Saturday, March 19, 2005

Some Questions

Some questions that popped into my head tonight while I was sitting in Barnes & Nobles drinking some Sumatra (mmmm) and reading Lou Dobbs' new book "Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas":

Is nationalism just fiefdoms (European tribalism) writ large? If so, is economic nationalism just an extension of local/parochial/ethnic allegiances? What is the appropriate Christian response to this? If our primary allegiance is to Christ and to those who are called by His name (the church universal), to what degree can we be allied to a particular national interest? If (by historical standards very wealthy) American workers are being hurt, but foreign workers are being helped by "outsourcing", should we not support this as a means to "lift up" the poor around the world? But what if neither are being helped by this process, but instead these multi-national corporations are only pursuing short-term goals of personal enrichment at the expense of the "host" nations and workers? In this case are these corporations acting simply as parasites, feeding off the host until its energy is exhausted, and then it moves on to its next victim? As a people, should we see these various corporations as a confederation of similarly motivated interests (a sort of United States of Capital) working together (not in some dark conspiratorial way, but in an open and completely understandable fraternity of common interests) to advance their own material interests? If their interests are for their own enrichment and their own self-perpetuation, over and above any national/local/community loyalties, should we then not be concerned to see to a policy being enacted that would limit those impulses? While I don't agree with Dobbs' strong Americanism/nationalism, since my primary allegiance is to Christ (unconditionally) and His church (conditionally), and then further down the line to my country (very conditionally, no matter what country), I nonetheless agree with his concern over the rapacious appetite of the corporate empires that have effectively supplanted (and co-opted) our other governing structures. We stand at the crossroads, being asked to choose. Every moment we buy a product, we stand at the crossroads. Every moment we watch a television program, we stand at the crossroads. Every moment we accept and then propound a political view, we stand at the crossroads. We are always making choices. We are always being political. It's not a question of if, but which political and ethical position we are going to take and are taking. Just some questions on a friday night.

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