Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2008 10:33 pm
ogden wrote:
I'm really interested if you think globalization is bad or dangerous and on what level could it be helpfull?

Globalization would be good if it weren't so horribly exploitative. But the fact of the matter is that wealthy countries benefit far more from globalization than poor countries. The developing world is filled with cheap labor and cheap natural resources, which wealthy countries (and wealthy private entities) can access using their huge reach, wealth, and infrastructure. And this is why we have Nike shoes made in Vietnam even though Vietnamese workers barely see any Nike corporate profits. This is why much of the chocolate we eat is grown as cocoa in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, and yet Nestle's profits never reach the cocoa plantations in these countries. This is why half the stuff we buy comes from places without labor protections.

And we're so protectionist over ourselves that we create policies that are outright destructive to globalism. Farm subsidies are the best example, which along with the technological advantages of American farms allow us to force our crops into overseas markets and drive indigenous farmers out of business (famously with cotton farmers in Mali and rice farmers in Ghana).

If there were a way in which globalization would elevate the infrastructure, productivity, medical care, education and literacy, and ingenuity of poor countries, such that some wealth would actually flow into these places, then globalization would be a good thing. But as is, globalization is just a catch phrase by which politicians (of both parties) pander to big businesses.

And as a man of science, do you think science or any one branch of science could be applied more ernestly to solve global problems?
Science is a tool, not a philosophy. We need to use science to study problems and create solutions. But many of the worst problems in the world can be conquered just by applying basic things that don't require much science anymore. I've had patients in Africa die of meningitis and malaria because the roads are washed out. Basic stuff like roads, sanitation, clean water, good nutrition, vaccines, primary medical care, easy access to birth control, women's rights, and universal literacy are still distant dreams.

And because these are such distant dreams, I return to the point I made in the beginning of this whole thread -- that most of the world is so damn far away from this energy debate that it's completely moot.
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