What this blog is about
29 February 2008:
This blog is still about what is written below, but after almost 15 months I notice there are recurrent themes:
- globalization as economic phenomenon
- superficial inroads into economic development problems
- international trade (WTO, FTAs and all the other “boring” stuff that makes my current job)
- the rise of new nations in the context of the recent capitalist revolution; the relative decline of established nations and societies in the former “North” and how they (don’t) cope with it
- the annoying unwillingness of big European economies, especially France (I am a French citizen after all) to see things positively and hop onto the exciting bandwagon of globalization
- my accidental fascination with Russia as the black sheep of today’s world, probably because it is a live if shaky experiment in capitalism and democracy over an amazing short period of time (and because I always loved Russian literature and music).
- I always wanted to write book reviews, and it rarely worked out. I always wanted to enter passionate debates on globalisation and development with the Stiglitzes and Rodriks of today and their elusive neoliberal fiends. I noticed I have no time, and that it is after all a bit boring. I wanted to be more technical, or more philosophical: I tend to be chatty, ironic, moody, sometimes nasty and subjective. Yet I think I sometimes manage to be factual.
- I always wonder why I usually end up finding myself on the side of the bad guys who like price mechanisms, competition, freedom, the rule of law. Politically, I do not dislike socialism, which is the contrary of the principles just outlined. I absorbed lots of socialist literature when I “was young”, it’s part of me. I just find socialists are maybe too impatient democrats, who, by wanting to do good shoot themselves and others in the feet. Worse, they are often unintentionally manipulated by interests with much less lofty power or business pursuits. But worst of all: they don’t like the fact that people generally want to be left in peace, mind their own business, and simply advance in life at the pace and to the level they wish. Prosperity and commerce is central to all this. This is Constant’s “Liberté des modernes”, and to me probably the most useful, if terribly simple, insight in social sciences.
- I might one day evolve towards other topics. Hopefully (!)
20 September 2007:
This blog is a not too serious outlook on globalisation and its international and local politics.
Globalisation can be about almost everything related to the deepening and acceleration of human “interconnectedness” (D. Held). Here, I am dealing with the consequences of globalisation as economic phenomenon such as defined by the Financial Times’ star Chief Economics Commentator, Martin Wolf, author of a compelling book entitled “Why Globalization Works”:
“a movement in direction of greater integration (…) of economic activities, across borders, through markets”.
We are currently witnessing a global economic tectonic shift. In 2005, thanks to globalisation, the world’s developing countries passed a significant threshold: they now account for 50% of the world’s gross domestic product (in purchasing power parity terms). Also, globalisation is currently reorganizing the world’s production patterns and thus shaking up the world of labour significantly – contributing to the increasingly deleterious smell in many rich world’s countries’ politics. Globalisation also massively moves people across the globe, too much, or rather still not enough?
First and foremost I write this blog for fun. I also use the blogging-tool to support my work and personal reflections on international economic and political affairs.
BlogoSpace and Time.
This is not a good “instantaneous” blog. I am not chasing news. On the contrary, sometimes I tend to react to news with a lag. I like to quote books that are old and not necessarily “just out” at Amazon.com. I am not an economist, but a political observer, and therefore I prefer words to numbers. (But I but consider words need to be buttressed by solid numbers to be powerful, especially in this field). I like to take time to write and compose a few paragraphs when possible. But Time is the scarcest commodity available, giving my post-publishing sequence a slightly random character. However, I tend to make an effort to have something out at least once a week. As a principle, I do not write about an issue if it doesn’t inspire me. Finally: I like to have a good laugh, so you will have to bear my humour once in a while.
This is not an antiglobalist’s blog.
I am a liberal, in the full sense: I support the ideal of individual freedom, be it in the economic or in the social and political sphere. Especially: I am a liberal who wants these principles to be respected beyond national borders. Therefore I am in favour of globalisation, as it is about moving around Goods, Services, People, Money across borders. The magic about globalisation, is that, with Movement comes Increase. Increase in the number of Goods, Services and Money available for most people. Also, Movement is like a train with a few bandwagons carrying a few very disturbing and annoying passengers, such as Ideas and Culture. Therefore, here too: mutual Enrichment for all, thanks to Movement.
But this is not a blog dedicated to globalist advocacy. I am interested in globalisation’s complexity, problems, dark sides, and paradoxes. Yet this blog is also an exercise aimed at countering the general anti-globalisation gloom pervasive in “Old Europe”, in Bush’s US, and in Chavez’ Latin America. Politically, I consider myself to be “beyond right and left”, probably closer to a “radical centrist”, but I claim – loudly – my independence from any political movement or party.
Worth noting. This is a blog written by a woman.
The people on my blogroll, those I quote, or whose output I comment, tend to be male, generally White, and, in the case of those guys who do not blog but publish contributions in the austere Financial Times, not very young. This blog is a first step towards closing an immense gender gap…I just wonder if this gap is due to women’s general lack of interest in David Ricardo or the reflection of a need for a radical face-lift of the profession aimed at making topics that are in fact very interesting more “sexy” for the wider public… Jagdish Bhagwati or Martin Wolf should appear more often in “Vogue” and “Cosmopolitan”, along with Bono. Anyway, as I am a woman, I probably have a somewhat different style than my brilliant blogging colleagues, but that’s the benefits of diversity.