“Accountability Through Public Opinion” & “Governance Reform Under Real World Conditions”

I believe that these two publications have done an incredible amount of research and much of which may be very well intended, but we have to ask, what are the special interests? What do the other parties ie foreign stakeholders have to gain and at what cost? Maybe a culture of debt is not right for all or any societies. I mention this, because this is a publication written by the world bank and banks lend money or at the very least facilitate the exchange of money. I think that in order to better evaluate a situation as complex as this, we must also do some research into the roots of what causes a nation to be considered less than “1st World”. How did these “lesser nations” get here, was it always like this? If not what has or is still causing this?

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/life-and-debt/ This documentary explores the dangers of outside intervention and the use of debt to, in theory help a nation, but actually prolong its economic suffering and or make it much much worse.

I think that it is absurd and an insult to the local people to say that the locals need outside assistance. According to this and many other documentaries, debt is actually a manipulative tool to gain more control over a nation and the people who inhabit it.

One other documentary film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui0NL3bb21o and or book that should be read for consideration is called “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Money_and_Economics/confessions_of_an_economic_hitman.pdf . This is a documentary and book that details the career of John Perkins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Perkins_(author) who claimed that he played a role in economic colonization of third world countries. It’s wildly entertaining to say the least and if any of it is true, then debt to third world nations is grossly immoral and highly dangerous to all civilizations.

When we read publications from places like the World Bank or a large corporation claiming to do well for the less needy in the world, we must also be aware of the other side as well, and wonder why are they doing what they are doing, what is their long-term goals, and ramifications for making those choices?

November 18th Blog, Communication Policy; China, Western, & Africa

During this weeks readings, I liked how it appeared to show a sort of evolutionary process of an archaic Western Model largely used by the US and outlined in the Rockefeller Institute memo to contrasting views in Japan and China; to China-Africa relations and Western-Africa relations. This is important, because many policies used by the West in the past have failed miserably to benefit societies better and people have become very critical of imperialism and are currently keeping a very close eye on China’s policies, because many people have a fear that a repeat of failed imperialism could again present itself. China is also under scrutiny not only for perceived fears of failures of the past Western models, but also their own short comings within the areas of unfair labor practices, spying scandals, and unsafe products produced

Although the Rockefeller Institute attempted to describe and even defend what it had seen as different approaches, all seemed fundamentally broke as well and can not sustain in the future, because all are less inclusive and more dictatorial to bend more to the needs of the what appears to be the other party but is probably more likely an elite few, and also provide an inefficient blanket approach to complex decisions that again are largely ignorant and one-sided.

In contrast to what appears to be an imperialistic or elitist approach to communications policy that has historically dominated for the last 50yrs+, the China in Africa article included 3 parties of consideration. I found this to be important because the inclusion of 3 parties should be able to achieve a better balance of policy making and which can probably be achieved through increased checks and balances. Each policy stakeholder described can better monitor the actions of the other two and have wider more balanced, better educated, greater informed discussions. Ignorant disputes or abuses should be less frequent as our world evolves and more stake holders from other geographic areas can become larger stake holders in this world that we all share together.

Public Diplomacy and Soft Power, Fast Diplomacy, & Global Inter-connectivity….

During the reading of “Global Inter-connectivity”, it was refreshing to to be reading that many diplomats and bureaucrats are acknowledging that the use of technology is creating greater transparency and that utilizing these technologies is necessary for their own organisations as well. Which will then force them to adhere to the soft power of many others or else feel increasing amounts of backlash. I think that all major elitist meetings should be recorded and broadcast live with reception of outside viewers sending in questions, comments, and even a recap after the meeting with questions and comments. I feel that there is not only a social responsibilty, but it is also the opportunity to disprove any lingering questions of elitist domination over the rest of the world. A lot of people in media became very critical, especially over the last three years of what’s called the “Bilderberg Group”, meetings. Please google if you don’t know what this is. This strange secrecy of who attends, super tight security and the blocking of the press, really creates much distrust between elitists and the rest of the global population. To disprove any misunderstandings, this organisation and others should just become much more transparent. If they don’t, I feel that within time it will be demanded and there will be no other choice. I think that they should “lead the parade” and become more public with their meetings, but not just this organisation, many others. I just used this one as an example, because it seems like one of the most harshly criticized.

Also during the article, “Global Inter-connectivity”, it is mentioned that diplomacy must be “more grassroots”. I feel that this should have been ahead of the agenda from the beginning. Why are they just now discovering this?  Do they not know what diplomacy actually is? It should be at the top of their list, in order to survive they must interact with the majority in open dialogue or else they may be chased out. It seems to common of an experience today, that an embassy is either under attack or high levels of suspicion of an attack. Diplomats must be more aware that the spread of information is vast and whether they want to be more transparent or not, this world is more transparent.

I think that many bureaucrats have over extended themselves and maybe they need to release some of the control and allow spontaneous order to evolve naturally. I felt that during certain parts of the article “Fast Diplomacy”, the tone of some of the bureaucrats mentioned, where scared, angry, confused, and other things. I feel that if bureacrats feel threatened or at a loss of control and they don’t like it, then maybe they need to re-think things, re-tool their processes, and begin a changed mindset that allows for better flow for all. I think the last bureaucrat from the EU of this article summed up much when in his confused state of mind he absurdly says that:

“We’re living in a monitory age. People feel they have the right to monitor decisions. There’s now surveillance as well as
surveillance,” said Daniel Korski, Special Advisor on Communication to EU High Representative for Foreign and Security
Policy Catherine Ashton. “Some of all this change has negative effects, for example governments are more risk-averse. The
modern world has so many actors, and issues are so complex, that the notion that bureaucrats have all the answers and
information is absurd”.

He’s right in admitting that bureaucracies do not have all the answers, but he is wrong in assuming that others want answers. Others want their liberties back, they don’t want to feel constrained by the bureaucracies. He is also admitting that the bureaucracies do not have the capacity, but they want to assume control. It is time for the bureaucracies to release control, release the stress put upon their teams, and have open dialogues, honest messages and policies, and spontaneous order will follow. The bureaucratic machines are breaking down, because they are assuming too much control and are being faced with well informed organized resistance.

I really could not stand to read Josesp Nye’s article. I felt like he was trying to use coercion throughout the entire article, for the readers to buy into his idea of “soft power”. His way of thinking and seeing the world, seemed very archaic and backwards. At times I felt that it was very sociopathic and narrow in appeal.

To elaborate a bit, I’m gonna call this excerpt “Soft Force” not Soft Power, because that’s what he continues to describe. “If I can get you to want to do what I want, then I do not have to force you to do what you do not want”, this just screams sociopath to me. So in some ways, I think he is saying that, we can use threats, and other means to get what you want? Stated another way; if I can get you to accept without evidential physical force that can be proven scientifically, this soft power. This in many ways is still force, we just haven’t been measuring in the Western world the real damage that is being done. Coercing others to change their way of life, can be very detrimental to the world and can throw it out of balance. Many people have been saying to the Western world to back off.

Real soft power, is listening and having respect for all. Not coercion, this is still force. It just hasn’t been measurably proven to many out of touch members of the western society. Real soft power should not have to “entice” or “attract” it should be easily understood, communicated in a way that doesn’t even require the same linguistic skills. The messenger has it all backwards.

I think JFK had it right; “To inspire others is real power”.

Castells 116-136, Nollywood, and Convergence Culture

Recently the media has been reporting that government officials have been bashing online journalists, by saying that they are not real journalists, because they are not a part of one of the major well known news sources. I was happy to read this interesting quote from Culture Convergence; “journalists online are gate watchers, monitoring rather supporting news, managing rather than filtering information”. That’s basically how I see the flow of internet journalism, I feel that there is an unprecedented amount of fact checking going on, at such a rapid pace and I don’t know why any organization should feel threatened by this, unless they themselves are misinformed and or are trying to hide something. I feel that those who are currently criticizing it, should embrace it fully and use it to their advantage as well.

“In our society the protocols of communication are not based on the sharing of culture but on the culture of sharing”. This was found in Castellls reading. I really feel that this quote gets to the center of all of our misunderstandings in society. I feel that more than anything, people of all cultures want to share, because it feels good to share, it feels right, and that expansion in life exists when we share and feel good about ourselves. However, there is social engineering that exists and displays just the opposite and is not representative of the human spirit at all. That failed social engineered experiment I believe is being described to us again and again as the major media players. In Convergence Culture they are depicted as being “5 corporations that control most of the media: Time Warner, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, and Bertelsmann.”

At the end of the Nollywood article, it states “We have to train people to stay inside the  Truman Show, and make the best of it”. Is this what is really best for society, why would this be good, who benefits most from this, and suffers most?

During the Nollywood article, Michael Curtin mentions that: “logics of media flows can no longer be mapped onto a geograph based on the shape of the nation-state, but rather media as a product of global media capitals, hubs of media production that can be understood best at the city level” I found this to be really interesting, especially since I have lived in 2 major cities (NYC & London) of the world and have spent considerable amounts of time in other major global metro areas as well.  I actually see our world in the same way as well. NYC to me is like living in another world, it is so diverse and so different. Outsiders and tourists would never understand that community can be very strong here, because it seems so divided, but actually we have communities within communities, that stretch beyond oceans, it is a very interesting place and can be very confusing for others to understand it they never spent a significant amount of time there as a non-tourist. I see more of the rest of the world, becoming like this, because people have a more easily accessible opportunity to levitate towards their unique backgrounds and interests (via the internet and living in a more transient world) but a finite amount of time (which causes the confusion of being rude or divided).  New Yorker’s can be some of the most caring and understanding, people I have ever met. They are just misunderstood and too far ahead of the rest of the world in many respects.

Oct 28th, Netpolitik, Soft Power Hard Issues, People/Networks/Power

Beginning with Netpolitik, a lot great issues and concerns where mentioned. Then Soft Power Hard Issues and People Networks Power, had some many great points of consideration. When first reading Netpolitik, I gravitated towards the idea of what an organisation like the State Department could do to be better respected. They have what seems to be an immense amount of resistance. The first thing that always comes to mind is, increased transparency. A few times it has been mentioned during these readings that the policy of the US is very much so out of favor, so I think that major changes in policy should be in play. It was stated in Soft Power Hard Issues, that “an organizations only real currency is credibility”, if it is true, then the entire US’s currency is being debased further everyday, if more negative attitudes are stronger than the positive aspects.

It was good to see that there where many great IT innovations mentioned. A couple of things that I think could improve the image of the State, largely depends upon how they handle their IT infrastructure. Not specifically mentioned but what I thought could work was that maybe the creation of an online outlet where people actually want to go and read the news, and let this be the State Department’s webpage. I thought that if they could provide an atmosphere that is entertaining for others, then they could get more traffic. At the end of Netpolitik it gives a comparison of the ancient Greek stories compared to American; “Ancient Greek stories, are about balance, harmony, and the restoration of order, unlike American stories of the individual.” To maybe facilitate better balance, there should be a comments section, where readers of the State Department could give their opinions and maybe their could even be a function to read comments made in other languages and or translate to other languages. Also, it may be beneficial for others to be able to post opposing articles or if the State Department could also give two sides, which might make it more of an open dialogue and the State Department could conduct polls in terms of the popularity of their policy making, and or have a suggestions link, because “free expression and accessible media are critical to building honest relationships”, Soft Power Hard Issues.

I do believe, as was mentioned in People/Networks/Power “When governments begin to internalize the lessons of networks, they will become more effective”, which is why they should be out there utilizing all facets of social media with an honest story. If they are honest, well, then they can be more malleable and adjust according to the true needs of the specific issue even if that includes backing off completely vs being more rigid and defensive. The ultimate goal then, would be for the hierarchies to become the central power of the networks, if they want to survive. But, they must become much more diplomatic.

Oct. 21 Network and Activism

I really enjoyed this conclusion to Castell’s, Communication Power. I can totally see where he is coming from in terms of switches and programmers, I thought that this was a great and creative way to display the power structure and show that the power structures do exist like this everywhere in the world. This is a boundless network, only restricted to the degree of their own flaws, which are many.

First I want to expand upon the conclusion starting on pg 429. “The programmers and switches are the holders of power in the network society, embodied by social actors, but are not individuals, they networks themselves”. I’m gonna start by saying that they are a reflection of the global consciousness, reflection of society, and that the problem switches are the result of not enough programmers (found something similar to this, later as I was reading). It is human nature, when in overload to maximize perceived reward even with a damaged consciousness, like Ruport Murdoch’s case. Him and others operate in a dysfunctional way, because it is too much power and information overload. We can’t necessarily blame them, because they truly feel that they are doing the best that they can, even if they are carrying out crimes against humanity. It is still, too much responsibility for 1 or a few switches. Many more switches need to rise to the occasion and better filter, transmit, and encode messages that are even more representative of the larger network, or are at a level of better refinement and quality. It is entirely too much power, control, responsibility ……etc for one individual and as a result of excess labour and stress, the switch becomes corrupted and then we begin to see splinters and cracks and eventually breakdowns of entire systems and then new systems are created unless more programmers come in to save the existing system and change it to better support a more balanced, smoother operating system.

Pg 416, “where institutions become dysfunctional because of their deep penetration by criminal networks, the police become a threat to law-abiding citizens who organize their lives as far as possible from the corridors of the state.” I have personally spoken with probably thousands of people on this issue. The sentiment is very distrusting both here in the US, and people I have met from India, Turkey, Egypt, England, Mexico, Nigeria, Ghanna, Ireland, …….basically everywhere except Canada, Singapore and Australia really. This is very relevant today and becoming more and more pervasive of people being less trusting of their not just the police but also their government.

Pgs 424, 427, The text speaks about the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and mentions the absence of regulation, but a couple ver important pts in history should be mentioned, that regulation was once in place and then removed, which allowed for tighter control and constriction of the true information on asset prices that created the bubble economy that finally burst. This was a bi-partison (Demican-Republicrat) deal to repeal the Glass-Stealgall Act in 1996, this eliminated the separation of investment and commercial banking and the creation of AIG securing all of these toxic investments, I highly recommend all to read Meltdown, Thomas Woods and for greater depth but much more technical The Big Short, by Michael Lewis. I will say one other thing, switches where in play and structures described very similarly as described by Cassell’s; his way of describing is very applicable and could have been applied here as well.

One more thing. Why do we need corporations? It was mentioned here in the end that this was a breakdown of corporate capitalism. I went to business school, I can retrieve the definitions of why we create them. But why do we tolerate this belief that those who operate corporations should be held to a lessor degree than those who do not? This conversation was first presented to me, by friend who has the corporation in his industry here in America, and he opposed the idea of us supporting such a flawed idea.

The Whole Online World Is Watching:
Profiling Social Networking Sites and Activists in
China, Latin America, and the United States

This seems like an important study, but maybe it needs more refinement or updating. In the end it says that the results are not generalizable, because of a small population size. I looked over the stats and nothing really stood out to me either. The study could probably use some work.

Oct 14 Organization and Management of Information Flow; ARSENAULT & CASTELLS

Pg 5 castells . “global media organizations are not truly global, as local media organizations are not truly local. What is global is the networked organization of media companies.”

I thought that this statement touched on a couple of major issues in just a few words. I agree that the global media organizations are mostly global in their outreach to volumes of people and diversified profit taking, but not nearly global enough in its ability to be representative of all global cultures, which is why I think it is failing and will continue to fail. What may work for them may be an approach where they provide a platform for local media representatives to express their view to the rest of the world similarly to how internet giants, provide the access to many diversified views, versus actually producing the news and other programming. It could also work similarly to how a stock market functions; for instance the NYSE provides a market for other companies to sell their shares to the wider public. The global media giants can provide the stage for many companies across the globe to sell their media products to a vast array of customers. The media giants survive by offering their platform to deliver to the global audience in exchange for a fee. The smaller institutions agree, because they otherwise may not have such readily available access to such a wide audience. The internet is already doing this in many facets, but the existing media giants are in a position to better streamline video productions.

As far as “local media organizations are not truly local”; I couldn’t agree more. Local media does indeed focus on the mainstream segments too. I feel that they see this as a “safe play”. They may view national and global wide stories as a safe bet to keep viewers, because it is probably already assumed that the majority of the public has already attached their attention to the popular news stories, so it can be assumed that by also covering the mainstream view, they shouldn’t lose viewership, by covering stories that have already been approved by a wider audience.

Diagrams pg 11,11,9 showing the cross-ownership of media companies and conflict of interest.

I kind of saw this as a Self-sustaining Monopolistic Eco-system. I would be happy to hear what other thought of this diagram and how it functions. Not to mention that the media giants/dinosaurs are becoming behemoth bureaucracies as well.  I kind of want to relate this to the collapse of financial system in 2008. A link here from the Financial Times http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2195a538-30f1-11e3-b991-00144feab7de.html#axzz2hciSvsHx , shows an interview with famous NYU professor, economist, and author of “Black Swan”, Nicholas Taleb. He became famous because he successfully predicted our financial crash. In this interview, he states that the crash existed because of “too much centralized control” and because bureaucracies are “running the show with no skin in the game”. I will come back to what he meant by “no skin in the game” in a minute”, but first I want to point out that the monopolistic media giants are acting in a centralized manner, as was seen in the diagrams, with their cross corporate reach and very few if any competitors. In reference to “no skin in the game”, he makes the claim that bureaucrats having nothing to lose because they sort of make the rules and do not have to suffer the consequences. In a monopoly, the rules that are established strongly represent the giant players, and are so big and influential that no matter what decisions they make, they will be profitable, because they have a monopoly. But, everything has a life cycle and all monopolies must come to an end. If what we see in the diagrams is indeed a Self-sustaining Monopolistic Eco system, is it sustainable and for how long?

This is sort of how I see how things are progressing in the world of media. I’m calling it; Moving into Media 3.0, 1st government monopoly, 2nd privatization monopoly, and 3rd is the decentralization of the privatized monopoly. The decentralization of the privatized monopoly can be described as a more free market approach that shares the landscape with existing dinosaurs, medium sized conglomerates, small niche media outlets, and personal media companies like youtube casts. As I mentioned before, I believe that the existing media giants can survive and thrive if they provide the “stage” or “platform’ for delivering local media projects, otherwise it can become a very long and hard fought battle for them.  I believe one theory stands, that the dinosaurs actually died out, because they where too large and became too big of targets, and had difficulty sustaining life because of their mere size.

In terms of Ruport Murdoch, I don’t see much of a difference between how his corporation functions and how the other giants operate. It was well supported that Ruports company appears to be more independent, but this is just one step closer to decentralizing the media monopoly. His company also benefits largely in the same ways that any of the others do, except his company is focused on acquiring more social internet sites and financial market news, and may not be currently as big of a behemoth as the rest.  In Media 3.0, even this company will have great difficulty if they do not truly embrace and respect local cultural media needs, because the behemoths are the true minority. Although his company may appear to be more nimble now, it will continue to slow.