Monday, August 13, 2007

Will Big Business Pacify the Clash of Cultures?

Here's an interesting article from the London Times about the world situation.

One theory about the clash of cultures such as Islam and The West is that religeous and ethnic ties are so strong that they drive groups of people apart. This articles factors in economic issues.

This kind of reminds me of the border states in the US Civil War. In the pre-war years, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were strongly pro-south and pro-slavery. Yet, when the war came and the chips were down, they sided with the Union.

Kentucky was especially interesting. A Confederate invasion in 1862 gave it every opportunity to side with the South. But for them, with the Ohio River to the north and the Mississippi River to the west, the economic ties to the northern states neutralized the pro-southern leanings. Other states further south didn't have that geographical proximity.

Now days, geographical proximity isn't as important to economic inter-dependence. So that's the direction policy should go: create more economic inter-dependence. The article doesn't mention that this was Kissinger's general strategy in the 1970's.

One byproduct of this thesis, is that free trade policies would be more desirable than protectionism.