Review: George Soros on Globalization

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced Serious Thinking, But Still Elitist,

March 28, 2002
George Soros
This is an easy to read common sense book that absorbs and addresses some of the criticisms of the World Trade Organization, speaks to the weakness of the International Labor Organization, and proposes the equivalent of a global Marshall Plan, but as a multi-national initiative. It is essential reading at a time when too many politicians do not yet make the connection between terrorism and what George Soros has called “the other axis of evil: poverty, disease, & ignorance.”At a time when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is treating anti-globalization activists as just one step under terrorists (in one recent case denying a Canadian activist entry to the U.S. to honor an invitation to speak at a U.S. university), George Soros' is easily the most responsible and the wealthiest voice cautioning all of us that the combined forces of globalization (which reduces citizen sovereignty) and consumerism (which reduces citizen prosperity) could be the death knell of capitalism.

I am reminded of how the U.S. Secret Service ran amok against so-called “hackers” (the best of them trained at MIT and now multi-millionaires) because it did not understand that hackers are like astronauts, pushing the edge of the envelope, and it did not understand that it was the U.S. communications and computing industry that was criminally negligent in offering the consumer and the government a national information infrastructure that was incredibly fragile and full of security holes. It was industry that failed to exercise due-diligence, and it was hackers that exposes these flaws well in advance of the Y2K panic. The anti-globalization activists, Lori Wallach among them (and she has clearly influenced Soros in this book) are the 21st Century hackers for world peace and prosperity.

Globalization and consumerism threaten billions of Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Muslims, and Russians around the world–and thus they threaten us as well. Although many brilliant minds foresaw these challenges in the 1970's, among them those speaking to the limits to growth, sustainable growth, and the need for new forms of world governance, it is only after 9-11 that the world appears ready to listen to George Soros and others who understand that we cannot continue to emphasize short term corporate profit over long term citizen survival.

His proposals for Special Drawing Rights are helpful, and merit adoption. It is with a little concern, however, that I see his concession to “elite” management of these remedial resources. I lean toward the view that the people are now both informed and connected, and that we must empower down to the neighborhood level if we are to restore civil society around the world (this includes no longer supporting repressive governments for the convenience of our corporations), so there is still a gap between Soros and the natural leaders down in the ranks with the people.

Thomas Jefferson said that “A Nation's best defense is an educated citizenry.” Justice Brandeis said that the greatest threat to a nation's liberty is “an inert citizenship.” George Soros may be said to be the first and foremost educator and leader on the critical matter of whether of whether or not this Nation might yet surmount great challenges of its own making.

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