Nothing Important Essay

270 WordsJan 13, 20122 Pages
What troubles me most is Bhagwati's adoption of antiglobalist assumptions that globalization is, in its immense complexity, either good or bad. One false assumption here (on both sides) is the result of a category error. Corporations and markets have no ethical value in and of themselves. They are not people, but merely tools, organizations, legal entities. They do not act ethically or unethically; they act legally or illegally. "Exploiting foreign workers" is therefore a loaded phrase, since it assumes unethical (but not illegal) "exploitation" according to domestic legal standards. Antiglobalists must decide whether corporations or governments have the right to insist that foreign laws be changed in accord with U.S. laws, and whether U.S. laws ought to have international precedence over, for example, British or German laws. The issue is a complex one and involves, among other things, the unwelcome role of the United States in manipulating the legal institutions of a foreign people. There are genuine problems that cannot be easily dismissed by calling them illogical. Neither will it do merely to cite, as Bhagwati does, putative instances of social progress (newly minted Japanese feminists, for example) in direct response to antiglobalist accusations. Although they sometimes go to ridiculous and dangerous extremes, and although their arguments are riddled with fallacies, these students are not all fools. Moreover, the health of any democracy derives from a serious consideration of continual challenges -- political, social, and ethical. To blame English departments and cable television for young people's idealistic opposition to corporate control over political life is to miss the point and the problems of the debate

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