Globalisation is good – Johan Norberg’s approach to globalization

Friday, September 14. 2007

Today I stumbled up on a video documentary on globalization by the Swedish journalist and writer Johan Norberg, who takes up a position against the condemnation of globalisation. He shows examples how government protectionism influences the development of economy and wealth.

I titled this post an “approach”, because of course you can address the issue of globalization from many directions, and of course there are always scenarios where workers are exploited, and the only gainers are the multinational concerns, who are then protecting their economy etc… But I think like the Sunday Telegraph commented on that documentary:

“This is timely and thought-provoking stuff, and should be compulsory viewing for anyone who ever boycotted a brand."

Thx to the courtesy of Channel 4, the video is available on google-video. Watch it online, or download it for your Ipod!

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Gabor Steingart – Weltkrieg um Wohlstand

Sunday, December 17. 2006

Several outtakes of this book where already posted on SPON, and within the Spiegel Print Magazine. These articles had convinced me to buy this book as a reading material for my holidays. Flanked by Noam Chomsky’s “Profit over people” I got quite an interesting view on globalization.

The first part of the book (which is not covered by the outtakes) provides necessary background information to fully understand the rest of the book, and already this overview was worth buying the whole book. The first chapters give a decent picture of the historic development of the worlds leading economies. This information is quite helpful for a good understanding of the ongoing changes in our world.

Steingart describes the current situation as very dangerous for Europe and the US. Western Countries have very high social standards, where some Asian countries don’t care at all, but given a free market the goods are distributed all over the globe and compete with each other regardless how they have been manufactured. Countries like China even protect there economies by different actions (like keeping the exchange rates for their currencies artificially down). Because of this situation our high social standards are endangered. The only chance to protect these standard is in Steingart's opinion to establish a free trade region between Europe and the US (which have similar standards) and protect this region against other economies which do not keep up those standards.

In my opinion this book gives a very realistic image of the current globalization process and Steingart's recommendations should not stay unheard.

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Tuscany 2006 – Day 3 – Sinalunga

Monday, September 25. 2006

On Monday the next bigger town with some decent supermarkets was our target to restore our almost empty food and vine supplies and to watch out for some local products. We first headed for the big Coop supermarket, which is part of a small shopping mall in Sinalunga. There we got almost everything we needed, but then our curiosity made us visiting the local branch of Lidl. Guess what – about half of the products are about the same… Even the pricing of the goods was similar – that’s globalisation in its pure form.

Dinner: soup – sausages – dark chocolate

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Noam Chomsky – Profit over people

Saturday, September 23. 2006

Shopping for some reading materials I discovered this book. The short synopsis said that Noam Chomsky would outline how badly the concept of neo-liberalism is influencing our world. So this book seemed to be a perfect addition to Gabor Steingart’s “World was on prosperity”. Noam Chomsky has a clear argumentation style and I easily finished the book within a day.

Chomsky is a well known critic of the American government, and so the book mainly centers on incidents related to American politics. I’m quite overwhelmed by the number of examples where U.S. American politics – under the cloak of free trade – manipulated the other for their own profit. “Their Profit” focuses here to profits of U.S. American investors. The neo liberalism seems to have a common thing with communism – there are always ways to manipulate the whole thing to give preferential treatment to selected people. In a democratic system like the one of the U.S. these people seem to be the sponsors of the parties. You could say well – someone has to profit why not those people who can achieve a lot of stuff (like those investors investing their money to help economies grow). But unluckily Chomsky is able to prove that the overall prosperity of economies is influenced negatively by such maneuvers. Therefore nothing is gained. Those investors are often preventing the economies they invest in to gain prosperity. Globalization opponents like ATAC surely love this book because of the huge amount of negative examples. I think globalization can still be something possible, but as long as there are people involved having their own agenda, it will be really difficult to find the most suitable way towards a world economy.

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Horizons2020 – A thought provoking look at the future

Tuesday, April 4. 2006

Often big companies are trying to see a little bit of the future, to enhance their capabilities to deal with possible changes. Siemens tried to do this lately by asking tns infratest to do a study how our life could look like in 2020. The study is available in both English and German. There are two possible Horizons covered in that study. The first one “Equality, Freedom, Modesty” has a rather strong government, and the economy and society is highly regulated in Europe. The second Horizon shows a less regulated picture of the future “Energy, Networking, Risk”. If you are up for some visions go for this study and get a little thinking.

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Networking in a globalized world - thoughts about the World Youth Day in Cologne

Saturday, August 20. 2005

For days I’ve been thinking about a high sophisticated topic to blog about. Today a short article on the World Youth Day in Cologne gives me an impulse to reflect a little bit on the changing relations in our society. A generation away, when my parents had my age it was not that common to travel foreign countries. A visit to Paris was a real highlight at that time. But during the last years Europe and our world grew quite close together. The enhanced mobility with fast train connections in Europe and discount Airlines did their part to make traveling very easy. Some 25 years ago it was something special to visit a football game at the other end of the country – new you visit a Champions League Match at the other end of Europe.
So it is no problem to have international gathering of people! And if one of the biggest communities – the Christian church – invites you can get 400000 young people gathered together. With his business Know-How the german President Horst Köhler encouraged the participants to use the chance to form new friendships.

“Enjoy your stay in Germany. I hope you will return to your home countries with new energy and confidence, remembering the impressions of this World Youth Day with lots of new phone numbers and e-mail addresses in your pockets. Do not let go of the hands reaching out to you over the next few days.”

I think it is a real good chance for our youth to get in touch with different cultures and will help them to lose xenophobia. The xenophobia issue reminds me a little on Arthur C Clarke’s “Childhood’s end”, which I read last week. To really work together with an alien race, it takes two generations, until the humans are finally allowed to see the alien race – first the humans got to learn to accept the aliens. Globalization and global collaboration takes it’s time – but with events like this World Youth day we really have a great step towards becoming a worldwide community. Gathering of the youth will help people to become more tolerant, and enhance the willingness to work together beyond national borders.

With study programs, which bring you abroad, and the traditional school exchange many people get the chance to form networks around the world within their education. Communication over a global medium like the internet brings people together, too. (Without playing Astrowars I would probably never know that there exists a place like the Prince Edwards Island – no I have some friends over their, and I’d really liked to visit them some day!). There are many more new developments, which bring people together all over the world – let’s hope that we all make the best of it. So I’m connecting to Horst Köhlers appeal – make the best out of your chance to get connected to the world!

Interesting is that of course the issue of sexuality amongst the youth is an issue. The point of view of the Catholic Church, which is head of the gathering, is “no sex before marriage”. And as Pope John Paul II put it the use of condoms is a sin. But for the young people an open dealing with that issue is common sense. This does not mean that young people would get intimate with each other in an ill-considered manner – they make their decision dependant on the feeling of love not onto the institution of marriage. In a conservative community where the intuition of marriage is still one of the most important institutions this paradigm shift is not accepted. So it is not surprising, that authorities of the church get annoyed asked about that issue. But as it is a important issue for the youth I think this topic will be discussed amongst the participants. I think many participants are going to discuss. Partnership and sexuality go together and partnership is an important issue for young people, who seek there place in live. So it will be an issue, trying to ignore it, because it is a explosive topic will not prevent that.

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