You may be interested to read the OTHER side of the story of globalisation – ie. the one that will never come from the mouths of those dreadlocked, anti-war, anti-capitalist, abundantly pierced types with plenty of spare time to wreck the cities on regular occasions like May Day. (The Great Unwashed, we might call them.) There have been several recent articles on the topic, like the one in the New York Times, as related by Nicholas D Kristof & Sheryl Wudunn, reporters local to Thailand who were initially anti-globalisation themselves… until they saw the relative prosperity that was being created by the ‘sweatshops’ that have been so villianised by the Great Unwashed.

One company which is often the brunt of these attacks is Nike, which seems to have been put in the dock by the Great Unwashed more often than any others over the past decade or so especially. But the track record of Nike on the ethics of their operations in the East and elsewhere would likely surprise a lot of the Western middle classes and liberal politicians who have jumped on the anti-globalisation bandwagon. And the results of their activity in those parts of the world has been, as is invariably the product of capitalism wherever it exists, to awaken and revive the economies of those places and bring prosperity to their people. It never ceases to surprise me when those who oppose capitalism claim to have the eradication of poverty as their stated goal… and yet it is capitalism, not socialism, which has improved the living standards of the globe, by many many hundreds of times. Please email me if you would like to see some case studies or independent reports of Nike operations which have been carried out in areas like Vietnam, by people like Lynn R Kahle (Professor of Sports Marketing at the University of Oregon) and Mark Phelps (a senior instructor of business law).

As the political philosopher Ayn Rand once said: “The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve ‘the common good’. It is true that capitalism does …. but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature…” Nike, by while pursuing capitalist self-interest, fulfils the stated objective of the Left, which ironically THEIR policies will never achieve – the eradication of poverty!

This is the current link to the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20000924mag-sweatshops.html

See also the November issue of the Readers Digest (UK) for an interesting report on sweatshops which gave a less than enthusiastic view of those who call for boycott of the products made there.

It is fast becoming apparent to me that man’s good is NOT the motive of the anti-globalisation brigade. Sure, it appears so – they hate McDonalds because it makes people fat (apparently), they hate The Gap because of the poor little workers struggling under the whip to make the clothes, they hate Microsoft because it is too big and too rich and there are people starving in the third world. But a simple reading of the statistics and a study of history would show them the practical results of both statist (altruist or socialist) politics as compared with a libertarian (free or capitalist) philosophy. It seems to me that their motive is just a skewed perspective on who the underdogs in this world are, and how rebellious they feel. They will protest against George W Bush but never protest against Mugabe or Stalin.

Truth is, these people are just a little uncomfortable with individuals, have deep-seated insecurities about anyone having too much freedom, and feel jealous of those who have actually achieved anything by working hard to get it. Why are liberal politicians, who are otherwise reasonably sensible people, so influenced by the Great Unwashed?

(Please feel free to email me at john-wright@ntlworld.com on this or any other posts.)