Use It and You will Lose It (Banking Secrecy edition)

I noted before that if companies actually use some of the unfair laws they have managed to “put on the books” those laws will change. This is especially true in the Web 2.0 world, where any piece of news will be broadcast, and broadcast, and rebroadcast, and the big corporations don’t control the distribution and media channels the way that they used to. The example I gave was the DMCA (DMCA–use it and you will lose it, Gang of Eight, May 05, 2007), from but there are other examples as the current Kaupthing scandal shows.  As covered at wikileaks, your premier source for news:

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Use It and You will Lose It (Banking Secrecy edition)

Noam Chomsky on the word “Globalisation”

Noam Chomsky makes a great point re the globalization debate:

The term “globalization” has been appropriated by the powerful to refer to a specific form of international economic integration, one based on investor rights, with the interests of people incidental. That is why the business press, in its more honest moments, refers to the “free trade agreements” as “free investment agreements” (Wall St. Journal). Accordingly, advocates of other forms of globalization are described as “anti-globalization”; and some, unfortunately, even accept this term, though it is a term of propaganda that should be dismissed with ridicule. No sane person is opposed to globalization, that is, international integration. Surely not the left and the workers movements, which were founded on the principle of international solidarity – that is, globalization in a form that attends to the rights of people, not private power systems.

Noam Chomsky on the word “Globalisation”

Horrified by the “personal venom” ?

Well, since the Brazilian trade representative started comparing the methods used by advocates of the Global Trading regime to those used by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief, the office U.S. trade representative has expressed their shock:

Sean Spicer, spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said he was horrified by the “personal venom” of Amorim’s words.

“We came here to Geneva to negotiate on substance,” Spicer told The Associated Press. “For him to make remarks like this is so incredibly wrong. They are insulting.”

I won’t ever advocate comparing the office of the US trade representative to Nazi’s. But let’s keep a little perspective here and understand why the office of the US trade Representative is so hated. While yes, I am shocked by the personal venom of these attacks I am a little more shocked by the billions starving as a result of globalization. Only when the USA understands why we are becoming more disliked will we be empowered to do something about it.

Horrified by the “personal venom” ?

Maybe Economists should listen to Anarchists, Artists and Architects more often

Well, I am glad Harvard economists are finally getting around to saying something about the death of the globalization consensus. One of the things I think about when I read this is: finally! But it’s very bittersweet as the economic future does not look at all too bright. So even though others have been questioning what’s going on, including the art department of the Economist (way ahead of the writers BTW), I have to ask: What is their program for the future?

Of course, after reading Dani’s article, a logical question would be: Is there a violent anarchist over at work in the Economist’s Art department? I’d very much like the hear from her or him.

Another side note: as much as I like Project Syndicate, it is driving me crazy that they do not date their articles. HELP! Apparently, their commentary has risen above time and space, into an inter-dimensional limbo, in which just pure commentary can exist, outside of any context. Even a a year, or season (e.g.: Spring 2006) would help quite a lot IMHO.

Dani Rodrik states the obvious over at Project Syndicate:

The death of the globalization consensus
That is the title of my new column for Project Syndicate. Here is an extract:

There was a time when global elites could comfort themselves with the thought that opposition to the world trading regime consisted of violent anarchists, self-serving protectionists, trade unionists, and ignorant, if idealistic youth. Meanwhile, they regarded themselves as the true progressives, because they understood that safeguarding and advancing globalization was the best remedy against poverty and insecurity.

But that self-assured attitude has all but disappeared, replaced by doubts, questions, and scepticism. Gone also are the violent street protests and mass movements against globalisation.* What makes news nowadays is the growing list of mainstream economists who are questioning globalisation’s supposedly unmitigated virtues.

* Oh really–perhaps someone forgot to translate that memo into Pakistani? or Italian for that matter.

Maybe Economists should listen to Anarchists, Artists and Architects more often

On the decreasing connectivity of the anti-environment disinformation machine

Or Environmental news round-up

Here are several news stories. One is about the boost that green industries have given the German economy, another is about a share holder movement at Exxon to make that company more responsible for the environmental destruction that company causes. The shareholders also wanted to remove Exxon from funding the noise machine denying anthropogenic Global Warming. I’d written about that here, and there is excellent coverage of that web of deceit here at exxonsecrets.org. Another story notes the neologism ‘envirogee’, meaning a refugee from environmental disaster, is becoming, unfortunately, a very useful word. And a story that shows that not all of these ‘envirogees are in Burma–some are right here in USA. Speaking of the USA, what about a green initiative to give a boost to the economy?

Taken apart these stories tell a picture of changes underway, but taken together there is certainly a common theme here: the network of those who are denying Global Warming and its consequences is very rapidly losing its moral connectivity, and although the shareholder initiative at Exxon failed this year, they will be back again and again. There is just too much news out there for anyone to maintain that something doesn’t need to be done.

Note that some of these stories are from the news site truthout, which has just re-designed its website. It looks great. I wonder who designed it.

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On the decreasing connectivity of the anti-environment disinformation machine

But it was . . .

Just finished the book “Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World” by Brian Cudahy. It was an interesting and good book in many respects, but extremely frustrating in others. It really needed some diagrams and more pictures, as well as a little more discussion of how the global economy was affected by the development of the container ship. Towards the middle, the writing style and lack of diagrams or drawings both dragged it down a bit, so I am recommending the book with the advice to read Chapters 1-4 and 6, and then the others if you are really interested. There are many things covered very well, and discussion about the network effects of a very simple (from a technical standpoint) innovation goes to the heart of what innovation really means. So on a quality scale the book is 8/10, mainly for a lack of pictures or diagrams, but the subject matter rates a 10/10 on the importance scale. Also there are some very interesting examples of open-source methodologies, and the advantages of technology unencumbered by patent restrictions.

My favorite quote:

Measured against twentieth-century innovations in fields such as electronics or nuclear medicine, a thirty-five-foot box that can be securely stacked atop similar boxes and that can be lifted by a crane hardly seems like cutting edge technology. But it was,

Continue reading “But it was . . .”

But it was . . .