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Vandana Shiva on Globalization

  1. Jan 2, 2008 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/jan-june07/globalization_03-23.html

    I don't know what I can add except to say that I think she is absolutely correct in almost everything said. Globalization unchecked is capitalism run amok and serves only the global corporate entities.
     
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  3. Jan 2, 2008 #2

    OmCheeto

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    Excellent article. I was talking to a young man from India last Friday. He told me several stories very similar to what Vandana mentioned in the show. He said India exports unrefined sugar and high grade wheat and imports processed sugar and low grade wheat. So although the middlemen profit in both directions, the populace is stuck with crap westerners won't even touch.

    He also said that the state used to be in the seed business. Farmers could get seeds at 20lbs for a dollar. Now they buy hybrid seeds from the west for 20 to 100 times that amount. And since they are hybrids, the seeds from the new crops are no good. So they are stuck buying seeds at the higher prices.


    And speaking of seeds. This kind of greed makes me sick.
    Sounds like a new form of snake oil salesmen.
    Too bad they have to fight such fraud in court for such extended periods of time. There otta be a law.
     
  4. Jan 2, 2008 #3
    I share her ideals, but I couldn't find any serious criticism there:
    There are indicators for all those things. Should we simply change the definition of the term "economic growth" - will that change our competitive nature?
     
  5. Jan 2, 2008 #4
    I don't understand why people rarely look at what experts on globalization are saying? If you really want to here an expert on globalization then turn to Jagdish Bhagwati.

    http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Globalization-Jagdish-Bhagwati/dp/0195300033

    http://www.catomedia.org/archive-2007/cbfa-10-25-07.mp3

    http://www.ycsg.yale.edu/activities/files/Bhagwati5-13-04.pdf

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jb38/

    I seriously hope that you will read Jadgish, although I doubt anyone will, considering most people want to hold on to their incorrect views of economics, capitalism, globalization, etc. I guess it's true that ignorance must be bliss, or maybe it's that people are to afraid to read these things because they're terrified that their ideals will be proved incorrect, and they can no longer sit around with their friends and complain about these things and talk about how the sky is falling.

    This is just a myth. While it can be debated how much globalization should be "checked," globalization is definitely a good thing. Even if globalization and capitalism were lefted very unregulated, globalization would do far more for the people of the third world than any politician, activist, or NGO has ever done, or ever will do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2008
  6. Jan 2, 2008 #5
    This is untrue. Economic research has pointed out time and time again that things like real per capita GDP, and real PPP per capita are actually pretty solid measurements of how the average people of a country are doing. She fails to point out how highly correlated "her measures" are with the "economic measures" she is bashing. It's such a myth to think that globalization and capitalism help the rich and hurt the poor. As Milton Friedman pointed out, capitalism and globalization help the "common man." The elites do extremely well, no matter what system you have. Capitalism is what allows everday people like you and me to have a good standard of living. Or check out the article below:

     
  7. Jan 2, 2008 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    It sounds to me like her statements are based on observations, and your statements are based on theory and abstraction.

    Now where did I put those Chinese made, lead lined lunch boxes?
     
  8. Jan 2, 2008 #7
    Are you serious? Do you really think that is all economists are doing? Theory and abstraction, with no observation?

    Actually, empirical studies are what economics is all about. If you listen to Jagdish Bhagwati's presentation, which is the second link, he points out how there are many theoretical papers in economics, some that say globalization is good while others say it's bad. However, all the empirical studies support the view it's good.

    Maybe you should have said, "It sounds like her statements are based on selective cherry-picked anecedotal evidence which may not even be true, while your statements are based on data, facts, and science."
     
  9. Jan 2, 2008 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Where is clean water included as a parameter in those studies?
     
  10. Jan 2, 2008 #9
    Are you talking about the measurements that deal with real GDP per capita?

    If so, then this is related to real GDP per capita, as clean water, food, etc, are some of the first things that people can buy with increases in income. Water is usually fairly cheap to buy, as Adam Smith noticed a couple hundred years ago. Adam Smith couldn't figure out why water (which humans need) is cheaper than diamonds (which humans don't need). He died without ever figuring this out, and later Alfred Marshall cracked the mystery.
     
  11. Jan 2, 2008 #10

    Gokul43201

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    Currently it seems that in India, there is a huge upsurge in incomes among the educated middle class. And while incomes are going up in many (geographic) sections of the lower class, the cost of living has been shooting up way faster, particularly in urban areas. It does not appear to me that a majority of the poor are benefiting yet, but I think they will, within the coming decade. I really would like to see what the various macroeconomic indicators say.
     
  12. Jan 2, 2008 #11

    OmCheeto

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    Vandana reminds me of Liv Ullmann's character in the movie Mindwalk. A smart physicist viewing the carnage around her. I did skim through Jagdish Bhagwati's yale pdf. It was logical, from an economic point of view. But people dying around her might have skewed Vandana's world view.
     
  13. Jan 3, 2008 #12

    OmCheeto

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    I liked what his wife said:
    Incorrect on all counts.
    I re-read Jadgish's paper.
    Why would anyone want to hold onto an incorrect view? That's like saying people like to be wrong. I know of no such people.
    Ignorance is not bliss as the uneducated children of the uneducated parents who did not string up the politician who sold their river to a company now have to play in the dirt.
    I've witnessed no fear in my brief 4 weeks at this forum.
    And the only falling that would take place would be me falling asleep listening to an economist for an hour and a half. I didn't sleep through two semesters of college economics classes for nothing. I learned that they are better than sominex.

    Anyways, Jadgish and Shiva, although on apparently opposite sides of the table, seem to want the same thing. Perhaps the term 'globalization' means something different to physicists and economists, and we are arguing about nothing.
     
  14. Jan 3, 2008 #13
    There's a book I'm reading right now about this very subject called The Great Turning by David Korten. I'll update folks as I read it.
    They also have a web page here.http://www.thegreatturning.net/
     
  15. Jan 3, 2008 #14
    I doubt as to whether the myth of globalization can be aplied to all of India by one person. Naturally some people love to do business, work hard and eat a healthy meal before they go to sleep. Others will continue to moan on about the evil myth men and their capital destruction.
    There has been a lifestyle in India for thousands of years which says if you eat certain foods then you have reached the highest point of human character and their is no need to go further. Lazy lifestyles inherited over thousands of years should not be confused with the impact of globalization.
     
  16. Jan 3, 2008 #15

    Gokul43201

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    I don't know a single Indian whose main ambition is to "eat certain foods". How many do you know?
     
  17. Jan 3, 2008 #16
    I think a majority of Hindus in India do not eat red meat. The cow is for them a sacred animal and must not be touched. I can't imagine how a man can live around so much red meat, live a protein poor lifestyle and expect to be strong in body and strong in mind. Something has to give and for the Indians it has to be the vegan diet, or else they will continue to live the way their ancestors did before.
     
  18. Jan 3, 2008 #17

    Gokul43201

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    There's some rampant speculation here, and you seem to be arguing that India's primary stumbling block is their vegan diet. For one thing, there's probably a lower incidence of vegans in India than in the US, though there may be as many vegetarians (l recall about a quarter of the population) there as there are people in the US. In any case, this is now going somewhat offtopic to the primary issue here, which is economic globalization.
     
  19. Jan 3, 2008 #18
    I don't know, I think it's possible that some people enjoy holding onto their views so much, that even truth, facts, and rigourous analysis will not change their minds. I'm not saying everyone is like this, but definitely some people are. For example, for many college students, professors, etc, being "a liberal" is part of their identity, and I don't know if some of their views would be easily changed even in face of very convincing research. There's a book that interviews former socialists who changed their mind about the virtues of socialism. Apparently, these former socialists all talk about how painful and difficult it was to change their ideals.

    Bryan Caplan also talks about it in his book titled "The Myth of the Rational Voter."
    Here's a podcast, if anyone is interested where he discusses his ideas from the book. One thing he points out is that certain views/ideas make it so that people will view you as compassionate, caring, etc. For example, people look at Vandana Shiva and say "she is such a great person, look at how much she cares." On the other hand, people like William Easterly, who talk about the failures of foreign aid, get labeled as "hard, cold, lacking in compasion, etc." Even though Dr. Easterly is an expert at what he's discussing (formerly held high position at world bank, now professor of economics at NYU, and has came to his conclusion through rigourous data analysis).
    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/_featuring/bryan_caplan/index.html

    Besides, all your talk about uneducated people in the 3rd world misses my point. I'm not saying that people want to be completely uneducated, but rather that people who are already educated may like to hold onto certain beliefs and ideas, even if they are incorrect.

    That's a shame. On the other hand, I don't know whether I can blame you as some (many?) economists are not that good at communicating, and therefore, some econ classes maybe incredibly boring (I hope I don't have that problem when I teach classes as a grad student). In fact, I believe one reason I fell in love with economics was that my first professor in college was a great teacher. The guy had been teaching the intro classes at the community college that I attended for like 30 years, and by the time I had him, he did a great job keeping the class entertaining while at the same time teaching us a lot.

    It's also a shame for another reason though, which is that many people have strong opinions on economic issues while at the same time being very ignorant about economics. I can only imagine how much heat I would get if I tried to have all kinds of opinions on Physics, even though I am ignorant of the field. The problem is that most academics, journalists, politicians, citizens, etc are ignorant about economics while simulatenously holding strong opinions and ideas on the topics.

    Or to quote Murray Rothbard:
    "It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."

    Possible, but doubtful. I imagine they have fairly similar views of what globalization is, they just have a very different view on the virtues (or failures) of globalization. I was just trying to point out that Bhagwati is probably more of an expert on this topic than Shiva.

    Again, the fact that people turn to Shiva for their information on globalization may prove my original point that people want to hold certain opinions on topics. If I was trying to learn about biology, I would turn to books written by biology professors. If I was trying to learn Physics or Mathematics, again I would turn to books written by the experts within that field. However, when people want to learn about economics they turn to some of the least enlightening authors, such as Lou Dobbs, Michael Moore, or Vandana Shiva. It makes me wonder whether people are mostly interested in learning something, or rather they just want to hear someone who's opinions and ideas already coincide with their world view.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  20. Jan 3, 2008 #19
    I read that link, as well as the wikipedia article on the author, and it sounds like both the author and the book have a very specific agenda. That's not to say that the book won't be good, but rather that I urge you to read some other stuff as well (such as Jagdish Bhagwati's book "In Defense of Globalization").
     
  21. Jan 3, 2008 #20
    Vandana Shiva says 'I can't watch our farmers die as if they were flies that are being swatted in a global economy.'

    Indians cannot take a stand against their own feudal system yet they label 'western capitalism' as the destructive force ruining their way of life? It is themselves who are at fault. The Ford and Rockefeller foundations provided everything Indians and people the world over need to feed themselves and their next of kin.
     
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