Tag Archives | Globalization

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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Chris Hedges’s Endgame Strategy: Why The Revolution Must Start In America

Synopsis via The Raw Story:
Pulitzer-winning author and former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has a revolutionary worldview. In the video below, his recent “Endgame Strategy” piece for AdBusters is read aloud by George Atherton. His conclusions are chilling, but not entirely hopeless. “We will have to take care of ourselves,” he wrote. “We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.
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Paranormal Investigator Richard Thomas on Alex Jones and the New World Order (Interview)

An interview with Richard Thomas, author of the excellent book, PARA-NEWS — UFOs, Ghosts, Conspiracy Cryptids, and More — a collection of essays and interviews (with Nick Redfern, Nick Pope, and others) that first appeared on Binnall of America, UFO Mystic, Sci-Fi Worlds, and other venues. Interviewed by Henry Baum, author of the conspiracy novel, The American Book of the Dead.

Henry Baum: In your book, you frequently raise the specter of Alex Jones and his ideas on eugenics, the New World Order, and so on. Personally, I take some issue with Alex Jones for a few reasons, and I wonder if you could address them. The main thing that leaps out about Alex Jones is that he never raises the UFO issue you actually interview someone at Infowars who seems pretty disinterested in the whole subject. This seems like a fairly impossible assertion to make — it’s pretty clear that there is something going on with the UFO issue, if only because the government explanation for many sightings is so suspiciously stupid.Read the rest

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Why The World Isn’t As ‘Flat’ As Thomas Friedman Says…

The World Is Not FlatRana Foroohar writes in TIME:

Tis the season to be selfish. Right after the global financial crisis exploded in 2008, many economists fretted that countries looking to hold on to their share of a shrinking pie would become more self-interested and protectionist, plunging the planet into an even sharper downturn, just as happened in the 1930s after the Great Depression. Thanks to panic-fueled crisis management by policymakers, it didn’t happen. But after three years of pain and very little economic gain, it may be happening now.

The signs are everywhere. Europeans are in the middle of a potentially calamitous debt crisis, one that threatens not only the survival of the euro zone but the idea of the European Union itself: politicians are starting to talk about rolling back visa-free travel between countries. Meanwhile, OPEC is falling apart as the Saudis and the Iranians bicker over how to control the world’s energy spigots.

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