Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Doha and Dolts

No, I'm not making pro- or anti-WTO commentary here, just pointing out that the lack of media coverage or comprehension of the final collapse of Doha July 29 was astonishing in its ignorance. The attitude of western developed nations had all but guaranteed a failure for the Doha round anyway, but the participants got tantalizingly close to a partial compromise, only to see everything fall apart. And only the obvious NY Times and Wall Street Journal noticed. As WTO director-general Peter Lamy said, this is a "massive blow to confidence in the global economy," and will have far more lasting effect on citizens in every nations than 5.4 earthquakes in Los Angeles or kidnapped babies in Florida. But duh sells.

After all, we can't expect US media to pay attention as the Turkish constitutional court narrowly decides against throwing out the government, despite the massive impact this will have on the EU and on secular-Islamic relations. We only saw the Serbian nationalist protests covered because of blood, tear gas, bandanas, and fire. Cheer up! We'll always have plenty of takes of Amy Winehouse vs. Duffy on the soulful singer-stringer front, we'll always have Nancy Grace picking apart the latest blood crime signifying nothing, we'll always have Glenn Beck warning us that the wily Mexicans are out to gun us down with their poison jalapenos. We have a right to be uninformed. As Walking Wounded would say, I'm "saddled by idiots."


Sharon said...

I think owning all of the world's problems is too much for most of us to absorb. There are so many complexities that drive people's behavior that logic and concern aren't nearly enough to propel voluntary consciousness. The defense mechanism of self preservation alone is enough to encourage blinders. Add to that proclivity, a profit motivated media who is more than happy to supply entertainment and what you end up with is welcomed sensationalism. I am not criticizing your plea for awareness; it is desperately needed. But remember, more often than not you are probably the smartest one in the room.

Ruth said...

Are you suggesting that more media coverage might have changed the outcome of Doha? Would the average person's awareness of it make a difference?

Loring Wirbel said...

Not necessarily on either count. But people should be aware of such things, and the roles they play in their well-being. It was citizen action that made the financial mechanisms side-agreements to the pre-Doha round fall down, and keeping such details among the elite simply reinforces the anti-democratic nature of the globalized economy. (Incidentally, unfettered financial transactions of the hedge-fund and collateralized debt obligation kind would have made the present downturn much worse.) I don't think there is a conspiracy among media and financial barons to keep these things quiet - I just think the media want to entertain with mindless drivel these days.

Ruth said...

Well you're right, of course, that far more influences people on a daily basis than they are aware of, this as case in point. And that the media caters to imbeciles. Thanks for the clarification.

I'm ready to start the new world order, bottom up.

Yeah, naive, I know.

Greeley's Ghost said...

You're channeling OGBC and it's great to see!
What's interesting to me is that I think people, in agrarian times, were a bit more plugged in to the world around them. The world was smaller of course. You had weather, irrigation and laws that affected your livelihood.
Today the things that affect our livelihood are impossible to comprehend because things are so complex.
The NY Times page 1 story today brings it home however: High fuel prices forcing some industry to plant factories closer to home markets.
What goes around, comes around.