Monday, December 06, 2004

12 4

Dilip 12 4

In what sort of world will globalization result? Was 9/11 a random crime or a signal of a coming “Jihad and McWorld” clash of civilizations? How does the West engage an enemy that believes it will be rewarded in the afterlife for killing it citizens? Americans fighting in the Middle East want to live, but they are up against suicide bombers. Do we know what the goals of the war on terror are? What do the terrorists want? Should the war be fought at the expense of personal liberties?

Jihad vs. McWorld – The essay comments on 4 interdependencies or imperatives: a market imperative that replaces local or national markets; an information technology imperative; a resource imperative (oil, water); and ecological imperatives of global politics (should the U.S. take a financial hit to clean the environment?). What is fair in global politics? The principle of fairness, equal treatment, is a guide, but how is America equal to other countries? Should the richest countries reduce emissions to a level that all follow? Should the richest countries be allowed to pollute than others? “Pollution Rights” are bought and sold, enabling some to pollute more than others, and those who don’t to benefit from the sale. This is an example of an intractable problem of global politics. The problems caused today do not immediately affect the world; e.g., the Southern Hemisphere will be affected more severely by global warming, but in 40 years.

A smaller world puts us all together. McWorld = Lexus, Jihad = Olive Tree. Which comes first? Which facilitates which? They are interdependent. Jihad = not just Holy War, but fighting to protect a way of life; Barber compares Basques fight for independence to Jihad. Why a sudden emphasis on Jihad? Jihad is reacting to McWorld, feels more threatened by McWorld. McWorld is culturally adaptive, (burgers can be made of lamb or chicken) can it quell the tide of Jihad by controlling itself? It isn’t well regulated, and is selling a “lifestyle”, to which Jihad objects; it has happened suddenly, not gradually. Microsoft makes the money in PC sales, slogan is “Where do you want to go today?” Durable goods do not take you where you want to go, the lifestyle image MS provides is what does it. Recurrent services are what is sold. Why doesn’t McWorld sell lifestyles to rich countries, and goods to poor? Because it can be done as well locally, and doesn’t make the economy go; McWorld can only make money selling a lifestyle. Everything the West sells demands a reconfiguration of gender; 51% of the population will think and act differently. The greatest revolution under way now is the gender revolution.

What is the solution? About what can we be optimistic? What will keep the clash from worsening? Democracy, and democratic forms of government. Democratic tendencies are defeating theocratic tendencies; Jihad can only be controlled by the counterforce of democracy. Has McWorld done enough to promote democracy elsewhere?

What to do about McWorld? Strong Democracy, citizens should be far more active. Can we be more active? There is a freeloader problem, allowing others to do it. Many people are active locally, or in specific local activities, but not outside of those boundaries; why? Is the world too big? Americans have a strong tendency to join groups; how do Americans turn bowling leagues and volunteerism into concern for the world? Barber proposes a “Confederal Option” in which semi-autonomous communites smaller than nation-states are tied together in regional economic associations that are larger than nation-states. “Think Globally, Act Locally” progressive localization, Barber believes is happening in global economics and local activism. “Autonomy” enables a mayor from the United States to visit politicians in China; limits to connections are breaking down. Unlike within the U.S., countries are more fragmented within their populations, more potential for conflict. What would motivate me to form or join an alliance like Appadurai’s Alliance? Take Back the Night was a domestic movement of women, motivated by fight against sex criminals; in some communities, women can’t go to a bar late at night like men, but in NY, women can move freely and make assumptions about them. University campus may be an oasis, but it varies from place to place; women are forced to unite in their social change movements. What are women in this case deprived of?

Huntington – The Clash of Civilizations – Huntington believes that more economic growth must precede democracy, rather than the reverse. The main argument of the essay is that the dominating course of conflict will be cultural rather than ideological or political. In the United States, race may be the cultural clash; Huntington believes that the potential for clash in America is Hispanic culture vs. existing anglo-dominated culture. Western Civilization values individualism, gender equality, which Eastern culture does not always do…Muslims believe these values are destructive to their way of life. Huntington believes there is no middle ground or negotiation between the cultures; how to get through it? Six points:

1) Differences between cultures are basic;
2) The world is getting smaller;
3) Globalization separates people from their local identities;
4) Civilization-consciousness is growing, driven by the West;
5) Cultural differences are less mutable than other differences, and are therefore harder to overcome;
6) Economic regionalism is progressing.

In The Last Samurai, the pro-Western forces win; the struggle is between forces of modernization and a traditional way of life, which is represented by the samurai.

The pro-Western elites are becoming anti-Western, and a more rural sensibility is taking its place “going native”; “Asianization” of Japan, “Hinduization” of India, a “re-Islamization” of the Middle East. These people are less modern, maintain power in a non-secular way. Bin Laden was a member of the elite, but became a rebel. How did this happen? Most al queda leaders are westernized, educated.

There are fault lines between cultures that are replacing old cold war boundaries, Western-aligned vs. traditional clash. There are also torn countries, Mexico and Turkey. Turkey’s leader Sezer forced Westernization, he realized that social reform was critical to modernization. “Islam has bloody borders.” Even in regions with economic imbalances economics is not the issue that drives conflicts, it is cultural.

The “Kin-Country Syndrome” – countries will align politically with countries with which they match culturally; “West vs Rest”. People apply different standards to kin countries and others. Conflicts and violence will also occur between states and groups within the same civilization, but will be less intense and are less likely to expand.

“World Community” = Influence of Western Powers.


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