Monday, November 19, 2007

Talk to the People? I Think Not.

Compare & contrast: Clem's two uses of research, hither & yon, w/ McMegan's trusting acceptance of whatever the U. S.-Vietnam Trade Council & The German Marshall Fund of the U. S. (still don't quite get that concept) would like their charges to see, hear & believe, as reinforced by the "development community." As in:

We spent most of our time in Phnom Penh with the development community, including the extremely sharp and friendly people at the World Bank.
I've long been suspicious of the word "community," from its shorthand use as a catch-all for the impoverished residents of certain urban zones (cf: inner city) to the first time I saw the phrase "defense community" used, meaning the military-industrial complex.

One might think that the "development community" is an assortment of bright-eyed younger people, selflessly working for non-profit organizations, sincerely concerned w/ the development of Third World nations, or whatever you want to call the recipients of the largesse of Western European colonialism & imperialism. Then one sees "World Bank." And how sharp & friendly the people there are. And one begins to suspect that it isn't so much selflessness as selfishness going on.

Certainly the subtext Ms. McArdle seems to be pushing here is: "Well, these countries will be pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for the foreseeable future, so even if industrialized countries reduce carbon emissions, it won't make any difference, therefore the agenda of those who suggest we should do something to stop soiling our proverbial nest is really some sort of hippie thing to make us all live w/o SUVs & plasma televisions. And by the way, it's immoral to prevent these people from being free to improve their lot in life. See, I'm not racist, I'm really concerned (w/ "wealth creation," "maximizing efficiency," & other cliches.)

I refer you again to the blog of The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
[A] few GMF staffers are accompanying a group of American and European journalists to the region to look at trade, development, aid, economics, and other issues.
In places like the former Soviet Union, pre-war Iraq & North Korea, to name but a few, wouldn't these "few staffers" have been referred to as "minders," charged w/ keeping journalists from getting off the beaten path, preventing the journos from talking to ordinary people w/o the minders present, etc.?

In other words, hasn't Megatron been bamboozled, a process made easier by her own unwillingness to look into things for herself? Will there be many items in the coming weeks correcting or expanding on her journey, since she'll again have full access to the web? Will she publish a long, detailed article on her trip, what she learned, & how wise investment in Southeast Asia may or may not be? (What about Laos, the forgotten nation of SE Asia, by the way?) My advice: Don't hold your breath.

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