Interestingly, what was called right wing in the 70s is called left wing in the 00s. In the past, the critique was targeted at the too-big-state. Today, we are talking about corporate power.
Now that the world is run by big companies and businesspeople for instance in Finland are more interested in what happens in Nokia than the national parliament, corporate social reponsibility is a relevant political issue.
Few days ago Mike Moore announced that Disney banned the distribution of his latest film. Of course, Mike exaggerates the facts and his film will be distributed (by some other company) anyway. However, his announcement makes excellent guerilla marketing. The announcement went through to almost all possible media worldwide. It makes you ask if corporate ownership concentrates, how can we guarantee freee speech and other basic freedoms the democratic civil society was once built on?
Some weeks ago EFFI published something related in Finland. We wanted to ask what is Nokia’s social reponsibility if it pushes corporate ownership from factories and material assets to ideas and abstract things such as computer programs and information processing on the Internet. Our little newsletter went through to all possible media in Finland. The message was Nokia’s influence to social policy – if their policy decisions that follow global US based multinationals are pushed through, then what is the role our little democratic parliament?
This is not leftism. Sure, there are old 70s-style extreme-freaks around and one may call them globalization activists, green anarchists, post-communists or whatever. But if you talking about free-choice, pro-market people, in the ‘Hayekian’ sense of the word, we are not at the left. We are neither conservatives nor socialists. We are the liberal front.
Lessig’s new book on “free culture” is out and well commented everywhere. I think I’ll join those who have issues with it. The prose and arguments are ok, but the general idea of a chained permission culture simply doesn’t buy me in. Culture has never asked, never will, any permissions from anybody. I agree there is a sub section in our current concept of culture, which we may call “commercial culture”. It plays with things like copyright and licenses. However, most of the stuff we do is never going to be under that permission bullshit. At least it is exremely hard to imagine such a world where browsing the web, chatting online and simply expressing oneself would not be permitted unless paid for. Masses can not be overriden. That would need much more than writing stupid laws and vague lobbying within the commercial media…
Finland has a hostile policy towards good cars. We have both a luxury tax system and strict anti-import legislation. My “problem” is that I like big cars that may cost a lot of money. With luxury taxes and import problems, having a car I like can be deadly expensive. So I am one among the many who really hates the system. I have a strange feeling that Finland is now quite alone in Europe with its anti-market (against free importation of goods) and anti-environmental (new cars would pollute less) car policy.
I had recently an opportunity to do some research on how the anti-import and luxury tax systems work in practice. I decided to ship a rather new SUV from California and see what it takes to get Finnish plates on it. It wasn’t too easy. Click here for full story!
“When the enemy troops are in high spirits, and, although facing you, do not join the battle for a long time, nor leave, you must thoroughly investigate the situation.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter IX, section 44.
Bombings in Madrid made me browse through the classics again. Why don’t we read these anymore? United States wages war on terror. Others follow. Most probably, it seems to me, they are so wrong on the cure. What we are facing are men on mission who cannot be stopped with force alone. They don’t wage war, they have just created it.