Tuesday Readings: German Outrage And Making Globalization Work For The Poorest
German Prime Minister Angela Merkel has expressed outrage at the tapping of her cell phone by US intelligence services, but John Vincour contends she has little ground to stand on.
“To understand the burst of German fury over the NSA’s surveillance in Germany is to realize the extent to which the country has rejected any commitment to hard power or taking sides since Mrs. Merkel first took office in 2005. Germany has shown no acceptance of the real prospect of confrontation that comes with taking on international responsibilities of a magnitude going vastly beyond irritated assistance in propping up EU budget miscreants,” he writes.
Charlotte Pott, a German television producer who works in Washington, DC, disagrees.
She says it is not a joke to many Germans, who “value our privacy highly” and remember when that privacy was in peril during the time of the Nazi secret police.
“Even in more recent decades Germans have repeatedly fought battles about privacy and against a perceived “Überwachungsstaat” — or “surveillance state.” Compared to the U.S., Germany already has many laws concerning data privacy, but two-thirds of Germans would even like stricter regulations” Pott argues in an op-ed on CNN.com.
The German magazine Der Speigel examines the National Security Agency spying story in greater depth and claims the spying went beyond Merkel’s conversations to tapping into conversations from the US embassy in Berlin.
Can The Poorest Benefit From Globalization?
The World Bank Group says globalization has led to the creation of a larger middle class, but at a cost to the poorest individuals worldwide. The issue was the focus of a talk delivered by economist Branko Milanovic at the World Bank earlier this month.
He noted the incomes of the world’s poorest 5 percent were largely stagnant during the last two decades. So, what approaches are needed to boost that group?
Milanovic says three ways can achieve that goal, but not all are realistic. The first, he says, would be to increase growth rates among poor and middle-income countries, but that is not “easily achievable and “largely depends on China and India maintaining their high growth rates.”
Second, a global redistribution scheme also is unlikely considering development assistance is just a little more than $120 billion a year.
“The third path would be to promote migration, which can be an expeditious way for people to improve their fortunes. That means development should be seen through the prism of people, not countries. From a global point of view – though not necessarily from a nation-state political point of view – what matters is that people should prosper, wherever they end up,” he suggests.