Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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THE ANSWER TO TERRORISM: LABOR STANDARDS!! Robert Wright argues that globalization is partly responsible for the terrorist motivations. His policy prescription: "To blunt some of globalization's sharper edges, carry political governance beyond the level of the nation-state, to the transnational level." His specific recommendations amount to appeasing those on the left who believe that globalization leads to a race to the bottom in labor and environmental standards.

Two problems with this logic. First, globalization does not lead to a race to the bottom, and I dare Wright to come up with a single study that supports that claim. For refutations of this thesis, click here and here. Second, Wright's solution is to kowtow to anxieties among developed countries and install barriers to exchange. This might satisfy potential terrorists on the left, but it worsens the current situation. None of the global governance Wright suggests will block the cultural diffusion that enrages Islamic fundamentalists. It will, however, retard the very economic opening that Wright advocated yesterday.

posted by Dan on 09.10.02 at 04:32 PM