Saturday, March 31, 2007

03.31.07 – The Dismal Science Redux, Wal-Mart Espionage, Deconstructing Exurbia

Deconstructing the Dismal Science
“Economic theory and economic fact have long since parted company. And since we structure the world according to the theories of economists, this imperils just about everything.” Some thoughts on the disconnect between liberal democrat notions of economic theory and the reality out here, by Barry Lind in the American Prospect. (Free subscription required)

Big (Box) Brother
“It reads like a cold war thriller: The spy follows the suspects through several countries, ending up in Guatemala City, where he takes a room across the hall from his quarry. Finally, after four days of surveillance, including some patient ear-to-the-keyhole work, he is able to report back to headquarters that he has the goods on them. They’re guilty! But this isn’t a John Le Carré novel, and the powerful institution pulling the strings wasn’t the USSR or the CIA. It was Wal-Mart, and the two suspects weren’t carrying plans for a shoulder-launched H-bomb. Their crime was “fraternization.” One of them, James W. Lynn, a Wal-Mart factory inspection manager, was traveling with a female subordinate, with whom he allegedly enjoyed some intimate moments behind closed doors. At least the company spy reported hearing “moans and sighs” within the woman’s room.Now you may wonder why a company so famously cheap that it requires its same-sex teams to share hotel rooms while on the road would invest in international espionage to ferret out mixed-sex fraternizers. Unless, as Lynn argues, they were really after him for what is a far worse crime in Wal-Mart’s books: Openly criticizing the conditions he found in Central American factories supplying Wal-Mart stores.”

I suppose Wal-Mart has the right to spy on their people, but why do they?

Exurbia: Built on Paradox and Hypocrisy
“This situation is thick with paradox and hypocrisy; in supporting a draconian immigration crackdown, right-wing white America is rebelling against the builders of the modern-day fundamentalist-anarchist paradises that so many of its voters find so enticing. Just as the Hebrew slaves built the pyramids for the pharaoh, Mexican slaves built exurbia for white, middle-class America.”

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