All who oppose Globalization, read


This is a paper written by Johan Norberg, its a good looking back at the old days of anti-globalization moverment.

The Noble Feat of Nike Nike.

It means victory. It also means a type of expensive gym shoe. In the minds of the anti-globalisation movement, it stands for both at once. Nike stands for the victory of a Western footwear company over the poor and dispossessed. Spongy, smelly, hungered after by kids across the world, Nike is the symbol of the unacceptable triumph of global capital. A Nike is a shoe that simultaneously kicks people out of jobs in the West, and tramples on the poor in the Third World. Sold for 100 times more than the wages of the peons who make them, Nike shoes are hate-objects more potent, in the eyes of the protesters at this week´s G8 riots, than McDonald´s hamburgers. If you want to be trendy these days, you don´t wear Nikes; you boycott them.

So I was interested to hear someone not only praising Nike sweatshops, but also claiming that Nike is an example of a good and responsible business. That someone was the ruling Communist party of Vietnam.

Today Nike has almost four times more workers in Vietnam than in the United States. I travelled to Ho Chi Minh to examine the effects of multinational corporations on poor countries. Nike being the most notorious multinational villain, and Vietnam being a dictatorship with a documented lack of free speech, the operation is supposed to be a classic of conscience-free capitalist oppression.

In truth the work does look tough, and the conditions grim, if we compare Vietnamese factories with what we have back home. But that´s not the comparison these workers make. They compare the work at Nike with the way they lived before, or the way their parents or neighbours still work. And the facts are revealing. The average pay at a Nike factory close to Ho Chi Minh is $54 a month, almost three times the minimum wage for a state-owned enterprise.

Ten years ago, when Nike was established in Vietnam, the workers had to walk to the factories, often for many miles. After three years on Nike wages, they could afford bicycles. Another three years later, they could afford scooters, so they all take the scooters to work (and if you go there, beware; they haven´t really decided on which side of the road to drive). Today, the first workers can afford to buy a car.

But when I talk to a young Vietnamese woman, Tsi-Chi, at the factory, it is not the wages she is most happy about. Sure, she makes five times more than she did, she earns more than her husband, and she can now afford to build an extension to her house. But the most important thing, she says, is that she doesn´t have to work outdoors on a farm any more. For me, a Swede with only three months of summer, this sounds bizarre. Surely working conditions under the blue sky must be superior to those in a sweatshop? But then I am naively Eurocentric. Farming means 10 to 14 hours a day in the burning sun or the intensive rain, in rice fields with water up to your ankles and insects in your face. Even a Swede would prefer working nine to five in a clean, air-conditioned factory.

Furthermore, the Nike job comes with a regular wage, with free or subsidised meals, free medical services and training and education. The most persistent demand Nike hears from the workers is for an expansion of the factories so that their relatives can be offered a job as well.

These facts make Nike sound more like Santa Claus than Scrooge. But corporations such as Nike don´t bring these benefits and wages because they are generous. It is not altruism that is at work here; it is globalisation. With their investments in poor countries, multinationals bring new machinery, better technology, new management skills and production ideas, a larger market and the education of their workers. That is exactly what raises productivity. And if you increase productivity – the amount a worker can produce – you can also increase his wage.

Nike is not the accidental good guy. On average, multinationals in the least developed countries pay twice as much as domestic companies in the same line of business. If you get to work for an American multinational in a low-income country, you get eight times the average income. If this is exploitation, then the problem in our world is that the poor countries aren´t sufficiently exploited.

The effect on local business is profound: ´Before I visit some foreign factory, especially like Nike, we have a question. Why do the foreign factories here work well and produce much more?´ That was what Mr Kiet, the owner of a local shoe factory who visited Nike to learn how he could be just as successful at attracting workers, told me: ´And I recognise that productivity does not only come from machinery but also from satisfaction of the worker. So for the future factory we should concentrate on our working conditions.´

If I was an antiglobalist, I would stop complaining about Nike´s bad wages. If there is a problem, it is that the wages are too high, so that they are almost luring doctors and teachers away from their important jobs.

But – happily – I don´t think even that is a realistic threat. With growing productivity it will also be possible to invest in education and healthcare for Vietnam. Since 1990, when the Vietnamese communists began to liberalise the economy, exports of coffee, rice, clothes and footwear have surged, the economy has doubled, and poverty has been halved. Nike and Coca-Cola triumphed where American bombs failed. They have made Vietnam capitalist.

I asked the young Nike worker Tsi-Chi what her hopes were for her son´s future. A generation ago, she would have had to put him to work on the farm from an early age. But Tsi-Chi told me she wants to give him a good education, so that he can become a doctor. That´s one of the most impressive developments since Vietnam´s economy was opened up. In ten years 2.2 million children have gone from child labour to education. It would be extremely interesting to hear an antiglobalist explain to Tsi-Chi why it is important for Westerners to boycott Nike, so that she loses her job, and has to go back into farming, and has to send her son to work.

The European Left used to listen to the Vietnamese communists when they brought only misery and starvation to their population. Shouldn´t they listen to the Vietnamese now, when they have found a way to improve people´s lives? The party officials have been convinced by Nike that ruthless multinational capitalists are better than the state at providing workers with high wages and a good and healthy workplace. How long will it take for our own anticapitalists to learn that lesson?

The Spectator, 7 June 2003

Why and why why: a review of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


hitchhiker

I Was not too sure about the movie, it’s dvd cover resembles too many other failed movie.

But since the Nytimes people recommended it, and I think they usually get it right.

Anyway this is about the Hitchhikers. I got to say that the whole movie reeks of secular intellectualism from the beginning of the film to the end of special features (thought I have not had a look at the movie with audio commentary). And I love it!! (I have no knowledge of the original series)

Sitting thought this movie for anyone who is a bureaucrat, religious and basically anyone who is not secular intellectually enough will feel like a smack on their faces.

The original writer, the script and the production team display so much loath for bureaucrat (in a generic sense), they made them into big, fat, ugly, uncreative, inhuman, dribbling aliens wearing expansive suits who destroyed earth. According to the Hitchhikers guide they are “not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers…without orders”. And why are they like that, because they inhabit on a planet that literally smack any one who thinks, or has any idea or imagination.

The films don’t really like the generally public either. They as a group elected a galactic president with half of a brain, who destroyed earth. And proved “that good looks and charm win over brilliance and the ability to govern." The film dislike them so much it had to kill every one on earth except a man who reads at a fancy dress party and think “all these people [at the party] are idiots” and a women who love him (a bit of self indulgence, no?). But then later, the film admits they are mostly just jealous because they don’t get party invitations.

Did I mention that Sam Rockwell who plays the galactic president said in the special feature that the president is modeled after Bill Clinton and a basket of music and movie stars?

To all my American readers who think in right and left, if you think this movie is an anti-left establishment, you are wrong. According to the film the religious right or the religious in general are mindless robots who follows a blind and sinister saintlike icon who lives in a house made of gold while its people lives less affluently. Is that a message to the pope?

All these satire, subtext and sideshows aside, Hitchhiker is about the one question that we human cannot stop thinking about_:

The answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything

More then anyone this question haunts secular intellectuals, for they do not have the luxury of God to explain their questions.

The answer Hitchhiker offer is, why bother, “the chances of finding out what’s actually going on are so absurdly remote anyway, that the only thing to do is say hang the sense of it and keep yourself busy. I’d much rather be happy than right any day.” Says one of the films character;

Why bother, when finding answers, solving problem, and doing something about something may not fix a problem that may fix it self without any attention given to it (a nod to chaos theory);

and why bother when no answer to any question is going to bring you happiness.

Hitchhiker says, enjoy life, find your true love and try to forget that happiness is nothing more than a chemical reaction in our brain and just be happy.

For me that is the difficult part, I too can’t take God as an answer and I can’t stop seeking answers to my questions, it’s my curse. If I ever have a chance to choose between being stupid and happy for now or smart and sad always, I would not know what to do… Of course that is a faults dichotomy, that sometimes seems too real.

By the way, says Hitchhiker, if you can try to learn from dolphins (my favorite creature after human) who because they are smarter than humans they know how respect “all the natural wonders that grow around you”

Maybe ultimatly the film is not speaking secular intellectualism but dissatisfied secular intellectualism turn hippy. That might explain the hippiness of title ”Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and the slogan “don’t panic“

I recommend hitchhiker for anyone who liked the philosophical side of The Matrix and I Heart Huckabee and anyone who think s/he is a secular intellectual.

ターネーションと情報革命


まず最初に、実は私はターネーション(Tarnation)を見たことありません、だがしかし、私はこの映画の内容に対して凄く興味を持ち、何か惹かれるものがあります。

日本語公式サイトからの紹介:

“ターネーション”の意味は、天罰、破滅、地獄に落ちる、永遠の断罪。
これは31才までジョナサンが辿ってきた人生の軌跡。
かつてはモデルとして美しさを誇った母が精神病に苦しむ現状、家を捨てた父、幼い頃に受けた虐待の記憶、自らも蝕まれていく【離人症】という病による精神と肉体の分裂、ゲイであるセクシャリティ、アメリカの家族のあり方-。
そして今なお安らぐことのないアメリカの魂の、未来への希望。真実のドキュメンタリーは、どんなフィクションよりも強く心を動かす。

ジョン・キャメロン・ミッチェルの新作映画の俳優オーディション用に送ったビデオから、ジョン・キャメロン・ミッチェル、そしてガス・ヴァン・サントにその異常な才能と作品力を見出され映画完成に至ったというアメリカン・ドリームを果たしたジョナサン・カウエット。11才の頃から撮りためた膨大なフォト・コレクションや映像を、iMovieでわずか218ドル(約2万円)という超低予算で編集。この掟破りな監督デビューは、ドキュメンタリーの枠を超えて、新たに映画製作への初期衝動を揺さぶるにちがいない!


日本語予告編: Real Plaer | Windows Media Player
この映画本当に凄い、色んな映画祭を出て色んな賞とった

全米批評家協会賞最優秀ノン・フィクション映画賞 / ボストン映画批評家協会賞最優秀初監督作品賞 / ロサンゼルス映画祭最優秀ドキュメンタリー賞 / ロンドン映画祭最優秀初監督作品賞 / カンヌ映画祭 ・ トロント映画祭 ・東京国際映画祭正式出品

Rotten Tomatoにようる、アメリカでは92%の映画評論家に支持されてる

実際見てない映画を紹介するのもおかしなことですが、

私が何よりも気になるところは、ターネーション自体ではなくターネーションが象徴(代表)する未来の情報つくり産業。

この何年間で

情報革命知的社会(又は情報化社会)の台頭によって、

情報操作する為の道具が安くなり、また一人でも出来る程簡単に使いやすくなる。
個人メディア(個人出版)作る為の道具のコストも安くなる
知識人が増えて、多くの人が自分の持っている情報をネットで載せる。

情報革命は以上の供給の方向変化だけじゃなくて、

需要もまた増える、
例えば、ヤフー、グーグル、ライブドア、SEESAA、アマゾンと色々なニュースサイト
が、ネット上で無料サービスを提供できるのも、ネットを使う人が増えていることにより
無料でも広告または宣伝の売り上げだけで経営できるわけです。

ネットサービス価格の値下げ → ネット使用者の増加 → さらにネットサービス価格の値下げ → またネット使用者の増加
という需要と供給の相互関係の循環が進むと、

情報提供は大型な出版社、スタジオ、レコード会社から、どんどん個人メディア(例えば、ブログでニュース書く、iMovieで映画を作る、Logicで音楽を録音する)という小型傾向になって行くでしょう。

もちろん伝統的な出版社、スタジオ、レコード会社は完璧になくなることはないでしょう。

だが、現在のようなステータスは無くなると言い切れるでしょう。

まとめると、これからの未来は個人メディアの世界になってくる。

常に未来の最前線に居たいあなたは是非、ターネーションを見るべきであり、 ブログを掲載している方はもっとブログに力入れるべきあり、 ブログをお持ちでない誰よりも詳しい情報を持っている、または他人とは違う観点を持っている方は、是非ともブログを初めて、この私のブログとリンクして、色・色を紹介するべき(笑)

御参考に:

ターネーション日本語ブログ

ターネーションと似たような感じな映画Grizzly Man 
   予告編: Quicktime | Windows Media Player

ターネーションの英語情報

情報革命についてのGlobal Standard(僕の英語ブログ)記事
Knowledge Society and ICT

日本の情報産業の第一人者で言われる伊藤穰一JoiWeb

和書:ブログ世界を変える個人メディア

We the Media の日本語訳読みました

このポストもいつも通りに、友達に直してもらいました。

フォッグ・オブ・ウォー マクナマラ 元米国防長官の告白


The Fog of War を見たところで

Rotten Tomato映画評論サイトにようる、97%の評論家がお勧めする、2003年アカデミーの記録映画賞を取った名作です。

特に、衝撃的な画像を見せてる訳もないのに、
僕は今まで無いほど、
この戦争記録映画に感動して
目がうるうるしってしまった

第二次世界大戦の当事者、
キューバミサイル危機ベトナム戦争のアメリカ国防省長官たった
ロバート マクナマラ(Robert McNamara)は生歴史のように
監督Errol Morrisとマンツーマンで
歴史を振り返って見て語る

昔の画像には無い、 涙目のロバート マクナマラの言葉はすごく戦争の悲劇が伝わってくる。

僕的には、その映画の一番大事な教訓は 「相手国の立場を考える事」

僕が同意できない事はマクナマラは
遠まわしで戦争は人類の本能が変わらない事によってなくならない。

僕から見ると戦争より、協力の方が人間の本能に近い。

もう一つ異議は

マクナマラは アメリカ、ソ連、キューバのリーダーも 全員理性的なのに
核戦争爆発の直前まで行ったしまった。 それでマクナマラは理性も頼りにならないと言った

僕は逆に理性がある事によって、冷戦はキューバミサイル危機も
熱戦にならなかった事と考える。

理性は頼りにならないじゃなくって、頼りになる情報少ないのが問題だ。

この映画は誰にでもお勧めです

ブッシュも、ラムズフェルド(現役アメリカ国防省長官)も、
今、これからのアジアも世界のリーダーの皆さん全員みるべきだと思います