Left to Stagnate
Lindsay Davenport defeats Australian Alicia Molik in a thrilling three-set
match on a blistering summer January day in Melbourne—it is the
face of globalization.
million Indians, more people than live in North America, move from poverty
to the middle class in one decade—it is the face of globalization.
economy is growing by 9.5 percent. Imagine doubling your standard of living
every seven years—it is the face of globalization.
a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote last month
in the Wall Street Journal about democracy’s world spread, “In
the states of the former Soviet Union and its satellites, 17 out of 27
are democratic…In Latin America and the Caribbean, 32 out of 35
states have elected governments”—this too is face of globalization.
Asia a vicious sex trade where young rural girls are sold into prostitution
thrives—this too is the face of globalization.
In the Middle
East the War on Terror exists and continues because, as the President
has pointed out, only one of the 18 nations in the region (Israel) is
a democracy. The frustration of a region without freedom or opportunity
became critical this decade—this too is the face of globalization.
And in that
same terror war Osama Bin Laden tells Iraqis that if they participate
in the January election they are infidels. Upon hearing Osama’s
verdict, the world and especially the Arab world shake their head, and
say no. Modernism is coming, even to the Middle East. Change is inevitable.
and especially in Multnomah County, resistance can be felt on two fronts.
The first example: the inability of many to graciously concede to the
President a significant re-election victory. The President’s 51
per cent of the total vote was the first time since 1988 (three elections)
that an American president received more than 50 per cent of the vote
(Bill Clinton received 49.6 per cent in his re-election win in ’96).
Agree or disagree with his policies, the President’s win was significant,
and should not be diminished.
example of resistance, again over the Bush re-election win, was the pouting
performance of Gov. Kulongoski’s State of the State address, where
he veered into federal issues and took gratuitous shots at the President
of the United States before he’d been inaugurated for his second
term. Bad form.
Two things about the Governor’s speech and semi-raised fist in defiance
of our federal government were disturbing: The first was that he seemed
to give sanction to blue state pouters who are behaving childishly about
the President’s re-election. The Governor told the pouters that
their behavior was appropriate. Images come to mind of an inane but supposedly
serious editorial by the Oregonian’s Doug Bates that suggested Oregon
would be better off joining Canada than staying part of America. The Governor’s
strong and dignified presence at the memorial services of Oregonians lost
in Iraq has been partially eclipsed by his partisan and inappropriate
remarks at the State Capitol in January.
disturbing element of the Governor’s speech was that his criticisms
of the Iraq war and the Kyoto Agreement were an attempt to camouflage
the cruel fact that he is just not up to the task of addressing
poor macroeconomic conditions in Oregon. Left to stagnate, these impaired
economic indicators will keep Oregon from joining the dynamic global economy.
Why would we trust him to solve global problems when he cannot solve problems
at home? By speech end, the Governor seemed a small figure—too small
a figure to lead us out of our generational economic troubles.
than the Governor’s speech, however, is the lack of any frank talk
in this state, and especially in
Multnomah County, about what our future choices are for Oregon, and what
the cost to us will be if we continue to opt out of the great global race.
Public relations campaigns like “Things Look Different Here”
or more recently “Brand Oregon” have only served to further
Oregon’s growing odd image of being progressive (read weird and
idiosyncratic), but not competitive (read successful and solvent).
years ago, economist E.F. Schumacher penned the progressive economics
treatise, “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.”
Schumacher’s text lays out the intellectual and humanitarian reasons
for an economic model that is not driven by the power of global capitalism.
Many voters in
Oregon, and, again especially in Multnomah County believe the Schumacher
agenda. Portland’s new mayor, Tom Potter, with his bid to buy PGE,
his empathy for the Critical Mass Bikers, and his promotion of more homeless
villages seems to be an especially apt representative of this thinking.
Potter’s heavy reliance on Commissioner Erik Sten for strategy and
background reinforce the city’s ruling class anti-money, anti-global
attitudes. To those looking for a world class higher education system
and exciting opportunities in the world economy, Potter and Sten’s
agenda is elitist and static.
Financial Times columnist Amity Shlaes weighed in on the Harvard University
President Larry Summers controversy—when Summers suggested “there
might be a genetic difference between men and women when it came to performance
in hard sciences.”
that the problem may not be with Summers but with Harvard itself:
is not that Mr. Summers is too self-satisfied. It is that Harvard is.
Harvard—and U.S. universities like it—tend to promulgate a
set of views—global warming is a crisis; the U.S. is to blame for
the world’s troubles; governments of developed nations ought to
be large; and quotas or some form of affirmative action is required when
it comes to the advancement of women and minorities. These same universities
often shut out, or look away from, arguments that do not support these
beliefs. The result is not “neo-Stalinist” monoliths—novelist
Michael Crichton’s description of universities in his current best
seller, “State of Fear.” But it is universities that are boring,
provincial, shut in. Not a good place to be. Sounds like home right here