, run mainly by Saudi Arabians. who entered the US mainly on student visas. oh yeah, thats another joy of globalization. students coming from all over the world to study in the US universities. sounds great, Im in favor of it, except that those visas got more restrictive after 911, even to the point that some students had to interview regularly and fill out onerous paperwork to meet the requirements.
in other words, think of all those hapless students meeting significantly higher resistance just to buy their expensive educations. is this a downfall of worldwide terrorism, or globalization? at times, its hard to tell the difference.
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oh yeah, and france had RIOTs by the islamic underclass just one summer ago. yep, apparently a lot of illegal immigrants in that volatile mix. globalization seems to have INCREASED the number of illegal immigrants all over the world.
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heres another little "twinkle in the eye of globalization". prior to the bush administration, the US had one of the best reputations of human rights in the world, unparalleled. and why shouldnt it? our constitution is the envy of many countries in the world, and many have based theirs on ours. in a single presidency, a blink of the eye, this was totally reversed. thanks to diabolical Dark Side masters such as Cheney and Rumsfield, our government engaged in illegal torture.
in a very insidious way. we would deport certain "terrorist suspects" to foreign countries that we knew had hideous prisons, where the suspects would be likely to be tortured. this is what is known as a "rendition". its basically "outsourced torture". even dirtier secret-- it was probably overseen by CIA representatives.
so, also, torture arbitrage. we shipped prisoners to locations with the *worst* human rights records. to even talk about "human rights" in the same sentence as these near-totalitarian prison-states is a kind of perversion of language. just like the word "globalization"....
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oh yeah, speaking of "outsourcing". world long distance rates plummeted dramatically over the last decade, very much a factor in IT outsourcing to india. sounds way cool, right? ok, except that the indians work longer hours for a fraction of the pay, and guess who gets to keep the difference.... ah well you'll never see 'em on tv, but could it be a factor in that CEO/executive pay has skyrocketed in a single generation to 10-100x prior levels? for some reason they never show that in those feel-good corporate tv commercials, huh.
but I dont hear the indians complaining that much, I guess they feel proud they're being highly "competitive". yep thats another magic word associated with globalization. social darwinism is also very "competitive", but nobody who is polite or civilized ever talks about social darwinism and globalization in the same sentence. for that, I apologize. as I was saying, I still have that subversive streak, wink.... lets see, Jimmy Hoffa seemed to have a subversive streak too, and see where it got him!
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recently, a good friend of our family was visiting as a tourist from Ecuador for which she had to get a tourist visa, which she obtained. she went through Atlanta airport as a stop. apparently, Atlanta has a really bad reputation and is said to be one of the worst for tourists in the immigration clearance. they interviewed/interrogated her in a heavy-handed way and discovered she had a boyfriend in the US. the administrator decided that she violated the rules of the tourist visa and needed a "fiance visa".
because bureacracy determined infallibly she had the INTENTION to get married, or whatever. sort of like 1st degree vs 2nd degree murder hinges on INTENT. so, basically, illegal intent to get married? huh? the adminstrator 1st told her that she was blocked from entry, and had to apply for a fiance visa.
then the administrator got angry, and in a dictatorial and tyrannical fashion informed her that she was illegally attempting to work in this country, and that her decision was to BLOCK her from entry for FIVE years under any conditions, at which point she could only apply for some specialized visa. there is NO appeal of this decision, its a purely unilateral decision.
yep, THAT smells like globalization to me.
so, globalization is all about unfettered and unlimited leverage for corporations, but diminished leverage for the individual to travel or work freely all over the world. corporations use a regulatory "arbitrage" to push against higher wages or better environmental protection. so, in short, its a race to the bottom, that Marx noticed over a century ago and capitalists are still attempting to confront without blind head-in-the-sand denial.
you didnt notice that in the fine print, did you?
adam smith didnt talk about the Dark Side, did he?
I want my money back. and who do I talk to about that?
as the saying goes, "stop the world.. I wanna get off"....
of course, I dont want to be all negative here. globalization has indeed brought benefits, but obviously, clearly, humans need to look at it more critically, without the facile mindlessness. humans need to learn to think past the pervasive propaganda. humans need to seriously analyze and figure out Globalization v2.0 without all the dark features of v1.0.
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