Monthly Archives: February 2008

THE TERROR DREAM – AMERICA POST 9/11 AND ITS SEARCH FOR MANLY HEROES

‘9/11 ripped the bandage off US culture’

No sooner had the Twin Towers fallen than the search began for the heroes of 9/11. But only men seemed to be eligible. The women who died were ignored; those who survived were encouraged to get back to baking and child-rearing. So says Susan Faludi in her new book The Terror Dream. Decca Aitkenhead meets her and, overleaf, we print the first of three exclusive extracts

Decca Aitkenhead

Monday February 18 2008

The Guardian

Some months after 9/11, I received a call from a British women’s magazine editor who wanted to commission a feature. “It’s about terror sex,” she said. I didn’t know what she was talking about. “You know, terror sex! Everyone going out and having, like, crazy sex all the time, because they don’t know how long they’ve got before a terrorist attack.” I had never heard of this behaviour before, and nor for that matter since, but when I mention the call to Susan Faludi she nods – “Ah, yes, terror sex” – and laughs. “But at least,” she points out, “terror sex was about fun. It didn’t require going out and buying a rolling pin.”

Faludi received her first call from a journalist writing a “reaction story” to 9/11 on the very day of the attacks. She wondered why anyone would solicit her opinion on international terrorism, but after some vague preambles about “the social fabric”, the reporter’s purpose became clear: “Well,” he said gleefully, “this sure pushes feminism off the map!”

The calls kept coming. “When one journalist rang to ask if I had noticed how women were becoming more feminine, I asked her, ‘What exactly is your evidence?’ She said her girlfriends had started baking cookies.” Within weeks the pattern was growing clear. “It was the idea of the return of the manly man, and of women becoming softer. That had become the trend story.”

At the time, Faludi was working on a biography of an eco activist. “But I suddenly felt, ‘Why am I off in the woods?’ when I felt like I wanted to be writing something closer to what was happening.” She began monitoring the post-9/11 media closely, and found them dominated by enthusiastic reports of a mass retreat by women into feminine domesticity, and a wholesale revival of John Wayne manliness. Concerned that this narrative bore little resemblance to reality, Faludi shelved the eco biography and set about analysing the motives and evidence – or lack of – for this curiously reactionary narrative. The result is her third book, The Terror Dream: What 9/11 Revealed About America. Continue reading

WALMART CEO – AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CHAMPION? IS SOMETHING WRONG HERE?

I found this article on the New York Times website, and i thought it was a fitting description of how companies control not only the market economy and consumer demand and supply, but also government standards.  While still following economic ideology, which promises them a return.

— Ana

Wal-Mart Chief Offers a Social Manifesto

By MICHAEL BARBARO

Published: January 24, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wal-Mart pledged Wednesday to cut the energy used by many of its products 25 percent, to force the chain’s suppliers to meet stricter ethical standards and to apply its legendary cost-cutting skills to help other companies deliver health care for their employees.

In a lofty address that at times resembled a campaign speech, the chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores, H. Lee Scott Jr., said that “we live in a time when people are losing confidence in the ability of government to solve problems.” But Wal-Mart, he said, “does not wait for someone else to solve problems.”

He then laid out sweeping plans for the company on several health and environmental issues, and he hinted that even more ambitious goals might be on the horizon. Mr. Scott said, for instance, that Wal-Mart is talking to leaders of the automobile industry about selling electric or hybrid cars — and might even install windmills in its parking lots so customers could recharge their cars with renewable electricity. Continue reading

Globalization’s losers – from The Economist

Here The “neoliberal” Economist advocates that state policies and spending to support education, health, and dynamic labour markets to cushion the blow for those who lose their jobs and generally suffer as a result of increasing global competitiveness and restructuring. Your thoughts?

Trade’s victims

In the shadow of prosperity

Jan 18th 2007 | GALAX, VIRGINIA

From The Economist print edition

Hard truths about helping the losers from globalisation

NESTLED among the wooded Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia’s far south-west, Galax is a town of bluegrass music, barbecue and hardscrabble living. It is home to an annual fiddlers’ convention and, less happily, a huddle of textile and furniture factories. Over the past few years, globalisation has hit hard.

Unable to compete with Mexican and then Chinese competition, the town’s old industries have withered, taking thousands of jobs with them. Last year brought the biggest single blow. Three big factories closed their doors within months. More than 1,000 people, around one-sixth of the town’s workforce, lost their jobs.

Thousands of people have walked through its doors in the past nine months, many several times. Around one-third of those laid off last year are being retrained. Many others have found new jobs. At 6%, Galax’s unemployment rate is twice Virginia’s average, but no higher than it was a year ago.

For some, particularly those in their 50s, the future looks bleak. At 59, Paul Rotan sees little chance of finding another job with health insurance, but he is still six years away from qualifying for Medicare, the government health plan for the old. He is terrified of what will happen in June when the temporary public subsidies for his health insurance end.

But other, mainly younger, workers are already better off. After 19 years in a textile factory, Bobby Edwards has retrained as a radiologist. Brian Deaton has set up a thriving picture-framing business and has started selling gourmet coffee. Few of these people are enthusiastic about globalisation. “No one trusts China around here,” is a common refrain. But government help has cushioned the shock. “I’d be lost if they weren’t here,” says Mr Rotan, nodding towards the centre’s staff. Continue reading

Wow – the Maxim Institute discovers that globalization and “free trade” leads to peace..

Our very own neoconservative think tank discovers “the democratic peace theory” — only the biggest debate in international relations for the last 18 years! What do you think?

No. 287 | 7 February 2008 www.maxim.org.nz

Globalisation, free trade and international security

Although often overlooked, a key benefit of globalisation is the way free trade fosters peace between countries.

> In the news Globalisation, free trade and international security

With the news that the United States has begun investigating the possibility of a free trade deal with what is being called the P4 group (New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile) and the forthcoming free trade deal with China, the merits of free trade and globalisation are certain to be discussed at dinner tables, work places and in bars around the country over the coming months.

The costs and benefits of globalisation, specifically economic globalisation, have been the subject of juicy debate in recent years. Economic globalisation is essentially the integration of financial markets and the increasing dispersion of production capital. This is seen in increased international flows of goods, services and capital. Proponents of globalisation often point to its material benefits showing that the marketplace is the best way of meeting people’s material needs, and expanding this marketplace means people can better provide for themselves and their families. This is because free trade tends to be a better allocator of resources and can therefore provide a higher standard of living. Some counter that globalisation can lead to job losses, environmental degradation and cultural homogenisation. But, in these debates the relationship between globalisation and international security is often overlooked. Continue reading

Will Hutton argues Government should control global finance industry

THE GREED OF THE FEW HARMS ALL OUR FUTURES

Will Hutton argus that government must act firmly to control an industry that destabilises all our lives with its naked pursuit of huge profits – what do you think?

Will Hutton

Sunday January 27, 2008

The Observer

Never in human affairs have so few been allowed to make so much money by so many for so little wider benefit. Across the globe, societies and governments have been hoodwinked by a collection of self-confident chancers in the guise of investment bankers, hedge and private equity fund partners and bankers who, in the cause of their monumental self-enrichment, have taken the world to the brink of a major recession. It has been economic history’s most one-sided bargain.

Last week’s financial panic was further evidence of the extreme foolhardiness with which global finance has been organised and managed. There was the biggest one-day fall in Wall Street since 11 September, which spilled over into every world stock market and the largest single cut in American interest rates for 25 years as an emergency attempt to stop the rout. A new crisis emerged in an obscure American insurance business (monoline, it is called). To cap it all, there was the £3.7bn bank fraud at Société Générale. Continue reading

Does Branding – ecolabels or NZ made -matter?

What are your views -these two articles from theEconomist on environmental labelling and from the Herald on the By NZ campaign are interesting. Apparently after all the billboards many more kiwis are considering if a product is kiwi made before purchasing. Do you look at labels?

— Jacqui

On the mark

Jan 28th 2008
From Economist.com

Ecological labelling takes off

ALTHOUGH society loses out when fishermen deplete a fishery, or loggers take more timber than nature replaces, it happens all the time. This is partly because there is no immediate accounting for an action’s future effects. Overfishing provides cheap fish, but that price does not take into account the cost of fewer fish to future generations. On land, the broader societal costs of losing a forest (muddying watercourses, the loss of bio-diversity and contributions to climate change) do not fall directly on the landowner, and therefore will not be priced into his actions.

Continue reading