Whew. Finals are over. Expect a lot more from me over the next little while. Nothing tonight, of course (I’m gonna sleeeep), but more is coming.
Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments and criticisms. I’ve got a link for the evening, and it’s an old article (2001) from the Economist. An excerpt:
The affinity of totalitarianism and economic isolation was obvious in the case of the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe; it is still plain today in the case of North Korea, say. But democracies are capable of oppression too. It would therefore be wrong to conclude that integration is undesirable merely because it limits the power of government, even if the government concerned is democratic. One needs to recognise that some constraints on democracy are desirable, and then to ask whether the constraints imposed by markets are too tight.
These issues are rarely, if ever, addressed by the critics of globalisation: it is simpler to deplore the notion of “profits before people”. The sceptics either insist, or regard it as too obvious even to mention, that the will of the people, democratically expressed, must always prevail. This is amazingly naive. Even the most elementary account of democracy recognises the need for checks and balances, including curbs on the majoritarian “will of the people”. Failing those, democracies are capable of tyranny over minorities.
The sceptics are terribly keen on “the people”. Yet the idea that citizens are not individuals with different goals and preferences, but an undifferentiated body with agreed common interests, defined in opposition to other monolithic interests such as “business” or “foreigners”, is not just shallow populism, it is proto-fascism. It is self-contradictory, as well. The sceptics would not hesitate to call for “the people” to be overruled if, for instance, they voted for policies that violated human rights, or speeded the extermination of endangered species, or offended against other values the sceptics regard as more fundamental than honouring the will of the majority.
Read the whole thing. I don’t agree with everything in it, but in my opinion it is a damning indictment of the anti-globalist movement. A return to the good old days of yesteryear would have catastrophic consequences for the world. See, especially, Dr Delacroix’s writings on the virtuous benefits of globalization and the self-defeating measures of protectionism.