Archive for May, 2008

01
May
08

Whatever happened to globalisation?

The protesters, the politicians, the corporations, the sweat shops, the headlines. Where did they all go? The products of globalisation are still with us, but the term has faded.

It came up in conversation tonight with a former colleague. My take on globalisation had been mostly indifference, as long as individuals could have the same benefits as multinational companies.

We pondered why Australian mortgage holders couldn’t transfer their debt to the US where interest rates are lower?

I recanted a story I’d read once of a US software developer who outsourced his tasks to India and kept pocketing his wage. (Google for it, I don’t want to dob the bugger in!)

There was interesting case recently in Australian Federal Court. The issue was whether genuine Ralph Lauren clothing purchased in the US could be ‘parallel import’-ed legally into Australia and sold here. Polo/Lauren claimed that its copyright had been infringed. However, the proceedings were dismissed with costs. My take is that if clothing producers can swan off to the cheapest place for production, why can’t consumers, or importers on their behalf, swan off to the cheapest place to buy the goods?

I picked up this book five or so years ago: The Collapse of Globalism: And the Reinvention of the World” by John Ralston Saul. I literally picked it up off the bookstore shelf, just because I found the title cheeky and confronting, but I didn’t buy it. The word “globalisation” was everywhere at the time. The title seemed fanciful. Fast forward a couple of years and I found myself flicking through it again, and found myself agreeing with its tenets. I bought it.

Today national interests are to the fore. The US is at war. China and India are ascending. There are oil and food shortages and there is no common and binding economic consensus…. yet!

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