December 12th, 2006

ozarque figure

Globalization; hasty note...

My problem with regard to the issue of globalization [cover term, obviously, but it will do for now] is ignorance. I keep reading articles and listening to talks/interviews on the subject -- from respected scholars in a variety of disciplines and respected journalists in a variety of media. And I simply don't know enough to make any sort of rational decision about who -- if anybody -- is right.

There's the claim that globalization is inevitable, that the faster it's completed the less suffering it will entail, and that everyone who's trying to hold it back or slow it down is just dragging out the pain and making matters worse. Then there's the claim that globalization is the epitome of evil, that it's critically important to return to "Made in America" for American consumers and "Made in France" for French consumers and so on for every country. There's the claim that what globalization will mean is global poverty and global anarchy -- that is, that all we're doing is outsourcing misery and reducing all of humankind to a similar state of degradation. Then there's the claim that although the process of globalization is messy and painful it will mean an end to global poverty and global anarchy, and will be the first step toward bringing all of humankind a decent life. There's the claim that the only effective way to move everyone toward a decent life is to do it one household or one neighborhood at a time -- and then there's the claim that that approach is selfish and insular and isolationist and represents an attitude of "entitlement." And of course there are the "survival of the fittest" proponents.

One carefully-argued position after another; one set of plausible statistics after another. And I'm unable to judge the validity of any of them. I'd like to get past that.