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19 February 2007

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Nearly Legal

Thanks, Corporate, for a very thought-provoking post.

Kirby, I think, can be safely ignored as pretty much a vapid kind of cultural studies hand waving. His characterisation of post-modernism is a caricature of a caricature. No philosophy involved, it seems fair to say.

Your suggestions are rather richer in interest (sorry).

Having followed the links, I am now fascinated by the intellectual convolutions involved in Sharia compliance for a bond. I can see the contractual difference between interest and profit sharing, but I'm less clear on the moral distinction. Surely both are returns on capital which do not involved the labour (in any sense) of the buyer of the bond, although granted the profit share doesn't result in additonal debt for a failed venture. I'm going to read further on this.

While economic ties are a form of integration, I'm not sure that the (west) European model of economic integration = peace is straight forwardly transferrable. For instance, (although you'd doubtless know more about this than me), the flows of investment capital from the middle east and from China does not seem to involve the large majority of the populations in any broader cultural, social, political or economic integration.

Although 'market forces' in terms of capital flows are certainly a demolition vehicle, "All that is solid melts into air" as someone once said, the day to day experience of integration through them tends to be an omnipresence of Britney Spears on the one hand and a bewildering vaguery of employment on the other.

My suspicion is that it is partly this sense of having integration done to one, in a manner that is largely incomprehensible, that encourages nationalisms, cultural/religious fundamentalisms etc.. But then there are the counter examples of cross-globe alliances at a grass roots level and between developing countries' governments. (By the time it gets to Hugo Chavez funding half price bus travel for unemployed Londoners, things have become odd).

But then integration into global financial markets hasn't stopped 'alleged' Saudi funding of fundamentalisms. Indeed, it has provided the money.

Tis aw a muddle. I'm back off to look into Shariah finance.

Corporate Blawg

Thanks for your comment, Nearlylegal. Much food for thought has been passed, not mouth to mouth, but bite to bite.

There is a good argument that integration creates extremes as the fringes feel more and more threatened of losing their identity, but on the other hand the centre becomes more consolidated, and stronger.

The key is that economic integration has political ramifications. Integration encourages industry and investment and ultimately political power is in the hands of those that produce economic wealth for their people. This global pressure is reciprocal, and part of the ripple of integration that is opening our markets to ideas and concepts that we have not previously been embracing.

My post draws the cynical steps from a political stance to improve national economies, to media manipulation arising from politics, to a general change in attitude by Mo and Jo Public.

Ever the optimist.


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