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January 22, 2004


Sam I am

I would call it "partial globalization," since the countries to which we refer have opened up (only recently!) to globalized media and, to a certain extent, culture, but not to the full force of trade and investment flows. Perhaps the conservative regimes of the Middle East could learn something from China, where across-the-board globalization has occured at a gradual, state-controlled pace, yielding robust economic growth, cultural transformation and continued control by the same old geriatric ruling elite. Or maybe that goes too far (especially cultural transformation) and too fast for the Saudis et al.


I vote for lopsided. Or maybe none of the above. In fact, I think we really don't know what globalism means yet. Haven't had enough experience. Does it mean there is no Soviet bloc? Does it mean the demise of the nation-state? Does it mean no obstacles in the way of Fordism? Does it mean the end of manufacturing? Does it mean a unipolar world? Does it mean the end of the extended family?

You cannot ignore the hegemonal and strategic pressures of the US and of the Palestinian Entity. Nor the evolution of a region emerging out from under the Ottomans. Nor the corrupt absolutists removed by idealistic nationalists. Nor transforming patriarchal, tribal societies. Nor the desire for social mobility. Nor the anti-colonial wars of liberation. Nor the power of Islam. Nor the corrupting influence of wealth in a very few hands. Nor the socialist revolution. Nor the desire for power.

In short, it's more than economics.

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