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How Globalization Has Broken the Chain of Responsibility (sapiens.org)
159 points by JoachimOfFiore 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 102 comments

The article's central point seems to be that it's more difficult to track accountability and causality in an increasingly "overheated" and complicated world. True.

But the major system for addressing that currently seems to be People Getting Upset, and the article proposes more organizations for People Getting Upset. But this isn't very efficient; sometimes the global economy DOES need to make Gladstone a bit less pretty. And people have only a limited amount of Upset within them, not nearly enough to make the system work well.

We need better tools of addressing externalities as a society.

Or maybe just the ability to actually implement those we have. Property rights work pretty well where they can apply. Carbon taxes seem decent, but they usually go straight to government coffers and don't pay out to citizens (that seems like a flaw to me). I'm not an economist, but I'd be interested in better ideas.

Carbon taxes change the profit math for companies, which affects their decisions, that's the biggest change. They have to be high enough to change the decision though.

US$120 / ton of pure carbon, or about $32/ton CO2 should be about right. Ramp it up over 6 years, front loaded a bit, starting with $30/ton C, increasing $15/ton carbon per year.

If that were done in a largely revenue neutral way on a worldwide scale, we could turn carbon emission around in a hurry. I'd actually advocate for putting aside some of the money to reward people actively removing airborne carbon dioxide down to the 290ppm threshold, not just holding at 400ppm.

I think a CO2 tax should be applied to capital equipment at the time of sale for best effect.

That creates some disincentives towards efficiency, and operation of equipment is often a much larger carbon source than initial manufacture.

I think in practice it would work like a VAT, which is well understood and creates a reasonably level playing field.

What I mean is instead of slapping a carbon tax on gasoline you slap it on the car. So if a car is slated to emit 60 tons of CO2 during it's expected life you compute a excise tax based on 60 tons.

Right, but that's too broad. Some people will drive a car for a million miles, some people will drive it for ten thousand. It's better to tax the embodied carbon of manufacture and delivery of the car separately from the carbon emitted by the fuel, for example. Fuels, in particular, are easy to determine the carbon weight - just add it up!

The problem with imposing a tax on fuel is your punish people for decisions they made before you changed the policy tax regime. Where taxing new equipment doesn't. The former tends to result in a lot of political blowback.

> They have to be high enough to change the decision though.

This is why I've stopped listening to people attempting to make externality-based policy arguments. If you believe that a carbon tax needs to be high enough to change companies' decisions, you're not actually making an externality argument. You've already decided that the world should change, and how it should change, and you're just trying to find some magic words that you think will get other people to agree with you.

A real externality argument would try to determine the value of the externality, and set the tax to equal that value. It's not relevant at all whether that changes anyone's decision -- if there's no change, and you see just as much pollution as before, that's fine, because the cost of that pollution is now being accounted for correctly, and it's been decided that the pollution was better than the alternative.

Are you saying the jury is somehow out on greenhouse gases? Because we definitely know it's affecting the planet. And we definitely know we need to cut back on carbon emissions. And we even know by how much. The externality is not hypothetical, we're living it, in real time, and so have a pretty damn good idea what we have to do to bring things to neutral.

Anyone claiming otherwise simply would rather not lose their profits, or is being payed/brainwashed by those people.

Seems like a weird argument in a thread about responsibility.

Decided by whom? By the one party who is externalizing. Their may be able to offset the additional costs, however the ones that bear the consequences of the action in the first place (e.g. the ones who suffer from pollution or climate change) might not. Yet they still wouldn't have a say in the matter.

Government coffers belong to the people. If the carbon tax is done right the revenues go to a special use fund for addressing the externalities caused by the thing they're taxing to control... and not to the "general fund".

I'm fine not getting a share of the carbon tax if the monies are used to fight the problem.

> Government coffers belong to the people.

Actually, quite the opposite. Government coffers belong to the government and state institutions, which is comprised of the ruling elite and the long list of apparatchiks at their service. "The people" are nothing more than a rhetorical device used to cut dissent by fooling "the people" into believing the ruling elite acts on everyone's best interests.

My concern is exactly that the offsets from externalities would go to special use funds attempting very naively to rectify them.

For one thing, governments are inefficient, and externalities aren't always easy to reverse. So probably after the Department of Externality Taxation is established, either the funds raised by the tax aren't enough to compensate the people damaged, or something bureaucratic and symbolic is done that doesn't really help. After all, if there isn't really anything the department can do to address the problem, the last thing they're going to do is put themselves out of a job and return the money. They'll start wasteful moonshot projects instead.

For another, the government is now heavily incentivized to tax the Bad Thing as much as they can, both to show voters that they're Tough On Bad Thing and also to raise money. That's not what we want- we want to disincentivize externalities by exactly their true cost, and preferably return that true cost to the people damaged by it.

Finally, assuming we can't perfectly tell what the externalities cost individual people, directly giving them a return equal to average damages is efficient. It drives people who suffer the externality disproportionately away, and it attracts people who can bear the externality at minimum cost.

1457389 7 months ago [flagged]

Your witty little strawmen with snappy names aren't helping your argument...

There's probably a block chain startup that solves the accountability problem in supply chains...

The article draws very big conclusions out of thin air, four pages of text, two pictures, and a pretentious DNS record.

On the opposite side of the spectrum of journalism was the NY Times article from earlier today, about the Arizona aquifers. Great photography and research. Awesome Web presentation, too. Cheap journalism with big pretenses is a scourge on our society.

You seem to be suggesting that more words and pretty pictures make an argument at least more compelling if not more substantive. I disagree with that idea because it has nothing to do with the facts.

Yes, I would not draw brave conclusions about globalization out of a clickbait-format article. I also make an argument about authority of judgement, based on the longevity and reputation of the media channel.

Multi-national corporations are counting on the disparity to essentially play arbitrage with labour. Nationalism feeds into that, so it's in their interest to stoke nationalist sentiments.

Strong nationalism doesn't help multi-national corporations. It either prevents their operation entirely (for example, bans on imports and nationalization of assets as in Iran) or exploits them only when the government decides the country will profit more than the company (as in China).

it’s not so simple. one side effect of strong nationalism is a restriction on the flow of people. when capital can flow freely, but people can’t, multinationals gain an advantage.

No, again, sorry I think this is wrong.

Multinationals are almost all in favour of open borders.

They want a) cheap labour and some, good companies need b) high end talent. The later is more rare though.

Every big company I know is 'pro migration' I can't think of a single one that's against it.

Google is more in favour of getting 'highly skilled' people, while most others are in favour of 'bodies' for cheap labour. Companies that are allowed to think long term, like large banks, want migration because 'adding bodies' is the only way most Western economies actually grow. So in Canada, CIBC, BMO, RBC (i.e. big banks) make their $ from mortgages and small business lending - there's no real way for them to grow other than 'more mortgages'. So they push for more bodies as part of national strategy.

Because most political entities, most big business, and a lot of social activists are globalist in nature, it creates a friction with other groups.

This friction is actually a big deal and is reshaping the political landscape in the entire Western world.

It's getting to be less about left/right than it is those with a globalist view and those with a more localist view. 'Nationalists' tend to fall in the later camp.

It seems to me that immigration helps raise wages. A multinational company is going to employ people in India regardless of US immigration policy. But if those people can come to the US and make 5x the money, then even if they are making somewhat less than other Americans, they are improving (i.e. raising wages in) the global market for labor that we have to compete in.

Given that wages in India and other places are clearly artificially depressed, or people wouldn't want to come to the US, I don't think it's obvious that the multinationals do want open borders. I think it's in the interest of workers though.

The vast majority of people migrating are not doing so for spectacular wages relative to the local market they are coming into.

Average wages for immigrants is lower than the non-immigrant average in almost all societies.

Because we are in high-tech, we think about 'Google' bringing in great talent, which is good ...

But for most, it's not remotely that.

In Canada, in the Oil Sands, they push for migration and the term they use is 'high labour input cost'. Literally high wages.

So yes, in the long term migration can be good depending on a nations actual need and ability to make use of people, but it's about wages and Supply and Demand there.

It's a similar story everywhere. I don't think anyone, even hardcore nationalists are pushing to get rid of bringing in talented people, the numbers are small. And the issue with H1B for example is not so much the nature of it, but that it was kind of being abused by Infosys etc. in the eyes of some.

"Given that wages in India and other places are clearly artificially depressed, or people wouldn't want to come to the US"

No, this is not any kind of 'artificial depression'. India has a fundamentally different economy than the US. Those differences are not artificial.

> But if those people can come to the US and make 5x the money, then even if they are making somewhat less than other Americans, they are improving (i.e. raising wages in) the global market for labor that we have to compete in.

I would also add that it's wrong to assume that just because an immigrant was hired for a highly skilled job that automatically means there is a native somewhere with an equivalent skillset and able to do the job as well. It boggles the mind how some people assume that somehow every single top expert in the field happens to live in the same city/state/country where a job opening is published.

According to you, immigration would help raise wages globally, but since it introduces lower-paid worker in a national/local labor market, it would reduce wages at this level. And I don't think we're working in a global market for labor, the supply is too unelastic to be a market.

"According to you, immigration would help raise wages globally, but since it introduces lower-paid worker in a national/local labor market"

The labor market is not national or local for a multinational company. Hence, as I wrote, if people are being underpaid in some countries, it is in a multinational's interest to keep them in those countries to exploit, and not let them immigrate to where they could make more money.

The mere existence of nations prevents the free flow of people.

"Nationalism" usually means something stronger than the existence of nations, such as "the belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals".

it is nationalist policy that restricts flow.

All nations do that. A definition of "nationalist" that includes every nation isn't particularly useful for distinguishing the policies of nations.

All nations are at least a bit nationalistic. If they weren't at all nationalistic, they wouldn't be nations.

Restrictions on the free flow of people are not a binary decision. Countries in the Schengen Area which have almost completely given up the ability restrict movement between their territory and 25 other nations are not restricting the movement of people as much as say North Korea which doesn't even let most of its own citizens travel abroad.

By that definition the US is the least nationalist country on the planet. 20% of the world's foreign born population lives in the US.


And it seems to me that it's that lack of "nationalism" as you've defined it that's helping US-based companies exploit cheap labor in (or from) other nations.

Even if you were to define nationalism solely based foreign-born population, the least nationalistic country would obviously be Vatican City with 100% foreign born or UAE with 84% if you want to exclude extreme outliers. The US isn't even particularly high at 14% of the population being foreign born.

And of course, restrictions on freedom of movement can't be summed up exclusively with number of immigrants. There are many countries that are much, much easier to get into than the US; people just don't want to go there as much. And of course, nationalism isn't exclusively border control. That is just one nationalistic behavior.

I think you know I was only offering foreign born population as an example of the US's freedom of movement, not as the definition of nationalism.

If you're intentionally misinterpreting me, this discussion isn't going anywhere. But in the hope that that's not the case, I'll try again:

What country offers freedom of movement to the most people? The US, by far.

Nonsense, you are completely ignoring country size, and even in absolute numbers every country in the Schengen Area allows every citizen of other Schengen Area countries complete freedom of movement. For any given country in the Schengen Area, that is more foreigners who are allowed complete freedom of movement than the entire population of the US, much less just the foreign born population of the US. Just because most of those people don't choose to exercise that ability, doesn't mean they don't have it.

The Schengen area is more like the US itself. A federal system of once independent states uniting to eventually form a single nation.

The freedom to move from France to Germany, or from California to New York, has nothing to do with the freedom of movement of people born outside those systems.

LOL, you are basically saying that by entering into an agreement like the Schengen Agreement and becoming less like nations, the overall group becomes more nationalistic. That seems like absurd circular reasoning.

The constituent countries in the EU are still sovereign countries. Unlike US states, they are free to leave at any time.

By your definition of nationalism, Europe is simply replacing French/German/etc nationalism with EU nationalism.

The EU already has a parliament, "federal" laws, and a single currency. They're building an EU army and discussing federal taxes. At what point do you call them a nation?

You are engaging in absurd double-think. Loosening restrictions on movement is not tightening restrictions on movement no matter how many mental hoops you try to jump through.

This discussion is becoming too hostile for Hacker News. I'll make one more attempt to explain my point of view, then I'm out:

Loosening restrictions on select people is not loosening restrictions on everyone.

Vatican City, with their tightly controlled migration policy, is not the country with the most freedom of movement simply because they allow freedom of movement to carefully chosen people.

In the Vatican, for example, a given person either has a 100% chance of migration or a 0% chance. Israel has similar numbers. In the Schengen area, it's either a 100% chance or a very small chance.


Perhaps this will be clearer. Every free country grants total freedom of movement to some group of people. In Israel, this is Jewish people. In the United States, US citizens. In the Schengen area, citizens of the Schengen area.

What does that have to do with nationalism? Nationalism is a distinction between the treatment of in-group people and out-group people.

In the Schengen area, people from the Schengen area are the in-group.

This line of argument is absurd. You cannot become more restrictive by becoming less restrictive.

Nationalism isn't standalone, it's tied to a particular nation.

Changing loyalty to a larger nation isn't the same as becoming less nationalistic.

The Schengen Area is not in any sense a nation. Look at the definition of the word nation: "a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory". The Schengen Area checks off people and territory but nothing else.

It doesn't even have a shared government to try to make it fit if you are trying to use "nation" as a synonym for "country". Most of the countries are part of the EU, but Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Area but not the EU.

> united by common descent, history, culture, or language

Are you saying Europeans don't have any descent, history, or culture in common?

Descent, mostly not. Culture, mostly not. History, yes, of constantly fighting each other for hundreds of years (which is the type of shared history that creates national separations, not the kind that unites nations).

There are some groups of countries that have some descent and culture in common like Portugal/Spain or Benelux or Scandinavia, but there is no pan-European culture. Portugal, Greece, Monaco, Latvia and Iceland have almost nothing in common.

Then why hasn't the Schengen area admitted north Africa or the middle east?

Spain is a lot closer to Morocco than to Norway, but Spain partnered with Norway rather than Morocco because they share the same descent (European) and culture (Christian).

China offers far more freedom of movement. US is at the bottom. By far.

China doesn't even offer freedom of movement to its own citizens.


The free flow of people historically involves all the males on one side getting murdered or enslaved and the women raped. The DNA evidence incontrovertibly supports this.

I’d say the idealistic nationalist sees each nation akin to a cell in a cellular automaton and believes that each nation looking after itself in the context of some fundamental rules will achieve better outcomes globally, not just locally, than heavy handed large scale top down control, aka empire.

Taleb cogently argues that scale is of fundamental importance to understanding human behavior. I also accept the argument that distributed local control is generally to be preferred.

And the worst part is not just labor arbitrage.

Rules that we have defined to protect the environment in which we live, safety of the products we use, security/privacy of our data.

All of that gets arbitraged away, just like offshore havens are used to hide dirty cash behind veils of various legal stuctures.

Globalists who want the NWO will also exploit legal loopholes in different countries to further their agenda. All perfectly legal as well making them untouchable. Hacking foreign entities is the most obvious example, but it also means global companies can legally engage in corporate espionage to further consolidate their positions. Tax havens and off-shoring profits is another example many many people will be familiar with. Some CEO's are legal moral criminals in a way, but the common theme is clever people have been exploiting stupid since before the time of Christ.

I think it's the other way around.

Multinationals would prefer to get rid of all nationality, ethnicity, religion, culture, political ideology etc - it stands in the way of their bottom line.

Strong nations can stand up to big corps.

Strong cultures make it difficult to 'define consumer behaviour' - example: in Europe, American companies have a difficult time selling some consumer products because Europeans 'have their own way' of doing things. Why do you think Starbucks doesn't have a lot of stores in Italy? Because Italians don't care for it - they do their own thing.

This is kind of ugly - but there is a kind of 'culturally secular left' and a 'big / globalist business right' that actually get a long quite well - they both want to get rid of what they view as 'outdated norms'. The left wants to re-write social structure, the right wants to re-write consumption, consumerism and define our aspirations.

I'm not being conspiratorial, it's not like there's a cabal of evil globalists pulling strings, it's just overall in the best interest of these groups. BigCos tend to promote policies which benefit them - not the local population. Shareholders just don't think or care that much about people or culture.

In what way? Nationalism leads to immigration restrictions and protectionism.

All nations have immigration controls, most of them strict, and the majority of most economies - even Western economies are protected (Banking, Telecoms, Entertainment, Agriculture, Energy) and even those that might not be technically protected are de-facto protected by business or political cabals. Try and buy a major Japanese auto company and see how they handle that.

There are shades of nationalism; I assume parent suggests multinational corps aim for a region in this spectrum - a region, in which movement is restricted, so that workers from poor country A don't migrate to richer country B, but where trade isn't restricted, so nothing stops the multinational to sell products made in A to people in B.

> Nationalism feeds into that


I assume he means because nationalism stokes tensions between citizens while companies quietly extract value from society.

Why would nationalism stoke tensions between citizens? The point of nationalism is to unite the society around the nation.

It seems to me that multiculturalism if anything leads to more tensions as it seeks to add more groups that don't have as much in common as the people already there.

Contemporary history suggests nationalism is almost always a reactionary movement. Reactionary movements are by definition in reaction to some other political entity. Thus the tension.

That's true (at least where there are large nationalist and globalist groups in conflict), but it seems to me a lack of nationalism may sometimes result in suppression of the expression of self-interested sentiments, especially when globalism does not decrease overall GDP but causes large changes in the distribution of income/wealth.

Nationalism preserves&increases the gradient/spread.

Nationalism is a shiny, ultimately self-defeating distraction for unions. It allows politicians and union leadership to avoid the hard work of crafting and executing on real pro-labor policies to grapple with the reality of globalized capital. Instead, it pits workers against each other, factionalizes them and creates scapegoats so they never organize as a class.


It competes with unions as the class of people who organize together.

I don't buy that. I'm old enough to remember when people (US citizens) got upset when companies moved their operations from the north (Northern US) to the South (Southeastern US) because it was cheaper (cheap labor).

Yes, there was a play arbitrage with labor, but nationalism never feed into that because it was all inside one country.

Wait what? Are you claiming that corporations deign for some countries to become dumping grounds? I'm not sure what you mean here. The article hints at the fact that while standards of living increase for some, they decrease for others... Which is essentially the complaint that anti-globalization activists have. It's not a rising tide but a race to the bottom.

Most corporations (I can't think of any counter examples, but maybe someone here will find one) are all on board with abolishing borders. It makes the most sense from the POV of a capitalistic institution since it drives down wages and increases efficiency much more than strong national borders and "nationalism" would. (Wouldn't your local tech giant like an unlimited supply of work visas to pass out like candy?)

It seems to me that open borders and pro-globalization activists are mostly playing right into the wildest dreams of corporate robber barons. Who prefer the "race to the bottom" WRT labor costs that is "globalism."

The corporation takes away personal responsibility. For a corporation profit is usually number one priority far more than caring for the environmen.

I think globalisation under mines union, to some extent labour laws. I you don’t do the job there is often someone cheaper who don’t care about work hours, vacation who will.

And environmental protection laws, and human rights laws, and civil rights laws, you name it, globalization has effectively undermined.

The best lie that America ever told the world (best exemplified by the 1939 World’s Fair[1]) was that democracy and capitalism go hand in hand. But when the U.S. blinked after the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre and kept on buying cheap goods from China, it became clear that the Western world - the only long term bastion of democracy - cared more about capitalism than democracy, and China showed the world that you don’t need democracy for capitalism. Democracy has been in decline ever since, along with human rights.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_New_York_World's_Fair

This may be an unpopular opinion here but it's spot on.

> when the U.S. blinked after the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre and kept on buying cheap goods from China

The US did very little trade with China in 1989, though more than a few years earlier. I don’t think Tiananmen Square or its response says much about US internationalism or commitment to whatever abstract principles. You can draw much stronger conclusions from them about internal Chinese politics.

What could the U.S. have done about Tiananmen? Serious question. Military intervention would have been absolutely out of the question. U.S.-China trade back then was very small, so the U.S. had no leverage. The U.S. could not have armed a guerilla either. There was really nothing the U.S. could do about China in 1989.

> What could the U.S. have done about Tiananmen?

Impose Cuba-style sanctions on China until they held free elections. It may not have changed their policy, but it would at least have shown we were serious about it. And knowing what we know now, it would obviously have had significant economic consequences over time.

That was basically US policy toward China in the 50s–60s. It was utterly ineffective.

US policy toward Cuba had much bigger impact because Cuba is a tiny island next to the North American continent, and being cut off from your obvious larger trading partner is more severe.

The US sanctions on Cuba didn’t have anything to do with free elections though, and their primary effect was entrenching the Cuban government while impoverishing the Cuban people.

> US policy toward Cuba had much bigger impact because Cuba is a tiny island next to the North American continent, and being cut off from your obvious larger trading partner is more severe.

The US is China's largest trading partner and the relative size of China's economy was much smaller at the time. Moreover, other democratic countries could have adopted the same policy which would have given it real teeth.

And the sanctions did nothing to entrench the government. The government was already entrenched. If the people there don't like the policy then they know how to end it -- change their government.

I believe that was parent poster's point, that there didn't seem to be much that US could have done. Hence it would seem suspect to draw much of a conclusion from as proposed by GP.

You did catch that I used the word “lie”, right? I am under no illusion about the darker sides of U.S. history.

Its not that Socialism & Democracy as a combination was not tried. The Pre-1991 India is a good example, it also had War on Poverty and whole enchilada. Nothing did more to get millions of people out of abject poverty than 1991 economic liberalization.

There are many socialist concepts you might implement. If you consider nationalized healthcare, then the vast majority of all western countries are socialist democracies.

This is why it's weird to hear people bring up gulags in the US--most "democratic socialists" are just trying to catch up to europe.

> are just trying to catch up to europe.

Implying Europe is somehow "ahead." (They aren't.)

Not sure why you’ve been downvoted. History from the 1990s onwards seemed to demonstrate that past a certain point, democracy becomes an obstacle which Capitalism has to overcome or devolve into crisis. If anything, the US is hemming more towards the authoritarian technocracy of China than away from it.

Absolutely. If you look at it in a game-theory sort of way it becomes obvious that capitalism proliferates in its most efficient manner, not in favor of other values like democracy, or the common good etc.

Rules aren't rules, rules are further obstacles that capitalism as a large evolving system is there to evolve around. Most of what we see as rules are only suggestions if you've got enough capital, or things in place to prevent tragedy of the commons: capitalism is not 'commons-alism' and not there to support the system on which it runs. If the entities maximizing capital get to amass more, as far as capitalism is concerned that's the whole point and everything is working optimally.

We assume we can get new workers, a new planet, whatever, because capitalism sort of processes through any such thing in order to reduce it to abstracted value that's assigned to whoever competes most effectively for it.

Of course democracy is orthoganal to this system.

I think in the end everyone gets pwned by Capitalism.

"Social Conservatives" often champion free markets while at the same time those free markets destroy social norms in order to open new markets and increase market utilization (LGBT industry, eschewing traditional gender roles in favor of a world where everyone works "like a man" and everyone can buy cosmetics "like a woman", etc...).

Socialists get bought off by cheap entertainment and a subsistence level of welfare, cutting their hopes of mobilizaing the working class off at the knees.

Social Justice Warrior types get support insofar as they promise to increase labor participation and drive down wages (this is how Diversity and Inclusion is financially justified), but in the end they will at best just succeed at integrating new people into the corporate structure without really making any grand changes to society at large.

List goes on. No one has been able to control capitalism with their ideology.

It does seem to be the paperclip maximizer of ideologies.

Sure, China was a bastion of prosperity before even a perverted model of capitalism (please don't call it free market capitalism) was introduced (sarcasm). Beside what makes "democracy" a good thing anyway? Protection of rights has nothing to do with it.

That's a point that deserves some consideration. But there's something that always bother me when people start talking about China:

Always keep in mind that China is a rather poor country. It's per-capita GDP has just passed above Brazil, and that's mostly because Brazil is facing the biggest crisis in its history. When you claim that China is a successful dictatorship, always remember that it's successful only from some points of view.

In 1978, China had about the same GDP per capita as India. Today, China's GDP per capita is more than double that of India. China's economy has dramatically outperformed many democracies over the past few decades. Whatever you might think of the Chinese regime, they're clearly doing something right.

Some cities are richer than New York. China is more like the Americas: Massive differences in wealth from one place to the next.

The answer lies in Politics. If a multinational is ruining your beaches / water supply / air quality / whatever, use the power of government to apply regulations and taxes. One common argument against that is that a company will simply go to another place which offers friendlier regulations. In that case, good riddance.

Now, if someone depends on those multinationals for a better living and have no options otherwise, then they gotta pay up one way or the other. Typical path we have seen is for societies to get rich first and then start demanding nicer things like clean air / water.

That's not possible as regulation from government always lags commercial damage. Governments are often complicit in the damage to begin with.

See The Great Barrier Reef [1] for example. The Australian government has done little to protect it while exempting mining companies from damages, approving dredging and generally being climate change denialists.

1: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/08/explore-...

Which society stands to become richer? The country that sold it's beaches to a foreign company, or the foreign country which operates the business and owns the profits?

To the extent this is politics, I guess you could say it's a battle between liberalism which would see the situation as efficient and the result of free capitalistic action while a nationalist perspective would lead you to see the beaches are apart of the nation itself and cannot simply just be sold off.

When played smart, the answer can be both - the country willing to pollute its environment and the country which is outsourcing the "pollution". For example, China and the USA.

I'm nowhere near Gladstone, but I have a lot of exposure to the planning & approval process for Australian mines.

Firstly, it is unlikely that the mine manger has less power in the modern era than they did in the days of old. Mine managers wield enormous power under law and in practice.

Secondly, the real issue here is likely that nobody cares about small limestone mines, but the economies of scale in Gladstone are such that the mines are projects of importance at the State and global level. Local groups with real power (enough influence to get council moving) can still sway mine operations quite convincingly, larger mining companies have had some experiences with fighting real local opposition and it is not a profitable exercise. But the flip side of that, once a mine operation gets large enough it can no longer please everyone, and when the State & local governments support your operation, the people who are not pleased feel very powerless. Nobody likes that situation, but there isn't a straightforward resolution.

The idea that globalisation is responsible is a bit tenuous. Make the case that councils are blinded by greed, that is an easy one. I will politically remind the reader that the State government, who takes the cut, is also the same group who needs more money to fund schools & hospitals. EDIT And mining corporations usually spend lavishly on local projects to suppress organised opposition on council.

tl;dr; I have observed the process and don't believe that globalisation has broken the chain. Local government still has sufficient power to yea, nay or influence operations. State governments have absolute power to yea, nay and influence operations. They are responsible, not some shady globalist in Shenzhen, America or Japan.

Seems you haven't put international agreement such TPP and international arbitration into account.

Yes, local goverment still have power and no, the state goverment don't have absolute power when the contract has been deal.

> Mine managers wield enormous power under law and in practice.

You know who else holds enormous power? The mine managers employer, as well as the collective will of all the subordinates of the mine manager who depend on high paying mining jobs. The mine manager may also be close friends with many of these people, and many of them may have spouses who are friends of the mine managers spouse.

Then, there's the letter of the law, and there's de facto (in practice) law. Sometimes these are closely aligned, sometimes they are not.

Also, there is huge variance in individual companies' ethics and compliance with local laws and customs, as well as variance in compliance in different operational locations around the world - you likely wouldn't get away with very much in advanced 1st world countries very often, but I wonder if the same can be said in smaller, less fortunate countries.

> The idea that globalisation is responsible is a bit tenuous.

Agreed. A more plausible culprit is the corporation as a legal structure, with multi-national corporations being even worse. I'm pretty far right fiscally, but one documentary that had a big effect on my opinion is The Corporation.


This seems to be the entire documentary:


As it was produced 15 years ago I imagine it's a bit dated (I watched it over 10 years ago so can't recall much detail), but it's well worth the 2hr24min investment of your time.

As for the article itself....

> Global population and the world’s interconnections are increasing at an unprecedented rate; internet access, tourism, migration, and increased trade, among other phenomena, are transforming the planet. While the world gross domestic product has grown by 250 percent since 1980, world trade has grown by 600 percent; the ports of Shanghai and Singapore alone more than doubled their turnover of goods between 2003 and 2014. Cities like Mogadishu, Somalia, have seen growth rates of 1,000 percent in a generation, expanding from a couple hundred thousand inhabitants in the 1980s to a couple of million. The faster the rate of change, the harder it is for people to adapt.

I wonder if some important truths are hiding within or near these statistics. GDP up 250% while world trade is up 600%. Not stated is the extra layer of complexity around in what way the flows of money changed during this transition. Has great good come out of this for millions of people, raising them out of hellish poverty? Undoubtedly, and it makes me happy.

However, I often encounter a related opinion (that I'm often told disagreeing with in the slightest proves various things) that things have improved for everyone. Everyone is better off under globalization, full stop. I often find myself wondering whether this claim is actually true, and I also wonder how everyone is so certain about this fact when I've never encountered any evidence-based analysis that does a good job of substantiating it, without also leaving a large number of unanswered questions in my mind. I suppose it could be that I am really just as dumb as I'm told, but I can't find much else that corroborates that theory.

> There are alternatives to the current situation of powerlessness. One way to counter globalized power is to globalize the response by forging alliances between local community groups and transnational organizations that are capable of putting pressure on governments, public opinion, and corporations. This has been a successful strategy among feminists, trade unionists, and environmentalists in the recent past. Another option—an opposite yet complementary strategy—is to resist the forces that threaten to overrun and disempower local communities. One of the most striking examples of this strategy is the burgeoning support for locally grown food.

Another example is cooperative nationalism - sovereign nation states who trade with each other in a self-beneficial way, as well as assist those less fortunate nations (due to unfortunate geographical locations, plain bad luck, etc) for self-interested reasons of pragmatism as well as general humanity. How difficult it would be to pull this in real life I do not know, but neither does anyone else despite what they might say. But another side benefit this approach offers is that it enables true diversity. As globalization normalizes behaviors and conventions around the world (yes, often good, but there's more than one way to achieve goodness), diversity is actually decreasing in many ways (and if you think a variety of skin colors equals diversity, I happen to mostly disagree, and I actually think it's a tad racist). An independent nation state approach allows different countries to try different approaches to the full spectrum of life over long periods of time, and as optimal individual strategies arise, individual countries can choose to adopt them, or not.

It seems to me it would make sense to get some solid evidence and large-scale enthusiastic agreement that we've "got it all figured out" before we start merging the entire planet into a mono-culture, and rapidly rising populist sentiment in many nations would seem to suggest there might be some truth to this idea.

Modernism. Cause and effect are separated. Or, as Flann O'Brien wrote: If one throws a stone up in the air, no one can tell where it will land.

Sounds like more governments around the world could use a dose of layer cake Federalism.

Could you explicit or ELI5 what you mean by this ? Worldwide federalism ? More intermeduary layer to better control centralized bodies ?

The idea behind layer cake federalism is you define specific scope that gets handled at different levels of Government; the point being that people in Estonia may not want the same policies as those in France and both should be free to choose independent of a globalized body (here, the UN).

Maybe if we could buy shares of Earth there would be some economic value in preserving the well being and environment. How could one put economic value in preservation instead of exploration?

That sounds like a way to accelerate the lack of accountability. If i wanted to reduce accountability of american companies, I would make it so you could only by US stocks through unified stock.

You would just have 0 ability for anyone to apply market forces and accountability on a localized level and it would become giant scam for elites to siphon off.

The only way to add more accountability in the way you want it would be more selling off of public land to public companies that anyone could buy stocks in.

One way to resolve this tension is to limit the corporate personhood. If CEOs of this multinational corporations earn tens and hundreds of millions maybe they should have a tiny bit more accountability.

The problem is that people with power are getting more power and they are getting fewer in numbers so they have limited bandwidth for dealing with issues efficiently. So they delegate everything to people who are on their payroll and who themselves will delegate subtasks to other people also on the payroll, etc... In the end, what we have is no different from communism. There is no incentive for employees of big corporations to work harder because mobility is limited based on who joined the company first.

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