Skip to content

FT Right on Torture & Globalization

The Financial Times for last Friday was right on the evils of Bush’s torture and of globalization. The editorial condemning Bush’s use of torture says:

Five years after launching a war on terror that has undermined America’s moral authority abroad — and proved spectacularly counter-productive in the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world — Mr. Bush seems to have learnt few lessons about why torture and martial law will not win this war for him. For the benefits of intelligence gleaned, if any, are ultimately outweighed by the damage to America’s standing at home and abroad

And the op-ed by Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, entitled “We have become rich countries of poor people,” says:

Unfettered globalization actually has the potential to make many people in advanced industrial countries worse off, even if economic growth increases….

In the US, tax policies have become less progressive; the bulk of recent tax cuts went to the winners, those who had already benefited both from globalization and changes in technology….

The Scandinavian countries have shown there is another way. Investment in education and research and a strong safety net can lead to a more productive and competitive economy.

I hope David Brooks reads this Stiglitz op-ed. Brooks is for education, but not for a strong safety net. Stiglitz also says:

While economic theory predicted there would be losers from globalization, it also said that the winners could compensate the losers. Well-managed globalization can make everyone, or at least most, better off. This has not happened.

This implies that for globalization to work humanely, business leaders, CEOs and others, should take some responsibility for their workers. In my earlier comment on Brooks’ column, I said that after the depression and World War II, business leaders who had been through those trials tended to feel a responsibility toward their “troops.” They had a shared experience that we no longer have. One downside of our diverse culture is that there is little that we share. While there are charitable impulses to help the downtrodden, there is not the shared feeling that we are all in this together, rich and poor. In business today, it’s every man (or woman) for himself (or herself).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *