Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Norman Solomon: Channeling Thomas Friedman

Channeling Thomas Friedman


By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102406E.shtml

Tuesday 24 October 2006

Get ready for a special tour of a renowned outlook, conjured from the writings of syndicated New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. As the leading media advocate of "free trade" and "globalization," he is expertly proficient at explaining the world to the world. If we could synthesize Friedman's brain waves, the essential messages would go something like this:

Silicon chips are the holy wafers of opportunity. From Bangalore to Bob's Big Boy Burgers, those who understand the Internet will leave behind those who do not.

I want to tell you about Rajiv/Mohammed/George, now doing awesome business in Madras/Amman/Durham. Only a few years ago, this visionary man started from scratch with just a vision - a vision that he, like me, has been wise enough to comprehend.

So, Rajiv/Mohammed/George built a business on the digital backbone of the new global economy. Now, the employees fill orders on a varying shift schedule, and time zones are always covered. Don't ask what they're selling - that hardly matters. They're working in a high-tech industry, and the profits are auspicious. This is the Future. And it is good. Fabulous, actually.

Traveling the world as I do, I understand that the world is best understood by people who travel the world as I do.

The future is innovation across borders. The entrepreneur who finds a good Web designer on another continent really impresses me. Have I mentioned yet that the Internet really impresses me? It really does. Those who aren't suitably impressed by IT will be left behind.

As a journalist who visits one country after another, I feel intoxicated by the Internet. And why shouldn't I be upbeat? I'm not one of the dead-end-job workers who can look forward to mind-glazing drudgery in front of computer screens as far as the eye can see.

For me, and for investors and managers who take me around, what's not to like? Commerce is about selling things, providing services, expanding markets. All that is so good.

Let's face it - at this point I'm a rich guy, and I work for a newspaper run by guys who are even richer than I am. They're gaga about what we like to call globalization. So am I. We're a perfect match.

As a matter of fact, just about any big media outlet in the USA is run by managers who work for owners who're gaga for globalization. We don't mention that there are significant limits on our enthusiasm. Of course we don't want to globalize labor unions! We don't want to globalize powerful movements for environmental protection! We don't want to globalize movements against war!

Speaking of war: I cheered the invasion of Iraq and kept applauding for a long time afterward. I lauded the war effort as glorious and noble - and, on the last day of November 2003, I even likened the US occupation of Iraq to the magnanimity of the Marshall Plan.

And if US troops had been able to kill enough Iraqi troublemakers early enough to quell the resistance, I would have remained an avid booster of the war. There's no business like war business - that's why I recycled my clever slogan "Give war a chance" from the 1999 air war on Yugoslavia to the 2001 military assault on Afghanistan.

But I like winning. That's why I kept praising Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he looked like a winner, and now I keep deploring him because he looks like a loser.

Overall, I get to boil down the world to metaphors of my own choosing. If I were one of the anti-corporate-globalization people and I used the same kind of simplistic metaphors, I'd be the object of derision and scorn. But I'm not - so get used to it!

Never let it be said that leading US pundit Thomas Friedman has to live with the consequences of his punditry. I think great thoughts, and I'm seriously glib about them, and that should be more than enough if the world is smart enough to grasp the opportunities that are low-hanging fruit of the digital age. I can't expect everyone to get it, but at the very least they should try.

*************

The paperback edition of Norman Solomon's latest book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, was published this summer. For information, go to: WarMadeEasy.com.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news