Globalization: How the majority lives.

It's been about 10 years since PBS first aired Ken Burns' wonderful documentary, "New York, A Documentary Film". In one of the middle episodes, the film focuses on the photojournalistic work of Jacob Riis, a Danish immigrant who investigated the realities of the tenements of the lower West Side. Riis first reported his work in a short magazine article in 1889. He then followed up with a book in 1890, "How The Other Half Lives". The book is replete with photographs and drawings chronicling the abject squalor of the tenements. Many later attributed the work of Jacob Riis as a source for the progressive movement in the early 20th Century, not only in New York City, but throughout the large cities of America.

Today, we face a rapidly deteriorating condition in "middle class" America, which cries out for progressive reform. Many of us thought that was what the last presidential election was all about. Now, much to our chagrin, we realize that this new gilded age of robber barrons is marked by unprecedented corruption and control not only of the political process, but the major news media as well. IMO, it is even more important today to find the Jacob Riis' of our time and promote their work for extensive consumption. Truly, pictures are worth thousands of words!

Exhibit 1: China is the consensus pick to be the next superpower to replace the American Empire. Photojournalist Lu Guang recently won the "W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.” His stark photographs of industrial China are "Love Canal America" on steroids.

Exhibit 2: Jonas Bendiksen has documented the fastest growing human habitat in the world, urban slums. This ultra slick interactive documentary allows us to gain unprecendented views of some of the world's most abject poverty and polluted living environments, as well as hear directly from the slum dwellers. What is most startling, and most heart wrenching, is the level of acceptance, and even HOPE, that these people have. Truly remarkable.

The reality here is that these are in-your-face examples of the externalities of Capitalism that have been given short shrift for decades. We have pursued financial globalization, at the expense of globalization of the human condition. As we enter the backside of Hubbert's curve, we should not ignore the evidence that the hubris of prior actions are accelerating the "race to the bottom" that currently characterizes our pursuit of financial globalization. I believe this will find it's balance point closer to the conditions exhibited, rather than our current American experience.

Hopefully, Lu Guang, Jonas Bendiksen and others will awaken the conscience of humanity to insist on a new progressive era. To that end, please share their images with friends, family and other concerned members of society.



every image of China beyond the tourist stuff

shows massive pollution. So thick who can breath. They have a growing desert W. of Beijing.

The industrial parks grow like mushrooms and what is more amazing is how these images never seem to make it to U.S. main stream media.

Also, there is a prediction that U.S. cities will get an invasion of rats due to the increasing poverty and decay.

Co.s Push against banning imports made by slave and child labor

A recc'd diary on DailyKos has the video and transcript of Rachel Maddow blasting a recent campaign by U.S. corporate interests to stop a bill that would ban imports of goods made with slave labor or child labor. She really nails the Heritage Foundation also. She ends with this:

"Business interests and their think thanks friends on the right have every right to lobby on anything they want to. Think that Wall St, despite almost destroying the whole economy of the United States, should be left to it's own devices again? You know, go ahead, make your case, I'd love to hear it. Think that child labor and slave labor and forced convict labor are cheap and therefore cool with you, go ahead, make your case, I would LOVE to hear it. But unless you are going to make your case for things like that in total secrecy, know that the case against you is there to be made too, and that will apply to any member of Congress who sides with you as well, you child labor endorsing, pro slavery FREAKS!"

I hear many people at progressive sides worry about the "dangers" of protectionism. But there is NOTHING wrong with protecting your citizens from having to compete with people willing to accept the conditions shown by Lu Guang and Jonas Bendikse. It's what we used to do in America


"Two systems are before the world; the one looks to increasing the proportion of persons and of capital engaged in trade and transportation, and therefore to diminishing the proportion engaged in producing commodities with which to trade, with necessarily diminished return to the labour of all; while the other looks to increasing the proportion engaged in the work of production, and diminishing that engaged in trade and transportation, with increased return to all, giving the labourer good wages, and to the owner of capital good profits. One looks to increasing the quantity of raw materials to be exported, and diminishing the inducements to imports of men, thus impoverishing both farmer and planter by throwing on them the burden of freight; while the other looks to increasing the import of men, and diminishing the export of raw materials, thereby enriching both planter and farmer by relieving them from payment of freight. One looks to giving the {products} of millions of acres of land and of the labour of millions of men for the {services} of hundreds of thousands of distant men; the other to bringing the distant men to consume on the land the products of the land, exchanging day's labour for day's labour. One looks to compelling the farmers and planters of the Union to continue their contributions for the support of the fleets and the armies, the paupers, the nobles, and the sovereigns of Europe; the other to enabling ourselves to apply the same means to the moral and intellectual improvement of the sovereigns of America. One looks to the continuance of that {bastard} freedom of trade which denies the principle of protection, yet doles it out as revenue duties; the other by extending the area of legitimate free trade by the establishment of perfect protection, followed by the annexation of individuals and communities, and ultimately by the abolition of customs-houses. One looks to exporting men to occupy desert tracts, the sovereignty of which is obtained by aid of diplomacy or war; the other to increasing the value of an immense extent of vacant land by importing men by millions for their occupation. One looks to the centralization of wealth and power in a great commercial city that shall rival the great cities of modern times, which have been and are being supported by aid of contributions which have exhausted every nation subjected to them; the other to concentration, by aid of which a market shall be made upon the land for the products of the land, and the farmer and planter be enriched. One looks to increasing the necessity of commerce; the other to increasing the power to maintain it. One looks to underworking the Hindoo, and sinking the rest of the world to his level; the other to raising the standard of man throughout the world to our level. One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism; the other to increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization. One looks towards universal war; the other towards universal peace. One is the English system; the other we may be proud to call the American system, for it is the only one ever devised the tendency of which was that of ELEVATING while EQUALIZING the condition of man throughout the world.

"Such is the true MISSION of the people of these United States. To them has been granted a privilege never before granted to man, that of the exercise of the right of perfect self-government; but, as rights and duties are inseparable, with the grant of the former came the obligation to perform the latter. Happily their performance is pleasant and profitable, and involves no sacrifice. To raise the value of labour throughout the world, we need only to raise the value of our own. To raise the value of land throughout the world, it is needed only that we adopt measures that shall raise the value of our own. To diffuse intelligence and to promote the cause of morality throughout the world, we are required only to pursue the course that shall diffuse education throughout our own land, and shall enable every man more readily to acquire property, and with it respect for the rights of property. To improve the political condition of man throughout the world, it is needed that we ourselves should remain at peace, avoid taxation for the maintenance of fleets and armies, and become rich and prosperous. To raise the condition of women throughout the world, it is required of us only that we pursue that course that enables men to remain at home and marry, that they may surround themselves with happy children and grand-children. To substitute true Christianity for the detestable system known as the Malthusian, it is needed that we prove to the world that it is population that makes the food come from the rich soils, and that food tends to increase more rapidly than population, vindicating the policy of God to man.... (pp.228-29)"

-- Henry C.Carey, The Harmony of Interests: Agricultural, Manufacturing & Commercial (1851)

Here's a youtube video of this quote being read:

good she picked up on this story

As noted in my post, it appears Sirota found it, but this particular post that I wrote, ended up on the front page of raw story and was pushed to the top of reddit earlier.

Glad to see the video people picking up on this. It is really outrageous.

Thanks Tony for that excellent passage.

Sadly, the USA has fallen well short of Carey's egalitarian ideals. Instead, we see that the pathological narcissism of capitalism, demonstrated in its full glory through globalization, is leaving hollowed out societies all over the world.