News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Thoughts regarding the Asia article: Closing the Globalization 'Gap'

The author writes: "Many groups or individuals reject the idea of joining the Core [the league of wealthy countries], fearing that the adoption of Western norms - which define the Core's norms - will mean the loss of their traditional way of life."

In my observation, people don't really fear the adoption of Western norms anymore than they fear the loss of their traditional way of life. People who grew up with traditions never tend to lose them and tend to be hidebound and fettered by them until they leap into the grave. It's the younger generation, untutored in the traditions of the older generation because it has other priorities such as attending a full 12 years of public school, who thus never acquire these traditions and thus never lose them. They never fear the loss because they're not in a position to lose anything.

Likewise, people don't adopt Western norms; people are persuaded that a new idea is useful and choose to adopt it, independent of its provenance. A case in point is the attitude in Taiwan previously towards old folks homes. They were decried as inhumane and something that only unfeeling famously family-dysfunctional Americans would use. They were conceived as a sort of jail for the elderly, an impersonal holding tank for those refusing to putter off their mortal coil.

But when a few old folks homes opened up for business, were written up in the magazines (no doubt with a certain financial incentive coming from the old folks industry), and people started to learn just how old folks homes operated, the economies that they provided, the quality and standards of their services, the recreational activities offered, the inhouse medical care, and so forth, people were persuaded that old folks homes were useful and humanitarian. They were adopted because they were agreed to be ethically sound, chemically pure, affordable, and in many other ways just downright attractive.

People did not adopt Western norms at any stage of the process. Whether the old folks homes were a paradigm imported from the west or from Japan, I'm sure it made no difference at all and I'm sure most people never thought to ask. For all I know, they were a homegrown reinventing of the wheel. And many of us are familiar with how much resistance there often is to innovation, whether it comes from abroad or from inside one's own borders.

The author writes: "Barnett notes that precisely because connectivity empowers women relative to men, it will be opposed on that basis by most men in traditional societies."

The average man will passively oppose the empowerment of women in precisely the way he passively opposes the empowerment of his fellow man. Only a small minority of fanatics, i.e. psychological defectives, will aggressively oppose the empowerment of women because of their sex.

Plus, women as a class are far better prepared than men for combats of wit. They have better articulation, savvy, and are much less constrained by public notions of morality or honor. By this I refer to the great talent for dramatic acting and other shameless monkeyshines that women the world over are known for and by which they succeed in overcoming the resistance of (i.e. effectively manipulate) most men (who privately rationalize feline machinations as evidence of women's defective intelligence and immaturity! Men, myself included of course, can be such dolts!)

Its well-known by most of my colleagues that North American women were kept down by a glass ceiling imposed due to sexual discrimination. But this factoid though correct, politically speaking, is wrong in every other sense of the word. There were women doctors as early as the 1920s. There was nothing keeping women out of the other professions either. They simply lacked motivation. Why ? For the same reason that prostitutes lack motivation for the drudgery of office work, when they can work in a 9-to-5 (i.e. 9 pm to 5 am) brothel, have the opportunity to marry into the highest echelon of money-bags in town (prostitutes are constantly fending off marriage proposals), and get paid four to five times the salary of an office girl who does four to five times the work and never gets any satisfaction.
Throughout the 20th century most women ignored the suffragettes and radical feminists. Who wanted a career?, when marriage and lazing around in front of the boob-tube were available. And what about the 'oppression' of housecleaning? You must be referring to automated dishwashers and electric washing machines, can-openers, knife sharpeners, blenders, ad infinitum plus the laborious preparation of TV dinners, canned and frozen foods, instant coffee, and so on and so forth. Our home became a sort of Smithsonian Institution of labor-saving devices. And I, the eldest male, did at least half of the housework, with my father and I doing the entirety of the yardwork. Oh my poor mom! I don't blame her at all though. If I had a choice between working or being a househusband, I would not hesitate to be a househusband. Women only entered the US workforce beginning in the 1970's when inflation ate into wages and one breadwinner was insufficient to support families.

Biff Cappuccino

No comments:

Post a Comment