Friday, February 01, 2008

The future looks bleak for....

A much touted, much-hyped debate between the final two contenders to the Democratic Presidential nominee happened yesterday night.  Using the text analyzer that NYTimes provided I did a small analysis of a few words that are often seen as important by much of the mainstream world and their frequency counts in the transcripts.

WORD                                  Hillary                  Obama

China                                        0                           1

India                                          0                           0

global waming                            1                            0

Iran                                            1                          1

Iraq                                            6                           9

Afghanistan                                0                           0

Economy                                    2                           8

Energy                                        1                          1

Osama                                       1                           0

war                                             9                          10

trade                                          0                            0

immigration                                  7                           5

mexico                                        0                           0

japan                                           0                            0

germany, france, italy..etc.            0                          0

illegal immigration                         0                           0

The verdict is clear  - either of them or the moderators cared little for the world beyond the United States.  Nothing will change, it seems.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Missing iPhones?

I always wanted to meet someone who actually bought an iPhone and is using it with AT&T's service.  I never succeeded and eventually I found an interesting blogpost on the Times.
I have to admit though that my hometown, Hyderabad had not yet caught the iPhone fever.  There was talk of unlocked iPhones on the street, famously called "Jagdish market", where unlocked phones are sold at lower prices.  However, not many stored actually carried the sets.  I had to practically see my nephew who just turned seventeen carrying two different Nokia sets and using features we can only dream of in the US, to realize that India had not merely caught up with the rest of the world, but had actually leaped forward with respect to technology adoption.

Yes, I do see change.  However, I had to convince myself if this change added equal value to all consumers.  Sure, some benefit more from such technology than others do.  But, somehow I came back with a feeling that products are being adopted without intrinsic use per se!  Anyways, that is just my feeling, and I know it cannot be right!  Capitalism is at work here and I am sure that the outcome will increase public welfare and to this end, I keep reminding myself that it took a wait of about 8 years to get a wired telephone from the government owned telecommunications entity a mere 15 years ago! I guess I shouldn't complain about utility of a cell phone!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Geopolitics

I read a wonderful article on geo-politics in the New York Times.  I am citing a few paragraphs from the original article in this post.

The author makes an excellent point as to the basis for America's influence on the world.  It is no longer the much touted "ideals of democracy".  There are other countries that have a better reputation and better equipped to further this agenda.  The ancient - occupy them and enable them to vote logic seems to have failed miserably for the US.

The web of globalization now has three spiders (referring to US, Europe and China). What makes America unique in this seemingly value-free contest is not its liberal democratic ideals — which Europe may now represent better than America does — but rather its geography.

Giving advise to a future leader of the US on what is good -

Your grand strategy is a global strategy, yet you must never use the phrase "American national interest." (It is assumed.) Instead talk about "global interests" and how closely aligned American policies are with those interests. No more "us" versus "them," only "we." That means no more talk of advancing "American values" either. What is worth having is universal first and American second. This applies to "democracy" as well, where timing its implementation is as important as the principle itself.

What the world seems to want is a Europe like integration of cultures, rather than what the US offers - an often uniploar president who is exclusionist.

While America fumbles at nation-building, Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream. Africa wants a real African Union like the E.U.; we offer no equivalent. Activists in the Middle East want parliamentary democracy like Europe's, not American-style presidential strongman rule..

The failed Marxian and Weberian view of the world , and the alternative being Spenglerian...

Karl Marx and Max Weber both chastised Far Eastern cultures for being despotic, agrarian and feudal, lacking the ingredients for organizational success. Oswald Spengler saw it differently, arguing that mankind both lives and thinks in unique cultural systems, with Western ideals neither transferable nor relevant

I am looking forward to the book.  The article made a very simple eloquent point, and it is clear that Hegemony of US is on a dowanward slope.  A better world awaits that US which can be inclusionist and can think beyond its borders.  One of my favorite one-liners is from the character General Yamamoto in the movie "Tora Tora Tora".  After receiving news that the Japanses Embassy failed to deliver the message of declartion of war to the US government before the Pearl harbor bombing, he says,
I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve

The US is a great country and has done much good for the world in general.  Misguided policies have demoted its state on the global landscape.  However, this demotion also provides the US an opportunity to renew its true ideals of being the first and arguably the oldest democracy and apply them universally rather than merely to the american way of life.