A warm welcome, as always, to this, a belated weekly round-up of the latest View opinion articles. Amongst the hot topics that have had you talking last week are Donald Trump’s defeat over his border wall as well as the peril of working conditions in third world countries. Presenting all points of view, we aim to give you a flavour of the opinions that have driven debate across Europe and beyond over the last seven days.
It is an inescapable fact that our planet is getting smaller, thanks to better communications and transport links. Globalisation – for better or worse – has ensured that our world have become ever more interconnected with every passing year.
Part of our interconnection is out of economic necessity. Trade has always been a fundamental part of human interaction and the reason for our expansion across the globe. In the modern world, this means trading goods as cheaply as possible with little or no tariffs applied. People in western countries, for example, look to Asia for affordable clothing.
But as the piece this week by Human Rights Watch’s Aruna Kashyap outlines, countries like Bangladesh have become the victim of this insatiable consumerism at the lowest costs. Seven years as the Rana Plaza building collapse, in which 1.134 garment workers were killed, Kashyap brings our attention back to the need for global businesses to ensure they take the responsibility for the health and safety of their employees, making sure peoples’ lives are not endangered to satisfy rampant consumerism from the other side of the world.
There is an argument to be made that, as globalisation continues at breakneck speed, we do not fully understand how our actions on one side of the world are interconnected with the fate of people on the other. One person who certainly doesn’t understand the implications of his actions is President Trump. As crisis continues to grip Venezuela, contributor Abraham F. Lowenthal slams the impulsive use of sanctions by the United States to bring about a resolution to the situation. “Those internationally who want to help Venezuela escape its deterioration must apply skillful diplomacy and strategic patience,” he writes.
Of course, Trump is synonymous currently with efforts to construct a concrete wall on the United States border with Mexico. In a world as interconnected as ours – with trade, money, ideas and people all crossing borders with relatively few restrictions – can he hope to be successful in this endeavour? Should it be stopped? Many of his opponents have argued that it should, not least Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the Democrat-held House of Representatives. As contributor Neera Tanden points out, Pelosi is being seen as the “perfect antidote” to Trump, having given him one of the worst public defeats of his presidency. “The best part of all?” Tanden asks. “This is just the beginning of Pelosi’s speakership.”
One of the things that changed the way peoples of the world communicate was the inception of the internet. It brought all four corners of the globe closer, cementing firm connections between countries around the world. However, the internet has not been without its problems, giving impetus to the advent of social media for example. Reflecting on the relationship between the worldwide web and the humans that use it, Dr Morten Bay notes that: “Networks are natural to humans… so we built the internet. But we create networks even if what is disseminated or grown is malignant.” In order to fix the internet’s flaws, therefore, we must first examine mankind’s.
Perhaps one of the most obvious tenets of globalisation is the sharing of culture. Music, for instance, is disseminated across the world, earning musicians and arts worldwide acclaim in countries distance to their own. Arguably one of the biggest cultural icons with global appeal was Michael Jackson. Having been loved and admired throughout the world, reports of alleged sexual misconduct left millions distraught and heartbroken. Contributor and psychotherapist F. Diane Barth delves into the issue of abuse and celebrity and why the need to report incidents becomes overshadowed by admiration for the accused.
Also of note this week was the contribution by Glenn Kirschner about the indictment of a close associate and advisor to President Donald Trump, Roger Stone. His arrest by the FBI and subsequent indictment shows that the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia is getting increasingly closer to the truth. As Kirschner writes: “The Stone indictment also serves as a preview of indictments to come. The dots are getting easier and easier to connect.”
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