Differentiation & Accuracy

I have followed the discussion around the “European Constitution” somewhat from the sidelines, and with a mix of responses. If I lived in France or the Netherlands, I would probably have voted “no” as well, as most of their population did.

On the one hand, I clearly support many forms of globalization.

It seems that some form of global governance is essential in these days, one that is more truly democratic than the UN (with its permanent security council members) and has more enforcing power. One that cannot so easily be sidestepped by single nations, even if they have military/economic power (the US is the one obvious rouge nation these days, with its blatant disregard for democracy among nations and willingness to pursue its own narrow interests in spite of massive international opposition).

There are also obvious benefits to other forms of globalization, such as travel (getting to know other cultures and ways of life), cultural access (music, literature, dance, celebrations, food), and philosophical and spiritual access (Eastern philosophy available globally). Of course, the downside of this is loss of languages, and a possible loss of cultural diversity.

The one form of globalization which has some serious questions around it, is the neoliberal version. The more I learn about it, the more it seems to be set up in a profoundly undemocratic way, and to mainly benefit corporations while being destructive for people, ecosystems and future generations. From what I gathered from the European debate around the EU “constitution”, this is the main stumbling block and concern for many of those voting “no”. It would have been mine as well.

I support a closer cooperation among nations, and even see the nation state as a concept whose time has come – and gone. I support regional and global governance. I support international trade, as long as it is fair and protects the workers and ecosystems. But I do not support the neoliberal form of globalization. What we need is a strong balance between the interests of human rights, ecology and economy, where the interests of those without voice is taken into account, and where decisions are made in a more truly democratic way.

It is not just a nice idea, it is a necessity for our own survival. If we make decisions that harm large segments of the national and international population, we create the situation for serious social unrest (as the implementation of neoliberal policies in South America so clearly demonstrates). If we make decisions that harm ecosystems, we all loose that which supports our life, health, and economy. Even from a narrow economical viewpoint, we see that without a healthy ecosystem, there is no healthy economy (and eventually no economy at all).

As with any public discourse, it is necessary to differentiate the topic, and to present the views of the opponents in a fair way – stating their views in a way that they can agree with. I saw some of that in the European debate, but also far too much oversimplification, and assigning absurd and simplistic views to the opponent.

Again, it is a case where accuracy is in our own interest. If we show that we can differentiate properly, and have respect for other’s view, our own views are more likely to be respected and taken seriously. If we oversimplify, and assign dubious motives to the opponent, it says more about ourselves than anyone else, and our own views are more easily discounted.

One thought to “Differentiation & Accuracy”

  1. Hopefully the Dutch and French votes will act as a ‘wake up’ call to the EU’s organisations. My inclination is towards further integration and I’d vote YES (with reservations) if and when a vote is taken in the UK.

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