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Monday, December 3, 2007

Global Paradox?: A passage from a futurist in the Googleopoly, Ipodosphere or Youtubedome of Life

I picked up Mr. John Naisbitt book, Global Paradox (1994), at the Lowell Library for a $.25. So it was a decent investment to see what this 2-time #1 New York Times bestseller had to spew out. At least, it gives me something to look at on the toilet. (Yeah, I do that. Women: it's a guy thing. If I could have a TV set in my bathroom, or a versatile computer that would drop down in front of me, that would be ideal. Instead, it's a book - maybe a Playboy or two in a lifetime of learning...)

Anyways, back to the book. I was perusing this passage (pg. 24-25), and felt it had some today value:
The new surge for tribalism has resulted in an escalation of conflicts in many parts of the world. There are many places where ethnic or religious groups are being suppressed rather than celebrated. Some of those places, in addition to Bosnia-Herzegovina are:

  • Iran. The Islamic government is trying to do away with Baha'i minority by
    denying them education and jobs.
  • Sudan. The Muslim government in the north is brutally fighting rebellious black animist and Christians of the south rather than deal with their grievances. About 40,000 killed.
  • Tibet. 40 years of military occupation by the Chinese.
  • Iraq. Baghdad government's massive huma-rights violations against Kurds.
  • Papua New Guinea: The separatist movement...5,000 killed.
  • Bangladesh. Buddhist Chakmas have fought for seperation from this officially
    Islamic country for almost 20 years.
  • Fiji. Ethnic Indians vs. ethnic Fijians.
  • Burundi. thousands have been killed as a result of ethnic clashes...Hutus
    and... Tutsis.

Some people insist that the forces that are making the world into a single economy have seperated people from longstanding identities and have, at the same time, weakened the nation-state. Hence the violence in these troubled "hot spots." And that in the future, most armed conflict will be ethnically or tribally motived, rather than politically or economically motivated.

In fact, these economic and technological forces of change have weakened the nation-state, but they have strengthened, not seperated people from, longstanding identities. Language, culture, religion, and ethnic heritage reinforce people's sense of belonging. These are the bonds out of which will be created new communities. At the same time, the global community has embraced, at least in concept, the notion that there are basic human rights - although the East and West may well continue to argue over exactly what those rights are - that must be protected.

...War and other forms of aggression against fellow citizens will become, if not obsolete, at least increasingly intolerable. When the world is watching, a community's behavior is influenced by the anticipated reaction of its economic allies.

As you can see, Iran, Iraq and Sudan are still hot spots, 13 years later. The recent and prolonged entrenchment of the United States (The West) into Iraq (The East) has done very little toward obsolence of war...since of course, we are the most powerful nation-state in the World.

The Economic pressures are what we do...to get other countries to obey. (North Korea and Iran.) The backlash (against war) has happened; but with little ado really to the U.S. Economy directly.

China now is putting on the next Olympics, overlooking years of civil rights abuses, their complacent and complicit attitude toward Myanmar and current failures to make safe goods for people. (Meanwhile, their economy is overheating (10-15% growth per year) and their currency is depressed intentionally, while they hoard U.S. currency.)

The concept of basic human rights is just that: a concept. There is little movement toward a fundamental understanding of what accounts for human rights. The conversations recently about waterboarding (and torture) by the new Attorney General Michael Mukasey and potential U.S. President have been in a word, laughable. It is when these Western philosophies are as skewed as the Muslims (with the recent outrage over Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher, being jailed, threatened with death by extremists), that one must realize that we are no closer to working viewpoint on what people should be treated like, or the leaps of understanding needed to close this longstanding cultural gap.

The "new communities" that Naisbitt talked about are what I'll call the Googleopoly, Ipodosphere or Youtubedome. These techcenters are creating communities of vast proportions - founded on technology, email, blogging, chatting and all things communications related. But these places have only so much structure to them; people are constantly moving around in them to other communities. They are as transient as a homeless guy.

The real power only comes from the mega corporations that combine and collect data on us, the bottom feeders. Take today: News Corp. (Ruppert Murdock) is buying another social networking site in Linked In. (Another link to this pending deal.) This after owning Myspace.

Another Hong Kong billionaire (Li Ka-shing) took a $60 million dollar interest in Facebook, another large social network venture just recently.

Meanwhile, Yahoo 's Jerry Yang "felt sorrow" but has allowed the Chinese access to your personal correspondence to the result of the jailing of a journalist. Because Yang and Yahoo, "believe it's better to operate in that market and cooperate with authorities than not be there at all."

These capital ventures and pliable policies of top men, from various political and social fronts, reflect they aren't assisting you or me, the bottom feeders of technology and life, but instead, they are herding us up into a conglomeration of people to know all, see all and tell all about whenever WE (or I or You) get out of lockstep. Freedom and Rights are far from their thoughts.

Sure, we can blog about it. Or send up a Youtube video expressing our displeasure - like the Britney Spears freak. Or email our 100 closest friends on Myspace. But that chatter is just that: chatter. The plug can be pulled; the outrage silenced; the comments pulled; and we can be investigated, deemed "crazy", and no one really will get too fussy. (Look at how quickly the man in Florida, who said, "don't tase me bro!!!" disappeared.)

We can only try - but in the end, when I it's all been swell, and we've "towed the line", for the idea of Democracy, Capitalism and the American Way, we will soon see the greater damage done in allowing a few too many tyrants tells us what to do, when to do it, and how to be conformists to their world view.

That's my rant!

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