Monday, March 08, 2004
Rant time, ...
I was reading a great article in the current issue of Harper's; about the failure of Globalization. You remember the 80's and 90's were all about how the nation-state was going to dissolve and pure economics was going to solve all the world's social and geo-political problems. All the way through the Reaganomics years to Bush's New World Order we heard the inevitablity drumbeat. The deregulated free market would balance out and bring a huge explosion of wealth that would raise the world up to a whole new level. Democracy would flourish everywhere as a result bringing peace and prosperity to virtually everyone. Privatised Government would be rid of the inefficiency that typically plagues a beauracy.
Well, do not hold your breath, folks. It is not about to happen. Milton Friedman and the others missed a few key points along the way. 1. People live in a PLACE not a virtual company, and workers for a company feel no loyalty to that company, even if it is a huge transnational. 2. Removing morality and ethics from the economic side in the ferverent hope/desire that people will behave is a futile endeavour. This is how we got to the telecom bust, Enron, the dotcom boom/bust, and the scandals in the NYSE. Parmalat is only the first of many of the vaunted transnationals to fall, Daimler-Chrysler is looking mighty shaky and there have been rumblings at Credit-Suisse/First Boston. 3. Regulations on trade are NOT equal to protectionism. Throwing open your borders to any and all "products" from any other place might not always be in the best interest of your populace.
Libertarians would need to remember point number 2. Sometimes people cannot be trusted to do the moral and ethical nice thing. Just having no government and "let the people be" would in the long run be asking for anarchy and chaos. Finding the balance is what has been hard.
Ok, now, rant over! :)