Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Wealth and Poverty of Networks, Ken Friedman

Part One: Networks in a Space of Flows

In many senses, networks have become typical even emblematic of many kinds of processes in the world. These processes are often hailed as a step toward democracy, equality of opportunity, access to resources, and appropriate governance of the world's resources. All of these statements are reasonable. Nevertheless, networks offer no simple solutions to the world's problems. In the course of solving some problems, networks introduce challenges and problems of their own. The network society is an overlay wrapped around different kinds of societies and cultures, linking them and connecting them. The network society reshapes older societies, sometimes destroying them. This process can be seen in many ways.

Joseph Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction (Gilder 1981: 236-240; McKinney, Copeland and Mason 1995: 2; Schumpeter 1976 [1942]; see also Foster and Kaplan 2001.) captures the power that networks exert on the world. Networks are inextricably embedded in today's world, and the world has been restructured around the nervous system defined by these networks as they shape a space of flows.

The first networks were physical. The rivers, irrigation canals, and road systems of the ancient hydraulic empires were networks. So were the maritime fleets and courier systems of the first nation-states, as well as the railroads and canals of the modern industrial states. When we think of networks, we think of the electronic and electromechanical systems of our modern world. These networks transmit information. They began with the telegraph and telephone networks of the nineteenth century, moved through radio and television, and they now embrace the global environment of Internet, satellite systems, and more. However, networks remain physical as well, as we still use roads, railway systems, and even canals.

The space of flows moves through channels of communication laid down by geography. The political and geographic landscapes of the world establish the physical space within which the world of networked cyberspace is anchored. Because the space of flows is linked with the physical world, it ultimately becomes physical in importance, bending and stretching the social and economic world around it. In their union, these worlds create strange new morphologies.

There have been three great streams of thinking on these issues. One is a stream of dystopian inquiry typified by the science fiction cybernauts and by opponents of technology. The second stream is optimistic, but equally imbalanced. The dire predictions of one group are balanced by the cheerful claims of the other in an imaginary debate between Philip K. Dick and L. Frank Baum. On the more serious side, Jeremy Rifkin (1987) represents the dystopian counterbalance to Herman Kahn (1982; Kahn and Wiener 1967) or John Naisbitt (1982, 1994).

Between the poles of optimism and despair, we find a balanced view in the work of such scholars Daniel Bell (1976, 1999), Saskia Sassen (1991, 1994, 1996, 1998), Peter Drucker (1973, 1996, 1990, 1993), or Fritz Machlup (1962, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984). All explore the possibilities and problems that emerge in a networked world. The transformative quality of the space of flows translates into physical, economic, and informatic change. These effects are as visible in historical narratives as in contemporary life (see, for example, Needham 1954, 1956, 1959, 1965; Needham, Ling, and Price 1960; Schumpeter 1934, 1976; Chandler 1977, 1994; Chandler and Cortada 2000; Boorstin 1985). The change to societies and economies in a change of the space of flows is always dramatic. The balanced, careful narrative is more awesome than fiction because it represents events already under way.

Before considering networks in the knowledge economy, how earlier networks transformed the world of their time. Consider, for example, the economic and the socio-political effects of America's first two great flow mechanisms, the Erie Canal, and the railroad. The calm, slow-moving waters of the Erie Canal changed the face of America far more than any raging flood had ever done. "Freight rates dropped to one-tenth what they had been before the canal, and business boomed all along the towpath. In the first years, revenue repaid the cost of construction, guaranteed the supremacy of New York as prime entry port to Americas, carried twelve hundred immigrants a day to Detroit and turned Chicago from a village into a city" (Burke 1996: 84). Twenty years later, the railroads made canal transport obsolete for most purposes. Railroads were more direct, cheaper to build and less expensive. While artificial canals continue to have valuable uses even today (along with the huge natural canals of the world's rivers), railroads changed the economic equation dramatically, retaining their general logistic advantage well into the twentieth century.

However, these advantages are not simply the result f networks. They result from the shifting competitive balance between different kinds of networks. Different forms of technological development encourage each other. They create the framework within which advances can be made and linked. Better chemistry and engineering lead to improved metals that create possibility of better engines that in turn mean better transport. This requires better time keeping and better industrial organization. These shape better factories that again gave rise to better engineering and better metallurgy in a virtuous circle. This is the story of the first three or four industrial revolutions, and it remains the story of the industrial revolutions still taking place.

Rosenberg and Birdzell (1986: 151) note, "From about 1830 on, the construction of railroads and the construction of factories moved in tandem. This was inevitable: the Industrial Revolution was of necessity also a revolution in transportation; in the supply of raw materials and food -- in mining forestry, and agriculture; and in trading specialties: wholesaling, retailing, commodity traducing and finance."

The physical space of flows necessitated an information revolution in time keeping. These spaces would finally pave the way for the converging world of information, commerce, and telecoms that we know today. "In the nineteenth century, [the Industrial Revolution] also became a revolution in communication. The invention of the telegraph, the laying of the Atlantic Cable in 1859, and the application of steam power to the printing press (which led to cheaper books and daily newspapers whose readers numbered in the hundreds of thousands) revolutionized communication long before the invention of the telephone and radio . . . where the railroad improved communication by speeding the movement of mail, the telegraph and then the telephone permitted even faster -- indeed almost instantaneous -- communication in nearly every part of the nation" (Chandler 1977: 89).

The network society is constructed around information and the space of flows. This space is now synonymous with networked cyberspace. If building cyberspace is a technological program, however, it is a social and cultural project to an even greater degree. The networked space of flows shifts the energies of business and changes the gearing ratios on the wheels of commerce. More than anything else, however, it changes the quality and structure of the physical world in which we live.

What are networks?

"I, Culgi, the mighty king, superior to all, strengthened the roads, put in order the highways of the Land. I marked out the double-hour distances, built there lodging houses. I planted gardens by their side and established resting-places, and installed in those places experienced men. Whichever direction one comes from, one can refresh oneself at their cool sides; and the traveler who reaches nightfall on the road can seek haven there as in a well-built city.

"So that my name should be established for distant days and never fall into oblivion, so that my praise should be spread throughout the Land, and my glory should be proclaimed in the foreign lands, I, the fast runner, summoned my strength and, to prove my speed, my heart prompted me to make a return journey from Nibru to brick-built Urim as if it were only the distance of a double-hour" (ETSCL 2003: lines 26-41).

Some 2,100 years before the birth of Christ, the king of Sumeria described the network of roads and resting places built to unify the kingdom and consolidate royal control.

While networks offer freedom and democracy, they require consolidation and uniformity that can have an opposite effect. The network of roads that enabled Culgi to send word from one end of Sumeria to the other enhanced and reinforced his control over his subjects. Some argue that Greek democracy flourished precisely because the broken, fragmented landscape made it difficult for city-states to join in an empire until the great cities gained so much power that they could use the sea-lanes to assert hegemony, as Britain would later do. For the Greeks, the sea offered a network without the constant control of land-based roads.

The use of networks to exert centralized control often alternates with their use to break free of the center. Like Culgi, the Romans used roads to create and control their centralized empire. Like the early Greeks, the Vikings used the sea to establish a network of small, generally independent kingdoms. At the height of their extension, the sea-going Vikings traveled from Greenland in the West to Russia in the East. Their merchants traded from the Baltic Sea to the Arab Caliphates, from the Arctic to Africa based on the nodes and links of their maritime network.

What, then, is a network?

The word network entered the English language in 1560 as a passage in the Geneva Bible, "Thou shalt make vnto it a grate like networke of brasse." (Exodus 27:4). The New International Version translates this passage into modern English as "Make a grating for it, a bronze network" (NIV 1995).

The word derives its original meaning from the physical structure of fishing or hunting net. It means "1: a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings. 2: a system of lines or channels resembling a network, 3a: an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system, b: a system of computers, terminals, and databases connected by communications lines, 4a: a group of radio or television stations linked by wire or radio relay, b: a radio or television company that produces programs for broadcast over such a network" (Britannica Webster's 2003: unpaged).

To these meanings, the Oxford English Dictionary adds: "[ . . .] A complex collection or system of rivers, canals, railways, or the like. [. . .] d. fig. An interconnected chain or system of immaterial things. Also attrib. Also, a representation of interconnected events, processes, etc., used in the study of work efficiency. Hence networking n. [. . .] e. A system of cables for the distribution of electricity to consumers; spec. one in which interconnections are such that each consumer is supplied by more than one route; hence, any system of interconnected electrical conductors or components, sometimes including a source of e.m.f., that provides more than one path for the current between any two points. [. . .] f. A broadcasting system, consisting of a series of transmitters capable of being linked together to carry the same programme; also, in a more general sense: a nation-wide broadcasting company; the broadcasting companies as a whole. [. . .] h. An interconnected group of people; an organization" (OED Online 2003: unpaged; see also: Wordsmyth 2003: unpaged).

Compare this extensive examination of possible meanings with a definition from the early twentieth century "1. A fabric of threads, cords, or wires crossing each other at certain intervals, and knotted or secured at the crossings, thus leaving spaces or meshes between them. 2. Any system of lines or channels interlacing or crossing like the fabric of a net; as, a network of veins; a network of railroads." (ARTFL Webster's 1913: 972) The change mirrors the growing importance of networks in a society based on information and knowledge.

Mayhew (1997: unpaged) defines networks in geographic terms as, "a system of interconnecting routes which allows movement from one centre to the others. Most networks are made up of nodes (or vertices), which are the junctions and terminals, and links (or edges) which are the routes or services which connect them. The form a network takes will reflect not only relief, population distribution, and level of economic development, but will also be influenced by historical and political factors. Network connectivity is the extent to which movement is possible between points on a network."

Sociology has developed several forms of inquiry into networks. The past sixty years have seen great use made of network theories in different ways. One example is Jacob L. Moreno's (1951, 1953; see also Hare and Hare 1997) work with sociomatrix tables and sociograms in sociometric analysis. Moreno was also a central founder of psychodrama and a respected therapist whose interest in social networks was mirrored by his sense for applied practice in the arts as a form of social activism.

Many sociologists since have worked with the concept of social networks, (Marsden and Lin 1982). While much work has focused on individuals and small groups, Harrison White (1992, 1995a, 1995b) and his colleagues have focused extensively on the properties of social networks as networks, with an emphasis on social properties in contrast to the specific individuals who fill roles or demonstrate properties. Harrison, a theoretical physicist before becoming a sociologist, pioneered the field of mathematical sociology, and his work and that of his colleagues gave birth to the journal Social Networks. Harrison, too, has maintained an interest in the arts, writing a well-known book on the sociology of art (Harrison 1993).

Network theories of different kinds are central to the Internet (Ince 2001: unpaged), and to computing (OUP 1996: unpaged), important in mathematics (Clapham 1996: unpaged), and in statistics (Upton and Cook 2002: unpaged), as well as in economics (Black 2002: unpaged; Shapiro and Varian. 1999: 173:225; Refenes 1995), neuroscience and cognitive science (Bechtel, William, and Adele Abrahamsen. 2002; Bickle and Mandik 2002; Garson 2002) along with several other, less obvious fields.

Those who wish to look further into the phenomenon of networks will find a useful summary across disciplines in Charles Francois's (1997: 242-245) comprehensive Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics. Francois covers a range of central themes with full bibliographic references on nets, access problems in nets, hyper nets, nested nets, net stabilization, networks, evolutionary networks, learning networks, matrices, parallel processing, network analysis, networks and parts, network behavior, network graphs and diagrams, networking, neural computation, and neural networks.

There is no question that networks have become a central focus and conceptual metaphor of activity in the late twentieth century. The interesting question is why this is so, and why it has happened now.

The Knowledge Economy as a Network Era

In 1940, the Australian economist Colin Clark identified three classes of economic sector: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary sector extracts wealth from nature. This includes "agriculture, livestock farming of all kinds, hunting and trapping, fishing and forestry." Secondary industries transform extracted material through "manufacturing production, building and public works construction, mining, and electric power production." Tertiary industries are organized around services, including "commerce and distribution, transport, public administration, domestic, personal and professional services" (Clark 1940: 337-338)

Daniel Bell (1976) used this structure as the basis for his elaboration of the post-industrial society. Bell's scheme proposes three kinds of society, pre-industrial, industrial, and post-industrial. Pre-industrial society is for the most part based on the primary economic sector. Industrial society is based on Clark's' secondary sector. Bell's concept of the post-industrial society articulates a scheme in which Clark's concept of service industries involve three sectors: tertiary, quarternary, and quinary.

Each society builds on the achievements of earlier societies, and the progressively more elaborate economies of each society requires the continued production and productivity of the sector on which earlier economies were built. As societies grow in size and complexity, Bell's (1999: lxxxv) proposes a series of economic sectors. The tertiary sector includes transportation and utilities. The quarternary sector includes trade, finance, insurance, and real estate. The quinary sector includes health, education, research, government, recreation, and entertainment. .

Within most nations, we see aspects and attributes of all five economic sectors in different proportions. The main distinction is that some nations still resemble the nations that Clark once categorized as based mainly on the primary sector, the secondary sector, or the undifferentiated tertiary sector. In today's global economy, however, the most advanced nations have regions or pockets that remain primary. At the same time, even the least developed nations have tiny quinary sectors linking local economies to the global system.

The development of the knowledge economy has proceeded on three related tracks. One is the increasing relation of knowledge to factors of production. Clark and Bell identified this as a key social and economic trend of the current era, as did Peter Drucker (1973, 1996 [1957]).

The second track involves the growth of the new digital media, together with the media convergence to which these have given birth. Media convergence is a central outcome of the fact that so much information is now transmitted through digital means. This widely recognized technological trend (Kesner and Pearl 2003; Williams 2003) affects many aspects of the contemporary world. These include business, media, and the legislation regulating them (see, f.ex., Burrus and Gittines 1993; Gerbert, et al., 2001; Longstaff 1999). Even more important, these issues affect trends in social and economic life. In social life, Gabriel Tarde proposed an hypothesis of cultural convergence. This phenomenon is seen when individuals shape their behavior in relation to the societies in which they live. As societies grow larger and cultures become more extensively visible, increasing numbers of individuals orient their behavior toward those cultures on an increasingly large scale. Media convergence and the attendant reach of media seem to exacerbate the effects this effect (Boisot 1995: 134, 312-326; Tarde 1979).

multinational corporations. This is partly true, but it is hardly the whole story. Globalization requires understanding the world in a holistic perspective, and if globalization involves increasing competition and expanding business networks, it involves the spread of democracy and the fair development of resources. A balanced view of globalization reveals both trends (see, f.ex., Bauman 1998; Sassen 1998; Soros 2002; Stiglitz 2002).

While this chapter will not discuss the knowledge economy, arts activism requires a discussion of globalization and art networks require a consideration of digital media convergence.

Globalization and Some of Its Discontents

Globalization implies seeing the world as a whole. When the first efforts toward globalization began in the wake of the Second World War, these explicitly established a world in which all human beings have equal rights. The idea of the United Nations rests on the dialectical polarities of national sovereignty and universal law (United Nations 1945). In contrast, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations 1948) goes further. It establishes the concept of universal human rights resting on the concept that all human beings have specific individual rights based on natural law that may not legitimately be abrogated by any government, local, national, or international.

The declaration states, "the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world," enumerating those rights as a common standard "for all peoples and all nations" (United Nations 1948: Preamble). This is an implicitly global claim.

For some arts activists, the concept of globalization is akin to the Fluxus concept of globalism (Friedman 1995c: 41, 2002: 60-65). This idea is distinct from internationalism and the competition of multiple nations, and it recognizes that we live on a single planet, a world in which the boundaries of political states may not be identical with the boundaries of nature or culture. In metaphorical terms, globalism is an expression of the idea that boundaries do not count. In the most important issues, there are no boundaries. A world inhabited by individuals of equal worth and value requires a framework that allows each individual to fulfill his or her potential. This demands a democratic polity within which each person can decide how and where to live, what to become, how to do it.

The two aspects of globalization reveal deep contradictions in achieving this goal. Globalization enables the growth and power of large, multi-national corporations. It is difficult for lone individuals or groups of individuals to compete against this power. It is equally difficult to demand universal law without developing a global context within which law applies equally and universally to all human beings.

Development economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen (1999: 240) observes that "even though the imperial authority of the erstwhile rulers of the world has declined, the dominance of the West remains as strong as ever in some ways stronger than before, especially in cultural matters. The sun does not set on the empire of Coca-Cola or MTV.

"The threat to native cultures in the global zing world of today is, to a considerable extent, inescapable. The one solution that is not available is that of stopping globalization of trade and economies, since the forces of economic exchange and division of labor are hard to resists in a competitive world fueled by massive technological evolution that gives modern technology an economically competitive edge."

While this is a problem, he writes, it is "not just a problem, since global trade and commerce can bring with it as Adam Smith foresaw greater economic prosperity for each nation." Here, Sen (1999: 240-242) develops a range of important arguments on globalization, economics, culture, and human rights. He argues for the relationship between development and freedom, distinguishing cultural rights from economic rights, and balancing the demands of progress against the comforts of tradition.

This balance is the focus of Berger and Huntington's (2002) anthology on the many faces of globalization, a force that erases cultures while creating the conditions of cultural diversity in a constant interplay of globalization and localization.

Today's world has been shaped by history and determined in great part by social and economic factors. While the western industrialized nations and some developing nations are democratic, we do not live in a democratic world. Much of the world is governed by tyrannies, dictatorships, or anarchic states. While finding the path from today's world to a democratic world raises important questions that lie outside the boundaries of this article, the recurring theme of art activism as a contribution to a democratic world makes reflecting on these issues necessary.

The difficulty that artists have had in contributing substantively to global democracy involves two challenges. The first challenge requires understanding the nature of globalization and its discontents in a deep enough way to make a difference. The second involves offering solutions that embody the necessary and sustainable energy for durable networks. In this, most artists have ailed to offer more than elegant metaphors. While these metaphors move beyond poetry or painting to social sculpture and interactive projects, they still fail to meet the needs of sustainable engagement.

Joseph Beuys's Free International University is a case in point. While the project engaged artists and the art world, occasionally interesting a wider public, Beuys never accepted the necessary discipline of moving beyond a metaphorical social network to generate a durable community. He never attended to the realities of building required for a university-like organization dedicated to learning, and the FIU never functioned as more than a metaphor. Instead, Beuys floated proposals, launched campaigns, enjoyed a certain measure of public acclaim for his good intentions, and left the university itself in the hands of artists and dealers who never followed through on the initially promising idea.

The sad case of Beuys is that he was one of the few artists who had access to resources that could have enabled him to bring his metaphors to life. The difficulty was that he never committed himself in an existential sense to the artistic metaphors he proposed. When he boycotted the Cologne Art Fair in 1971, for example, his art was still being sold there. Of all the artists joining the boycott, Beuys was one of the very few who had the influence and market power to insist that his dealers NOT sell his work at the Cologne fair. He could have made a meaningful statement by refusing to work with dealers who sold his work instead of allowing his work to be sold while he protested outside the door. Though Beuys could not have prevented the sale of work already owned, the threat to refuse future work to a dealer who failed to respect his boycott could have been a powerful tool. Instead, Beuys harvested the acclaim of emblematic social action while his dealers used the acclaim to increase the sale of his work at the very fair he was boycotting. Artists without similar influence or a similar dealer network paid a far greater price to support Beuys's initiative than Beuys himself paid.

Other cases were more quizzical. Robert Filliou's notion of the Eternal Network was not a call to action, but something between a metaphor and a description of what Filliou believed to be an emerging social reality. While Filliou intended it as a genuine description, but the fact is that the Eternal Network functioned primarily on a metaphorical level. In one sense, this is not a problem. Filliou developed his concept of "The Eternal Network" in terms of the human condition rather than art. Filliou held that the purpose of art was to make life more important than art. That was the central idea of the Eternal Network.

In the years since Filliou coined the term, the idea of the Eternal Network has taken on a life of its own, signifying a global community of people who believe in many of the ideas that Filliou cherished. This community is fluid, comprised of people who may never meet one another in person, and who do not always agree on their concepts of life and art. Those facts do not diminish the reality of an on-going community, but the community is diffuse and weak. While this community has exchanged ideas for over three decades, the community has relatively few durable engagements other than artistic contact. The metaphor is powerful. The reality is not, and the Eternal Network remains locked in the art world where it does little to make life more important than art.

The concept of the Eternal Network leads any thoughtful observer to alternate between optimism and cheerful resignation (Friedman 1995a, 1995b). It is easy to be cheerful simply because this metaphor of the global village has survived for as long as it has. In a healthy sense, the Eternal Network foreshadowed other networks that would become possible later using such technologies as computer, telefax, electronic mail, and the World Wide Web. Nevertheless, it also foreshadowed the poverty of these networks, a poverty of commitment, and a failure to establish durable action for change that requires existential commitment and social memory. I will discuss this problem later. For now, let us return briefly to the issue of globalism in Fluxus.

In suggesting a world with no restrictions, Fluxus suggests a world in which it is possible to create the greatest value for the greatest number of people. This finds its parallel in many of the central tenets of Buddhism. In economic terms, it leads to what could be called Buddhist capitalism or green capitalism. My reading of Amartya Sen's work suggests similar concerns.

Nam June Paik's (1964 [1962]) Utopian Laser Television manifesto pointed in this direction. While Paik failed to offer a workable solution, his proposal came oddly close to predicting the everywhere-available world of broadcasting via the World Wide Web. Paik's manifesto proposed a new communications medium based on hundreds of television channels. Each channel would narrowcast its own program to an audience of those who wanted the program without regard to the size of the audience. It would not make a difference whether the audience was made of two viewers or two billion. It would not even matter whether the programs were intelligent or ridiculous, commonly comprehensible or perfectly eccentric. The medium would make it possible for all information to be transmitted and each member of each audience would be free to select or choose his own programming based on a menu of infinitely large possibilities.

Even though Paik wrote his manifesto for television rather than computer-based information, he effectively predicted the worldwide computer network and its effects. As technology advances to the point were computer power will make it possible for the computer network to carry and deliver full audio-visual programming such as movies or videotapes, we will be able to see Paik's Utopian Laser Television. That is the ultimate point of the Internet with its promise of an information rich world.

Nevertheless, information is not enough. As Buckminster Fuller (1981: 198-266, 1973: 175-180) suggested, it must eventually make sense for all human beings to have access to the multiplexed distribution of resources in an environment of shared benefits, common concern and mutual conservation of resources. It is interesting to note that one of Fuller's proposals for ensuring human rights and free access to all resources was abolishing the principle of national sovereignty. Put another way, Fuller argued for a form of globalism.

To understand the potentials and perils of globalism, it is first a mistake to confuse specific actors or actions with "globalization." The often-cited examples of MacDonald's and a metastasized Disneyworld are only one aspect of globalization. They are not the whole of it. Second, it is a mistake to confuse effects with causes. The problematic symptoms of globalization are not causative factors, and it is futile to blame these symptoms on globalization or even on global capitalism. Third, we must understand and describe causes to know what the real problem is. If not, we merely describe symptoms, attributing them to the problem of our choice.

Globalism is sometimes superior to local or regional sovereignty. Hitler started as a local politician who came to national power by election. He attempted to exercise his ambitions in the regional domain of Europe. Two Western leaders opposed Hitler at a time when many felt that Hitler ought to be left alone to rule his own domain. These leaders were Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. To many, Churchill was an imperialist and Roosevelt was a wealthy oligarch. Until the last possible moment, Churchill's fellow citizens hoped to avoid confronting Hitler. Before Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt's fellow citizens opposed America's engagement in what they saw as European and Asian conflicts. They argued that these were the business of other people in their own countries, and no business of America.

The first great movement to end the slave trade in America came from the nineteenth-century forces of "globalization." Britain and Europe outlawed chattel slavery long before the United States was ready to do so. Southern aristocrats argued for what they euphemistically labeled the "special institution" based on local democracy and individual rights. They claimed that abolitionism was an illegal attempt to interfere in a local arrangement between traders and plantation owners going about their business. Chattel slavery still exists today under other names. Many who engage in slavery still resist efforts to end the slave trade in the name of local sovereignty again globalization (Anti-Slavery Home Page 2003; iAbolish. 2003).

It is vital to recognize that globalization created the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Hague Court, and much else that many of us see as a social good. It takes centuries to bring about constructive change, and one of the greatest forces of resistance to constructive change involves locally enfranchised powers. In many cases, the same forces that shape problems also bring solutions, and the virtues of many solutions entail problems and crises of their own. The loopholes through which corrupt multi-national corporations slip are neither the result nor the cause of globalization. They are the result of a regime of international law dating to the 15th and 16th centuries. Under this law, the local sovereign is prime. Sovereigns may do as they will for any purpose within their sovereign jurisdiction.

Multi-national corporations do not subvert local governments as the result of globalization. Rather, it is the lack of an appropriate global regime makes this possible. A multimillion-dollar bribe is pocket money to corporations that pay out hundreds of millions a year in dividends and executive salaries. Bribing a local strongman with ten million or twenty million dollars in a Swiss bank or paying it legitimately while knowing it will be stolen is the cost of doing business under the 15th century laws governing relations between and among nations.

Every story of globalization has two faces. It is important to consider the full story, and it is vital not to confuse causes with effects.

[see Part Two Intermedia and Media Convergence before the Internet]


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