Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last Blog

Neoliberalism is an economic and political strategy the believes globalization can only succeed with the principle of free trade. These types of people emphasize the reduction of restraints on international economic institutions so that free trade can occur. They believe if this is put into practice, it will be easier for all countries to profit from international trading. The article gives an example of the free trade system in Mercosur, South Africa where tariffs and restrictions are eliminated.However, the counterpoint to the neoliberalist ideology is that this type of free trade will not help, but only hurt smaller, poorer countries. It will benefit Western industrialized countries, but that is all. I agree with the more conservative ideology, that some regulation is needed. If there are no restrictions on richer countries, exploitation will most likely take place, making the wealth companies and countries richer, and the less developed countries poorer. I believe there needs to be a balance between this conservative ideology that relies on government regulation and the neoliberalist thought that only stresses free trade. My questions are, how do economic institutions such as the World Bank and UN branches think about these ideologies?
We also talked about copyright laws again in class on Wednesday. Although I think that there should be some freedom to be creative and expand on others ideas, there should be a limit. I stick by the Beatles theory, that if a band or artist is known for their sound, it should be illegal to copyright that music.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog 3

This week we focused on the importance of the Middle East and the conflicts they had because of where they were geographically...

The Middle East was the center of all global trade. Routes through the Middle East connected Europe to the Far East. The Middle East also made it possible for the Persians and the Chinese to trade. Essentially, this connected the East and the West. Of course being such a major part of global trade, the Middle East constantly ran into conflict within its own territory. The Muslims and Crusaders fought for many years, because of conflicts like this the Middle East was never really able to reach out to other places around the world.

This moves me to the Persian Gulf. In a sense a blessing for whoever controlled it because it was a great place for trading. It connected the Mediterranean Sea, India and the Middle East. What more could you ask for? Unfortunately, it was so popular that there were constant fights over who controlled it. The conflicts made it so that the trade routes were unsafe and trade in the Persian Gulf struggled. Short after the Black Death hit, the Portuguese swooped in and took control of the Persian Gulf. This was also the fall of Egypt's superiority in trade.

The European Crusaders and the Muslims constantly fought over religion more so than money. It does not surprise me that both had a chance to share the gold mine the Persian Gulf but instead could not settle their differences. In the end the Portuguese were the winners! This is one of the few instances i can think of when money was not the top priority.

Blog 2

For week two's reading Janet Abu-Lughod discusses Venice and Genoa's history of trade. Both Genoa and Venice were supreme forces in the Mediterranean trade. In the 13th century northern and central Italy's most commanding merchants had a firm grasp on trade in Europe and down to the Middle East. Genoa and Venice both attempted to monopolize the trade routes. Genoa eventually fell because of their connection with Egypt. Egypt provided Genoa with many slaves through trade. Once this connection fell through Genoa never recovered.

The destruction of the Mongol Empire led to the decrease in value of the north. The Mediterranean was badly affected and produced low profits. The last significant thing Genoa attempted to do was take control of the Atlantic. This was a stretch but they weren't left with many options. In the end this was a failure and Venice took over the connection with Egypt. Genoa was left with virtually nothing and Venice took over.

I found the issues between Venice and Genoa to be quite interesting. Each tried to stay one step ahead of the other and control the trade routes. They also tried to cut off trade routes of the other. The greed for money and power both possessed was incredible. Unfortunately, Genoa fell short of this battle mainly because of natural disasters and external factors.

My question is how much longer could Genoa have fought off Venice if they didn't lose their connection to Egypt?

Blog 1

In before European Hegemony, Janet L. Abu-Lughod attempts to bring light to the time period before Europe became a dominant power. The reason for this is to give background and an explanation for how things changed. Janet has the idea that historians are wrong for starting with the European hegemony and working backward. Instead she suggest they go back and work their way forward.

Janet begins in the 13th century. She says that during the 13th century there was a huge amount of economic development and cultural achievement around the world. Technology played a big role in the economic boom. New technologies made it easier for countries to trade amongst each other. With the trading came a spread of culture. The money used from trading went back into cultural affairs. It was somewhat of a cycle.

During this time, there was no one country or area of the world that was a hegemonic power. At this time the West, Middle East, and East were all similar in power. The question is raised, could we describe this time period as a world system. Maybe even modern capitalism for a better term. This time period is very interesting. It's hard for me to imagine a time period in history when Europe was not seen as the dominant power. I guess my reason of thinking is the exact reason why Janet questions why we assume that Europe was always the dominant hegemony.

Cosmo Gov

Can there ever be a world government? At first I thought that there was no way the human race would come together and be governed by a single body, at least during my lifetime. Although, after reading “Critical Responses to Neoliberal Globalization in the Mercosur Region,” by Heikki Patomaki and Teivo Teivainen and discussing this in class my argument has changed. In the reading the writers use the term Cosmopolitan democracy, which I have never heard of and I had to look it up. From what I got out of the term is that it is a theory of a government that was composed by a man named David Held. This theory is that all facets of the human race fit in to a single community that is supported by shared morality. This term can be used as a way to describe a world government or can just be an idea of different nations and individuals having more comprehensive relationships with other nations and individuals. These relationships are centered on the globalization that is occurring today with better political, economic, and moral understanding and unification between nations. The writers of this article center their argument on this term as well as neoliberal globalization.

I think this article had many interesting points, from what I could understand as I am not up to date on all the political and ideological terms. But, I try and look them up to gain some understanding of what is going on with current beliefs and movements. Since I have not heard of some of these ideas that are influencing our generation it is probably why my first response to the idea of seeing a world government within my lifetime, let’s say I make it till 2050, was absolutely not possible. Now, as I become more educated with the idea of globalization during the twenty first century and the current movements my thoughts are beginning to change. Although, even with these ideas out there I still think a catastrophic event like a natural disaster or and economic tragedy is needed for a world government to come together. There has to be a need for it and right now there seems to be really no need for a world government at least within the core countries. It may seem like we are alright without a world government, but I believe it would most certainly help the world as a whole.

I guess what it comes down to is when will humans stop classifying and stereotyping by race, religion, and geographic location. Until we can put our physical and historical differences behind or aside we will never be able to be governed by a single body. The thing that really makes me think is what is going to happen during my lifetime. I feel like we have been exponentially advancing as a species and during the twenty first century I think our advances will be at the highest rate. Thus, what will our generation do during this age of exponential growth?

neoliberalism globalization.

If the government was removed from world trade, I feel that there would still be problems and that poorer countries would still remain poor. It is a good theory but I feel like that it would not work in practice. We, as a richer nation would not pay the "fair price" on things that the poorer countries produce. Much as we pay lower wages to illegal immigrants to profit. I'm not sure that I even understood what the article was exactly talking about but I am pretty positive that it could not work.
Capitalism is all about maximizing profits through minimizing costs, and we will minimize costs at all costs. (pun intended). There are sweat shops where kids work for pennies a day, and that's in America so other countries are trying to minimize costs too. So I really don't feel that this could function on a global scale
What do you guys think could this system work?

last blog

The last thing we talked about in this semester was neoliberalism. Trade is very important to neoliberalists seeing as they don't think globalization is possible unless the entire world participates in trade. I can understand that point of view, because trade allows for the exchange of goods and raw materials as well as ideas, theories and morals. Without trade and the hands-on experience of a certain country, it is very difficult to appreciate the customs of that country and be willing to acquire that mindset of acceptance. But WITH trade, that task becomes much easier to accomplish.

This in turn leads to the thought of one culture. Right now, despite the fast forward effects of globilization, cultures are still very different. Each has become more accepting of other cultures, granted, but isolation is still very much in effect. But, if we continue in the fashion we are right now into the future, could it be possible that these separate cultures will eventually become one giant culture, a melting pot of the entire world under one canopy of integrated culture?

Another thing discussed during class was the issue of "copyright." All the music, movies, or the result from any creative outlet for that matter, is copyrighted, which makes it illegal for others to steal. But is it really stealing? If one person uses another person's works to provide inspiration for their own creations, how is that illegal? I think copyright has crossed the line of just being there for practical purposes and merged into the world where it's all about the money and empty rules.

Neoliberal Globalization

Part 1:
Potomaki and Teivainen had a very interesting article that discussed the political and economic theory of neoliberalism. The best theoretical response to globalization is a theory called cosmopolitan democracy, but the problem with it is that it is not part of the “real world historical processes”. In Potomaki and Teivainen’s article they use the example of a region in Latin America called Mercosur where neoliberal globalization has shown many political responses that exhibit signs of cosmopolitan democracy. The main issue they are having troubles with is financial globalization. They are attempting to find radical reforms. Countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil have revealed that they have developed in such a way that they now have the political consciousness to handle real problems that citizens were having. Potomaki and Teivainen also developed working definitions of concepts such as: globalization, democracy, civic public spaces, and trans/supra-national responses to globalization. They discovered that they needed to redefine the “conceptual basis”of cosmopolitan democracy in terms of political economy.

Part 2:
I found it interesting that countries in South America were exhibiting signs of neoliberal globalization. I am not sure what country I expected, but South America threw me for a loop.

Part 3:
What other countries do you think are showing signs of neoliberal globalization? Is this good or bad and Why?

Last blog -- Neoliberalism

This week’s reading was on the subject of neoliberalism which is an economic ideology involving the reduction of restraints on economic institutions to make it easier for everyone to profit. The perfect example of this is free trade, opening up all borders for trade and eliminating all restrictions and tariffs. A recent attempt example of free trade that the authors go into detail about is the Mercosur in South America. Neoliberalists believe that globalization is a process that is only possible with the principle of free trade in practice. More conservative economists believe that free trade would just lead to further exploitation of the lesser-developed countries. With free trade, the developed nations are no longer so accounted for for what they do overseas (as they are now with countless restrictions) and they’d be free to outsource all they want. This would lose countless jobs for many citizens of the powerful nations since thousands of jobs would be moved overseas where the minimum wage is significantly lower, thus it is much cheaper. Production would boom though and huge companies would thrive. But in this situation, there is no room for improvement for the lesser developed nations even though the principle is to give everyone a free chance to progress economically. Free trade just gives developed nations an opportunity to take advantage of those less fortunate for their personal benefits.
Is it possible in today’s capitalistic society of complete self-determination to open up all borders but avoid this situation?


Last blog -- Neoliberalism

This week’s reading was on the subject of neoliberalism which is an economic ideology involving the reduction of restraints on economic institutions to make it easier for everyone to profit. The perfect example of this is free trade, opening up all borders for trade and eliminating all restrictions and tariffs. A recent attempt example of free trade that the authors go into detail about is the Mercosur in South America. Neoliberalists believe that globalization is a process that is only possible with the principle of free trade in practice. More conservative economists believe that free trade would just lead to further exploitation of the lesser-developed countries. With free trade, the developed nations are no longer so accounted for for what they do overseas (as they are now with countless restrictions) and they’d be free to outsource all they want. This would lose countless jobs for many citizens of the powerful nations since thousands of jobs would be moved overseas where the minimum wage is significantly lower, thus it is much cheaper. Production would boom though and huge companies would thrive. But in this situation, there is no room for improvement for the lesser developed nations even though the principle is to give everyone a free chance to progress economically. Free trade just gives developed nations an opportunity to take advantage of those less fortunate for their personal benefits.
Is it possible in today’s capitalistic society of complete self-determination to open up all borders but avoid this situation?


final blog

This week's reading cover globalization, cosmopolitan democracy, and neo-liberalism. The authors provide examples of each through the European Union and Mercosur. They debate what is best for the world economy. According to neo-liberalism, there should be free trade between countries and virtually no government intervention in the process. This would help the rich get richer and possibly help the more poor countries but it would not benefit them on the same scale as the more wealthy nations. They argue that some amount of government check is needed on more wealthy countries so that they can not outsource all of their companies to areas of the world where they can take advantage of the people by paying extremely low wages.

I agree that some government regulation is needed. If there is none, the world would become more heavily skewed towards the richer companies who would be incredibly wealthy and away from the poorer countries who can not make the same economic moves as the richer nations.


This article discusses the Mercosur trade agreement in South America. In this article, Neoglobalization is questioned. It is close to cosmopolitan Democracy. One of the characteristics it contains is that every person in a group should have his or her own ability to achieve goals. Their own determination. However, if this is not the case with one or more members of the group, then it causes blocks in cooperation etc. The cosmopolitan democracy comes from many different networks that are connected and make up one nation-state. Now, it is the purpose of the Mercosur to make these different networks work together.

There are more details to the Mercosur tasks. It attempts to protect the political structure, production, exploitation of materials and the need for a democratic process. Most importantly, the union between the different networks must remain strong and their collaboration not weakened by lack of self-determination.

Neoliberal societies have been most prominent in South America. However, many of these have not faired well. The countries had very little freedom for their citizens and the difference in state of living and wealth between the rich and the poor generally worsened. I think that these types of regimes are not productive for our world. In this day and age every person should have the right to influence their own government and the laws that bind them.

----Dorothy Smith "Bunny"

Extra Credit (free culture)

I think that the article about free culture was very interesting. I found that the argument that restrictions on different things actually makes us lose freedom and culture. This was interesting to me because I never thought about this in that way.
Immediately I thought of music and movies having copy writes. I feel like the only reason copy writes exist because people wanted to find ways to make as much money off of the music or movies as possible. I agree with my classmates who felt that after a certain amount of time the copy write should be lifted. I feel that music and movies are something that should eventually belong to the public because the public is the people that are exploited in a sense to make the different music and movies popular. I feel that if a person wants to continue to make money from movies or music that they should have to continue to work in the craft. I feel that artist continually making money off of old projects just reinforces wealth inequality.

Neoliberalism Blog

We concluded the semester by talking about Neoliberalism. A Neoliberalist would support free trade. They also support things like the IMF and the World Bank. From the Neoliberalist view point globalization can only truly succeed, if all countries are able to trade with each other. There are currently many restrictions and tarrifs on trade from certain countries to other countries. An example of this would be the US not trading with North Korea or Cuba.

The opposition to the Neoliberalist view would say that capitalism typically helps developed countries more than countries that are not developed. Free trade globally could make things so that developed countries are not accountable for what they do overseas. Undeveloped countries would continue to be taken advantage of, as developed countries outsource. With the restrictions companies are not allowed to outsource all of their jobs for low wages in other countries. Instead companies have to build in their own countries and abide by the outsourcing restrictions. So basically free trade means more wealth, money and a better life for develop countries and the exact opposite for underdeveloped countries. This also would never give the undeveloped countries a chance to improve.

I like the idea of free trade but when you break down its effects, I don't think it is worth it.

On another note in class someone mentioned the thought of globalization leading to one mass culture. Any thoughts on that?

The West's Hegemony

The Western world, particularly the United States, have held varying degrees of hegemony over the rest of the world for almost the entire modern era.  This brings up two very important questions.  The first is, is this good?  The second concerns the future.  What will come after this?

So the effects of Western hegemony, to be fair, I don’t think they are terribly different from what would happen under the hegemony of any other region.  Other regions are exploited for the gain of the hegemon.  Human rights and democracy often take a backseat to potential helpfulness to the hegemon when governments of the “third world” or “developing world” or whatever else the term might be at the time for the less powerful nations.  Hegemony over the rest of the world is good if you are the one in power, and is considerably less awesome if you are not.  Western domination has helped the West, but not necessarily the rest of the world, I think.

What’s next?  This is a question that has been frequently posed over the course of the class, but without any specific answers brought forth in discussion.  I tend to agree with Fareed Zakaria’s idea, which is that the “pie” will simply get bigger, and therefore, even though the West’s share of that pie will grow, so will everyone else’s, and the proportion will decrease.  I think this leads to the possibility of a world system closest to one without hegemony since the 13th Century system.  We would see a multi-polar world, where the United States would still likely have the most important voice, but would only have one voice of many.  Regional powers would have much more influence on the system, as Brazil, South Africa, India, and similar nations rise to take their places on the world stage.  All of this would still be relatively hegemony-like, but multi-polar, as opposed to previous uni or bi polar systems.  What do you think this system will lead to?


The article covers this issue with the trade agreement in South America called Mercosur. The only issue that I see, with it is that it is hard to imagine that more than a handful of the countries involved would oppose the abstract principles of cosmopolitan democracy. These principles include the fact that all groups and associations are assumed to have a capacity for self determinati0on. Should one of the major players, not have this capacity, it would hold the union back significantly, and prevent cooperation and collaboration. The case of cosmopolitan democracy arises from multiple overlapping networks of power, which are confined to the nation-state. These networks are complex and delicate, and it is the job of the Mercosur union to attempt to unite these nations. The defense of self determination, the creation of a common structure of political action, and the preservation of the common good are all important priorities. Democratic autonomy, another important factor, would require the ability to balance these factors, and in a nation that falls short, it could jeopardize the ability of the mercosur. Principle of social justice also follows in the political and economic union. The production, distribution, and exploitation of materials must be conductive to the democratic process, and a common structure of political action available to all. People, must be able to be members of diverse communities and retain membership to these communities. This is what is most import ant about the global societal union, the ability to collaborate based upon complex as well as diverse backgrounds and create something new and innovative. I find this the most important part, as it is instrumental to the purpose of the union itself.

Free Culture Extra Credit

Although the audio was poor at times, I found the movie we watched in class about free culture to be very interesting. Much like some of the comments I heard during our discussion in class the speaker in the movie said that because of restrictions supported by law, our freedom is prohibited and in result we are losing culture.

During class a few students voiced their opinions on the restrictions about the re-usage of work. We focused on the "copyright" and music. People commented that music should only be restricted for a certain amount of time. After the artist has died, whats the point of the restriction? That artist can't make any money off of it anymore. It may as well get used or sampled by someone else for their innovative idea.

I agree with these comments. I also have an understanding for why for people try to keep there work and the deceased work restricted. I think it is all about money, just like everything else. Of course as a person that has never a song, I would support that people should be able to use others peoples music. But I have a feeling that if people were trying to use my song I wouldn't want them to be able to. Sounds selfish but that's the way it is.

For now I have nothing anyone would want to use so I say the restrictions on music should be removed. Open new doors for other people and allow innovations. Support free culture. Or at least let me download music for free. That way I wouldn't have to steal it anymore.

Neoliberal Globalization and Cosmopolitan Democracy Blog

Patomaki and Teivainen’s “Critical response to neoliberal globalization in the Mercosur region: roads towards cosmopolitan democracy?” begins by describing cosmopolitan democracy as realizing a political community that is more conducive to democratic goals that are based in globalization. The authors then recognize that cosmopolitan democracy has previously been seen in a Eurocentric light which is detached from numerous other historical occurrences. Next, they define globalization as “the belief in the oneness of the world and humankind” (41). Transnational neoliberalism is said to have a direct correlation with globalization because it assumes that the world has achieved, or will eventually achieve if rational policies are followed, economic unity due to economic globalization. This growth can best be gained through “free” international trade, reasonable budgets, low inflation, privatization, the economization of social life, and deregulated markets, assuming those trying to achieve it have transnational mobility. Patomaki and Teivainen then state that even if the majority of people want to disregard property rights, the government must go against this in order to further free market capitalism, which is what led to most of the instances of despotism in Latin America. This led to the strengthening of the economic elite in those countries, which caused more of a disparity in the distribution of wealth. However, globalization has also led to boundaries in Latin America being considered more along the lines of public spaces instead of state borders. Therefore, at the same time that Latin American nations are struggling against globalization, they are also increasing in their “cosmopolitan attempts to participate in world politics” (47). Transnational organizations were created, which adds to the authors’ argument that Mercosur does not prevent further democratization. Some people are worried that regional concerns could soon supersede national ones, but others view this as a natural adjunct to globalization. The EU has no problem with it since it is encouraging trans-regionalism. Patomaki and Teivainen thus conclude that globalization constrains some political possibilities while opening up others, including the possibility of a model based on the EU to help integrate toward cosmopolitan democracy, which causes them to believe that the Mercosur region is moving toward transnational and global democracy.

I found it most interesting that globalization is beginning to achieve what was simply reality. As we discussed earlier in this course, the idea of a nation being based on a common language and eventually ideology did not come into play until a fair amount of time had passed. Patomaki and Teivainen assert in the article that globalization has collapsed distance and reorganized social spaces and practices, which has led to the creation of “states” that transcend geographical and political boundaries. This sounds to me like the world is resuming its original format, which I find intriguing.

I would have found it interesting if Patomaki and Teivainen would have elaborated more on the relationship between despotism in Latin America and capitalism. They explain that despotism in Latin American countries often came about as a result of a push for capitalism, but they do not explain other methods that could have been pursued. They assert that the Latin American governments ignored the demand from a majority of the citizens to regulate property rights because that would have theoretically hurt the general welfare. So instead of following what the people wanted, the governments decided that in order “to gain free market capitalism, the demands of those opposed, including the victims of recession, unemployment, and all types of physical and moral pains, must be ignored” (44). Do you think that this was the best course to follow? Should there not be a course in which the current welfare is not disregarded in favor of the future?

Critical Response to Neoliberal Globalization

In this interesting article, Potomaki and Teivainen question the political-economic theory of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism (in my opinion) is similar to the neo-classical theory of political economy; that is, restraints on economic systems (i.e. government) should be drastically reduced, therefore citizens of the world would be able to more easily make decisions and profit, or something like that. Neoliberalism seems very similar to cosmopolitan democracy. According to a well-cited Wikipedia article,in cosmopolitan democracy, "decisions should be made by the citizens that are influenced by them, avoiding to have a single hierarchical form of authority." That is, decisions should be made by the people rather than governments; the people should control the economy (in a capitalistic sense).

Neoliberalistic political economy has been tried in parts of the world, perhaps most notably in Latin America, with mixed results (leaning heavily towards failure). However, it is obvious that in the countries where neoliberalism was implemented, the societies were not free (e.g. Pinochet's Chile). One could also object that other nations did not have policies of neoliberalism, but is this necessary for a neoliberal political economy to work...? In many countries that have had neoliberal political economies, the economic gap between rich and poor has/had widened, which is contradictory to the theory's intent.

Here's an (semi-) unrelated question: what will the effects of globalization be on things like copyright law? Will copyright and patent law become (increasingly) internationalized/globalized?

Neoliberalism (Shaq Smith)

The ideology of neoliberal globalization has been on a roll since the early 1980s. It was not in fact a new idea in the history of the modern world-system, although it claimed to be one. It was rather the very old idea that the governments of the world should get out of the way of large, efficient enterprises in their efforts to prevail in the world market. The first policy implication was that governments, all governments, should permit these corporations freely to cross every frontier with their goods and their capital. The second policy implication was that the governments, all governments, should renounce any role as owners themselves of these productive enterprises, privatizing whatever they own. And the third policy implication was that governments, all governments, should minimize, if not eliminate, any and all kinds of social welfare transfer payments to their populations. This old idea had always been cyclically in fashion.

In the 1980s, these ideas were proposed as a counterview to the equally old Keynesian and/or socialist views that had been prevailing in most countries around the world: that economies should be mixed (state plus private enterprises); that governments should protect their citizens from the depredations of foreign-owned quasi-monopolist corporations; and that governments should try to equalize life chances by transferring benefits to their less well-off residents (especially education, health, and lifetime guarantees of income levels), which required of course taxation of better-off residents and corporate enterprises.

The political balance is swinging back. Neoliberal globalization will be written about ten years from now as a cyclical swing in the history of the capitalist world-economy. The real question is not whether this phase is over but whether the swing back will be able, as in the past, to restore a state of relative equilibrium in the world-system. Or has too much damage been done? And are we now in for more violent chaos in the world-economy and therefore in the world-system as a whole.

Do you think Neoliberalism is effective?


Free Culture (Final Blog)

This week we read an article by Heikki Patomaki and Teivo Teivainen entitled “Critical Responses to Neoiberal Globalization in the Mercosur Region,” and watched videos on discussing “Free Culture.” Lawrence Lessig, a lawyer, wrote a series of books, which these videos are made off of. I had never truly thought about the effects of copyright, I just always knew it was there, and was taught never to copyright. I agree with what was copyright laws on some accounts, people that make a living by designing, creating or writing something have to have a way of making money, and copyright it how it is done. But then I never knew that copyright laws could extend so far beyond a life. As for the article, I found the debate it brought up of democracy and globalization very intriguing.

People brought up good reasons in class for copyright, such as the girl who’s father created a program that does his work for him. But at the same time who gets the money from the copyright expires. I personally do not think it is right for the work, whatever it may be, to still be copyright, I think it should be available for everyone to use. I just believe that after seeing someone else’s work, one can adapt it for their own and use pieces of the old. Some of my favorite music is from combining different types of music to create something brilliant. Such as in Step Up, the music combines classical with a modern beat, to signify the dancers merging hip hop and ballet.

A question I thought of while watching the videos was what about remakes and covers? How do those not go under some copyright law? Almost every movie out there has been made in one way or another, a lot of the movies I have grown up watching are remakes of movies my parents grew up watching.

last blog

Neoliberalism and Globalization:
In this article Neoliberalism is discussed and questioned. A neoliberalist supports things like free trade, and the world bank, also they believe it is imperative that all countries trade with each other. The Mercosur trade agreement in South America is explained as it an example of this.
Neoliberalism is similar to cosmopolitan Democracy yet it is more binding. One of the characteristics of neoliberalism is that every person in a group has their own ability to achieve goals. However, this is not always successful because if one person does not, there is a glitch. The cosmopolitan democracy comes from many different networks that are connected and make up one nation-state. The purpose of the Mercosur trade agreement to make these different networks work together. Mercursur also works to protect the political structure, production, exploitation of materials, and the need for a democratic process. Most importantly, the union between the different networks must remain strong and their collaboration not weakened by lack of self-determination.
In opposition to the Neoliberalist view, one would say that capitalism helps developed countries and poses a disadvantage to third world countries. If there were global free trade, developed countries would continue to abuse underdeveloped countries. As developed countries outsource, the underdeveloped countries would not even have a fair chance to develop. With the restrictions placed now companies are not allowed to outsource all of their jobs to low-wage countries. There are limited restrictions that companies have to follow, such as building in their own countries and abiding by the outsourcing restrictions. It seems most likely that free trade means more wealth for developed countries and the exact opposite for underdeveloped countries.
In class we talked about the effects of global trade. Any thoughts on the concept of a single global culture?


So for our last blog we talked about neoliberalism. Neoliberal policies say that commercial activity is the best way to produce and supply the goods and services that our society needs. Labor unions and state affairs are said to interfere with the free play of capitalism. For globalization to succeed, many countries would need to allow trade to all countries. It would not succeed if countries only traded with certain countries. This is what economic globalization is all about. Some countries believe that by following this type of ideology the world economy would grow and also it would be better for the social well being of everyone. With the removal of these borders and barriers, corporations would grow and thus expand its market. Most developed countries have accepted neo-liberalism and thus have their corporations and economy expanded. However, less developed areas would have a harder time accepting this because of the lack of technology and development compared to the other developed nations.
I agree with the authors in the sense that all nations need to collaborate in this ideology for globalization to really take place. Even underdeveloped countries need to take part so that true globalization can take place.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last Blog

Once again the readings pertain largely to globalization and looks at it from several different perspectives. First, Held provides a response to globalization that is largely detached and essentially suggests reform of this system. He fails to recognize the fact that he is largely focusing on a European perspective even though he uses only the European Union as evidence to defend his decision that the best answer is cosmopolitan democracy. Patomaki and Teievaned on the other hand defend why they believe cosmopolitan democracy actually would not be a good response to globalization whatsoever.
Although the explanation of neoliberalism was essentially everything I imagined it to be with a truly global market free of any government intervention, I was very impressed with the way Patomaki and Teievaned considered globalization and defended their beliefs with strong supporting evidence. When they thoroughly explained the Mercusor region, I found it extremely refreshing from the European model that seems to be what everyone turns to these days. I also found the part about the necessity for all countries to partake in globalization to be very interesting because the either extremely wealthy or extremely poor countries are the ones that find it the most difficult. This reminded me of a reading from early in the semester in my Comparative Politics class that suggested that the countries that fall somewhere in the middle are the ones that can easily prosper. Unfortunately, the wealthy are satisfied right where they are and wouldn't want to risk that, and the poor can't simply jump into globalization either, although it would be ideal.
The only problem I really had with neoliberalism is that it seems quite extreme because we all know that certainly somethings are just better off being controlled by the government. Privatization of all businesses could truly create a giant mess, and I'm not exactly sure where Patomaki and Teievaned draw the line, it seems unclear to me.

extra credit free culture

I thought the movie in class about free culture was really interesting because the speaker in the movie was claiming that we are losing our rights to freedom and our culture through the use of restrictions on creative works, such as patents. Someone in class commented that they felt everyone should be able to use everyone else’s work as long as the work is properly cited and does not try to pass as one’s own work. I agree with this comment because I feel it is important to use other people’s previous work so we are able to build on and progress. When someone creates a piece of art or music, it sets the foundation for new inspiration. I think educational institutions have been the best promoters of the free culture movement because they do not have intent of economic gain. I found a really cool website which is a website that contains students from various universities coming together through email and blogging to support the free culture movement.

last blog

In this week’s reading, the authors talk about the concept of cosmopolitan democracy, which is a response to globalization that forces us to rethink our political society in accordance with our democratic ideals. Held’s model of democratic governance tends to be detached from what is going on in different contexts of the globalizing world and does not account for the transformation process toward cosmopolitan democracy. In addition, it is largely based on the European’s perspectives and experiences and thus may not generalize to the other parts of the world. The authors continue on to define the concepts of globalization and civic public spaces and discuss the effects of neoliberal globalization in countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The authors explain that neoliberal globalization has strengthened only the elites, while declining the middle class, lowering the standard of living, and increased poverty. I think it is going to be interesting to see the interactions and effects of more and more countries becoming democracies, especially because the countries in the Mercosur region seem to be faring poorly. The authors state that Mercosur was created by “diplomats and economists” and most of the decisions of these regions were clearly economistic. If countries such as these are continued to run purely for economic incentives, it is inevitable that they will perish in the future. I think it would have been interesting if the authors would have compared more regions of the world as well, because this notion of cosmopolitan democracy could have been expanded even further.

Final Blog

Patomaki and Teievanen discuss the possibility of their being a different response to globalization. The most discussed political theory for the globalization process is the theory of cosmopolitan democracy. This theory mainly states that we must rethink the political community before we can obtain our ideals and aspirations. That is status quo policies and politics must change before any real ideals are met.
Neolibralism promotes the idea that the forces of the free market will in turn be most efficient in promoting a good economy. This means government should play as small of a role possible in economics and the market.
Patomaki and Teievaned discuss the flaw in the cosmopoliton response to globalization. In David Held’s cosmopoliton democracy he focused on the Europeon Union and how it responded to the globalization process. His model is inspired from the Europeon integration process although he has never admitted it. As a result, his theory tends to be Eurocentric. Patomaki and Teievanen attempt to disprove this by focusing on a different area of the world. They focus on the Mercosur region of Latin America which includes Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.
Although I believe there are many sectors of the national economy where the government should not play a role, there remains the fact that some establishment need to be run by the government such as a national postal service or important infrastructure related industries. Although I found this reading interesting I find it difficult to picture an increase in global politics.


So throughout the course, globalization is probably the word that i am most familiar with. For this LAST BLOG, globalization pops up one more time. Globalization is the ideology that deals with destroying the barriers that separate nations in order to make the world more globally economic. Neoliberalism is what promotes the market forces and commercial activity as an efficient way for the very simple theory of supply and demand. Neoliberalism discourages government intervention and relies on the countries as a whole to partake in globalization. The policies of Neoliberalism will create global prosperity and it was accepted by most "beginner" agencies.
Some countries, however, do not have the means to participate in neoliberalism and are not able to escape their impoverishment. At the same time, some extremely wealthy areas are actually afraid to participate because they do not want the lesser countries to attack them out of spite.

Extra Credit blog--free culture

The movie that we watched in class was about free culture and freedom in general from patents and the government that has regulated this. The movie talks about how patents have evolved from using someone’s invention in four years after it was created to a patent extending to forever. This guy David, talks about how we are losing the battle of freedom and that culture is being stolen from people through patents.

First, I found this entire speech to be interesting, but one thing I would like to talk about is the Homer Simpson problems of having to pay $25,000 to the company that owns the Simpsons for a two second background. This just goes to show you how greedy people have gotten throughout society in the last hundred years. Patents were not a forever thing, but as soon as someone got a hold of it and realized they could make a lot of money, that is when it took off. The recession today, where did it start off…The greed of the CEO’s and banks that thought they could make a pretty penny off of someone. Patents have not become as large of a problem yet because it has not put us into a recession. America doesn’t do anything unless there is a problem with MONEY for the CEO’s, and patents are not exceptions!

However, one thing that needs to be addressed is if patents were to become more lacks, like in the 1700s, then the person who made the creation that is being patented will lose money. That is not entirely far for that person to lose money when they have clearly made it as their livelihood. There needs to be some moderation that satisfies the majority of people without the creator losing too much money. Our economy has to come into play at some point. Forever is forever to long lol.

Genetics is where patents will start to have the largest problem in my opinion. This is another problem that needs to be addressed and fixed before it becomes a problem. If you are a geneticist working in a lab and you discover a trait that is expressed on a specific gene, you may patent that gene as yours. The problem comes into play when another trait, say cancer, is discovered on the same gene. The second geneticist cannot do anymore research on that gene without paying the patents and first geneticist money. This problem can cost people there lives, or create explosions for that first geneticist to do whatever they want with “their” gene like put it into an animal to create a mutation. The book Next by Michael Crichton is a wonderful novel about the over use of gene patents. It is not all scientific it is also just a really good read!

Globalization and the cosmopolitan democracy

I found this article's method of argument to be very fascinating. The authors begin my informing us that there has been only one "viable" response to globalization - that of cosmopolitan democracy. This is the idea that in order for our democratic ideals to be realized (as we know them) in conjunction with globalization, we must remake and rethink our political community. I took "political community" to be international relations, including but not limited to transnational and international organizations, diplomacy (as opposed to physical aggression) and on a smaller scale entities that are not overtly or obviously (by name) political beings, but ones that have effective political power - NGOs (e.g. Red Cross, Amnesty International). After identifying cosmopolitan democracy as the only fledged response, the authors tell us that because the theory is based on too narrow of basis, it is indeed actually not a very good response to globalization at all. The article then goes on to explain what is really going on by aptly and with earning my great praise, a region which is completely seperate and different (especially culturally) from the EU (Held's basis for his theory) while still being partially founded on the same principles.

I found it very interesting to see which region the author's focused on for their exploration. It is indeed the best region to have picked to really illustrate the problems with Held's cosmopolitan democracy theory. The region is geographically isolated from the EU, has a starkly different culture, different basis for economy, and I believe to be a very different history. The Mercusor region being in the New World was largely imperialized for years while the EU has the imperializers. The region chosen for discussion really highlights the diversity that is found in globalization and at the same time shows why it is so difficult to make a proper response to it (why Held "failed" and why nobody else has "succeeded.)"

I do not understand the two different yet inter-related definitions of globalization. The first being that the spatial expansion of a social system. This one I understand - decisions in one place can and probably will affect the people in a country half way around the world. I do not understand the second definition - a change in how the social system is organized - can somebody clarify this for me please?


Neoliberalism is a set of economic policies that strays away from the government sectors, and the free movement of goods and services around the world. In this reading they say that labour unions and states interfere with the free play of the capitalist market. In other words neoliberals what trade free of borders throughout countries which would eliminate the governments interjections. With opening trade to all countries and eliminating the government’s involvement, globalization would greatly improve. There have been several countries that used this tactic and had poor economic turn out for its people.
I found it interesting that the concept of neoliberalism to open up free trade to countries failed, and by failed I mean for the poor and middle class of the country living in poor conditions. Globalization can be good for a countries economy and also culture from one country to another is opened up. I could imagine that with free trade there would be less incentive for a product to be safe.
One problem I see happening after opening up free trade is immigration problems. If the trade is opened up without any regulations or involvement of the government there would be a lot of people living in countries that are not theirs. I am not saying that the government can solve all of the problems, but with their involvement it would make it harder for illegal immigration to take place. A countries economy relies on the delicate balance of people emigrating and immigrating; hence, the welfare systems would fade away.

Last Blog

Patomaki and Teivanen’s article discusses the need to adjust the bias of cosmopolitan democracy, a theory that requires a readjustment of the political community so that democratic ideals can be realized. The authors argue that cosmopolitan democracy models do not account for real historical processes. Many cynics argue that the opportunity for globalization in politics is limited by corruption, conspiracy, and the concentration of power within nationalistic forms like Washington and the IMF. Through the article’s study of the Mercosur region, however, are examples of national networking and global ethico-political visions. It is therefore possible that globalization can be both a constraint and an advocate of new political improvements.

The article specifically describes the European Union as the primary model of cosmopolitan democracy and regional democratization. While not perfect in spreading democracy across national boundaries, many leaders in the Mercosur , which includes Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil, see the EU as the closest thing in today’s world system. For the Mercosur to copy the EU would be unreasonable, as the two regions have experienced vastly different histories and have different expectations of and opinions on human rights that ultimately influence the decision makers of any integration process. Furthermore, there are several other regional integration projects occurring in Latin America that place it in a state of flux. It is possible that it does not have the stability to structure a model like that of the EU, especially in light of competition between the NAFTA agreement and the Latin American push for more autonomy. The effects of these differences create obstacles to the development of a global political economy. On the other hand, because many people view themselves as having European qualities, it is possible that public opinion will sway government leaders toward adopting a system that will allow for an increase in standing in the politico-economic hierarchy. In Brazil, there has been civil societal involvement in budget making for municipal administrations for two decades. This participatory budget planning has inspired other democratic reforms at higher levels, like in Mercosur cities.

Under this example, perhaps it is possible to push toward a world system united under the same economic and political ideals. It certainly seems that the Mercosur has the foundation for an arrangement like that of the EU. Perhaps the formation of another EU-like institution will create a trend that will force other compatible regions to follow suit, truly revolutionizing the world system. I am sure the path will not be so easy, though, simply because as the article mentions, different places have different histories, and on a related note, have different expectations for human rights and development. The Mercosur is contemplating the possibility of a system like the EU because they identify with Europeans to start with and are willing to follow such a model. Other regions of the world may not be so inclined to follow suit, especially where democracy is not a priority. I am most interested in if these types of institutions will form and provide further competition to the U.S. as leading world economies, especially with the rapid growth of China’s economy. If current trends continue, it seems that China will take over as the world’s leading economy, though there is time for responses from the U.S., the EU, and perhaps a new power, the Mercosur. Will these political globalization processes find success, or are they just a theory that a couple of regions appear to mimic for now?

Neoliberal Globalization - Uh oh?

As more and more nations are becoming democracies and our world is becoming increasingly more globalized, how are the two going to affect, help, or hinder eachother? It's a serious question. Will our or others' democracies be at risk due to globalization? Can we look forward to democratic world if eventually all nations become democracies? Theoretically, this would be a world in which internationally made decisions will be for the good of the whole and the majority will rule. What would really happen, though (if this were the case) when so many so-called "democracies" are actually ruled by ruthless and selfish dictators?

Patomaki and Teivainen use the Mercosur region in Latin America as a case study for analyzing neoliberal globalization and to speculate its potential trajectory toward a cosmopolitan democracy. The countries in the regions have found the most pressing problems have to do with the financial end of globalization and from this Patomaki and Teivainen argue that we should define cosmopolitan democracy in moreso in politco-economic terms if we are to more fully understand and function in a neoliberal, globalized world and retain democratic governments.

Neoliberal globalization, they argue, has actually made the positions of economic elites more powerful than they previously were. Such elites are not generally concerned with welfare, so those policies have declined along with the middle class while the living standards of the majority have gotten worse. Poor people cannot boost the economy by buying goods, so economy declines. Neoliberals attempt to boost it, but usually at the expense of the environment. The treaty that strengthened the bond between nations of Mercosur was mainly economic though it includes statements for social justice. The scholars also see the social effects of globalization in the of transnational, interregional communication and action involving individuals and groups seeking political action beyond the boundaries of the state, especially in the form of human rights groups. Other groups are pressing for more decision making above the national level with a more institutionalized group. While the economic bent would suggest anti-democratization, Mercusor was found to reinforce and even rescue democracy in Paraguay.

Nonetheless, one has to be concerned that in the case of Mercusor--and as I believe would be the case for future regional communities in an increasingly corporatized--the decision-makers are dominated by business bosses. In a world where the bottom line is what matters and profits are the main motivating factors for decision-making, democracy is at risk because democracy involves the decision-making power the general people out of concern for the basic-rights of all. If globalization is mainly driven by economy, than I am skeptical of it and lean towards the opinion that it is ultimately bad.

Nationalism and/or Patriotism

In order to differentiate between nationalism and patriotism I turned to the trust Oxford English Dictionary because everywhere else the definitions were literally the same exact words. For myself the only differences between the words were connotations that I thought were subjective because of my own individual contacts with the words in specific contexts.

"1. a. Advocacy of or support for the interests of one's own nation, esp. to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Also: advocacy of or support for national independence or self-determination.
[in smaller subtext] Whereas patriotism usually refers to a general sentiment, nationalism now usually refers to a specific ideology, esp. one expressed through political activism. In earlier use, however, the two appear to have been more or less interchangeable."
(Oxford English Dictionary online at

At least the OED confirms that it's not just lack of knowledge that has led us all to think of nationalism and patriotism as synonyms. Apparently they have essentially been synonyms for a long time and only just recently have become more differentiated. So, patriotism is a more general feeling of support for one's own nation (its interests, etc.) even when doing so may harm other nations. Nationalism is that but for a specific ideology in support of one's nation's interest.

Does anyone agree or disagree with the OED? I would add that nationalism has a more aggressive connotation and patriotism more defensive, but I think that is, like I mentioned, subjective.

Final Blog-Neoliberalism

David Helm and his chums tackle in this work Neoliberal globalization and the challenge it faces in cosmopolitan democracy. Cosmopolitan democracy's goal is to reform globalization worldwide, on all scales.

The other work, by Patomaki takes a different route, saying that Neoliberalism, and hence neoliberal globalization, have been associated with bringing about a harmonious worldwide economic system. The main idea is to bring many public sections of the economy into more privatized ones, an action that Patomaki argues is either impossible or ineffective. He argues that those sectors destined to be privatized (telephones, transportation, etc.) do not apply to large portions of the world who are bereft of such technologies. The exclusion of the enormous lower class (on a global scale) would render such a system incomplete. In addition, the upper class, with their known fear of public transportation, would avoid such practices, again making it incomplete.

Patomaki states that implementation of such a system would only further the division of class systems, worsening living conditions. We may have economic peace, but class strife would soon tear us back apart. Therefore, we need to see a total reform by individual countries in such areas before we can implement these standards. Elimination of the class system for one, however far fetched that may seem, but the author fails to provide a solution. In addition, I would argue that many sectors cannot be privatized, such as water or sewage, without a massive collapse of infrastructure.


Neoliberal policies promote market forces and commercial activity as the most efficient methods for producing and supplying goods and services. At the same time, they also turn away from the role of the state and discourage government intervention into economic, financial and even social affairs. Economic globalization is a process driven by this ideology; removing borders and barriers between nations so that market forces can drive the global economy. Governments around the world have adopted these policies and still continue to pervade classical economic thought, allowing corporations and affluent countries to secure their financial advantage within the world economy. Countries that adopt these beliefs believe that by expanding the free-market and private ownership would create a greater economic efficiency and social well-being. It is by this deregulation, privatization and removal of borders and restrictions that corporate activity has the ability to expand. Corporations are able to grow rapidly in size as well as influence, and have the ability to become the most productive economic units worldwide. It is a belief by neoclassical economists, political and the financial elite that in most countries, neoliberal policies will create global prosperity. These beliefs are so entrenched that this view determines the policies of international agencies, such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO, thus dictating the functioning of the global economy. Despite reservations from within many UN agencies, neoliberal policies are accepted by most development agencies throughout the world to be the most likely means of reducing poverty and inequality in the poorest regions. However, Patomlakit and Teivainen provide so called ‘exceptions’ to this ideology, stating that some countries throughout the world lack modern technology, such as internet or proper means of transportation and therefore cannot be classified as a privatized sector. Nations with the lack of these means are excluded from neo-liberalistic beliefs.

Free Culture

The video on Wednesday’s class in global societies talked about free culture and where is it going. Today we have copyrights for just about everything and everyone’s work is protected from others benefitting off it. (Unless that is if they choose to pay that cha-ching dollar amount for these rights) It proves the point that money makes this world go round. I think free culture is an attitude that people should be able to have access to anything that is important to their culture whether this is music or arts or whatever the culture is. Brought up in class was the example of France and how they are trying to preserve their culture and block out certain parts that are not integral with their own. This is interesting because they are doing exactly what the choice of free culture represents. People need to be able to pick and choose what they want to experience is their daily lives.
My second point on this is to bring up another example on from class, was that of music rights being given to certain people. Take the Beatles for example, they have made many great songs but the rights have recently been sold because Michael Jackson owned them but he is since deceased, so this leaves the song being given away to the highest bidder. One the one side, everyone could benefit from this and all people could be using their songs for whatever reason it may be, but is this truly right? I think not, in the capitalist society we live in, if it has chance to create a monetary value, everyone will do it. It is just how the world works, who every can bring the cash wins.
In the end however, both sides are right, because like anything there is exceptions to the rules. For every 500 things you find that should be available to everyone, you can find 500 things that shouldn’t because of someone’s hard work. The argument can continue for a long time, but the mere true is this is just how society has worked, the more you fight against it the further you get left behind as you fight.


In this week’s Reading for global societies, “Critical responses toneoliberal globalization in the Mercosur region: roads towardscosmopolitan democracy?” by Heikki Patomlakit and Teivo Teivainen, theytalk about where globalism is leading us in today’s world. Withglobalization spreading to even the most remote countries now, the thoughtof what democracy begins to come up. The thought is that of acosmopolitan type of democracy. In this lengthy article, the authors talkmuch about the model of the EU and how it is working for their countriesor lack thereof, this idea of trying to grasp of how government can begreater than a country. They also dice into the area of Brazil, Mercosur,where many efforts have been made to better the area, but partnerships arehard. They say a lot of the economic partnerships have failed and the IMFcannot keep up with the expenses of some militaries. The area is justdriven home that a lot of partnerships to bring back money into areas isfaltering and globization is not reach the smaller countries enough. “Allgroups and associations are assumed to have a capacity forself-determination. The defense of self-determination, the creation of acommon structure of political”. This is what the article tries to conveythroughout the reading. That globization is just self determination on aglobal scale. It networks overlapping with each other and creating bondsthat become an integral part of daily life throughout not just the thirdworld, but the whole world.
I think this article was fantastic as is analyzed that global spectrum ona political level. Think we are headed towards a political glo0balgovernment, but will tell. I hope that this article can be seen as justa measure of how certain areas of the world are doing, because I did not find this to be overwhelming true throughout the article.
I wish he would have studies more world groups, and taking more out anoutsiders approach, however I thought it was detailed enough, I thinkmore analyzing of the certain orders and countries could have done thearticle well.

Free Culture

This Wednesday we listened to a lecture by Lawrence Lessig discussing copy right laws, and the movement he calls "free culture." The debate has two sides, the "copyright" which believes that any creative/innovative material is the intellectual material of the creator, and that that material should be protected with copy rights and patents. The "copyleft" as the free culture supporters are sometimes called, argues that today's copyright laws stifle creativity and that all new culture is built off of the old, so it necessary to reduce copyright laws.

Both sides have positives and negatives. The copyleft's argument that copyright laws are stifling creativity and cultural vibrance are partially true, how can today's musicians be inspired by other songs, if using those influences leads to lawsuits. But at the same time, how could a musician have a career if they can't make any money of the fruit of their labors? I think the real answer is a balance between the two. Songwriters, artists, filmmakers, engineers and software technicians, anyone whose work can be considered intellectual property should have certain rights to protect their efforts, but should those licenses last for life + 50 years, and if its a piece of corporate work, 120 years after creation? That seems a little extreme to me, and the amount of money necessary to use that material seems insane. $25,000 for three seconds of the Simpsons in the background of a documentary? Honestly, it seems a bit extreme, most people probably didn't even notice Homer at all. So the answer is somewhere in the middle, we need to protect artists and innovators, without stifling the creativity that is inspired by the past.

For an example of what I think is a gross misuse of copyright laws, read the following... You've probably heard the song, "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve, at least if you had a radio in the US in 1998 you probably did. But did you know that the song writing credits go to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards? Yepp. And thats because the Verve sampled the music of the Andrew Oldham Orchestra, that covered a song written by the Rolling Stones, "the Last Time." (You can read about it on Wikipedia too, if you're curious) The Verve had permission to sample the Oldham song, but allegedly "sampled too much", so all of the song writing credits, and 100% of the royalties go to the Rolling Stones. Is this fair? The Verve wrote the lyrics, and while the music is rmostly taken from the Oldman Orchestra's cover, I wouldn't say its plagiarized, especially if they paid for sampling rights. And more than that, if the arrangement is really by the Andrew Oldham cover, which is distinctly different from the Stones version, why aren't they getting any money out of this deal?

FREE Culture

This week we watched a video discussing the idea of free culture. This idea has stemmed from the book called "Free Culture" by a lawyer named Lawrence Lessig, which has brought upon a movement known as the free culture movement. This was an interesting video because I have never heard of this movement or idea. I found this argument intriguing and it made me think about what my thoughts where on copyright laws and the copyleft idea. Even now I am still stuck between which side I would agree with and I keep coming to the same thought that copyright laws are necessary for people to earn a living as artists and writers rely on the copyright laws to support themselves and their family. At the same time I feel like our copyright laws are way to extensive.

In order for my argument to work we need to meet somewhere in the middle. We all know artists and writers need copyright laws, but when are they to extensive to the point where it slows down or brings cultural innovation and advancement to a halt. Right now I think copyright laws and patent laws have slowed down our advancements in arts, culture, and technology. Now, I tend to lump copyright laws and patent laws together because either way someone created something and by law no one else should be able to make money off of it besides that person who created it. But, that is not what we see today. Today, we create something, lets say a song, and not only do the artists make millions of dollars, but so do the record companies, the endorsers, and everyone else involved. This is alright if they had something to do with the production, but it is not alright if 70 years later the musician is dead and the other people are still making money off it while others can not modify or advance the song.

A quote I found from Lessig's book states, "There has never been a time in history when more of our 'culture' was as 'owned' as it is now. And yet there has never been a time when the concentration of power to control the uses of culture has been as unquestioningly accepted as it is now." (pg. 28) This really opened my eyes to this issue and I began to ask myself a lot of questions. One question is when will the people that vote realize the corruption behind copyright laws? There is no way we can completely get rid of copyright laws, but will we see a change in the future? If we do see a change I think it will lessen the length in which one has the right to a piece of work. If this does happen I think it could advance our culture and technology exponentially.


According to Patomaki and Teivainen, globalization has been closely referenced with transnational Neoliberalism, which states that globalization of the world economy will soon bring together the world in a harmonious way of economics. Neoliberalistic policies were soon implemented, which stated that growth was to be acquired with the implementing of privatization and economization of social life; in short the policies were implemented to transfer some of the publically owned control of the economy to a private sector. However, the authors bring up a logical point within this ideology: many countries that are living impoverishly haven't the means of internet, telephones, or transportation to areas that are defined as privatized. This excludes several countries from the idea of Neoliberalism due to the insufficient means that many countries have. The authors also argue that some of the wealthy may be excluded fromt this ideology as well, due to the fear of crime and violence in several areas that may be considered in this defintion of Neoliberalism.
The authors sum up that the countries that have taken on a Neoliberalistic trend of economic living have seen a strengthening in "the position of the economic elites of these countries," but absolute proverty has consequently increased and the living standards have worsened. This process only furthers several societal classes.
I don't know much on this subject of neoliberalism (if you can tell by my blog hah), however after reading this I formulatted that many aspects of Neoliberalism may not be the best for several countries, however the aspect of privitization can be beneficial to some aspects of American living. America is the number one country in number of incarcerations, which is costing American tax payers something around 27.5 billion dollars, and I know that the privitization of prisons would in fact decrease the amount that tax payers are paying, and also increase the efficieny of the prisons themselves. This may have nothing to do with this topic, but I thought it was interesting and I really had nothing else to say on the subject of Neoliberalism.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Neo Liberal Globalization

The last reading of the semester pertains to Neo Liberal Globalization. According to David Held and associates, cosmopolitan democracy is another potential challenge to Neo Liberal Globalization, by reforming the globalization process on all scales, small and large. Although viewed as Euro centric in nature the theory lacks so to say real world accommodations accounting for what's really going on. This leads to three problematic consequences and one critique to interpret the period in which NeoLiberal Globalization is occurring. In the article the term Globalization is defined by as an ever expanding system relying on one another. A second part to the definition is effects of "spatial-temporal" conditions, or the effects of organizing society.
The term Globalization originates from the term Globalism, or the belief that everything is in unison. Neo Liberalism and Neo liberal globalization seems to be one of the only other rational solutions to economic problems. This term again viewed by critiques ranging from local to national. One example of this is public speech, where throughout"speech" and "action" and a response incites a new way to organize society compared to that of government. Another aspect that makes up Neo liberal globalization is the freedom of speech and private property rights which some Authoritarian states prevent, but this serves as an example to relate to no "private property" as a key component. This article eventually eludes to the fact that Neo liberal globalization strengthens the elites, decreases the middle class, and impoverishes the already poor. Basically serving to continue separating society in a different way. It also has its advantages such in European health care, but its cons out weigh its pros's. Ne liberal Globalization seems to open up a alternative network in society by other ways of organization. As for any form of Globalization it has it's perks and downfalls, allowing for new possibilities while limiting others. I find it interesting that our society claims to be one thing such as democratic but implements many forms of social organization. I cannot see that all factors of this theory would ever be implemented in the United States or other European countries, but the possibility of combining local and national reforms in organization and government would be more likely. What do you think?

Free Culture - Xtra credit

Free culture is the ability to have freedom to modify previous creative contents. Whether it be music, ideas, themes, art, writings, etc. I think the idea of free culture is for a good and productive cause. For our society to take previous works and use it to make other better works is only going to allow our culture to progress. For our society now not to take these previous works and advance it is like starting from the beginning. It's like our culture is staying stagnant competing with artists from every previous century. We need to take previous works to make other works of art better. I do feel like once the original creator passes away their works of art shouldn't take in any monetary funds. For deceased Christmas singers to charge anyone playing their songs on the radio I think is a little unfair. The respectful thing for them is to take credit for it but not to charge for it every time.

Free Culture Extra Credit Blog

As Lawrence Lessig so aptly observed, creativity and innovation always build on the past. This has been true since the beginning of "art," and will continue as long as we find such creations aesthetically or audibly pleasing. In fact, many argue there is little frontier left in the world of art, leading to "progressive" or "experimental" music, which is little more than a haphazard orgy of mediums. That being said, it is impossible, regardless of copyright laws, etc. to put a stop to this process.
He then proceeds to say that the past tries to control the creativity that builds on it. This is evident in the lobbying for stricter copyright laws and the shameless greed of artists who rallied against groups like Napster in the early 2000's. His third idea supports a free society, in which these trends are not present, but, unfortunately, his fourth point states we do not live in such a world.
Nevertheless, artists like Girltalk continue to "sample" previous works, creating their own art from completely recycled material. But it is not only the electronic music scene who does this. If one is to visit, they can see the frequency of this in every genre, including pop. Hopefully we can move towards the view that this practice is not deviant, but rather a tribute, and continue to make innovative new art, while building on the past.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nationalism versus Patriotism (extra credit blog assignment)

I find this quote to be a great way to think about the differences between nationalism and patriotism.

It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.

– Thomas Paine

It seems that nationalism may indeed be a form of patriotism, but not in its purest or proper form. As indicated by the quote, a patriot does not equate his country with his government. Instead the country is more of an intangible entity that embodies the people's ideals, morals, thoughts and principles. A patriot would consider the interests of his country to be the same as the interests of the people and their morals.

On the other hand, a nationalist would equate his country with his government. An American nationalist would say that all the greatness of America comes from its government and is likely to be intolerant of critiques of the it. Whereas, a patriot would be most moved by a statement against his people and/or their beliefs.

A modern example of the difference between a patriot and a nationalist would be regarding views on the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq. Nationalists would support the idea because they will want to agree with the government and support it in its ideas. Patriots are more likely to oppose the ideas because they feel it violates principles that the majority of American citizens believe in (like sovereignty, freedom, liberty and responsibility).

Globalization- A response to today's lecture questions

Globalization is the theory of cosmopolitan democracy and requires us to rethink the political community within these ideals and aspirations can be realized. The relationship between democracy and globalization has been the focus of substantial policy and academic debate. Some suggest that democracy and globalization go hand in hand suggesting that unrestricted international transactions leads to increased political accountability and transparency. Others say democracies are more likely to have closed markets and vice versa. Democracy has previously become a global phenomenon, everywhere but in the Middle East. The Middle East is the only region in the world that lacks a credible base of democracy, and there is not a single Arab democracy today. Breakdowns of democracy include weak rule of law, poor economic performance and ineffective political institutions. Authoritarian leaders are especially threatening to democracy, because it is “human nature to establish and then maintain monopoly on power.” Westernization has been a pervasive and accelerating influence across the world. Westernization in settler countries has often resulted in the linguistic, social, and cultural marginalization of indigenous peoples. However, even in countries where large populations of indigenous peoples remain or the indigenous peoples have mixed considerably with European settlers, marginalization still exists. The life expectancy has increased of these regions and technology improved. Everyday conveniences of living, means of travel and media movies are used and enjoyed by many people around the world.

Natinalism and Patriotism Extra Credit

Nationalism and Patriotism are two closely related terms, with subtle, but meaningful differences. To have nationalism or patriotism means that one is loyal and devoted to their nation and has national spirit. Patriotism is even listed as a synonym to nationalism, which highlights the close relation of the two. Nationalism, however, has more force attached to its meaning.

Being patriotic could be compared with being a fan of a sports team; you love your team, you are loyal and devoted to it, and you would defend it. Being nationalistic, you still display all the love and devotion for your team that you do when being patriotic, but it entails a little bit more. When you display nationalism, you are more than a fan. You identify with your team, almost as if you were a member yourself. You’re not a fan of the Yankees, you are a Yankee. Such strong identification with a nation creates a deeper sense of devotion, love, and support within the individual, and is where the main separation between nationalism and patriotism can be found. Nationalism could almost be considered an extreme case of patriotism.

Natinalism and Patriotism Extra Credit

Nationalism and Patriotism, Extra Credit

Nationalism seems to be a more aggressive term, and is closely connected to warfare, imperialism, and even ignorance, as many connote nationalism with blind obsession with one's nation. Patriotism on the other hand, is a more defensive term. It is also connected to warfare, but instead of imperialism, it implies that the war is defending the country from invasion, or dangerous foreign powers. The two are closely connected, and are still around today. We can all remember the outpouring of patriotism after the 9/11 attacks, and many describe the War in Iraq as nationalistic. Neither has faded, and we will we continue to see them in the future, even as postnationalism is on the rise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Extra Credit - Nationalism and Patriotism

Nationalism and patriotism are similar in a sense but are two different concepts. Nationalism is more about identifying yourself with a nation whereas patriotism is more about showing love and pride for that nation. I would say patriotism has more to do with your feelings and your emotions in that you are showing the love for that country. Anyone can have nationalism but everyone doesnt have patriotism.


In this week's reading we read about Post nationalism. In the article the author talks about how globalization is affected by the different types of nationalism which are post, trans, nationalism. Post nationalism became popular after the Second World War. In this countries are viewed on a more global setting rather than on an individual setting. With post nationalism, the world has developed into a multinational economy. In this article, there is also a contrast between America and Europe in talking about post nationalism. America has a strong sense of nationalism and still has power in parts of the world. Europe on the other hand has weakened there sense of nationalism and takes part in post nationalism. Do you think that the fact the Second World War was in Europe has had an effect on Europe's nationalism?