Don't let your babies grow up to be programmers

Cameron Laird claird at lairds.us
Sat Sep 25 15:08:05 CEST 2004


In article <1gknx0k.m09llxutwktbN%aleaxit at yahoo.com>,
Alex Martelli <aleaxit at yahoo.com> wrote:
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>South Park movie?!  In such a case the US is basically stating, "we're
>the 500-pounds gorilla, rules apply to lesser countries, not us, so
>there".  And that's wrt their closest neighbor and friend -- AND for
>incredibly myopic reasons too.  Canada's cheap wood obviously HELPS
>crucial US industries such as construction (US house construction uses
>MUCH more wood than we do in Europe)... but the wood-loggers' lobby is
>strong enough in a key swing state, Oregon (and to some extent
>Washington, too, I believe), to perhaps swing the next presidental
>election, if it's as close as many think... so, forget the rules and all
>the nice words, might makes right.
>
>_Some_ US observers are clear-sighted enough to see how much hate this
>kind of behavior builds up in the world over the years.  But obviously
>not enough.
>
>The cases of cotton and sugar, with subsidies and help from tariffs
>amounting to over 100,000 dollars per each of the few thousands of lucky
>US cotton and sugar growers who benefit from it, are other good
>examples.  They're likely to end up in front of the WTO, but it doesn't
>really matter because there, for once, the US isn't even _claiming_ an
>antidumping issue.  Similarly for the huge hidden subsidy to growers of
>fruit and even rice (!) in the parched fields of Southern California in
>terms of essentially free water in ridiculous quantities (that's
>unlikely to become a trade/subsidy issue, but with good water growing
>scarcer in the region it's been causing tension with Mexico for a while,
>and the tension is growing) - and at a time when millions of Californian
>in cities have had problems with water scarcity, too.
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While we're piling on, Alex, let's review the political message
this conveys to third-world citizens:  involve yourself in 
terrorism and/or drug trafficking, and the US pays attention, 
and spreads money around; but clean up your economy, promote
civic improvement, hold just elections, institute the rule of
law, and (as has more or less happened throughout the Caribbean,
Egypt, Chile, Sri Lanka, various African countries, ...) the US
will be sure to slap you down for threatening its sugar or 
textile or produce or programming or ... protectorates.  Is
"Globalization" just advertising for a refinement of imperialism?
Of course not, to those of us fundamentally aligned with the
progressivism on display in, to echo your example, *The Econo-
mist*.  At the same time, US external political policies could
hardly do more to convince the world *the US believes this
reactionary claptrap*.  It makes one weep.

I struggle to bring this all back on-topic.  Mention of <URL:
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20040923.html > is my
current attempt.



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