Tag Archives | Globalization

Sweet Home Chicago: G8 Meeting Moved But Protests Will Continue

G8 mapWho called whom first?

Did the Obama alumni Association in Chicago — David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and Bill Daley — get nervous and call the White House, or was it Barack himself, having disposed/co-opted one threat by the name of Netanyahu, who recognized he had a more serious problem the horizon.

The President has been playing Ronald Reagan these days, talking tough while feinting towards the center. What he most decidedly does not want to do is play Hubert Humphrey and relive the summer of 1968 in Chicago.

That’s why the G8 meeting was shifted from contested ground there to safe space by in the ultra secure, well-guarded environment of Maryland’s Camp David. The last thing The President needs in the middle of his campaign is another police riot in the second city

Someone must have pointed out that the Occupy Movement was already in the process of planning another battle ala Seattle in the very heartland of the Obama Empire.… Read the rest

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Breaking Apart An iPhone’s Cost

It’s still shocking to see just how little of the profits from an item go towards those who made it. From a piece on the power of transnational corporations, via Reports from the Economic Front:

The production of the iPhone offers one of the best examples of the logic and operation of these transnational corporate controlled cross border production networks.

Not surprisingly, the division of profits, as shown below, reflects the overall hierarchy that structures this and other cross border production networks.

iphone

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Occupy Wukan? or A Chinese Spring

The village of Wukan in Guangdong province has staged a massive protest over local officials seizing land without compensation for development projects. This type of issue has been sticky in China for quite some time, similar to eminent domain in the U.S. but without much recourse or a court to appeal to. Here is a video posted on YouTube, its in Mandarin but the images are worth it: The Financial Times also has a decent article and video.
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147 Companies ‘Own Everything’

Source: New Scientist

Source: New Scientist

New Scientist reveals the capitalist network that runs the world:

As protests against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The study’s assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power.

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The Problem with Social Democracy

FlagAn interesting article that highlights some inconsistencies Center-Left parties have in implementing a social-democratic platform while effectively maintaining and strengthening capitalism … Via Socialist Worker:

With the electoral breakthrough of the NDP in the federal election, attention to the nature of social democracy has returned to the political agenda. What do socialists say about the NDP and social democracy today?

There are two main views about parliamentary — or electoral — democracy in the history of the socialist movement. The social democratic view sees the liberal democratic state as a neutral body that can be peopled by delegates of the right or the left. Marxists, however, have stressed the limitations of the liberal democratic state. This view dates back to Marx’s analysis stated simply in the Communist Manifesto.

Contemporary social democratic parties, like the NDP or the Labour Party in the UK, keep a close eye on every aspect of parliamentary practice.

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The New Religion of Shaolin

Shaolin Statue

Photo: Robin Chen (CC)

Chinese capitalism has something uniquely in common with historical Maoism: atheism. Vast economic growth met with a huge demand for traditional culture has meant Chinese cultural institutions are increasingly trading in their social values for growth-based business plans. Via the Independent:

Young men spring through the air, performing elegant punches and kicks; others bound across the dirt, swords flashing through the misty air. An ancient tree has dozens of small dents, made by “finger punches” of warrior monks over the centuries.

This is the Shaolin temple complex, in the mountains of central China, where kung fu was born 1,500 years ago. Now a place of pilgrimage for martial arts enthusiasts and Zen Buddhists, thousands of young people come to study kung fu, or wushu as it is known in China, in schools around the temple.

The commercial success of the temple is obvious, even if some of the sights are jarring – the telephone kiosks with Buddhas on top, for example.

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So Who Really Runs The World? A Network Analysis Reveals ‘Super Entity’ of Global Corporate Control …

Who Runs The World?An outline of the adversary emerges from Michael Ricciardi on PlanetSave:

In the first such analysis ever conducted, Swiss economic researchers have conducted a global network analysis of the most powerful transnational corporations (TNCs). Their results have revealed a core of 787 firms with control of 80% of this network, and a “super entity” comprised of 147 corporations that have a controlling interest in 40% of the network’s TNCs.

When we hear conspiracy theorist talk about this or that powerful group (or alliance of said groups) “pulling strings” behind the scenes, we tend to dismiss or minimize such claims, even though, deep down, we may suspect that there’s some degree of truth to it, however distorted by the theorists’ slightly paranoid perception of the world. But perhaps our tendency to dismiss such claims as exaggerations (at best) comes from our inability to get even a slight grip on the complexity of global corporate ownership; it’s all too vast and complicated to get any clear sense of the reality.

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Gibson Guitars Vs. the U.S. Government

GibsonVia Brooklyn Vegan and Gibson.com:
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department's interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India. On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson's facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.
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Americanization Training At An Indian Call Center

graveyard400The most marketable skill in India today is the ability to abandon your identity and slip into someone else’s.

An American spends his summer at an Indian call center, including a boot camp in which new employees try to change their nationality in three weeks by shedding their accents, gazing at photos of Walmart, watching Seinfeld, and eating pepperoni. Via Mother Jones:

I am waiting for a company cab, now an hour and a half late, to drive me across town to a call center, where an Indian “culture trainer” will teach me how to act Australian. For three weeks, a culture trainer will teach us conversational skills, Australian pop culture, and the terms of the mobile-phone contracts we’ll be peddling.

Bright recent college grads pore over flashcards and accent tapes, intoning the shibboleths of English pronunciation—”wherever” and “pleasure” and “socialization”—that recruiters use to distinguish the employable candidates from those still suffering from MTI, or “mother tongue influence.” The lucky ones will secure Spartan lodgings and spend their nights (thanks to time differences) in air-conditioned white-collar sweatshops.

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