www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> metag11n and its metadiscontents digest [st george x2 / goldsc
nettime's_malcontent on Sun, 14 Oct 2001 22:17:59 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> metag11n and its metadiscontents digest [st george x2 / goldschmidt]


Paul St George <stgeorge {AT} lgu.ac.uk>
     Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements
"David Goldschmidt" <dgoldsm1 {AT} tampabay.rr.com>
     Re: antiglobalization and its discontents digest [jay, graham]
Paul St George <email {AT} paulstgeorge.com>
     Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 17:55:19 +0100 (BST)
From: Paul St George <stgeorge {AT} lgu.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements

There is some interesting and revealing conflation in this email. Economic
globalisation and the spread of democracy are not the same thing. The
problem is that in America they are increasingly looking like the same
thing. The rules that govern capitalism and the rules that govern
democracy are not the same. All the way through this email the words
capitalism and democracy are used as if they were synonyms.
We all have a big problem when some corporations have more money and power
than many governments. That problem is increased when an American
president acts for the corporations that paid for him rather than the
people who elected (sic) him.
The alternative? Take money out of the American election process. Then we
can have more faith that the elected will protect the rights of the many
against the wrongs of the few.

-------------------
Paul St George

mailto:stgeorge {AT} lgu.ac.uk
http://www.lgu.ac.uk/~stgeorge/

Voicemail
020 7320 1709

On Sat, 13 Oct 2001, David Goldschmidt wrote:

> "Globalisation is much more than an economic system, or strategy. It is also a
 <...>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: "David Goldschmidt" <dgoldsm1 {AT} tampabay.rr.com>
Subject: Re: antiglobalization and its discontents digest [jay, graham]
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 23:15:19 -0400

Dr. Phil Graham,

WOW . you are a very clever man.  You are a brilliant wordsmith and your
cyber-jousting skills are excellent.  Two quick notes before I begin
replying to your email in earnest.  First, the Hitler comment . was way out
of line.  But I think that most people will see it for what it really was .
just a bit of nastiness from a melodramatic scholar.  Second, as I stated
above, you are a clever wordsmith.  At times, I likened your discourse to a
verse from a song by the Police (or Sting) . "their logic ties me up and
rapes me".

But, in all fairness, you did make some good points and I am re-evaluating
some of my opinions.

One of the points that I am NOT going to re-evaluate is my opinion that many
of the critics I have seen give the ruling powers (government, corporations,
individuals) way too much power.  In fact, you even agreed with me.

You stated,
"In fact, 300 million people are impossible to govern. The size of such
systems are untenable in the long run. There are too many divergent
interests, ways of life, cultural disjunctions, and so on. "

To elaborate . many of the statements that I hear (from critics, activists
and scholars) blame those in power for problems that are way beyond their
control.  In fact, I argue that the American government doesn't have near
the power many give it.  They are not in control.  Control is an illusion.
The only thing the American government does somewhat well is responding to
[blatantly obvious] domestic and international crisis.  Government is mostly
reactive.

My point is this, when you blame them for the huge global problems you infer
that they have the power to do something about it.  You give them more power
than they actually have.

You also infer that these people are inherently evil . that they are sitting
on solutions to the world's problems but would rather see people suffer (and
I am NOT saying that these power people are inherently good either . I'm
just saying that they are not inherently evil).  They can't solve many of
the problems people think they can solve.  The huge problems facing the
world will not be resolved by a top-down solution.  It'll begin at the
grassroots level.

David Goldschmidt wrote
>It's as if they think that the leaders of the top democracies and
>corporations are in control and conspire against the common
>good (whatever that is).

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
"If you don't know what the common good is, may I suggest that you refrain
from talking about it."

You ripped me pretty good on that one.  When I wrote that statement, I was
thinking about the thousands of philosophies, religions, theories, isms, et
cetera . and how each group has their own subjective idea of "good and bad".
I should have elaborated . sloppy writing I guess.

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
In fact there is very little recognition of
"a common good" in current practices amongst the "ruling powers" (as
defined above), precisely because of the individualistic prejudices you
exhibit which are inherent in the system -- i.e. that people can only
achieve for *themselves*. Thus people at the top of corporations and
governments *must* conspire against the common good to get the most for
themselves, as you acknowledge in the following sentence:

>One of the things that i witnessed in corporate america is that those who
>rise to power ... have a very good understanding of
>human nature ... are very adept to discovering the way things work ... and
>use the system to their advantage (to accomplish their goals).

"Their goals", "their advantage": there you have it. But you left out: "at
the expense of others' goals".

Again, you are explicitly stating that these people are inherently evil and
this belief is warping your sense of reality.

You also under-estimate their ability to understand that if they conspire
against "the common good" . they only hurt themselves.  If they destroy the
economic system then they destroy themselves.  Corporations are not very
socially responsible but they are not stupid either.  You don't conspire to
destroy your customers . your ability to generate revenue.  In general, a
good economy means better profits.

David Goldschmidt wrote
>That is the difference between leaders and critics.  Leaders, by
>definiton, understand how things work and how to use the system to their
>advantage regardless of what system is dominant at the time (capitalism,
>marxism, gangs, communes, nonprofit organizations, christianity, islam,
>whatever).

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
people who
"rise to power". Out of nowhere? I think not. Your statement indicates a
very bad social science. Who are these people who all of a sudden "rise to
power"? Are we to suppose that they are born with the inherent ability to
understand "human nature" better than, say, a carpenter or a taxi driver or
a con artist?

My point is that a leader, by definition, will find a way to rise to power.
It doesn't matter if its in today's political-economic environment or in
your utopian dreamland.

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
Or might we be more likely to find some correlation with,
e.g., economic status at birth, education, and the social networks specific
to those? I think the latter is a more likely general explanation than the
former.

Nepotism is not necessarily evil either.  In fact, it is often the only
practical option.  If I were elected Governor and I needed to fill top spots
in my administration . what am I suppose to do . take out an ad in the paper
and hire someone I don't know???  I don't think so.  I'm going to call on
friends and relatives, people that I know, people that I can trust . people
that I can count on.

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
I do not buy this at all. When do expect the next impoversished, female,
Islamic US president to "rise to power"? You are talking about exceptions,
not rules. The general rule is that an economically and socially
well-connected, ivy-league educated, white protestant male will be the
president of the US.

Wrong.  You are the one that is talking about exceptions.  Throughout the
entire email I have had to endure your continued analogies to the Presidency
of the United States as the measure for success.

David Goldschmidt wrote
>A leader in America has the advantage of living in a system that is based
>on eliminating the barriers to individual success.  In America, an
>individual can define success for his or herself and work towards their
>own goals without having to belong to a particular race, sex, religion, et
>cetera.

I did not define "leader" as the President of the United States.  A leader
is someone who starts their own business, runs for a seat on the Board of
Education, starts a charity, et cetera . AND YES, in America an impoverished
female, Islamic can do these things . and that cannot be said for many other
places in the world.

Statistically speaking, no-one becomes President . not even white protestant
males.  But a lot of people can take advantage of the freedoms offered in
the West and build a good life for themselves and their families.

David Goldschmidt wrote
>They say this about their own organization, "We are autonomous,
>decentralized and non-hierarchical ... ".

Dr. Phil Graham wrote
I don't believe a word of it.

Fine . here is the url.  Look for yourself.
http://www.abolishthebank.org/en/points.html


Dr. Phil Graham wrote
And do you think you *really* live in a democracy?

At the Presidential and Senatorial level . no, it is not a true democracy.
However, at the Representative level it is a democracy. and that is also
true for State and Local politics.  You should read Democracy in America by
Tocqueville.  We are a lot more engaged than many people realize (at least
at the local level).

Frankly, responding to this email is exhausting.  Your email goes on to make
some good points here and there but there is also a lot of unnecessary
arrogance and mocking.

As an entrepreneur, activist and artist . I find academic arguments a bit
annoying ...  especially those that don't propose solutions.  Although, I do
understand that it plays a necessary role for society.


David Goldschmidt

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 13:14:15 +0100
Subject: Re: <nettime> Anti-globalisation movements
From: Paul St George <email {AT} paulstgeorge.com>

There is some interesting and revealing conflation in this email. Economic
globalisation and the spread of democracy are not the same thing. The
problem is that in America they are increasingly looking like the same
thing. The rules that govern capitalism and the rules that govern democracy
are not the same. All the way through this email the words capitalism and
democracy are used as if they were synonyms.

We all have a big problem when some corporations have more money and power
than many governments. That problem is increased when an American president
acts for the corporations that paid for him rather than the people who
elected (sic) him.

The alternative? Take money out of the American election process. Then we
can have more faith that the elected will protect the rights of the many
against the wrongs of the few.

-- 
Paul St George

mailto:email {AT} paulstgeorge.com
http://www.paulstgeorge.com/


On Sat, 13 Oct 2001, David Goldschmidt wrote:

> "Globalisation is much more than an economic system, or strategy. It is also a
> political and cultural ideology.  Globalisation can perhaps be summed up as an
> ideology which seeks to impose a global regime (of accumulation), through rule
> of law, which guarantees free trade at any cost (social, cultural,
> environmental)."
 <...>


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net