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Friday, December 19, 2003

Tidbits from the Moscow Times

The Moscow Times

If you're reading this in the U.S. or Europe, I'd be willing to bet that you never really think about reading newspapers from developing countries. I am living in China right now, a developing country itself, and watching it grapple, for the most part successfully, with domestic priorities vs. international trade priorities to safeguard its own rapid economic development in a globalizing market. Only now am I beginning to understand why developed nations are actually going to have to adjust their expectations rather than enforce assumptions of economic primacy because no economy, having saturated it's own potential, is going to prosper without productive interaction with developing markets. Sometimes the irony is just too much.

An article titled Piracy for Progress, arguing that it is unrealistic to expect strict enforcement of intellectual property rights of developing nations offers the model of developing industries. The American movie biz, recalls the author, an assistant professor of history and global studies and a research associate of the Institute for Globalization Studies in Moscow, moved to southern California, not for the weather, but to distance itself from the East Coast so that patents on film technology owned by east coast corporations couldn't be enforced. But it's his penultimate reference that struck me, one I regret to confess that I havn't heard before and one that has multiple applications at this moment in time:
As the late Israeli scholar and statesman Abba Eban once reflected, "Nations typically do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other options."
And this next classic I submit as a cautionary brickbat as Americans face another presidential election next year:
Following the State Duma elections this month, the opposition conceded that election fraud had been no worse than usual.
An article on the Kyoto Protocol and why Russia can't afford it right now ends with:
Cleaning up the air is an important task, but surely the Kyoto Protocol is not the way to go if it means handcuffing Russia's economic growth. After all, what good is clean air if people have nothing to eat?
I'm having a brain cramp: What was the excuse for the U.S. declining to sign the Kyoto Protocol again?

Check out some foreign newspapers some day when you're tired of the same old same old of your local rag. Good for a chuckle or a wince or a challenge to your mindset. You can get to a lot of them through my favorite mega-reference page, Refdesk.

// posted by Ellen @  12:17   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.


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