Friday, November 17, 2006


I picked up a couple of books recently, yes, in actual black and white print and on paper not a computer screen. The first one is Run, Run, Run a bio of Abbie Hoffman by Abbie's brother Jack written five years after his death. Actually, it's borrowed from Barry Kissin, who ran for the Maryland 6th Congressional District in the Democratic primaries. If you missed the 1980s and weren't paying attention to Nicaragua, PECO, Saving Our River, the latter-day SNCC and the civil disobedience movement and want a quick primer and thoughtful eulogy, get this book. I lean toward the Buddhist philosophy of laughter in achieving improved health and enlightenment (I Know I heard this on NPR this morning but can't seem to find it right now). Combine the two, laughter and mass protest, and change the world all for the better simultaneously with improving your health. Or just laugh a lot. You'll feel better, even if you force yourself to laugh. It's the only forced activity that's good for you, unless you consider being force fed "foodloaf" good for you. Don't know what food loaf is? Consider yourself lucky.

Making Globalization Work (Joseph E. Stiglitz) is the sequel to Globalization and Its Discontents by the same author. I found this passage interesting in relation to our national security policy (the principle applies with equal force to domestic economics, but I'll leave that to the experts--hint, for developing countries substitute "working poor"):

There are few success stories--our brief tour of the world has shown us a world replete with failures...we can at least create a more level playing field. It would be even better if we tilted it to favor the developing countries. There is a compelling moral case for doing this. I think there is also a compelling case that it is in our self-interest. Their growth will enhance our growth. Greater stability and security in the developing world will contribute to stability and security in the developed world.

The other passage I found interesting is this one about Microsoft and monopolies.

Equally how new technologies (reinforced by new trade rules) are enhancing the market power of incumbent, dominant firms, such as Microsoft,
which are all from the developed world: for the first time, in a key global industry, there is a near-global monopolist, so powerful that even highly innovative firms in the United States like Netscape, the developer of the first major browser, get easily squashed.***So much power does Microsoft have that it brazenly threatened to wrthdraw from Korea if Korea pursued its anittrust action against the firm--in a sense, it confirmed the allegations of overweening market power,

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