What's the alternative to Davos man?

Davos Man, 'the most highly evolved mammal on the planet', should say 'sorry' for the economic mess he's got us into, according to a trenchant little piece in The Times of London by the British Conservative MP and journalist, Michael Gove.

Timothy Garton Ash Source:
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  1. Timothy Garton Ash.
    Senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and professor of European studies at Oxford University.
    Sounds so impressive, yet every article that he wrote seems to be uncritical in its pro-western bias.
    Not so long ago in article "Taming the Russian bear" published in several newspapers he lamented over Georgia and failure of Russia to "respect integrity and sovereignty of even the smallest states", something that clearly separates it from Western states, in his words, that are firmly in favor of this principle.
    Could it be that he never heard about Serbia, and its Kosovo problem? He is professor of European studies after all.
    Ones again he comes across as a stauch defender of the establishment.
    Is there alternative to Davos Man? This "'the most highly evolved mammal on the planet", this " member of a new global elite, liberated from national loyalties and contemptuous of national boundaries - a kind of ruthless cosmopolitan."
    (Wow, yet another, equally ruthless Übermensch)
    Not only that, but "Davos Man was always what social scientists call an ideal type."
    And there is the problem! Since when is this man, who normally scores zero on the scale from one to ten, considered ideal?
    Davos Man vs. Nationalist Man is presented as only options available, with preferance clearly given to Davos Man.
    "If you don't like what you've seen of Davos Man, wait till you see Nationalist Man get to work."
    But, there is another man out there, ignored by professor Ash.
    Fifth World Social Forum just ended on Sunday in Brazilian city of Belém after six days. It coincided with Davos this year.
    And this year it gathered not only NGO's etc. but a record number of government officials from developing world, including 5 south-american presidents (Brazil, Equador, Paraguay, Venecuela and Bolivia).
    Just like Davos Man, Belém Man is cosmopolitan, not Nationalist Man. Unlike Davos Man, he's not appearing ruthless.
    Let me get this straight. At the time of collaps of the left everywhere, Davos Man came up with globalisation. "Global village", "globaly integrated economy" etc. were the buzzwords.
    Here I have to say that I'm not opposed to globalisation itself, only to the way its done and its major goals.
    And the major goal of globalisation is maximising the PROFITS for few (owners of gigantic corporations, etc.), not well-being of the people.
    And the magical word to acomplish this is the word GLOBAL MARKET.
    And this "new global elite, liberated from national loyalties and contemptuous of national boundaries" went global, moving production and services to other places.
    So what if those places don't have any laws on ecology, for example? This would only force this "ruthless cosmopolitan" to pay for filters that could be expensive. Sure, they would make water suitable for use, or air less poluted, but what does he care? He's not the one drinking that water, isn't he? And he's not there to make anybody's life better, but to increase his PROFITS.
    Maybe this country has no laws prohibiting use of child labor, and allows children as young as 10 to work 14 hour days in the factories? So what, it's good for the bottom line - The Profit.
    And the logic of profit is simple, make it as cheap as possible, and sell it as high as you can. Greater the difference, greater the profit.
    So, with profit as our primary goal it does make sense.
    And it's true that there is no national boundaries to these people.
    They will relocate their buissinesses to the countries where people will toil for 2 dollars a day.
    Sure, some people will loose their jobs and livelyhoods, whole small towns that depend on one manufacturing facility may fall on the hard times. So what?
    They better start competing.
    Their decent standard of living, health care or education for their children, etc. are expensive. It makes production more expensive, too, affecting the bottom line - THE PROFITS.
    Why would they pay those expenses if there is enormous pool of people that are villing to work cheaper?
    Why would they pay for your children's dental visits, when they are people that could do the same job without asking for such excesses as health care or basic education?
    And here we use GLOBAL MARKETS. As any other market it's regulated by demand and supply.
    World's population is more then 6 billion people now and growing. Supply is growing. In the same time, today's techonology enables a worker to be more productive and to acomplish the final results that would take 10 workers only few decades ago. Again, techonology is constantly improving, too. (somehow, we don't all benefit, only few)
    Math is clear.
    So, you might as well, take your children out of schools and take them to work, get them used to substandard housing, etc.
    Governments got it!
    They cut services here and there, all over the world. They have to in order to cut taxes for the wealthies.
    Again, they have to or those "investors" will take their money somewhere else.
    There are more cuts and they are getting deeper.
    Race to the bottom is on!!
    Few more decades of this and situation in poor countries won't improve, while situation in rich countries will detorriate.
    Few more decades and our ideals will be achieved - One World!
    Everything will be Third World.
    If you think of this as a bad outcome, you may want to think again.
    If we understand that the sole puropose of the ECONOMY is increase of the profits for the wealthiest, then it's the most prefered outcome possible. It spells ideal economic conditions to maximise the profits.
    Or does it?
    Lets just leave this professor at Oxford University alone, and visit another professor at another University (York University, Toronto, Canada).
    Professor Shannon Bell was one of the speakers at Belém.

    "People see capitalism as not being able to maintain itself and there's a hope that it can't, too," he said there.
    There is one fundamental flaw in current development model, that had economists and political scientists struggling with for years.
    It drives large swaths of populations to poverty.
    Don't get me wrong, Davos Man is fine with that. His problem is that impoverished population may be more capable of producing at cheapest expense, but is unable to purchase those products.
    Ultimatelly, their greed hurts themselves, and their bussiness decline.
    This was noticed by the wealthier class before, especially after Great Depression.
    And they acted accordingly.
    While profit is not a dirty word, greed is.
    They realise that by allowing greed to be out of control, they will ultimatelly hurt themselves, too.
    Record number of countries adopted measures such as minimum wage (rather then allowing markets to form labor price), relaxed rules to allow for labor unions, etc.
    In short, well-being of oridinary people was considered important for their own well-being.
    But, this lesson was lost in time, and with first opportunity (and left in disarray in 90's)more of the same was back again and all the safeguards were removed.
    And why not?
    Here we go back again to following statement:
    "Davos Man was always what social scientists call an ideal type. "
    Selfishness, self-centricism and greed are nothing new. And they used to be considered human vices. "They used to be" I said, as it's not true any more.
    Selfishness and greed are not vices, but "drivers of the economy", "motivational engine of prosperity" etc.
    No longer a vice, but the virtue.
    Why keep virtues in check?

    In conclusion, Davos Man and Belém Man are not different species, like Neanderthal Man and Homo Sapiens. Unfortunatelly, as this would enable us to leave those modern Neanderthals in Davos and move to the future without them.
    But, we are all a little bit of both.
    But, isn't it time to start listening to our other side?
    I say that we should start listening to Belém Man a little bit more, that's all. Maybe there are other, alternative models of development out there?
    And if you don't like what you've seen of Belém Man, wait till you see Davos Man get to work.
    Oh, wait. We've seen it already. That's how we got into a current crisis in the first place.
    (Sreten, 6 February 2009 05:19)

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  2. Congratulations, Timothy Garton Ash, for not mentioning the most enlightened Davos man's speech of Vladimir Putin.
    Anti-Russian paranoya blinds
    such a brilliant analyst.6TS
    (Peter RV, 3 February 2009 17:10)

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