Sunday, October 17, 2010


Ok, let's all get global- it's the latest craze that's sweeping the world. Everybody's doing it!

You've all heard some variation of this, probably within the past 15 minutes. But there's nothing new about globalization. Just look at the history of Portland, or the Northern Pacific RR, built with foreign money to serve ranches and farms (latifundia, actually, thousands of acres in extent, not homestead farming) owned by Europeans. It wasn't until 1910 that Americans owned more of America than the Europeans did.

New York's perpetual ranking as #1 among American cities? Look at a sturdy leg-up from the time the New Yorkers stayed loyal to the Crown during our Revolution. At that time, Tokyo had a population of over a million, many employed making fine and artistic products for export.

And those earlier days of globalization were multi-polar. Europeans were dazzled by products like porcelain, calicos, and hot peppers. Japanese art went directly into important collections. The moment in which we exported finished goods and they exported raw materials has turned out to be a brief one.

And thank heavens for that. Americans thought that because we built shiny motor cars, we were not only qualified, but in a sense obligated, to rule the world and help other people be like us. It hasn't been a happy experience.

So, the next time you're being lectured about 'globalization', just ask yourself inwardly "Does this make any sense at all?" You may, perhaps, at least salvage a little intellectual interest form the otherwise all-too-predictable banging of the drum.

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