konfront on Sun, 4 Oct 1998 13:31:27 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Interview with Noam Chomsky (part 2)

Noam Chomsky: "Whose World Order: Conflicting Visions" part 2

All of this continues under Clinton, alongside the free market rhetoric.
Radical interference with free trade is standard when convenient. And it's
across the spectrum. So Mexican tomatoes were effectively barred from the
U.S. market, as was openly stated, because U.S. consumers prefer them and
they were undercutting Florida growers, sort of at the other end of the
trading spectrum. High tariffs were a couple of months ago introduced on
Japanese supercomputers to protect U.S. manufacturers like Cray
Enterprises, which is called private enterprise I guess because the
profits are privatized. (The markets are public and much of the technology
and funding is public as well but the profits are private.)

If you want to see the real meaning of free trade and neo-liberalism in
its cruelest form, just take a look at the relation between the richest
and the poorest country of the hemisphere - the United States and Haiti.
Haiti was forced to liberalize radically as a condition on terminating the
terror and torture of the coup (?) regime, which was pretty awful - I was
there at the time, but you didn't have to be there to know it. The cost of
liberalization is quite severe. One effect is that Haitian rice
production, one of their few potential economic strengths has been
seriously harmed and virtually destroyed because it is now competing with
US agri-business, which is crazy to begin with, and even crazier when you
recognize that 40 per cent of its profits come from government subsidies,
thanks to Reaganite contributions to free trade. Recently, the United
States has started dumping chicken parts in Haiti, undermining another.
The reason is that American consumers don't like dark meat, so the
producers, these big factory farms, have a lot of extra dark meat, so why
not dump it on Haiti? We're to wipe out one of the few hopeful enterprises
that had developed there. They can't dump it on Canada because Canada has
huge tariffs to block that kind of behavior. Haitian tariffs are forced to
be, I think, roughly one-fiftieth of what Canada's are, same with the
Dominican Republic and Jamaica, but Haiti has to liberalize.

Just within the last few days, U.S. steel manufacturers have been
demanding that the U.S. government force Japan and Russia to cut back
steel imports into the United States; they are particularly worried about
Japan because it's high quality steel, which is undercutting them. And
probably they will. The U.S. has instruments to do that. Super 301 it's
called: you threaten to close off the market to a country and if they
don't do it you tell them. And of course Haiti, since it's a free and
equal world, Haiti has the same instrument: they could object to U.S.
dumping of chicken parts by threatening to close off Haitian markets to
U.S. exporters, just as the U.S. can do, so it's all free and equal. Well,
that's free trade.

Without going on with that, for the Third World generally, given the
relations of force, the post-Bretton Woods era, the last 25 years, have
been pretty much a disaster. Some have escaped, mainly by not playing by
the rules the way the rich countries have done. Russia is a dramatic
example since it returned itself to the traditional Third World role about
10 years ago. Well, there's a standard picture about all of this for the
United States. The standard picture is that the United States has a fairy
tale economy, that Americans are smug and prosperous in the happy glow of
the American boom, there's a fat and happy America enjoying one of the
healthiest booms in American history - these are all quotes from front
page headlines in the New York times, fairly typical. They all give an
example, the same example, up until this summer at least; the example was
the stock market, and it indeed is a fairy tale, especially for the top
one per cent of households who own about half the stock and other assets,
and to some extent for the 10 per cent who own most of the rest. Well,
what about the next 10 per cent, you know the 80th to the 90th percentile,
right below the top ten per cent? What about them? Well for them their net
worth has declined in the 1990s for the reason that debt, which is
enormous, has increased faster than the growth of stock and other assets.
And it just gets worse as you go down. Eighty per cent of families work a
lot more hours just to keep from losing even more ground; they have not
yet recovered the levels of 1989, let alone (that's comparable stage of
the last business cycle), let alone 1973 - that's when the new economy
really began to take hold.

All of this is without precedent in American history. It's never happened
before. It's the first time that during an economic recovery that these
were the consequences: you can't even catch up to where you began for a
large majority of the population. As far as economic growth is concerned
during this fairy tale boom, it's roughly at the average for the OECD, the
rich countries; as far as growth of per capita income is concerned, it's
below the OECD average - it's actually roughly like the anemic '70s and
'80s and nowhere near the golden age. But it's a fairy tale for some and
those are the ones who tell us about it. Those are the Americans who are
smug and happy, the rest are some other thing.

The reason for the fairy tale is in fact frankly explained, for example by
Allan Greenspan, fed chair. He attributes it to what he calls significant
wage restraint and greater worker insecurity. The Clinton administration
in its economic report attributes it to salutary changes in labour market
institutions, which is a delicate way of saying the same thing. The
business world agrees. If you look at the business press, they point out
that workers are too intimidated to seek some share in the good times.
Just this week Business Week reported studies showing that 60 per cent of
workers are very concerned about job security for working people and 30
per cent are somewhat concerned. When 90 per cent of the work force are
insecure, that helps keep profits up and inflation low enough to please
the financial institutions, so it's a fairy tale economy. Well, there are
a lot of reasons for this. One reason is simply the threat of job transfer
if people raise their heads; another is the destruction of unions, which
really took off during the Reagan years by straight corporate crime which
was authorized by the Reagan administration -- again the business press
has been clear and frank about this.

These are specific social and economic policies designed to keep things
this way; that includes the investor rights agreements. That's a long
story in itself, as you should know, or if you don't you should quickly
find out. The OECD, the rich countries, are seeking to ram through the
Multilateral Agreement on Investments, the sort of super investor rights
agreement, in October. (You ought to know it because Canada has been
unique in that there has been substantial public opposition to this.)
They're planning to do it in October, in secret if they can; they've been
trying to do it in secret for a long time. They failed last April and that
caused near panic in business circles - it's worth looking at. The
Financial Times in London, sort of the world's premier business daily, had
an agonized article after they failed about what they called the horde of
vigilantes who descended on the OECD countries and the corporate world
were totally helpless in the face of this massive assault by Maude Barlow
and such, and they had to collapse. You really have to read it to get a
picture of the panic. It also quoted trade diplomats who warned that
unless this crisis of democracy is overcome, I'm quoting now, it may
become harder to do deals behind closed doors and submit them for
rubber-stamping by parliaments, as in the good old days. Well, that tells
you very clearly what it's all about. It's again the hazard-facing - the
corporate sector - in the rising political power of the masses, that's
been frightening rich and powerful people ever since the first modern
democratic upsurge in 17th century England.

Well, there's a ton more to say about this but it's getting late so let me
just end. Question: Is this globalized economy really out of control? Well
it's very hard to believe that. It's a large majority of the exchanges,
the international exchanges, are within what's called the triad - North
America, Europe and Japan. These are all areas that have parliamentary
institutions, they don't have any fear of military coups, which means
what's going on is in principle subject to public policy decisions and can
be made in practice so as well. And well beyond that - that's all within
existing institutions, assuming existing institutions don't change at all
- but that's a pretty strong assumption. No one should have ever made it
in the past, certainly, and there's no particular reason to believe that
some magic moment has come. In general, institutions are not
self-legitimizing - they've got to legitimize themselves. We live in a
world which is largely dominated by unaccountable private tyrannies and
they have to justify themselves. They are not automatically
self-justifying. When they were created in the United States by radical
judicial activism early in this century, conservatives, (who used to
exist, they don't anymore except in name) bitterly condemned this change
which they saw as a major attack on classical liberal ideas and
fundamental theories of human rights. They condemned it actually as a form
of communism and a return to feudalism, which was not totally inaccurate.

Anyhow, the institutions are not self-legitimizing. They are internally
tyrannical, they are unaccountable to the public, they administer markets
through their internal operations and through strategic alliances with
alleged competitors, they are backed by powerful states which provide
subsidies and risk protection and bailouts if needed, and so on. And
there's a question as to whether those institutional arrangements are
necessary and appropriate, a very serious question. It's entirely natural
for the doctrinal institutions to try to direct the public attention
somewhere else (in fact it would be astonishing if that were not true) to
direct attention away from crucial issues and also to try to induce a
general mood of hopelessness and despair - what Linda McQuaig in a recent
book on Canada, a good book on Canada, calls the Cult of Impotence, she's
describing how it works here -- and to drive people towards individual
survival strategies. Makes a lot of sense to try to do all that. It's
understandable and understanding it can be liberating, as always; it can
liberate people to design and follow, if they choose, very different
paths. These may well involve, and in my opinion should involve,
dissolving centres of unaccountable power, extending democratic
arrangements well beyond to central parts of the society from which they
are excluded, and may make it possible to address in a serious way the
injustice and the needless suffering that defaces contemporary life and to
demonstrate that the human species is not a kind of lethal mutation which
is destined to destroy itself and much else in a flick of an eye, from an
evolutionary point of view. That is not a completely unlikely prospect, in
my opinion, under prevailing conditions of social life.


A couple of microphones out there, I'm told, so anybody who wants to
exploit their existence is free to do so. I see two, I don't know if there
are any more.

Questioner: I feel sympathy with most of what you said. I wonder what
suggestions you can make for action by individual citizens in the
democratic countries to perhaps roll back some of the actions of which you

Chomsky: What actions individual citizens should undertake?

Questioner: Yes.

Chomsky: Well, of course that depends on which issue you're concerned
with. There's a wide range of things that can be done, they're maybe
they're inter-related, but on some issues I think it's pretty clear, at
least I think it's pretty clear, on what ought to be done and in fact not
hard even, because it doesn't challenge the structure of institutions. So
take, say, the MAI, which, as I say, if you're not familiar with it you
ought to be, there's plenty of literature about it, especially in Canada.
It's what was described by Business Week as the most explosive trade deal
you've never heard of, and the whole headline, the whole description is
accurate. It is the most explosive trade deal that's ever been crafted, it
gives extraordinary rights to corporations. They were given the rights of
citizens early in this century, of people, you know, immortal people,
super powerful immortal people, which is already an astonishing attack on
traditional classical liberal ideals, and the MAI actually gives them the
rights of states. Canadians ought to know about this since Canada has just
suffered from it. Canada was sued by a corporation, the Ethyl Corporation,
for daring to try to ban a harmful gasoline additive which is banned in
most of the world and theoretically not banned in the United States but
not used because it's too dangerous. Canada tried to do the same, the
Ethyl corporation sued them under provisions of NAFTA, which is unextended
in the MAI - it's really unclear what they mean, corporations are trying
to press these to the limit. It's never been possible before for
corporations to sue states, but these new arrangements intend to give them
the rights of states. They sued Canada for expropriation because it was
taking away their enjoyment of their rights by banning this probably
poisonous additive. Ethyl Corporation has got a nice record - it's a major
corporation set up by DuPont and GM and all those big guys - its major
contribution was leaded gasoline. They knew in the early 1920s that it was
lethal but they kept it secret and they had good lawyers and they kept
things from happening and for about 50 years it was used with horrendous
effects. Finally it was banned, at least in the United States, around
early 70s, but then it just goes off to the Third World where there's no
controls so you can kill anybody you like.

That's the Ethyl Corporation and now they want to import-export MMT into
Canada - I don't think they cared very much, frankly, it's a sort of a
small item but I think they wanted to establish the point and they did.
Canada backed down and paid some indemnity, 13 million dollars or
something. There's another case coming along by a hazardous waste disposal
company in the United States and there will be more. The idea is to give
corporations not only the rights of super powerful immortal persons, which
is questionable enough, but even of states, and to undermine democratic
options that might be open to citizens - across the board; whether it's
things like setasides for minorities or supporting local enterprise or
environmental labour rights, you sort of name it and it's there somewhere.
I mean it's not put in those words, explicitly, but the intent is to
develop a framework which smart lawyers will then fill in with precedents
- that's the way it works. So naturally it's got to be done in secret
because they know people are going to hate it. And it was kept under a
veil of secrecy - I'm borrowing the phrase from the former chief justice
of the Australian high court when it finally got revealed there and he
bitterly condemned it - it was kept under a veil of secrecy for literally
three years of intense negotiations. Secrecy in a funny sense - the
business world certainly knew about it and they were right in the middle
of it and publishing monographs about it and so on. The press certainly
knew about it but they weren't talking, in the United States Congress was
kept in the dark, the public didn't know, it was pretty much the same
throughout the industrial world, Canada was a unique exception.

Well, anyhow, that was beaten back last April partly because of unexpected
public opposition and it's coming up again in October, so in a couple of
weeks. And it'll go through if nobody makes a fuss, you know, with
long-term effects. Well, OK, it's clear what to do about that, I think, at
least - same thing that was done pretty effectively last time around, but
oreso next time. It'll come back in some other forum you know, like it'll
be written into the conditions of the IMF or some secret forum.

And there's a million things like this. We can list them from A-Z - that's
what activism is about, trying to deal with those specific cases of
threats to society, and justice, suffering, oppression, whatever it may
be; all extremely important but short of a further step what about going
beyond putting Band-Aids on the cancer? What about the nature of the
institutions? Are they in fact legitimate? Well, that's a serious matter.
You know you can't just issue proclamations. If you say the organization
of society and its domination by unaccountable tyrannies, which is what it
is, is improper and unjust, and I think it is, you have to consider what
the alternatives are and how you move towards the alternatives, if you
want to. And those are not trivial matters; they require organized popular
movements which think things through, which debate, which act, which
experiment, which try alternatives, which develop the seeds of the future
in the present society, as Bakunin put it a long time ago. And that's a
long-term project.

How do you do that? Well, the same way you got rid of kings and slavery
and lots of other bad things through history. There's no magic formula.
What you do depends on what the conditions are, where you are, what can be
done. But I think it's possible to have a long-term vision about this, and
it's in fact one that draws very much from our own tradition, you know,
not any foreign borrowings and all that bad stuff. So if you go back to,
say, eastern Massachusetts in the mid-19th century without the dubious
benefit of radical intellectuals, working class people were running their
own newspapers, I mean artisans in Boston and young women coming off the
farms who were working in the textile mills were called factory girls and
so on, and they're interesting. They weren't claiming as we do, you know
the radicals among us, that corporations have too many rights, they were
claiming they don't have any rights. They were not asking them to be more
benevolent. They were not asking for the dictators to be more benevolent,
they were saying they had no right to be dictators. They were saying that
those who work in the mills should own them - simple, and the communities
should run them, and so on. It's not an unusual position.

Wage labor in the United States wage labor in the mid-19th century was
considered not very different from chattel slavery. That goes way back
into the classical liberal tradition, I should point out, so servants were
not really considered people because they were working for somebody else.
Abraham Lincoln, for example, it was his position. It was northern
workers, that was sort of their banner in the civil war. The Republican
Party, it was its official platform, you can even read about it in New
York Times editorials. It's by no means an exotic doctrine; it makes a lot
of sense. And it has very deep roots in the enlightenment and way back.
The same is true of inequality. I mean you go back to the origins of
western political thought, and I literally mean the origins, Aristotle's
Politics, it's based on the assumption that a democratic system cannot
survive, cannot exist, except under conditions of relative equality. He
gives good reasons for this. Nothing novel or exotic about this. The same
assumption was made by people like Adam Smith. If you read Adam Smith
carefully and he was pre-capitalist, remember, and I believe
anti-capitalist in spirit, but if you look at his argument for markets, it
was a kind of a nuanced argument, he wasn't all that much in favor of
them, contrary to what's claimed. But when you look at the argument for
markets, it was based on a principle: the principle was that under
conditions of perfect liberty, markets ought to lead to perfect equality;
under somewhat impaired liberty, they'll lead to, somewhat, a degree of
inequality. And equality was taken as an obvious desideratum, you know, a
good thing. He wasn't thinking about democracies, he was thinking in other
terms. These are important ideas. They have to be revived, I think,
brought back into our mode of thinking, our cultural tradition, the focus
of our activism and the planning for how to change things. And it's no
simple business. It wasn't easy to get rid of kings, either.

Questioner: Hello. Thank-you for the insights and strength. I myself have,
I'm sure along with a lot of other people, been sleeping through seasons'
change and just now waking up to the urgent cry of and need for justice
and equality and love and camaraderie in the world. With so many genocides
and 38,000 children starving to death every day, I can't help, although I
truly believe in my heart that we are in time and we can bring a heaven to
earth, how do you feel about, well in terms that people can look at the
Holocaust. Everyone can look at Nazis and the Holocaust and go, "Wow
that's really wrong, that's a nightmare, no one should have to go through
that," yet the same kind of genocide and dark forces are at work. How do
you feel about humanity living in a perpetual holocaust?

Chomsky: It's our choice. First of all, this has been a pretty horrible
century, one of the worst centuries of human history in terms of humanly
created disasters and catastrophes, many of which but not all, but some of
the worst of them, come from the peaks of western civilization. But in
many other respects, it's a lot better than it was. I think if you look
realistically over time, you know it's kind of hard to say when you see
the ugliness around you, but if you look realistically over time, things
are improving. Lots of things that were considered perfectly normal and
natural say a century ago would be considered outlandishly outrageous
today; nobody could even conceive of them. In fact that's even true of the
last 20 or 30 years - for many of us our own lifetimes. Things have really
changed a lot. And we know how they've changed - not by sitting around and
talking about it.

So let's take the last 30 years. Compare Ronald Reagan and John F.
Kennedy. Reagan tried, well, Reagan's advisors, he was probably sleeping,
but his advisors basically used Kennedy as their model, more or less, you
could just sort of see it in detail. As soon as the Reagan administration
came in, it tried to organize a major attack in Central America where all
kind of things were going on that they didn't like, like the Catholic
church was - there was no clash civilizations then - the catholic church
was the main enemy. They really wanted to do in Central America what
Kennedy had done in South Vietnam in 1961 and 62 when he basically
attacked South Vietnam, you know, sent the U.S. Air Force to start bombing
civilians, use napalm, drive people into concentration camps and so on. It
was South Vietnam; that was the main target of the U.S. attack. Reagan
tried to duplicate that, same mechanisms, same white papers, everything

It was a total collapse. After a couple of months of trying they had to
back off and the reason is because an enormous, unanticipated popular
objections were coming from the church, from human rights groups, from
everybody. And they had to back off because it was going to threaten other
objectives. They actually called the press off and told them to stop the
campaign. Kennedy didn't have to worry about that. When he sent the U.S.
Air Force to bomb South Vietnam, it was known; you could read it in the
New York Times, but nobody cared. In fact people cared so little that the
whole era has disappeared from history. Try to find a textbook or even a
scholarly book which talks about when the U.S. attacked South Vietnam - I
mean we know when the Russians invaded Afghanistan, but we don't know when
the U.S. attacked South Vietnam. In fact, ask educated people, your
friends and teachers and so on, to see if they can give you the date of
when that took place, and they won't even know what you're talking about.
There was no such event in official history. There was such an event in
real history, but since nobody cared about it, and if the president wants
to go bomb some other country, who cares, it kind of disappeared in to the
mist and what was left was the propaganda. Couldn't do that in the 1980s -
in fact it was totally different. The popular reaction in the United
States to the Central America wars were completely different from in the
'60s and much more powerful, again contrary to what people say.

So in the 1960s it never occurred to anybody to go live in a Vietnamese
village because maybe that would cut back state terrorism by US clients.
Many, many people did that in the 80s and people from the heartland,
Midwest rural areas, actually conservative Christians, sometimes
fundamentalist Christians. These are things that are completely unheard of
in the '60s. And the same is true on a host of other issues. Think about
women's rights, or respect for other cultures, or environmental issues and
so on. They barely existed in the '60s. There was a big change in just 30
years and it's a much more civilized society in many ways. That's not to
say that a lot of rotten things haven't been happening - they have. In
fact a lot of the things that I've been describing in the last 25 years,
in my opinion at least, are a pretty conscious reaction to that, an effort
to stem the tide, and it's partly worked but not in attitudes. It hasn't
worked there.

Well, all of that's important and it shows in a very brief moment what you
can achieve, and a lot of it was led by young people, incidentally, so one
should feel no limits on what could be achieved. And if you look over a
longer stretch of history, yeah, that's true. So take what's maybe one of
the most civilized countries in the world today, say Norway. Norway has
very humane, by comparative standards, norms of behaviour like treatment
of prisoners. But take a look at a book by one of the world's leading
criminologists, Neil Christie (sp.?), who I think is Norwegian. He reviews
the history of incarceration in Norway, and he points out it went up
pretty sharply in the early 19th - this is from memory, I might have the
details wrong, but something like this - it went up pretty sharply in the
early 19th century and he points out that the reason it went up is because
the modes of punishment changed. So before that, if somebody robbed a
store, what you did is you'd drive a stake though his hand. OK, so when
you did that you didn't need jails=D6well, I mean you can't even talk about
it now. You go back not too far before that in England and people were
being drawn and quartered. You don't have to go back very far in history
to find things so outlandish you can't even conceive of them.

In the 19th century, well-known medical researchers in the United States
were carrying out experiments which make you think of Mengele; so a good
deal of gynecological surgery was developed apparently by respected
doctors who were experimenting on slave women and Irish women, who weren't
considered much different. You know, repeated experiments until they
figured out how to do it right and that sort of thing. That's
inconceivable; nowadays that's Mengele, you know, but then it was maybe
not very nice, but not all that crazy. I'm now talking about recent
history, things do look bad but over time they improve and they don't
improve mechanically; they improve by human will. Well, that's the answer.

Questioner: Among other things, when you were referring to initiatives
that were used to promote trade liberalization you were talking about
information technology, and I'm just kind of wondering if something I had
heard was correct and that was with reference to the fact that it was
considered an important part insofar it was used in facilitating and
moving capital in terms of transactions, if that's clear enough, I hope.

Chomsky: I'm not sure I heard every word, but was the question whether the
need for rapid capital transactions was a factor in developing information

Questioner: I'm just kind of wondering if that was one of the things that
was considered as part of trade liberalization, like MAI or even NAFTA and
so on and so forth.

Chomsky: Where did it come from, the liberalization? I'm not sure I

Questioner: I'm just kind of considering if you have a thought, that maybe
one of the initiatives, this is what I've heard, that was specifically
that was one of the core reasons that why information technology is
promoted so heavily is because in fact it would move capital the way trade
liberalization wants to.

Chomsky: So was a factor in the development of information technology its
utilization in facilitating rapid capital movements and so on?

Questioner: Yes.

Chomsky: I doubt it very much. There's good technical literature on the
development of information technology and computers and the internet and
so on, and it doesn't look, from my reading at least and some experience
with it, it doesn't look as if that was a major factor, although it was
indeed used very fast for that. So the telecommunications revolution is a
substantial part of what has led to this very radical change in the way
speculative capital zooms around the world instantaneously, undermining
currencies, distorting trade, and so on. Yes, that technology has
certainly been used for that. So you can get the whole content of Wall
Street resources and stick them in the Japanese stock market because
they're 12 hours different, than using it all the time. You couldn't have
round trips for capital movement of an hour or even a week if you didn't
have fancy technology; and you couldn't have all this highly leveraged
lending with sophisticated derivatives and all that crazy business. In
fact a measure of it, if you want to see it at work, at MIT, you know,
sort of a high class science, engineering school, where I teach, every
year at graduation, corporate recruiters come around and pick up the smart
guys who are getting their PhDs. The last couple of years, I forget the
exact number, but I think around 30 per cent, or something like that, of
corporate recruiters are coming from Wall Street and they're going after
math and physics students, students who know nothing about business and
don't care about it but are smart and have mathematical sophistication and
can go off to Wall Street and figure out complex ways to undermine
economies and so on and so forth ...

=2E..If you're teaching music at MIT, you're getting paid by the system,
basically, the rest is bookkeeping. And that's true since the 1940s and it
was pretty conscious. So you go back to the business press in the 1940s
and they made it very clear that high-tech industry, I'm quoting Fortune,
cannot survive in a competitive free-enterprise economy, and Business Week
added, government has to be the saviour. They were specifically talking
about the aeronautical industry but the lesson was intended for high-tech
generally, because they just need huge public subsidies. That's why the
internet was developed, to take a recent case, within the military system,
since the 1960s, then taken over by the National Science Foundation,
public, and just two or three years ago handed over to private
corporations so that Bill Gates and so on can make money from it. Gates at
least is honest about it. He attributes his success to the ability to
embrace and enhance the ideas of others, usually ideas coming out of the
public sector or funded by the public sector. And the same is true pretty
much across the board. That's the way the economy works. Take a look at
any dynamic part of the economy and you find that it works that way.

Now of course it's applied and it's applied in ways which weren't
anticipated, like when DRPA, the Defence Research Project Agency, which
initiated the internet and had most of the ideas and so on, when they were
developing all this stuff, I presume they did not have in mind that sooner
or later it would get in the hands of big corporations who would try to
use it for a home shopping service to marginalize people and turn them
into passive consumers and so on and so forth. I'm sure they didn't have
that in mind, but yeah, surely that's what they will try to do. They
certainly didn't have it in mind that it would be used to undermine the
MAI by getting around the constraints of the media - it was used for that
too. So things have all kinds of applications and consequences, but I
think they're basically developed just because you need it for the
technology. Same reason why, when during that period of management
failures, the defence department and military in the United States was
called on to create the factory of the future. And that goes way back.
What's called the American system of manufacturing, which sort of amazed
the world in the mid-19th century, based on replaceable parts and mass
production, all this kind of stuff. A lot of that came straight out of the
Springfield armoury. It was developed for military technology then adapted
to production. It's hard to find anything in the modern economy that
didn't more or less work like that. It's not always the military. That's
what Stieglitz is talking about, chief economist of the World Bank, when
he talks about the fact that the path that the East Asian miracle is
following is not all that foreign to us, actually much more so then he
recognizes, I think. I don't know if I got your question exactly.

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