Tokyo Damage Report

ANOTHER LACUNA IN THE DISCOURSE: GLOBALIZATION


 
It’s impossible to have a good discussion of globalization for two dumb avoidable reasons and one very good reason.
 
The two dumb reasons misconceptions which are shared by both the left and the right, which guarantees that no one has an incentive to challenge them.
 
Misconception one: globalization is one thing. The fact is, the word “globalization” is so broad it encompasses like 100 different phenomena, some good and some bad. It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition! We should be able to break it into easy-to-digest pieces and then debate them individually on their merits. I like this bit but not that bit. (the same problem applies to political parties in general: if you’re anti-abortion you have to be anti-envrionmental-regulation and pro-handgun. Huh?!?!?)
 
And yet, I have yet to see ONE fucking spreadsheet that analyzes globalization this way: tallies all the good shit on one side and all the bad shit on the other side.
 
Misconception two: globalization is something you can be for or against. It’s fucking not. Asshats like Thomas Friedman aren’t in favor of globalization. They’re in favor of one particular dickhole WAY of doing it. Which they present as the only way, saying things like, “Globalization is a trend that has been steadily building for 1,000 years so you can’t fight it, it’s a force of nature.” Bullshit, Einstein. Increasing trade and exchange of information between distant lands has been steadily increasing, yes. But! Things like the IMF, World Bank, neo-liberal economics, and  the network of Shadow Banks have only been in place for 50 years. So fuck you!!!
 
And protestors who say they are against globalization, aren’t in fact against it. They are against the particular way in which it’s being done these days. In fact a lot of third world countries (the ones that the western protestors are trying to “save”) really WANT globalization, but they just want the contracts and treaties to be written more fairly.   The fact is there are hundreds of different possible ways to do it, but the way the issue is framed prevents people from even beginning to think about that.
 
Moving on to the good but unavoidable reason it’s impossible to have a productive discussion about globalization:
 
As you start breaking it down into 100 bite-sized aspects, you at some point will find that you are now talking about the even more nebulous phenomenon of Modern Times In General.  Which is a concept so vague, so all-encompassing, it’s like asking “what is the meaning of life?” or “what is art?” . . . .in other words a real useless time-waster! There’s no real border between Globalization and modernity. Or whenever I start talking about it, I wind up complaining about neo-liberal economics instead.  It’s not even a venn diagram . . . it’s more like a fucking casserole where everything got melted together.
 
 It’s like trying to look directly at air!
 
 
POSTSCRIPT:
 
If I had to break globalization into bits and then arrange them on a scorecard, it would look like this:
 
Bad:
 
 
Super-national treaty organizations that allow unelected bureaucrats (appointed by big business) to overturn the member nations’ own labor or environmental laws without the public voting for it or, in most cases, even knowing that their own sovigreinity has been usurped. “Yeah, that Chinese beef you bought was genetically mutated, irradiated, hormone-fed, full of feces, and slaughtered by slave labor, but we’re not allowed to put a sticker on it explaining any of that, since that would be A VIOLATION OF THE TREATY and an INFRINGEMENT OF FAIR TRADE.” Informed consumer choices are so anti-free-market!
 
A “race to the bottom” where every country has to lower wages, lower corporate taxes, lower environmental and work safety rules in order to keep jobs.
 
Now people can move a billion dollars from Switzerland to the cayman islands and then to dubai with the click of a button in one second. This makes it easier for local warlords, dictators, terrorists, mafias, and large “respectable” corporations to avoid regulations and launder money. It also makes it easier for financial wall street types to destroy the economies of countries who don’t play ball: just a click of a button and all the capital goes somewhere else.
 
By assembling their goods in 5  foreign countries (as opposed to their home country), multinationals can cheat tax by using a technique called transfer mispricing. This hurts the third world especially, since that is where most of the raw material and labor is. Basically the corp. tells Bangladesh or Belize or whoever, “Yeah, you supplied the raw material and the non-union factory to assemble it. . . but wouldn’t you know it. . . that factory actually lost money! Because we sold the cars for 3 pesos apiece (to our OTHER subsidiary in the Bahamas. (Who then sold the cars in America for  $40,000 each)). So we don’t owe you any tax. Plus actually our corporate headquarters is in the Cayman Islands, so we only pay tax to the Caymans. The Cayman government charges us $5 a year. And that is totally legal! So, smell you later, Jose!”
 
Instead of torturing dissidents at home, America can set up torture rendition camps all over the globe! Where suspected “enemy combatants” can be tortured by 24 hours a day loops of It’s A Small World After All.
 
Good:
 
easy for me to visit America, cheap underwerar at walmart, big Macs taste the same in Uruguay!
 
The thing is, I know this list is only about 10% complete, because I’m not an economist, I’m a jerkoff  metalhead with some free time. So why don’t actual economists make a real list? Why is it up to me?!??
 
So I’m asking you people reading this: have you seen any lists of the good and bad aspects of globalization?
 
And, can anyone do a venn diagram that untangles globalism, modern times, and neoliberal economics?
 
1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. GrinderMan April 29th, 2012 2:43 am

    The world is a smaller place.

    Just think of the momentum all scientific research has right now, all the scientists interconected by the internet and cheap flights.

    has a dark side too, your big mac tastes the same in uruguay cause the meat is from argentina, the tomato from india and the lettuce from germany
    And they freight that ingredients to every country that has a Macdonalds

    Its just that, the world is smaller

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