Saturday, June 04, 2005

Thomas Friedman, perfumed fop.

Sir Thomas Friedman just wrote an article on globalization which has been gnawing at me like a neglected toothache.

A Race To The Top

I think Friedman is sincere in his opinions, and believes that the grand swoops of action that he lays out in his editorials are correct. He is all Big Ideas, macgyver’d together with whatever is at hand. He is one of the prime torch bearers for globalization mythology, and he’ll believe anything in service of same.

Friedman is as dumb as a bag of rocks.

I had meant to more specifically criticize the column I link to above, but Greg Palast beat me to the punch with a salty denouement of the New York Times “liberal media” prince.

French-Fried Friedman, Nouvelle Globalizer
Most irksome (is) his ghastly glee that "a world of benefits they [Western Europeans] have known for 50 years is coming apart," because the French and other Europeans "are trying to preserve a 35 hour work week in a world where Indian engineers are ready to work a 35-hour day."
He forgot to add, "and where Indian families are ready to sell their children into sexual slavery to survive." Now, THERE'S a standard to reach for.

Friedman praises the New India, freed of the shackles of Old India's socialist welfare state. I've seen the New India: half a billion people in dirt huts supporting a tiny minority's right to shop in air-conditioned malls. It is a Fritz Lang film in Hindi.

Mr. Friedman, please note these brains for hire are found in Karnataka and Kerala, states whose cussed adherence to social welfare makes them more French than France and nothing like Thatcherized dog-eat-dog Britain or Reaganized America. The computer wizards of Bangalore (in Karnataka) and Kerala are the products of fully funded state education systems where, unlike the USA, no child is left behind.

I am not at all opposed to international trade. I’m all for fair trade. Free trade, now – that is newspeak for taking it where the sun don’t shine. Friedman drivels out a headline “The Race to the Top,” in a limp attempt to invert a common criticism of globalization, which is to say,

It is a race to the bottom, which French and Dutch voters have rejected.

I guess having 6 weeks of vacation gives a sentient time to think. This is what the cult of “efficiency” is all about; keeping people from thinking. From extended free time comes the gumption to reject spastically genetically modified crops and boy bands.

Peak Energy will rip modern globalization to shreds. None too soon


At 1:51 AM, June 05, 2005, Blogger Matt said...

I absolutely agree with your last statement. I think it will be one of the few good things to come out of peak energy. Funny, I just posted a almost identical post. Funny. I assume from your title that you are a big Daily Howler fan? They're the best.

At 2:01 AM, June 05, 2005, Blogger Santos said...

We must learn to compete! That's odd, but I don't seem to remember competition being mentioned when they put the "Marrakesh Agreement" up for a referendum... oh, wait, they never asked us.

I've enjoyed the bemused reaction to the No votes in Europe, which, according to them, seems to stem from the fact that the French don't want to give up their 4 hour lunches and state-subsidised masseese.

At 2:35 AM, June 05, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Yeah, I've linked to the daily howler before, I have assimilated their arch approach to the MSM.

MSM. Clowns, cheats, liars, fools, and well paid. What else is there to say? Michael Jackson trial winding up today?

T Friedman got his start covering OPEC, but he is too fucking stupid to post anything on peak oil. Has no idea. Build a billion green cars, he spaeketh. Float them across the globalized ocean.

Kevin Drum, a little younger, a little hungrier, does better, but misses the point in key respects. Can't drill your way out of this one, son. ANWR has enough oil to run the US for 6 month to a year, stretched out over 30 years, meaning it is a blip.

At 8:04 AM, June 05, 2005, Blogger Big Gav said...

Nicely put (especially the bit on fair trade vs "free" trade).

I was disappointed with the Drum finale too - those recommendations amounted to very little in my view. More drilling ? That just makes the downslope that much more scarier - I'm amazed some people can write 20 pages on a topic and totally fail to understand the implications of it...

At 5:07 PM, June 05, 2005, Blogger Justin said...

The French and Dutch rejected the EU constitution for opposing reasons. The French thought it liberalized the economy too far, while the Dutch thought it was too statist for their tastes.

“[Thomas Friedman] is too fucking stupid to post anything on peak oil.”

Cunning rebuke, monkeygrinder.

Also, free trade refers to the fact that it free of coercive restrictions or artificial support from, typically, the government.

At 6:58 PM, June 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup. And you can see the effect on rising energy costs already VS importation.

Before oil took a big jump (almost 2 years ago) I was holding up a container of peeled garlic as an example of what will come to an end. This 2 lbs container of garlic was 'made in china'. Huh. Didn't know that US Garlic was such a rare thing/so complex/so inferior that it had to be imported from China.

2 months ago, the quantity was the same, but now they have US made garlic.

The last products to be effected by peak energy will be the 'information' products - programs, call centers, movies/music, et la. Where the cost of pushing it down a wire is so very small today and the social animals that humans are, means we'll be hard pressed to give up our interconnected-ness.

Otherwise - yup. The energy costs will bury long-distance trade.

At 7:32 PM, June 05, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Justin - it sure is easy for me to sit and criticize. I do worry about that. I'm not interested in chasing after punching bags like Thomas Friedman my whole life and yipping at them from the fringe.

Your points:
French and Dutch, yeah, there is a lot of complexity to those votes, and I think rejecting the global system is part of it.

"cunning rebuke" yeah, and for free.

free trade - well, your definition certainly doesn't match the US / WTO / World Bank / etc etc etc version of "free trade", now does it? Don't post mythology here, it isn't the right forum.


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