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WTO + SDMI = NWO 126

Posted by michael
from the move-along-citizen-nothing-to-see-here dept.
Andy Oram's latest article has a nice analysis of the future of intergovernmental organizations and the internet. He covers the PICS bait-and-switch, DVDs, and ties it all in with the actions of groups like the WTO and WIPO. The intertwining of government and corporations to limit freedoms on the internet is a topic that every internet user should pay attention to, but few do. I personally plan to cover this situation in as great a depth as possible on slashdot in the future - stay tuned.
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WTO + SDMI = NWO

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  • by MeanGene (17515) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @07:24AM (#1478412)
    Intergovernmental organizations do play a significant role nowadays, but we must remember that ultimate power still rests in national governments with their police, their armies, and their popular mandates.

    Not quite true, if the national governments (meaning people that comprise them) become dependent (directly or indirectly) on various super-national bodies. One can argue that IMF removed Indonesia's Suharto by forcing him to conduct rather unpopular economic policies.

    And, let's face it, there're more pressing problems than CDA - like the right to KNOW if your food was genetically engineered.

    On the more sinister (conspiracy theory) note, what about IMF, World Bank and WTO being covertly led by the Trilateral and Bilderberg Commissions that are not elected in any way, but simply ARE OUT THERE?

  • From the article:

    Plenty of times, a national government has reacted to an intergovernmental organization by ignoring it, stonewalling it in court, or even threatening its continued existence by withdrawing funds. While the United States is the most common rebel, there are others as well. Israel has no intention of obeying U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the Palestinian Arabs. Russia has told the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to bug off and let Russia fight its Chechen war the way it wants. As a more trivial example, France refused to lift a ban on British beef when ordered to earlier this month by the European Commission.

    I think it's pretty pathetic when an author lumps in trade conflict with military conflict.
    They are not even in the same domain when people decide to protest.
    When inosent people are being killed, and a governement is asking it's young people to go kill them, then the people should rise up in oposition.

    However, when Wingdings Inc. can't sell "New and Improved Coochie-Koos" to the Hoo-too market, I hardly think it's an issue that required the people to rise up and rebel.
    Don't lump the loss of life together with the loss of market share.

    Of, by, and for, the people. Not Wingdings Inc.

  • But the clever code-breakers were not planning to make or distribute illegal copies of movies. They broke the code in order to create a DVD player that ran on the trendy free-software operating system Linux, for which the DVD manufacturers have not provided players. Thus, even though we're at the very start of the era of "technical measures," we have evidence both of their fragility and of their potential to hold back technological progress and consumer choice.

    "technical measures" if taken so that only a certain group of ppl. can still enjoy the product are crap! they dont deserve to remain and its just plain econ. that if there is a strong enough demand the supply will come! The measures will be broken if the price is right!!!

    Also, this is first time i have read an article that refers to linux as a "trendy" free-OS :)


  • The article contains a bunch of funky character entities like
    #8212, #8220, #8221, and #8217, which fail to render in NetPositive, BeOpera, and BeLynx (a rather eccentric collection of browsers, I admit). As I was preparing to flame him, I violated my principles, and did a little research first, and found this [w3.org] at w3c.org [w3c.org], which appears to list them as valid HTML. What gives?
  • I'm here because it's Trendy. [coff]
  • To me, calling Linux trendy in that context kinda deflated the motives of the DVD hackers. If the author had said the free DVD player was written for "the more powerful Linux operating system, a simpler environment for most advanced users," or used similar terms, the DVD "hackers" seem a bit more noble, like they found a way to build a better mousetrap. The current wording paints them out as bandwagon-jumpers, rather than innovators.
  • by Signal 11 (7608) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @07:48AM (#1478421)
    The article makes several good points but I think it's ignoring the root issue here. As computer geeks we often can fully understand the implications of a new law passed restricting online access or a piece of technology with a way to uniquely and globally identify you. As such, we also have the ability to circumvent, limit, or work-around those things to maintain our own personal freedom and privacy. This is why most geeks, while upset over these developments, are not rioting in the streets. We can work around it, defeat it, or be aware of it and alter our actions accordingly.

    Let me give you a common example - mp3 ripping and software "piracy". With a few exceptions (you may have one or two at work who are well known for it), most geeks don't have an issue with copying software or other information (audio) for personal use. It's a non-issue. So how come the average joe, after watching an SPA commercial is scared that the cops are already on their way to his house to bust him because he borrowed a windows 98 CD from a friend of his at work? Because he doesn't know that isn't going to happen. We have more information that he does. I know atleast 30 people off the top of my head that freely exchange their software with each other. Photoshop 5, ask john. Need Back Office, go to david. You get the idea. Am I a criminal? Yeah, probably. I simply happen to know the probability of the SPA even caring about my meager collection are about as good as MS winning the trial. You'll also note I'm posting with my e-mail address attached. I dare the SPA or RIAA to come over to my house. I know it would cost local law enforcement more in transportation and manpower than they would hope to gain by "busting" me.

    This is the reason why the WTO is dangerous - we already have ways to circumvent it. Talks of creating digital havens outside of US or WTO control are already underway and servers are doubtless being setup as we speak. Information does not want to be free - it already is. The problem is getting the non-geeks to understand this. And that, my friends, is the heart of the issue.

  • by davidu (18) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @07:50AM (#1478423) Homepage Journal
    It is pretty much accepted that SDMI has been, and always will be, DEAD. Users will never support a format that includes self-destruct "features". In fact, one of the SDMI folks wrote a message on MP3.com, which can be found here [mp3.com].

    -Davidu
  • Hmmmm 4.01 is new to me, thanks for pointing out the link to the new draft of HTML 4.01 [w3.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Finally the Rock has come back to Slashdot!

    The WTO can take their little DVDs. Shine it right up nicely. Turn that sonbitch sideways and stick it straight up their candy asses!

  • While I don't agree with the author with some things, the "New World Order" is something to watch out for.

    Lumping SDMI in with WTO is certainly inappropriate - these things have been done before and it will be tried again. And it has no relevance in the big picture.

    On the other hand, WTO is a different beast. It's is throughly global, very powerful and - here's the cherry on the top - it doesn't care about anything but money. It is as if one of the Gibsonian megacorporations has already come alive; a globally operating giant company that has essentially become untouchable; more powerful than any single nation.

    Of course, the situation isn't that bad (yet), since the WTO is only as powerful as the members let it be. In theory, at least. But it is a sign of things to come and it'll get worse, if the enlightened citizens do not watch out.

  • But it *is* kind of trendy ... I mean, just look at the media. It's cool to talk about Linux and Open Source Software, and bash Microsoft (not just on /. ;-) Linux is not *just* trendy, but it sure is trendy as well.
    And we could be thankful for that. After all, that helps spread it!
  • any resemblance to actual persons or company, living or dead, is unintentional and purely coincidental; do not remove this disclaimer under penalty of law; hand wash only, tumble dry on low heat; do not bend, fold, mutilate, or spindle; your mileage may vary; no substitutions allowed; for a limited time only; this message is void where prohibited, taxed, or otherwise restricted; caveat emptor; message is provided "as is" without any warranties; reader assumes full responsibility; an equal opportunity message; no shoes, no shirt, no message; quantities are limited while supplies last; if any defects are discovered, do not attempt to read them yourself, but return to an authorized service center; read at your own risk; parental advisory - explicit lyrics; text may contain explicit materials some readers may find objectionable, parental guidance is advised; keep away from sunlight; keep away from pets and small children; limit one-per-family please; no money down; no purchase necessary; you need not be present to win; some assembly required; batteries not included; instructions are included; action figures sold separately; no preservatives added; slippery when wet; safety goggles may be required during use; sealed for your protection, do not read if safety seal is broken; call before you dig; not liable for damages arising from use or misuse; for external use only; if rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops, discontinue reading; read only with proper ventilation; avoid extreme temperatures and store in a cool dry place; keep away from open flames; avoid contact with eyes and skin and avoid inhaling fumes; do not puncture, incinerate, or store above 120 degrees Fahrenheit; do not place near a flammable or magnetic source; smoking this message could be hazardous to your health; the best safeguard, second only to abstinence; no salt, MSG, artificial color or flavoring added; if ingested, do not induce vomiting, and if symptoms persist, consult a physician; possible penalties for early withdrawal; offer valid only at participating sites; slightly higher west of the Rockies; allow four to six weeks for delivery; must be 18 to read; disclaimer does not cover misuse, accident, lightning, flood, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, hurricanes and other Acts of God, neglect, damage from improper reading, incorrect line voltage, improper or unauthorized reading, broken antenna or marred cabinet, missing or altered serial numbers, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts, sonic boom vibrations, customer adjustments that are not covered in this list, and incidents owing to an airplane crash, ship sinking or taking on water, motor vehicle crashing, dropping the item, falling rocks, leaky roof, broken glass, mud slides, forest fire, or projectile (which can include, but not be limited to, arrows, bullets, shot, BB's, shrapnel, lasers, napalm, torpedoes, or emissions of X-rays, Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays, knives, stones, etc.); other restrictions may apply.
  • How convenient. Groups like WIPO and the WTO are making sweeping decisions that affect us all. But do we as a citizen of country X have a say? Nope. These organisations are international entities and thus exist outside the political influence of mere people. And once ratified, these rules are as binding as any local legislation. And int'l treaties cannot be line item vetoed or wrangled with locally. Govt't either sign it or don't sign it. The benefit$ are usually such that they're worth some minor copyright/IP/anti-privacy stuff that's slipped along with 'em.

    So gov't and industry LAUGH at our powerlessness as they exert more control over us helpless drones from their untouchable realm. Well let the WTO talks in SEATTLE be a LESSON. It's WE THE PEOPLE who decide what powers any gov't will be permitted to have... not the other way around.

  • Most of the things you point out lead to a much bigger question - Whom do you trust? Do you trust the FDA to keep your personal health as the highest priority... above that of a corporation's pressure to get their product on the market in a hurry. Or the political pressures of congressmen representing their district?

    Do you trust your software to be free from defects, or if defects are found that the vendor will respond in a timely and effective manner?

    Do you trust that your government and it's law enforcement are acting in your best interests - to protect you from harm and allow you to excercise the maximum freedom afforded to you under the constitution?

    Is the WTO the problem... or a symptom of the problem?

  • It's Unicode -- a "global" stnadard, that W3C and IETF demand to implement everywhere yet noone does because it contradicts with the idea of the set of simple national charsets. Looks like ignoring international organizations when they are trying to "rule the world" isn't limited to governments.
  • by Gurlia (110988) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:08AM (#1478434)

    Imposing this kind of regulatory laws on the Internet will only harm the law-abiding consumers. They will do nothing at all against the trouble-makers. What, you can stop stuff like pr0n and whatnot on the Internet by monitoring who connects where, and cutting off traffic at routers, etc.? No way! They'll always find a way around it. Then what happens? You've crippled the Internet for the average user -- who has no part in "questionable" things like this. You've deprived the innocent user of his privacy so that ad companies can bombard him with spam and sell his personal info. But you've done absolutely nothing to prevent Internet crime and abuse. Those who abuse the Net will always find ways to work around any kind of "protection" you impose on the Internet.

    Why does US allow citizens to have guns? Because by outlawing guns you only cause normal people to be more vulnerable. It doesn't matter whether guns are legal or not; criminals will always find ways to get them. The same goes for the Internet.

  • by isaac (2852) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:10AM (#1478435)
    While I share the author's pessimism over the direction of global government, especially WRT filtering, I think there is room for hope based on the following:

    • As the scale of corporations/governments gets bigger, the cracks get bigger - that is, more people and ideas slip through them, and fall out of reach. (The rise of free software, the distribution of MP3s, and the WTO protests are but the most obvious examples.)

    • Those cracks, which corporations/governments might wish to fill in, are the expansion joints that make their existence on such a scale possible. To fill them in is to ensure collapse (a la the USSR).

    • At some point, the system will self-correct in one of a few possible ways:

      • Mammals marginalize the dinosaurs. (Compare the computer industry in the pre-PC age vs. today.)

      • The leaders of the hierarchical system marginalize themselves. (That is, the decisions they make alienate a large majority of the people, who turn their backs on them. See Robespierre at the end of the Terror, or the Russian Revolution, or the American, or for that matter, the decline of Nike over the past few years.)

      • The system recognizes its fissures for what they are (an essential strain-relief mechanism), and gives up on attempting to seal them.

        Of course, the downside of this view is in recognizing that many people and ideas will get crushed by the system, unfairly and brutally, before things improve. Things may not get better for a long time either (a new Dark Ages, where wealth and access to tools of knowledge are increasingly restricted to a proportionally smaller slice of the population, is a distinct possibility - see tightening of IP protections, restrictions on "heretical" communications (e.g. encryption)), but ultimately, this too shall pass.

        -Isaac

  • Bingo. Now sir, please hand over the mouse - it's illegal to carry a concealed pointing device online.
  • by invictus (83837) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:14AM (#1478438) Homepage Journal
    This article was meant to raise our awareness of real-world threats to our security, but the response of the slashdot community seems to be a little myopic. Don't focus on the fact that the author calls linux trendy (albeit many arguments can be raised as linux gains in popularity and moves in that direction), and don't discount it as conspiracy theory just because it mentions the NWO. The old guard sees the power of the Internet staring them in the face, and to them this digital manifestation takes the form of all the commies under the bed, the blacks being let into their schools, and the 'demoralization' of america that they have faced in the past century. All of these things were social and political changes that marked an era. People like Strom Thurmond, who continue to exist in our political structure, and people like all the liberals shouting protect the children, are struggling to control what they see to be the beast of revelations. To them the letter W = 6 and www is the mark of the beast. The government is being pushed by them as they strap on to pending legislation and continue to press their own laws through that would make every aspect of the Internet some Orwellian parody. They are trying to save their Old World Order if you will, by trying to chain change with laws in the name of safety, morality, and all those things we hold as right and reactionary. With the media's downplay of the political tensions in Seattle that resulted in the protests/riots that ensued, as well as the general spread of ignorance (along with AOL and Windows, sort of like a bundle...) most people don't pull the threads together and see whats going on. I think the author was extremely insightful and hope his article opened some eyes. One more reason for free strong-crypto, elimination of backdoors for the gov't., and why we should distance ourselves from things such as the EU, NATO, WTO, etc.

    -just my two cents.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:14AM (#1478439)
    > One word in that article... that kinda peeved me. Trendy [being used to describe Linux]

    Funny, this time last week, we'd have been kvetching about how $GOVERNMENTAGENCY was the problem.

    Then a few yahoos trash Seattle yelling "help, help, I'm bein' repressed!" - and all of a sudden, old 60s-era journalists remember their drug-filled youths and decide that violent protest is trendy.

    (Yes, violent protest. Were it not for the yahoos trashing downtown, the peaceful protesters would have been politely ignored as they always are. An ex-hippie journalist who grew up in the 60s can't write lines comparing Seattle to the Democratic Convention and Kent State incidents of his or her youth without the tear gas, pepper spray, and bullets to go with it. Violence == ratings, and if violence can be made trendy, the folks running the news organizations (obviously pawns of the WTO :-) can assure themselves of more violence in the future.)

    And now that the smoke has cleared, those same journalists have realized that it's trendy to bash capitalism, so everyone with a left-leaning cause decides to do a s/$OLDBADGUY/WTO/g in their articles.

    Don't like SDMI? Blame the WTO! Someone cuts you off in traffic? Blame the WTO! Now that's what I call trendy.

    Someone questions knee-jerk WTO-bashing? Blame the WTO and accuse them of being part of the Conspiracy. Betcha that's trendy too.

    Y'know what I wanna see being trendy? Geeks getting jobs, making money, maybe a few more millionaires through the stock option lottery, and then - if they still persist in believing the hype against global capital even after having benefitted so immensely from it - putting some of those dollars back into their communities and making a difference.

    But success is never trendy, is it?

  • by konstant (63560) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:15AM (#1478440)
    One interesting ramification of forcing nations into codependency is the resulting immunity of institutionalized power to popular revolution.

    Revolutions are local affairs, instigated by people on the streets and swept along by physical proximity, excitement, and charisma. Revolutions are generally also mob actions. Even the most widely spread revolutions in history, such as those in the 1840's and the 1960's could be regarded as a series of "brush fires" rather than one giant, ongoing conflagration.

    Popular revolt is dangerous to elites (that is to say the wealthy and the government) because they may not have sufficiently well organized propaganda to subvert them. Or, failing that, they may lack enough brute might to suppress them physically. Once a hierarchy topples, there is no failsafe for the elites. Their last card has been played and they wind up disgraced or occasionally dead. These local successes can inspire further uprisings in other nations with similar social structures. One excellent example of this is the French revolution as a reflection of the success of the American revolution.

    However, with the introduction of a so-called "world economy" and "world government", local elites do have a second tier of defense. Namely, that a region that has become dependent upon interactions with other regions can be starved and ostracized into submission. For example, consider the remarkable conformity among third-world nations to austerity policies established by the IMF. Austerity may or may not work, but it certainly is not a popular economic path for locals, involving as it generally does the elimination of goods subsidies and social programs, and the granting of special privileges to large international businesses. Yet local potentates comply with the IMF because without the goodwill of the world community, upon which they are dependent, their countries would collapse.

    Such co-dependent nations face only disgrace and economic disaster if a revolution occurs. Ultimately, the revolutionaries either toe the "international-friendly" line as will probably be the case in Pakistan, or they submit. Would-be revolutionaries in other regions observe this failure, and some of the fire goes out of them for their own uprising.

    The elites, who are essentially fluid in the absence of international boundaries, retreat as they have always done to an amenable nation and agitate for harsher punitive measures against the now "rogue" state. This is precisely what has occurred in southern Florida, which is settled by many very wealthy Cubans.

    This trend is certainly in the best interests of entrenched power.

    -konstant

  • Well let the WTO talks in SEATTLE be a LESSON. It's WE THE PEOPLE who decide what powers any gov't will be permitted to have... not the other way around.
    • |pyrexD::Say|
      • well said, and best not forgotten
      |n0::Shit|
  • This article brings about some good points..
    The heavy-handed pronouncements of the WTO and the International Monetary Fund excite warnings about their vast power from many critics, some speaking sinisterly from the left and others righteously from the right.

    Yes, but who is listening? We can see how much the Seattle riots are making a difference to the WTO summit. The people who are speaking out against these groups seem to be portrayed fairly often as lunatic commies who dont seem to know that a global economy run by a select few organizations with mammoth political power is the way things should be.

    Intergovernmental organizations do play a significant role nowadays, but we must remember that ultimate power still rests in national governments with their police, their armies, and their popular mandates.

    While I agree with this in principle, I dont see how these organizations can be stopped from doing things that the people dont want, but the governments do. For the WTO or another super-governmental body to reflect the wishes of its member countries, it has to reflect the needs of the PEOPLE in those countries, not just the party platforms and presidential programs. We can see that the PEOPLE in Seattle are speaking out against the WTO and are unhappy with its programs, and they are being portrayed as criminals and looters, not agents of change. I believe that when a group of people speaks out against one of these supergovernments, their government should listen and not bring in Riot Police and the National Guard, or there will be no way to stop these multinational groups from becoming merely another abstraction of government to transform the wants of the people into the wants of the megacorps.

    -End Of Rant-

    //Phizzy
  • One is worth fighting for, and the other is worth working for.
  • I think it's pretty pathetic when an author lumps in trade conflict with military conflict.
    They are not even in the same domain when people decide to protest.

    Uh.. I think you completely missed what that paragraph was about. At that point, the author was merely providing examples of how national governments don't always comply with international organizations - thus the inclusion of an example (which even the author says is "a more trivial" one) shows that these disagreements can occur over less than a government's military decisions.

    He wasn't suggesting we rise up and rebel these disagreements, in fact, I understood it as being a method of saying "don't lose hope - we can convince our own governments not to go along with this WTO, WIPO, IMF crap."

    Kwil
  • Uh.. I think you completely missed what that paragraph was about. At that point, the author was merely providing examples of how national governments don't always comply with international organizations - thus the inclusion of an example (which even the author says is "a more trivial" one) shows that these disagreements can occur over less than a government's military decisions.

    You are correct, and your point is well taken.

    This is not the first time protestors (on both sides of this argument) have lumped trade negotiations together with military conflict.

    The point behind my post was to point out how wrong this kind of equating is, even in a trivial light.
    Be wary of anyone making an argument, that ties together loss of life with loss of lifestyle.

  • by Pyrex::Dominorb (122529) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:39AM (#1478450) Homepage

    Information does not want to be free - it already is.
    • |pyrexD::Say|
      • goddam! naked eloquence of post bring tear to |pyreX::Eye| like big chief in

      • sierra club tv spot
        |pyreX::Cry|
      noble sentiment make |pryeX::Soul| fly high
    for this most cleverly constructed
    • |karmA::Bait|
    seen from mr. 11 to date. |n0::Shit|
  • by xtal (49134) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @08:40AM (#1478452)

    Warning: Excessive Ranting.

    I have mixed feelings on this subject - on one hand, there's not much that joe blow can do about a government that he/she doesn't like - and every day, more guns get taken out of the hands of the people, which is what all policical power defaults to. Don't think so? Have a look at Seattle. You US guys should know that the bit about guns in the consitution wasn't about hunting. One of my favorite quotes goes something along the lines "a good government should be afraid of it's people".

    Don't like the laws? Start protesting them. But, most aren't willing too, because when it comes right down to it, most people want to come home from their crappy job, drink there beer, sit in front of their cable TV, eat their dinner, and pass out. Until something interferes with that nothing will change.

    The protests with the WTO are directly related to governments conspiring (at least from Joe Blow's perspective) to interfere with the "crappy job" bit. People, we all can't be programmers, and the average joe understands this completely. The middle-class medium-skilled jobs are the ones that get transferred to the third world, and those are also the ones most people work!

    Software laws will largely become a side point if the current trends in open-source development keep doing. Linux has come a long way in 5 years - imagine what will happen in 15.

    On other policical fronts, until the masses get connected in such a way that they can freely work together - something you need strong crypto for - not much is going to change. I know that personally, as long as the man doesn't bother me too much, my bank account remains intact, and I can buy a NSX when I want one, I'm not too concerned.

    Kudos!

  • You're speaking ISO-8559-7 to me. I only speak ISO-8559-1.
  • I got the distinct impression from reading your post that you think that only "elites" can wield power. I disagree with that. The power base, atleast in the US, is dominated by the upper middle class right now - NOT the established social elite. Right now computer geeks are holding that position, however brief it may last. If we all shut down the servers we care from and called in sick tomorrow the stock market would crash, no planes would fly, and e-commerce.. well, it wouldn't be "e", and there would be no "commerce".

    I do have to wonder how we can effect a change given this power.. and perhaps you could reply with an answer as I have none right now!

  • by Stormbringer (3643) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @09:01AM (#1478456)
    Anybody who doubts that the citizenry can unilaterally take something back from government control need only tune their HF receivers to 27 MHz, then look up the history of that stretch of radio spectrum.
    When over 10% of the American public owned CB radios, enforcement of the extant ill-advised rules for Part 95 CB Radio (ill-advised because the rules were appropriate for a VHF or UHF service with no over-the horizon propagation, not for the most interesting global propagation ham band at sunspot maxima) became impossible.
    The result is a jungle in this case, but the impact on a government body of the stubborn mass refusal of a populace to comply with onerous regulations is so-far permanent: faced with the impossibility of obtaining funding for effective enforcement, the FCC backed off and effectively told CBers "don't bother other radio services." This, without a shot being fired, without any boxes of tea being dumped in the harbor.
  • With a few exceptions (you may have one or two at work who are well known for it), most geeks don't have an issue with copying software or other information (audio) for personal use.

    OK, well maybe I'm in a tiny minority, but I'm one of those geeks. I don't approve of software piracy for the simple reason that I may be the one selling a software product some day. Creating a piece of software is a lot of work, and I think its authors deserve to be paid for their work. Even if you are not "stealing" in the conventional sense, I think you are recieving an unearned benefit from the author of the software, and you have an obligation to pay for it out of respect for the efforts of whoever made the software in the first place.

    If everyone made unauthorized copies of software, there would be no commercial software at all, and that's certainly not in anyone's interest.
  • cb is fer rednekz

    Man, these fuckin' AC's crack me up sometimes... :-)

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
    -Linus Torvalds
  • Yes, the IMF may have effectively removed Suharto with their demands -- but how often have other governments done similar things?

    I think what we're beginning to see here is the rise of the alternative-government structure. Corporations control a significant amount of capital, labor, intellectual property (Whether you recognise it or not) and in some cases land. However, they have not really ever exerted a very strong influence on the way the world works except in small, limited affairs. In many countries, there is an ultimate authority of several layers above the heads of these companies.

    Is it any wonder, then, that these corporations are looking toward organisations that give them the power to negotiate with these authorities on more equal terms, more commensurate with their resources and effect on society? Forget conspiracy -- this is being done completely transparently. Huge corporations by their very nature strain at any and all legal bounds placed on them. By banding together -- unionizing, in some respects -- they can further common goals to ensure their own well-being. Among these goals is cheap labor, wide markets, maximized revenues -- all those things that corporations have explicitly sought for years.

    We look at the WTO and we see that when they band together with a few sycophantic politicians, they have power. Who gives them that power? We do, in one form or another. Our governments make concession after concession to corporations over land and mineral rights. Grants from our taxes support their research while they reap the rewards. Our money flows into their coffers whenever we buy Pokemon cards, Office 2000, Chevy trucks and Nike shoes.

    So who controls that power and for whom does it work? Us. Almost every one of us owns stock in these companies in one form or another -- outright ownerships, bank accounts, pension plans. The problem is, we aren't using this power effectively for the sheer reason, I think, that we don't know we have it, and we don't know how to use it. For the reason that we allow certain people to amass incredible economic power under the sole criterion that they can make money.

    If there's anything I've learned from the geek community is that a lot of people bound by common goals can do a hell of a lot. We build world-class OSes from scratch. Using thousands of desktop machines we break strong encryption (distributed.net, anyone?) We unite like-minded people from around the world and spread information like wildfire. Instead of watching in horror as these organizations do things we can't stand, why don't we hack these things, figure out how they work, and see what we can do? That's the sort of article I'd like to see, anyway. If I want doom and gloom, I'll go watch TV.

  • by Demona (7994) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @09:46AM (#1478465) Homepage
    Real revolution isn't the mindless action of the mob, but rather the education and empowerment of the individual. Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian [aol.com], has written extensively on the subject of education and its popular use to produce followers rather than people who can be leaders in and of themselves.

    More on the original topic, I recall a recent post here that said people don't like using tools that serve someone else's purposes. Crippling hardware and software is working against the design of the machine, impeding the progress of bits from point A to point B. Recall David Aucsmith of Intel:

    The actual user of the PC -- someone who can do anything they want -- is the enemy.
    To any entrenched elite, the enemy is those who can and do think for themselves -- and those who do for themselves without relying on the "elites" to guide them down the "approved" path of life.
  • A short point i would like to present, however...

    The leaders of the hierarchical system marginalize themselves.

    Despite this fact being true, there are situations where it didnt matter that this happened (like with Napoleon. He did extreme things, but after his escape he still managed the 100 days) More modern leaders exist who are self-serving enough to marginalize themselves, but still recover their power because they have the charisma or intelligence to re-rally the people they once controlled. And because many of said people were ignorant of important issues to begin with (and made their original decision to rebel not based on what the real reason would or should have been) it would be easy to convince them to rejoin with promises and the like.

    These people seem to be very malleable. Changing their lives in the hopes that these new promises will fulfill their needs or wants. Or perhaps, following along because they do not feel(or believe) that they have the power to resist

    It also seems to me that people have an amazing ability to adapt. This is to say that despite excruciating conditions, they can still survive. A good example of this could be Bad Software. Some configurations of computers (hardware and software) using Windows crash very frequently. One would think that this sort of thing would put a halt to business, but people still manage to adapt to this and get on with things. Adaptation is generally a good thing, but is it possible that our ability to survive in these situations blinds us from the reality that it should not have to be that way?

    Knowing is half the battle, right?

    I think it is a very good argument for our founding fathers' ideals that a properly educated populace could fend for itself. [sorry about the absence of a refernce here; i am looking for the document that I found this in] (Of course, as we can see today, it has become er, Trendy, almost, to be Ignorant.) I feel that education and foremost understanding are the real problem with the issue with WTO and almost any other issue facing us. If we can understand and define our problem, we are that much closer to solving it. But with so many ignorant people, how are we going to do that? Perhaps an overhaul to our idea of what education is(or should be) is in order? Still there are many questions and few answers.

    Relating to what i said above, the hardest part about making a judgement about the WTO is understanding the problem that they pose.(or don't, for that matter) It is very hard to discuss a issue such as the actions of the WTO with someone without inadvertantly regressing into the use of a large number of possibly mis-based assumptions. Perhaps if we had been trained better as children on how to think rather than what to think, we could determine the root of this problem and fix it.

    But the saddest part of all, as i see it, is that our ancestors (as Americans, at least) worked for freedom, giving up their lives and work in its pursuit. And what do we do to thank them? We break the golden rule to gain more for ourselves, and destroy what they had worked to create.

    Oh, and that education reform? Are we going to get it? No.

    -Chompster, in his infinite pessimism
    Unexpected Kernel Trap at 101010
    Don't Panic!

    P.S. Sorry about the lack of references. I'm workin on it :)
  • Right on, baby! What scares me is the thought that we're going to be seen video clips of this for the next few years: "The brave protesters at Seattle risking their lives, blah, blah, blah..."

    On a personal note, am I oversimplifing this whole thing? Certain people are against the 'evil' explotation of third-world countries for cheap labor. Instead, this labor should be done by the honest, god-fearing americans who formed unions to raise prices and eliminate competition in the marketplace? (the same people who are raising a stink?)

    It sounds like unions have all of a sudden realized that there's 5 billion people in the world who will work for $5/day, while they've been bitching about benifits.
  • by konstant (63560) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @09:53AM (#1478468)
    disagree with that. The power base, atleast in the US, is dominated by the upper middle class right now - NOT the established social elite

    That's what they want you to think... :)

    Keep in mind that the middle class is also the consumer class, and thus most susceptible to propaganda. Sound-byte warfare against insurrection is shaping up to be the real safeguard against grassroots movements, not tanks. See how easily the "powerful" upper middle class was turned against the Seattle protests by a simple bandying of the term "violent".

    I don't disagree with you that the middle class has power. However, I stipulate that it lacks organization and driving will. Those things are supplied artificially by "elites" through news, entertainment, and commercials.

    Anyway, don't expect a revolution from the middle class. The middle class is all about social stabilization, not overthrow. That's what the middle class is all about - giving poor people hope that they can be elevated to the middle class, and giving the middle class hope they can be elevated to the upper class. The middle class is one of the reasons 20th century society has been so stable despite yawning inequities between the richest and the poorest. It is a buffer of people who have a lot (but not too much!) to lose.

    -konstant
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @09:59AM (#1478469)
    To me this article is really lacking. Certainly organizations like the WTO can do a lot of harm, but the fact of the matter is that globalization cuts both ways, both good and bad. Authors like this may have some pet ox gored, but the long term effects of globalization contain too many positive effects to ignore.

    Global trade clearly benefits consumers in a lot of ways by making the marketplace more competitive. If a country is a low cost producer, or the goods they produce are of higher quality they should not be excluded from a market for nationalistic reasons. Consumers in Japan pay far more for food than in the US, and it is only because of government interference with trade that they do so. Surely there would be dislocation in the Japanese farm community if Japan imported more food - BUT the same money that is spent on subsidies not could be spent to restructure the Japanese economy, and the labor that is inefficiently spent on food production could be applied to far better value added activities that would ultimately result in improving the standard of living in Japan.

    Concerns about WTO creating a more stable system of government are interesting - but what is the alternative? The 20th Century has been marked by the two greatest wars in human history. One of the great hopes of globalization is that it will make war obsolete. Nations will become interdependent and have far more to lose by going to war. The ultimate hope is that the productive capacities used to maintain armies at large fractions of GDPs in third world countries will be turned towards production of consumer necessities.

    Many third world countries are concerned about globalization resulting in massive cultural changes. Certain globalization will result in cultural change. But what ways of life are worth maintaining at the expense of illiteracy, poverty and disease?

    Globalization is often cited as a powerful force towards democratization and rule of law rather than law of ruler. It appears now that any totalitarian regime that engages in open competition will have powerful forces towards openness directed at it. Rampant inefficiencies due to corruption will be forced out of existence. Stong man governments (the Phillipines and Indonesia are powerful recent examples) will be forced out of power.

    What are the downsides? Certainly in an interdependent global society some lack of local soveriegnty is lost. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion xenophobia and nationalism have been the two greatest forces for destruction over the history of mankind.

    Losing the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest is painful, and should be avoided, but we should also work to prevent mass murder at the hands of despots. Is the sacrifice of a few trees to prevent a world war worthwhile?

    I think so.

    The fact is that we have an unusual opportunity to positively influence future history by globalization. The key is not whether we want to globalize, but to understand the reasons for it, and to manage our institutions to take advantage of the benefits.

    One thing that people everywhere will have to get used to is that world organizations will have some unusual powers. It is impossible to manage a global economy with national level institutions. There will probably be a lot of problems at the start, and some xenophobic reaction to these problems. But the potential is worth it.

    People on /. realize very well that the Internet is already beyond the regulatory capacity of any one nation. Even in China the government has found that it's goals of trade with the west are inconsistent with their desire to censor news. They are finding that their only choice is to favor openness because the alternative is the gulag and stagnation.

    The future of mankind is with transparency at the world level, not with petty xenophobic nationistic views. The goals we need to be working for are making the international organizations needed for globalization transparent and open, while not being blind to the ultimate benefits of globalization.

  • To them the letter W = 6 and www is the mark of the beast

    You know you've been teaching C++ too long when you immediately think:
    "That should be W == 6 . Remember kids, we're comparing, not assigning...."

  • On a slightly related note, I have the opposite reaction from Lawrence Lessig when it comes to "code as law": I think it's a good thing, and want to see more of it. Not crippling code, but empowering code: stuff like IPSEC, not lame brained "copy protection".

    Back in my heavy MUDding days I recall endless flamefests over various issues ranging from social to technical to everything in between, which always boiled down to being annoyed at something someone was doing. In the end, my response was always the same: It's your bloody world! You've got the code -- if you don't want someone to be able to do something, write it into the code. Don't waste your breath and raise your blood pressure complaining about it.

    That's why "cypherpunks write code": To address problems that can never be wholly solved by "behavior modification." There will always be dishonest and unscrupulous people, but if enough people are educated and empowered then their ability to prey on others is significantly reduced.

  • He did label it as more trivial...

    Keep in mind that it's also possible to kill via trade embargos and other interfering with logistics. In the case of intra-EU disputes over everything from beef to the true meaning of chocolate (mmmmmmmm), that's not the case... but it can be done.
  • Hrrrrrrrrm. So, according to your labelling of the wealthy and the governmental folks as "elites", Bill Gates and Bill Clinton should be mind-controlling just about everybody.

    Somehow, neither seems to be doing a good job at that lately, eh?

    You're missing something about these folks -- they *need* the sanction of the supposedly non-powerful middle class. Take Gates, for instance; what power he has comes from money. That money comes from his company. His company depends on customers...

    Politicians are even more vulnerable to discontent; recall, impeachment and refusal to re-elect all come to mind, not to mention the constant ridicule by Leno...

    There are more middle-class folks, and they have a LOT of power. Witness what happened to Mondale when he proposed raising taxes during the election.
  • * Define speech.

    There is peaceful protest, such as putting up signs and fliers in a public place without obstructing or otherwise harrassing anybody. Flooding a representative's mailbox with well-reasoned letters is another approach.
    Blocking traffic and dancing in the streets veers a bit away from speech; now, these folks are simply sending the message that they've failed to come up with a coherent, cogent means of expression.
    Vandalism and looting are no longer "peaceful protest". This is along the lines as the strange way of celebrating, say, a championship game by overturning cars and starting fires, or expressing support for a football/soccer team by punching the fans of others.

    * In this case, the WTO has lately sided *against* the wealthy nations by rejecting discussions of labor laws. It's distinctly not in the tax-base interests of governments to have much stronger labor laws than others, except in industries where it does not matter because one needs the infrastructure and/or highly-trained people who aren't elsewhwere.
  • Although its not very nice...If I had moderator points, youd be 'funny.' Come on Signal, ya gotta admit it...sometimes, whether wemean to or not, we all spout out vacnat emptinesses, and this guy called you for it in a clever manner.
  • The problem is not that organizations are global. There are two separate problems.

    First problem is that there is no mechanism that implements their responsibility to population. Governments have this mechanism -- they can be re-elected, overthrown or in the very worst case placed in situation where they have either to make decision that population demands, or get rid of large part of population.

    Second problem is that countries are not in equal position in global economy. While UN is based on the idea that countries' influence on UN policy is not entirely based on its political, military or economical strength (and if it was, such organization would be near to worthless), and even heavily US-dominated NATO allows every country to veto a decision (even though such action will definitely more dangerous for military weaker country in the long run), organizations that handle trade, business and finances in the worst case represent the interests of few strongest players, and in the best case are preserving status quo even when it hurts some countries that don't have resources to perform serious economical pressure. When the only mechanism that implements the decision is threats ("if your country won't implement our policy, we won't give loans/disallow trade/increase tariffs" vs. "if your organization will make decision that we don't like, we won't pay for it") it becomes a tool to increase pressure on weaker players, and in this case pressure on population goes through governments even if otherwise it could be done only through companies. In general treaties have power over governments while governments have power over companies, but when large international organization is controlled by companies, and its power is accepted by governments through treaties, it gives companies one more, and very efficient way to affect governments' policies, something that they would do by only indirect, less efficient ways otherwise.

  • Users will never support a format that includes self-destruct "features".

    Why not? They use Windows, don't they?

    "Mommy, why is the screen blue?"

  • > > were it not for the yahoos [ ... ] the peaceful protesters
    > > would have been politely ignored as they always are
    >
    > And you say you don't understand them.

    I understand the dynamic perfectly. I feel it every time I fantasize about taking a lead pipe to a spammer's skull because they just won't stop, no matter how many ISPs kick them off. That doesn't make acting on my impulse right.

    Likewise, the fact that peaceful protest is generally ignored when compared to violence is a bummer. It does not, in general, justify violence.

    And it sure as fsck doesn't justify what happened in Seattle, as it appears that most of the violent yahoos trashing downtown didn't give a damn about the WTO one way or another, they just wanted to raise hell for its own sake. IMHO, for most of the yahoos, the legitimate protest that was going on was merely a convenient cover story.

  • Ok, let's say I pick up an old SGI 4D/440. I get it, it has no OS. I am just a hobbyist wanting to just learn Irix. Would it be wrong for me to just pirate Irix 5.3 or should I lay down the $1500 or so it would take to buy it properly licensed from SGI?

    No, probably not. The reason being that you are not one of their target customers, and if forced to pay for it, you would simply choose not to use it. Thus you are not recieving much of an unearned benefit.

    I do the same sort of thing with old versions of Mac OS. I've borrowed copies of 7.6 to install on old Macs. I figure that I probably couldn't buy a copy of 7.6 without more trouble than the price tag anyway.

    I don't see IP as a hard-and-fast moral rule, where it is intrinsically evil to copy any copyrighted software. I just think it's appropriate to compensate a programmer for the benefit a software package gives you.

    So no, I don't think you're a "big time criminal." I'll agree there's a problem in that it is all but impossible to enforce the law as it stands, so perhaps there needs to be some changes, but I think there is something wrong with making unauthorized copies of someone else's work without his consent.
  • We have to remember the government doesn't (yet) have total control and in many cases, not really much at all. Our internet is too abstract to make silly rules like who can see what. If it's filtered one way there are a billion of ways to get at it another way..

    If DeCSS is on a server in Antarctica, what can the motion picture association do? Influence the government funding the outpost there? Try to get the lines cut? This simply doesn't work when there are a million copies everywhere.

    Nobody wants someone telling them what to look at online, and because nobody can actually do this from the top down, it takes the end-user (you) to agree to it. Otherwise you can get around any means of restricting information.

    Tear gas can't be lobbed at millions of angry netizens.
  • by dermond (33903) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @11:40AM (#1478482)
    NWO. what does that mean. "new world order" and what people usually mean
    with that is globalisation and a shift towards a kind of world government.

    i would say NWO (the shift towards some kind world government) is more or
    less inevitable. we will have that in some form or another anyway. the
    question is not if we want that kind of thing but how we want
    it to look like.

    • if national governments do not try to solve global problems on a global
      scale (and the most important problems are usually global problems) then no
      one will solve those problems. instead big corporations will more or less
      rule the world. small countries can not afford to object those big
      corporations.. "if you do not give us the right to pollute your environment
      we will take our $$$ elsewhere.." etc.. only very big countries could afford
      to object here.. the USA comes to mind. but unfortunately the USA is mostly
      in the hand of big $$$ corporations anyway because the political system
      allows bribery (lobbying, donating money to senators etc..) and is not
      really democratic.. so i guess big corporations are not unhappy with the
      status quo of competing national government. as long as there is no real
      international political power which could stand up against big corporations
      then they are the king of the hill...

    • so to avoid the disadvantages mentioned above we need some political power
      that can operate on a global scale. we need institutions where these
      problems are discussed but moreover we also need institutions which have the
      legal power to do something about the problems. so international
      organisations are necessary. but we want them to be democratically
      controlled. until we have world wide voting this could be achieved if the
      national governments send representatives there and each one has votes..



    so when arguing against international organisations like WTO etc: it is
    important that people argue against the politics this organisation makes in
    case it is too much oriented towards the interest of corporations but not
    against the institution as a place where there would be power to do
    something to control international corporations

    an example: international corporation wants to produce something very cheap
    and the cheapest way to produce it is in a way that pollutes our atmosphere.
    now they say ask: "which country has no laws to prohibit the pollution about
    the atmosphere" of course they will find one somewhere.. (bribing a senator
    in the USA or going 3rd world country..etc.). now each sovereign small
    country can say: oh but we will not buy these goods from this company
    because they pollute the environment... but will they really do it? after all
    it gives them competitive disadvantage compared to the other nations which
    do not hesitate to buy that goods.. when it is a small country then they can
    not do but buy.. (maybe they have a little bit more tax on it so they can
    tell the environmentalists among the voters that they are doing something
    but most of the time they will just buy it). would there be a powerful
    organisation then they could just say "producing with this kind of
    environmental is not allowed."

    somehow the reason why we want supernational organisations is the same as
    the one why we want workers unions => so that the people together are strong
    against too much capitalism. and i guess most of the resortiments against
    NWO is actually promoted by big corporations and right wing parties.
    (together with a few left who are just to stupid to grasp it).

    greetings from vienna, austria.

    der mond.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.drudgereport.com/seattle.htm Drudge hit the nail right on the head with this one.
  • Electronic signatures where feasible(sp?). I hope they know what is feasable. This is not to start a diplomat bashing or anything but take the following example: My father is a chemist. The lawyers making the pollution regulations decided that there could be ZERO pollutants in the soil of a refinery. ZERO! With chemicals measured in parts-per-million(ppm) or even parts-per-billion(ppb) this is ridiculus(sp?) I hope they get actual programmers to tell them what is feasable.
  • First problem is that there is no mechanism that implements their responsibility to population. Governments have this mechanism -- they can be re-elected, overthrown or in the very worst case placed in situation where they have either to make decision that population demands, or get rid of large part of population.

    In current circumstances there is a very real mechanism - if a country believes it is better off not participating it can simply not participate. There is no manditory membership, which is quite unlike being a citizen who is subject to mandatory rules (i.e. laws) of the nation he is a member in.

    In addition you are neglecting the representative nature of participants in global organizations. In the US elected officials represent the citizens in determination of their vote. Citizens do not have a direct say in each and every rule or law that is passed. Similarly governments represent their citizens in international organizations. If they do a poor job of it, their constituents will boot them out of office.

    While UN is based on the idea that countries' influence on UN policy is not entirely based on its political, military or economical strength (and if it was, such organization would be near to
    worthless), and even heavily US-dominated NATO allows every country to veto a decision.


    This is not correct. The UN does not allow any and all individual countries to veto decisions. The UN only allows members of the Security Council, which includes all the major world powers on a permanent basis and some representatives from the General Assembly on a rotating basis to veto decisions THAT ARE BEFORE THE SECURITY COUNCIL. Many decisions taken at the UN are in fact implemented solely by majority or 2/3 vote in the General Assembly. One of the main power struggles at the UN is always which matters are taken before the Security Council, and which are voted on by the General Assembly. Many organizations within the UN have a long history of adopting policies that the US does not agree with because they are in fact controlled and funded by the General Assembly where the US has neither a veto or more than a single vote along with the 180 or so individual nations present. All of this is why Congress sometimes has a tough time getting payment of dues passed.

    In general treaties have power over governments while government have power over companiess

    Historically governments abide by treaties only when it is to their best interest. Governments are the makers and breakers of treaties at their own whim. A treaty at an international level has no power over a government other than the self interest of that goverment.

    but when large international organization is controlled by companies, and its power is accepted
    by governments through treaties, it gives companies one more, and very efficient way to affect governments' policies, something that they would do by only indirect, less efficient ways otherwise.


    International organizations (regardless of who they are controlled by) can only affect the actions of soverign nations on a very marginal basis. The inability of the WTO to reach a consensus on some relatively simple trade issues in fact highlights the degree of marginalization that is present. If there were in fact some international cabal of companies running the WTO, we would not see this level of disarray.

  • What you are missing about Bill Gates and Bill Clinton is that they have fallen from grace due to the action of other "elites". The populace emphatically wanted to ignore BillC's indiscretions and they steadfastly want to ignore BillG's as well. Only through the action of other powerful individuals (congressional republicans/DoJ) was the powerful individual brought lower. What middle-class individuals did act were without exception mobilized by elite propaganda. Think Rush Limbaugh and Larry Ellison.

    But, you say, that only proves the powerful middle class chose not to act. It doesn't prove the middle class is powerless.

    My contention is that the middle class has power, but that any possible organization is suffocated by the propaganda machines of the elites. The middle-class could overthrow the normal order of society, but it won't. The MC has been trained by the media to believe that it has "too much to lose" in an upheaval.

    Anyway, that's my opinion.

    -konstant
  • by Paul Crowley (837) on Sunday December 05, 1999 @12:42PM (#1478488) Homepage Journal
    I foudn the quote from this comment hard to believe, so I did a search, and sure enough: he really said it [zdnet.co.uk].

    Boggle.
    --
  • "See how easily the 'powerful' upper middle class was turned against the Seattle protests by a simple bandying of the term 'violent'." Nevermind the millions of dollars this cost Seattle. Nevermind the fact that the protestors blocked the downtown area off for several days. Nevermind the fact that there are sound economic arguments for free trade. Nevermind the fact that many stores were looted and vandalized. Nevermind the fact that Seattle has never been a very entrenched city (it is a largely middle class and diverse city). Because you disagree with the WTO, obviously it is the upper middle class who're the fools. Right? Give me a break. Though I don't agree with the previous poster, the "middle class" and the "upper middle class" are largely different groups--you are confusing the two. You are forgetting your history if you believe it is the lower classes that are the politically active ones; the lower middle class have carried many more significant revolutions and political shifts. America's middle class fears change because they lead a relatively comfortable existance, and the marginal costs of revolution far outweigh the marginal benefits revolution could bring. Thus no revolution.

    Do you really believe that the bulk of the upper class (or even the upper-middle class) would have elected Bill Clinton, or any other democrat, president? How many lobbies / interest groups represent upper class constituencies? Do you believe the upper class would have opted to be taxed at steeper effective rates? (e.g., income, capital gains, estate taxes, luxary taxes, etc.)

    Furthermore, who do you believe most of protestors were? They were largely middle and upper middle class (college aged/long hair types). Not many "poor" or "upper class" people there, I assure you. Does the WTO represent the status quo (static)? Not exactly. The WTO wants to drastically step up "free trade". The only coherant (arguably) and unified voice against WTO was labor vs. exportation of jobs. What you saw was, in fact, a somewhat violent (and blind in my opinion) back-lash to change by mostly middle class individuals (e.g.: Unions).

    Somewhat off the subject, it strikes me that most of the cries for "human rights" are some what hypcritical. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of these 3rd world countries don't need to use slavery (it costs more!) to support industry; their people want to put food on the table. Though 50 cents may be dirt by American standards, the people of these countries have no other options. They work at these "low" wages of their own volition, because it's the best choice they've got. Who are these liberals (and Union ploys under liberal* causes) to say they can't work them? [empirically there is a lot of evidence that these manufacturing positions ultimately bring greatly increased mobility] I've yet to see these same activists provide them with more palatable alternatives. Nor do they protest for lack of industry, only when Union jobs are at stake do they voice "concern". These Unions fear losing their jobs/salaries--change; it is as simple as that (well almost).

    You underestimate the middle class. Though there is a certain amount of apathy in the middle class and the upper/upper-middle classes are disproportinately more powerfull, the reigns of control rest largely in the hands of the middle class. The government hardly makes any significant sustained actions (atleast those under political purview) that runs significantly afoul of the middle class. This has been demonstrated numerous times. Though I suspect the "globalization" initiatives will not be entirely scuttled, it will not happen if there is wide disapproval amongst the middle class. No amount of "media control" [I think this is mostly bullshit] by the "social elite" will change this. If, for example, the middle class learned (or came to believe) that they lost 20% of their salaries to 3rd world nations in the next year, the WTO and all its corresponding laws would vanish, for all intents and purposes.

  • Vacant emptiness? Oookay, well... let's just skip over that for now. I didn't take it personally. I simply can't quite understand his.. ummm.. unique way of doing poetry.
  • Around these parts, thats kinda like asking what chocolate is :o)
  • Moreover, it is in the best interest of the upper class to keep the middle class happy. The upper class is a very very small group of people comparitively who depend on the midddle and lower classes for labor and votes.

    One way of getting the middle class to protect the upper is to let them think that they are on the same level. A lot of people will describe their lifestyles as upper-middle class when they are probably just average. Middle class workers think they are just a few more years from "making it big" when really they will probably never make it big. They will however, blame all of their problems on the lower/middle classes because they are "upper-middle class going on upper class"

    I don't disagree with you that the middle class has power. However, I stipulate that it lacks organization and driving will. Those things are supplied artificially by "elites" through news, entertainment, and commercials.

    Even if they had organization it would be in the wrong direction. If the will were ever against the upper class then it would be labeled a small group of extreme thinkers.

    I see lots of people debating on /. for the WTO like it is their god and safety. Like it cares about the hacker workforce. The WTO worships money and will dispose of your precious rights and freedom as soon as it stands to make money. Worship that ;)

    -pos


    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • ((Yes, the IMF may have effectively removed Suharto with their demands -- but how often have other governments done similar things? ))

    This makes no sense to me. In many cases I agree with what you are saying, but this is NOT a reason to do things. How often have governments practiced - or attempted to practice - genocide based on race? Is that any reason for us to tolerate it being done by our government, if it were (it was, now they just repress the natives instead of killing them, but it's still no excuse). This is not an argument that is worth opening your statement with, as I feel you have a few good points, and this argument undermines them.

    I don't think we are seeing the start of an alternate government so much as a larger, broader one. World government. Whether it's bound by corporate agreements (is anyone else seeing shades of Shadowrun and Cyberpunk here?), or by various smaller (national) governments, it's the idea of one government over all the world. Corrupted, maybe, but a single one.

    Every government is corrupt, by the way, it's the political nature of the human being. But we still need them. Anarchy may not be corrupt in that sense, but it's definitely not preferable - I have no desire to become the forced wife of some random gorilla just because he's bigger and stronger than my chosen, or because his gang is bigger and stronger. As a result, I feel violence should be a last resort. Revolution is necessary only when you have tried _everything_ else, and _nothing_ has even seemed like it might someday work. Because you never know, what you wind up with after the revolution might be worse than what you have now - the only way to assure that it won't be is to be sure that it _can't_ get any worse than it is now. Until then, the best option is to try to work within the system, even if you don't think it will work as fast as you want it to.

    So, if you don't like the way the laws go, try to change them. Start letter-writing campaigns. Find people who have relevant lawsuits going on, and help them work on it. Push your local grassroots organizations and civil liberties groups (PIRG and the ACLU come to mind, along with a handful of others) to take these things on as 'issues'. Bring it to the largest group of people you possibly can - because popular opinion _does_ affect law, whether you like it or not.

    I wouldn't recommend just ignoring the laws, even if the penalty is minor. Keep in mind that if putting whatever it is into law is gotten away with the first time, it could get worse. Unless there's an outcry, noone will know how wrong it is until it's too late. So, even if you don't get penalized heavily for, say, having a porn website that some idiot parents got pissed at having their kid see, you could get penalized the next time, and perhaps it will eventually even become illegal to _have_ that website. Snowballs have a good chance in legislative places, despite the similarities between politics and That Other Christian Place.

    -Elthia
  • >I simply can't quite understand his.. ummm.. unique way of doing poetry.

    Be glad for that one.

    PS--malign.net is a very cool domain name. Hope you do something especially rockin' with it--are you into the whole protest thing? You could use it as a public forum for exposing political/corporate/bigwig corruption/evil/greed/stupidity. "Acidic Satire" is perhaps the tone I'm picturing...make of that phrase what you will.

    PPS--"vacant emptinesses"-silly things we say that we think sound important and that make sense to us when we say them, but that are really more superficial than they seem at first. Most often a problem of communicating a good idea effectively (stupid inadeqauacy of language!!).

    Sorry, but I cant see "Information doesn't want to be free-it already is" as anything else. What is this supposed to mean? Information may be 'free' (widely disseminated), 'free' of charge(a la open source software or public info about a book), 'free' (open to anyone who wants it), etc etc etc. In all of these meanings there are many possible degrees of freedom, and it does not seem that there is some fundamental way in which information is free in all of them.

    Therfore: what the Fsck?!!

    Don't take this criticism personally--You probably did mean something, maybe even something cool, but the meaning you had in mind is too much for most of us to extract with accuracy without help, since it is not obvious ftom the accepted meanings of the words employed. Therefore it is a "vacant emptiness" (redundant to stress point). We all need to try and be a little more precise/careful. When we arent, it is fun to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously. Karma bait? I dunno, a lot of slashdotters seem to prefer cloudy pseudo-profundity to clarity, but I find the accusation tasteless and mean.Ad hominem attacks contribute nothing in a disussion concerning the content of the post. Hope you dont think Im being an ass.

    later.

  • Yes, and I apologize for being lazy and not hyperlinking the original quote, especially since I recently did a search to verify it myself, since I first saw it in someone's sig here on /. :) It pops up in all sorts of diverse spots on the web.

    So many parallels -- "Use a debugger, go to jail." Only so much may ye know, and no more, unless ye be Approved.

  • woo, tell it like it is man
  • lol, awsome. on a similar note, i was in a bathroom stall one day, and on the toilet paper holder, what do i see, but this:

    "The rock says wipe your damn candy ass"

    Thats funny stuff. You go to drexel buddy?
  • Okay, I guess on that you're right. I've been reading too many philosophy books that are filled with little abstract saying like that. They make sense and sound intelligent when you think it.. but a few seconds of additional thought renders them impotent.

    Anyway, about the domain name - I'm planning on creating a slashdot-like site eventually that would be hosted there and sport a variety of improvements over the current slashdot engine (like user-defined forums / root thread postings and usenet/e-mail integration)... but until then...

    No, I don't take it personally. I have already admitted that many of my postings until recently (not anymore, however) were to a large degree testing the moderation system. The results so far: People moderate things that they agree with up and things they disagree with down. This isn't how the system is supposed to work.. but that *is* how it's working right now. My new slash engine will have a different system which will hopefully defeat this. I will also learn from cmdrtaco's mistakes and not post karma publically but instead keep that internal to the system or only rate them in general terms "excellent, good, average, none, poor, terrible, troll" instead of exact numbers.

  • They're legal Unicode [http].

    HTML 4.0 [w3.org] and later uses Unicode as its character set [w3.org], Unicode being an 16-bit character set in which you can write most human languages. Unicode is a superset of the 8-bit ISO-Latin (which in turn is a superset of 7-bit ASCII), the character set of HTML 3.2 and previous versions. It also has some nice things like typographic characters that aren't in ISO-Latin (m-dashes, curved quotes, and so forth) and some math characters.

    The upshot of all this is that if a browser doesn't support Unicode, it'll still work with documents that use it...as long as those documents don't stray outside the first 8 bits. If they do, the resulting character will show up as however the browser handles indeterminate characters. Your browser gets the credit and/or blame for this.

  • Even if I were to agree with everything you said, why must I succomb to this? Why can't I have the option of not being in either system?

    To survive in history you need one of two things: guns or money. Neither is a guaranteed winner and it is better to have both, but you need one or the other.

    The thing about globalization is that it is an increase in vertical hierarchies. The common person has no means to change the system to his benefit. I may have some tenuous ability to change my country in the US, but it is many times more than some transnational corporation or international gov't agency.


  • This sounds to me like a cop-out. The rule is: if you don't pay for it, you don't use it. Why is software any different from a car, for example? BOTH provide benefit, and despite the actual *physical* resources required to manufacture the car, the benefit derived from using software can be very substantial. I believe that the free market really does work...people just have to *allow* it to work. Taking without paying, for whatever reason, undermines the entire system.
  • small countries can not afford to object those big corporations.. "if you do not give us the right to pollute your environment we will take our $$$ elsewhere.." etc..
    I don't think it's correct that a country couldn't reasonably go it alone. Many nations have a wide enough variety of resources and a high enough level of production that economic self-determination is (theoretically) possible.

    The problem is that the rest of the world (read: corporate/industrial world) won't let them. I think there's a good chance that Yugoslavia would have gone it alone -- they had done it before (during the communist era) and there was every reason to do it again when you look at the extreme poverty that the free market has brought to much of Eastern Europe.

    But we didn't let them. Croatia was encouraged to secede -- by Germany of all countries (not surprising, but particularly malicious). Bosnia has been transformed into a colony of the EU. Kosovo... well, everything leading up to that was a farce, allowing the NATO to destroy Yugoslavia even more...

    Other countries that go it alone don't do well. Nicaragua, Angola, Congo... in an even moderately just world it would be an option, but not at this point.

    international organisations are necessary. but we want them to be democratically controlled. until we have world wide voting this could be achieved if the national governments send representatives there and each one has votes..
    Voting doesn't make an institution democratic. A fair distribution of power and influence in the government makes it democratic.

    There is no effort from any of these international organizations (or their constituent governments) to make themselves democratic.

    Is it reasonable to think they will do an about-turn and embrace democracy? That they will respect anything but corporations and political power-mongers? I don't see it happening.

    An international government is necessary and inevitable. But it can come about many ways and in many contexts, and I don't see any of those other contexts being worse than what we got now or what we're moving towards.

    Reform can tweak the process, but this process requires far far more than tweaking. It cannot be salvaged, but maybe it can be stopped so that something else can take its place in the future.

  • I have already admitted that many of my postings until recently (not anymore, however) were to a large degree testing the moderation system

    There would not be nearly as much hostility towards you if that fact had been made more obvious (did I miss something? Did you state this visibly and recently?)

    Clever way of protesting the system, actually...maybe you should post something specifically about this using your optional pluses to shove it in people's faces. Maybe if you are vocal and visible enough (and enough peopel are convinced about the point you bring up) you can actually force some change!!!

    Feel free to send me an email if you set up a lists or something once you get your site up and spiffy :-) Do you plant to be another news-discussion gateway, or something altogether more specific? Weve already got a slashdot!!

    Mcroucb@brandeis.edu

  • Yet local potentates comply with the IMF because without the goodwill of the world community, upon which they are dependent, their countries would collapse.
    Or at least the local elites' world would collapse and their gig would be up for grabs...

    Sadly enough, there is never a lack of thugs for hire. They might be the kind beat up a union organizer, or they might be the ones who hire the ones who hire the ones who beat up the...

    No country, no location, is without its elite. And in the world we live in now, everyone answers to someone else, gets paid off by a person or a process, has something to protect and a system to preserve.

    Not that it's ever been any different. But at least there used to be a time when the people who were manipulating you shared much of your fate. As the system becomes bigger, the person who feels the effect is more detached from the person who creates the effect.

  • In addition you are neglecting the representative nature of participants in global organizations. In the US elected officials represent the citizens in determination of their vote. Citizens do not have a direct say in each and every rule or law that is passed. Similarly governments represent their citizens in international organizations. If they do a poor job of it, their constituents will boot them out of office.

    This is too indirect -- at this level corruption can completely negate any effect, population has on those decisions.

    This is not correct. The UN does not allow any and all individual countries to veto decisions. The UN only allows members of the Security Council, which includes all the major world powers on a permanent basis and some representatives from the General Assembly on a rotating basis to veto decisions THAT ARE BEFORE THE SECURITY COUNCIL. Many decisions taken at the UN are in fact implemented solely by majority or 2/3 vote in the General Assembly.

    I have mentioned veto in NATO, not UN. And even in UN it's much better than just "whoever has stronger economy, bigger guns, larger army and more violent traditions" what pretty much described the world before that.

    Historically governments abide by treaties only when it is to their best interest. Governments are the makers and breakers of treaties at their own whim. A treaty at an international level has no power over a government other than the self interest of that goverment.

    This works as long as inconvenience of losing a "package deal" that comes with organization does not justify significant damage to the society, caused by some of decisions in the "package" in the mind of participants. But since currently all governments (US included) require constant significant pressure from the population to implement and honor even basic human rights, there is a danger that international organization can get in much better position to influence the government than population.

  • So who controls that power and for whom does it work? Us.

    The first difference is that in a conventional democracy, we are voting for a national government which will affect ourselves (the body of voters in an election) and not, to any large degree, the body of people not entitled to vote - that is, the inhabitants of the rest of the world. Unless our government chooses to go to war, or something.

    However, a group of shareholders is voting on the actions of a company which can affect the non-voting rest of the world, and is very likely to vote in the financial interest of the company over the general well-being of everyone. Whilst national democracy is clearly flawed in practice, it was at least designed to produce the best possible outcome for the greatest number. The company-with-shareholders model is designed only to make money for the company and screw everyone else. Even if the directors want to play nice, they are still at the mercy of the shareholders.

    The second major difference is that of block voting. Even those fortunate enough to own shares in a company are likely to have little power since many more shares will be owned by the banks and pension plans you mention. Many times in the UK we have seen shareholder revolts over environmental concerns, directors' pay and so on, come to naught simply because the balance of power is held by a few large businesses.

    Instead of watching in horror as these organizations do things we can't stand, why don't we hack these things, figure out how they work, and see what we can do? That's the sort of article I'd like to see, anyway.

    Seconded. But however much an 'alternative' economy can be realised, based around low-control, the internet, free software and freedom of digital information, there are still things the transnats can do to get in the way. Patents is the obvious one, which has rightly received a great deal of attention here. By patenting enough obvious and necessary computing ideas and coercing national governments into recognising the patents, they can prevent software outside their sphere of influence being distributed. Lawyers can be used to frighten individuals and ISPs into effective censorship. Encryption outlawed. The whole YRO gamut.

    Me, I'd like to be optimistic, but it's doesn't suit me. :-)


    --
    This comment was brought to you by And Clover.
  • ...Popular revolt is dangerous to elites (that is to say the wealthy and the government) because they may not have sufficiently well organized propaganda to subvert them...
    Oh please. We're talking about a couple of pissant "encryption" and filtering technologies that can be broken or circumvented using a pocket calculator. Much of the crud referred to in the article is simply the result of the technically inept making technical decisions. It happens all the time, get over it. You've got a modem, your friend's got a modem, you both got PGP - who gives a crap about the rest of the world? The Internet sprung out of nothing, if the pointy-haired managers ruin it, we'll build a new, improved version starting with the supercomputers that now reside on the desks of most of the people that matter. Every so often you'll slum it on the old 'Net, armoured with dozens of layers of privacy filters and encrytion of your own, if there's something particularly interesting...
  • The next meeting will be in Geneva, Switzerland. Hardly know for being a country "where the police/military [can] freely beat the hell out of their citzens." On technical issues (outside Micro$oft), SlashDot has provided me with valuable insight, but on trade and international organization, the responses sound more and more reactionary instead of thoughtful. The comments about the Seattle meeting of WTO and this article about supernational organization remind me of the far rights fear that the UN is fly missions in it "black helicopters."
  • You have mighty selective hearing. Most of the WTO protestors were middle class. Furthermore, even if the WTO ultimately succeeds, that does not necessarily mean the middle class is being manipulated. What ever happened to self-interest as a motivator? I have friends and family who work in downtown Seattle. Frankly, they were pissed at the demonstrators because they blocked off their buildings and the like. They taunted and assaulted some as well. Plenty of reason to be pissed off, no the media did not force their thinking.

    You give these lobbies far too much credit in terms of the influence they exert. The elite themselves don't have any signifigant lobbies. Yes there are corporate lobbies, but these represent middle and upper-middle class interests as well. Meanwhile, you totally ignore programs such as welfare, the disproportinately high tax programs against the wealthy, OSHA, environmental laws, etc.

    Who are you to stand on this imaginary intellectual pedastool and judge all others simply because you disagree with them. Perhaps it is your psuedo-intellectual highschool/college aged middle class thinking that is cloudy. Perhaps Green Peace or some other longhair group has your ear bent. You're not even making an intellectual argument against free trade. You simply don't like it, and you assume that all who disagree with you are either "elite" or being manipulated...anyways, you're hopeless. bye



  • Eric Belits raised the "no representation" problem, and R. Larson replied:
    In current circumstances there is a very real mechanism - if a country believes it is better off not participating it can simply not participate.

    With respect, this is false.

    In fact, if a country joins a body such as the WTO, one agrees to accept all their rulings, not just the ones you agree to.

    The U.S. disgarees with the WTO overturning the ban on tuna-containing-dolphins, but was forced to submit, on pain of substantial fines. Canada disagreed with the similar forced importation of MMT (a gasoline additive which hasn't been proved safe yet) but had to not only allow it, but also pay a significant penalty to the manufacturer for trying to prevent it's import.

    Do not assume these are not binding agreements: they are, and the only way to avoid honoring them is to close your borders... and neither Canada nor the U.S wishes to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    --Dave (in Toronto) C-B

  • Ok, maybe I'm missing something here, but what does this NWO have to do with the one mentioned in conjunction with Operation Vampire Killer 2000? Are these the same people, or is the author just throwing out catchphrases to catch peoples eye?
    See http://www.hevanet.com/nitehawk/nwo22.html for more information.

    And please, moderate the wrestling comments out, they're stupid, and way off-topic.

  • The thing about globalization is that it is an increase in vertical hierarchies.

    This is a side effect of the evolution of human society. First we had the family, then the tribe, then the village, city, nation, and now we are making the transition to a global society. Each of those steps has incurred increased vertical hierarchies.

    If you want to withdraw from that, well, all I can say is that you are swimming upstream.


  • In fact, if a country joins a body such as the WTO, one agrees to accept all their rulings, not just the ones you agree to.

    All treaties or contracts require you to give something in order to get something.

    Canada disagreed with the similar forced importation of MMT (a gasoline additive which hasn't been proved safe yet) but had to not only allow it, but also pay a significant penalty to the manufacturer for trying to prevent it's import.

    To begin with the case was a NAFTA, not a WTO issue. Canada was in fact on very thin ice because they were unable to ban the use of MMT under their own environmental laws. They only recourse they had was to try to ban importation and interprovincial sale. This put them in an extremely bad position under NAFTA. Rather than try their case under NAFTA they agreed to a settlement with Ethyl and in fact the case was never really adjudicated under NAFTA.

    The U.S. disgarees with the WTO overturning the ban on tuna-containing-dolphins, but was forced to submit, on pain of substantial fines.

    The US had to SLIGHTLY modify the zero tolerance dolphin by-catch law it had to accept a 0.1% bycatch percentage. The modified law was supported by many major environmental groups including Greenpeace and the WWF. As part of this almost all Latin American countries have adopted 0.1% by-catch limits.

    Here is a statement regarding the legislation:

    Teresa Platt of the US Fishermens Coalition is still optimistic: "It is higly likely that the legislation will pass as it is supported by the tuna fishing interests in twelve countries, five major environmental groups, several unions, over a hundred resource and property rights groups, the Clinton administration, key Democrats and the Republican leadership in Congress.

    To me this tuna bycatch agreement seems like a real step forward.


  • FWIW, I think trade policy can kill as effectively as military policy (conflict). The difference is that its a lot easier to slide questionable trade policy by "the public" than it is questionable military policy.
  • by Oblio (1102)
    I dissagree.

    The heart of the issue lies in the balance betweent the public good of the information released under IP protection, and the cost of the monopoly that IP law provides. All framed in the context of international enforcement.

    My biggest issue is that it doesn't seem clear to me that there is unimpeachable evidence on either side of the IP debate, and yet we (The United States) feel justified in exporting our IP philosophy to the rest of the world.
  • Well, OK, how about the Mac OS 7.6 case? To my knowledge, you cannot get a legal copy without considerable effort, since Apple no longer really sells it. The alternatives you have are either make a copy from someone else's CD without paying, or don't use it at all. How is it bad to do the former rather than the latter.

    I think the test should be whether you are depriving the author of revenue by bootlegging. If it is a product that is no longer on the market, or if you only intend to use it for a small job and there is no chance that you'd be willing to buy the full version, then I say go for it. But if it is still on the market and you are going to use it more than a couple of times, then you should pay for it.
  • Nevermind the millions of dollars this cost Seattle.

    Millions of dollars is piddly compared to the numbers that we are talking about when it comes to international trade. Millions of dollars are insigificant if you try to quantify the externalities associated with environmental degredation. If you are dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars, you are getting closer, if you are talking billions of dollars, I would be listening, but when we piss away tens of billions of dollars in a single bad trade policy (read: The japanese auto VER), I just can't care about "millions of dollars".

    Nevermind the fact that the protestors blocked the downtown area off for several days.

    Yep, that is what protesters do. Go ahead and add a few million dollars to your total- I don't mind.

    Nevermind the fact that there are sound economic arguments for free trade.

    Unless you are dealing with perfect competition, and no "large country" effects on international prices, free trade is a bad idea. Of course, finding the appropriate levels of intervention is difficult, but free trade has been shown to be suboptimal. If you ignore the rest of my post, listen to this. I'll give you some references on this if you would like to do some reading.

    Nevermind the fact that many stores were looted and vandalized.Nevermind the fact that Seattle has never been a very entrenched city

    All of this is irrelevant. Those protestors had points that are more important than "millions of dollars". To ignore those points because of demographics, collateral damage, or general distaste for non multinational solutions would be a serious mistake. You don't have to join in the anti-WTO ranks...just consider the arguments seriously.

    I apologize for the tone of my post: this really upset me. I agree with what you said concerning 3rd world labor standards, but what the original poster said about the middle class acting as a stablizing force in society is true. You attacked it very strongly using arguments that are questionable. Of course, ranting makes me look like the asshole. For what its worth, nothing personal. :/

  • ...globalization cuts both ways...

    IMO, this is the best part of your good post. With that out of the way, let me add my caveat. :)

    Certain globalization will result in cultural change. But what ways of life are worth maintaining at the expense of illiteracy, poverty and disease?

    The problem is that some non-economic goals do not have expenses in terms of illiteracy, poverty, or desease. They only cost productivity. To the extent that productivity is tied to standard of living, there is an argument against this. Still, that should be left for the country to decide, rather than the trading partner. Raging against globalization is not the solution here, but neither is an across the board elimination of the ability to engage in active policy making. I believe exceptions must be embraced, though I don't know how to restrict strategic inefficiencies without strong concepts like parity of negotiation. (Which solves one problem and creates another).

    Losing the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest is painful, and should be avoided, but we should also work to prevent mass murder at the hands of despots.

    Apples and oranges. These things are not mutually exclusive (which I do not doubt you are aware of), but I think towards the end of the post you fall into "sloganism"...The future of mankind is with transparency...not with petty xenophobic nationistic views. Them's propoganda words (reguardless of the truth about transparency).

    Of course, I generate more heat than light usually, so let me conclude with : I like your post. :)

  • Wow...its good to see that this isn't being taken too personally.

    All this discussion about the middle class and the control/usage of power is pretty impressive.

    Could someone tell me some of the demographics for people that actually vote in elections are?

    How does the number of 18-25 (psuedo-intellectual highschool/college aged middle class) compare to other age groups?

    What percentage of the "elites" go out and vote as compared to the percentage of this "highschool/college aged middle class?"

    Ok, I'm probably going off on a tangent here but I'm going to talk about Mr. Ventura's run for MN governor. (No plug intended.)
    Fact is that he was not supposed to win. He was hyped in the media as a "professional wrestler," indicating in the context that being a member of that profession at one time utterly destroys one's credibility.
    His target crowd: "highschool/college aged middle class"
    He urged them to get out and vote for a change. He also urged another (somewhat overlapping) group to vote for him: those people in MN that were tired of either voting Dem or Rep only to really see it didn't seem to make a difference because both parties both pumped out career politians(sp?) out of the same cookie cutter but with different colored sprinkles.

    When he did win, news media had a hey day with this clown who wasn't supposed to win. They interviewed a lot of different "analysts" asking what they thought on why Jesse won.
    The resounding answer I heard: "Well, uh...he's a professional wrestler! It's pretty obvious that the majority of people in Minnesota are idiots."

    Or pseudo-intellectual, I guess.

    After the election I did get a chance to look at the demographics of the voters based on age, income, race, etc.

    A few things struck me as odd (as far as examining voting records)...Jesse captured a majority lot of the votes from highschool/college aged middle class. Perhaps it was due to his wrestling career, who knows?
    What he didn't capture a lot of was the affluent vote. Sure, he did get some but he didn't even come close to 1/3.
    He also captured a decent percentage of the older middle class voters (who also turned out in record numbers).

    The thing is: Jesse didn't win by a landslide. He won by just enough. I think he got somewhere between 38-39% of the vote and the other two basically split what was left.
    If it wasn't for the people that normally ignore voting actually getting out to vote, he would have been merely a comic side note to the MN 1998 election.

    Instead, he's the comic headline.... >;)

    There is admittedly too many people that do a form of passive investigation on who to vote for. They let others do the investigating for them...others such as the media. They inherently trust what the media says to be fact. That is why mudslinging is such an effective tactic.


    -Vel

    P.S. For any political analysts out there that read /. (yeah, riiiight) Ventura wasn't voted in because MN wants an idiot for governor. He was voted in because we'd rather take a gamble on the unknown instead of picking one of the idiot alternatives. At least there was the chance that he'd be 'our' idiot...for the people, by the people and all that....
  • First Point, the person I was replying to indicated that the middle class doesn't have a mind of its own, that the mere mention of 'violence' turned the tide against the protestors. I have friends and family there [mostly upper-middle class], most of whom have damn little respect for the media, and they despised the protestors from the get go.

    Secondly, I study economics and finance, I'm not talking out of my ass [though I don't think the world of academics]. There IS a strong empirical argument for free trade, as well as theoretical arguments. Yes, "free trade" can be painfull [It can even be harmfull. Especially if it is perverted and one way], particularly in the short run. Yes, I can see why the Unions might find it distasteful. However, none of this invalidates the opinions of "middle class" Seattlelites agaisnt the protestors.

    Thirdly, the protestors concerns [legitimate or not] do not excuse their actions. Put simply, the people of Seattle and the WTO have certain rights; the protestors stepped on these rights and abused the law. You have a right to assemble in the US, but you must do it in accordance with the law. Neither MLK Jr, Thoreau, Ghandi, rebels during the Boston Tea Party,or other recognized authorities on civil disobedience argued for this kind of action. Seattle's laws are promulugated democratically, exist for good of the people, and are reasonable; in other words, they are just [moral]. The protestors, by stepping on these just laws to strike [something else] at what they dislike [or maybe even percieve as "un-just"], strike at democracy itself [they could try voting, gasp]. As I have said in other threads, a relatively small group, by breaking these laws, can throw a wrench in the works of democracy. Perhaps these protestors are representetive of the majority. But it was not voted on. Until that time, the city of Seattle not only has the right to enforce their laws regarding assembly, but an obligation to do so. Turn this problem over, replace the WTO with the NAACP, and the longhairs/unions with the KKK. Would you still argue the KKK has the right? [Not to mention what happened when the schools were de-segregated, pro-lifers blocking abortion clinics, et. al] Or that Seattle isn't allowed to use force? What is a right if you can't use reasonable means to protect it?

    Fourthly, Thank you for agreeing with my point of view on 3rd world labor. There is something of a paradox in labor's complaints about it. Yes, in an ideal world they would be allowed to organize unions, collect higher salaries, etc. For the time being however, they are desperate and would be better off with a job, any job. I don't see the Unions doing anything to help them in lieu of the loss of potential jobs ["substandard" conditions]. Additionally, short of a totalitarian government, the odds are, that, these countries' standards would advance, without us imposing it on them [Imposing total "equality" strikes me as an improbable means of helping them. You've got to learn to crawl before you can walk. If these people behaved as most American unions do, they'd NEVER see these manufacturing jobs. The marginal costs of putting factories in third world countries would be far too high, which is what the union leaders are probably banking on]. Empirically, certain Asian countries (e.g., Singapore) have followed that path, and have done rather well. But I digress....
  • Its funny to watch all the Econ-Nerds come out of the woodwork with this WTO stuff. I too am alleged to be a scholar of finance and economics, although I pay to be so rather than get paid to be so. :)

    Now I don't want to discuss propoganda or sociology(point 1), civil dissobedience and violence (point 3), or 3rd world/"sweatshop" labor- basicly because I'm on the same page as you are.

    I am familiar with most of the economics arguments surrounding trade: and I really don't think that the free-traders are winning. Even the most ardent free trade supporters (Krugman, etc) will admit that their arguments only hold water in the general case, where there is perfect competition, no externalities, and regular economic conditions (decreasing returns to scale, etc). I would be hard pressed to name an import or export sector where those assumptions would be true. Certainly not the hot button industries : aircraft, automobile, textiles, agriculture.

    Our (US) current administrations viewpoint revolves around "Fair Trade" (another loaded phrase), which is probably a little more "sane", but these people, (and the managed trade club), are IMO off base if they apply their policies without a case by case analysis. I think it could be fairly easy to show that most of the places where we see international trade in general are monopolistic to some extent, and therefor must be treated as such to come up with optimal trade policies.

    All that you said about economic transition costs, short term costs, etc. are valid. But I am saying that even if you wiped the board of all the sidebar issues (short term costs, distrobutional effects, uncaptured values, etc), simply endorsing free trade across the board would most likely be a mistake.

    I think this free trade "myth" is perpetuated because it is the best simple solution. Which is to say, it is better for someone to espouse free trade than protectionism, given that they don't have the time/inclination to look at the details of the trade patterns, or trade theory in general. In other words, I think the free trade argument is the start of rational economics, but not the end.

    Again, I apologise for the tone of my earlier post- usually when I get upset like that it is indicative of a lack of understanding on my part.

  • I basically agree with you. I'm not 100% free trade by any means. The complexity that you see in many ways strengthen's my arguments in support of leaving the WTO unmolested. Pardon me if I sound like a snob, but the union meetings are hardly the place to discuss the finer points of economics or trade. These are best handled on a representitive basis [within a democracy]. Most people are a bit misinformed, in that, the WTO alone does not overrule US law. Congress still must vote it all into law before it comes to fruition; there is democratic oversight. The conclusions reached within the WTO are essentially proposals, which can be argued in Congress. The WTO should be allowed to discuss the real issues, free of union propaganda. I'm even somewhat sympathatic [to both parties actually] on the "openess" argument. On one hand, there are benefits to not having to watch what you say for fear of offending someone....On the other hand, having open discussions can moderate certain behaviors [e.g., blind corporatism].....anyhow, I've got another lecture to attend, sorry to rush out. Bye ;)
  • After rereading what I wrote, I feel I should add an addendum.

    While 100% Free trade may not be an optimal solution, "Free-er" trade would undeniably be a good thing.

    One thing that I think is interesting about anti-WTO arguments is that many of them are along the lines of "The WTO is a servant to Multi-National firms". Multi-Nationals are the ones who want tariffs in place as they allow them to affect price pressures, and allow companies that would otherwise be competitors (say GM and Honda) to cartelize.

    Ah well...its late and I'm rambling.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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