Thursday, April 10, 2008

Globalization: the right tool for the job

A Night at the Opera - The Marx Brothers (1935)
David Seaton's News Links
Much of today's financial crisis seems to have its origins in deregulation. Sadly, the financial sector is just like a big department store: when not watched closely, enough people inside the system will steal enough goods to put the store out of business.

However, despite all the messages of common sense and a garden variety knowledge of human nature, “deregulation” has become some kind of Anglo-Saxon religion. "freeing business from government interference" has become a jihad.

Faced with the present need to create robust regulations, the American establishment goes about it with all the distaste of a chef at the Riyadh Hilton forced to carve a Virginia ham.

Because of this distaste and the sunk costs of massive ideological indoctrination carried out in endless think tanks and classrooms going way back to the days of Barry Goldwater, Americans will probably not be able to gather their wits about them in time to write suitable regulations quickly enough to stabilize globalization.

This cultural inability to regulate may drain power from the USA even more dramatically then any other factor, including the war in Iraq or the rise of China.

Cultural inability to manage certain processes can carry a high cost: imagine the warlike Zulu facing the Maxim gun.

Robust, workable and well written regulations are needed soon if globalization is not going to turn into the Marx Brother's stateroom in "A Night at the Opera", with clouds of pickpockets taking the hardboiled eggs.

The only shop that produces regulations in quantity and quality and quickly enough is the European Union. Probably the most well known example of that regulatory superiority and its usefulness is the case of the creation and implantation of the GSM cell phone standard.

The “faceless bureaucrats” in Brussels believe in regulation and know how to write good ones; regulations that can fit a Bulgarian or a Dane a Romanian or a Swede.

The ability to create regulations that actually work has turned this fractious peninsula of Asia into the world's largest economy, while the United States today seems to only to be able to offer the world "one size fits all" military power for all occasions... but no practical solutions for governing the incipient day to day chaos of universal interconnection.

Here is how Wikipedia describes the process by which Europe has regulated itself into the universal standard of quality:
The EU has developed a single market through a standardized system of laws which apply in all member states, guaranteeing the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital. It maintains a common trade policy, agricultural and fisheries policies, and a regional development policy. Fifteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro. It has developed a role in foreign policy, representing its members in the World Trade Organization, at G8 summits and at the United Nations. Twenty-one EU countries are members of NATO. It has developed a role in justice and home affairs, including the abolition of passport control between many member states under the Schengen Agreement.
Anyone dreaming about or dreading a world government only needs to examine how that part of the world, that until 1914 was the world, has organized itself in order to get an idea of what a "New World Order" would actually look like. No "black helicopters", just the Common Agricultural Policy.

I think that Europeans will be surprised by how much power is going to come their way in the next few months and years, for the simple reason that the EU exists to regulate and what the world needs most are workable standards, weights and measures. DS

No comments: