Globalisation Studies

I was told something was funny. I looked it up and disagreed: to me, it was hilarious. But not everyone would necessarily agree, mostly because the lens through which someone views anything is generated to a large extent by the culture in which they have been socialised. This particular case was funny to us North Americans, but a CEO in Europe would likely have said something along the lines of: this is a waste of time, and I’m not paying you to waste time.

As the internet has revolutionised the way we talk to each other, it has also brought cultures into contact which have previously had little to none. Plus, the way we now communicate so instantaneously lacks a certain element: face-to-face (F2F) communication. Most of us are never as aware of the importance of visual and/or audio cues in a conversation until we notice the lack of it.

Yesterday, I had a lovely, and extended conversation with my little brother, Linus. But it was on the phone, and so much of what he was telling me, I had a hard time understanding, since he uses his hands to talk, just like every other Gattiker. Luckily, my father was there and able to explain when I got lost, but without him, I’m sure my conversation would have been immeasurably shorter and far less satisfying.

This could easily be fixed with a video call, I’m certain, but not everyone has that capacity, and here the digital gap or divide becomes problematic. The world runs on money, and not everyone has enough to allow for things like video calls. So are we just stuck with the way thing are, or will technology somehow improve so drastically as to allow for free access for everyone?

Just a thought.

Edited 05.01.09: Claiming a blog is important in today’s social media environment. Or so I’ve been told, so that’s what I’m doing at

Ye Gods, everyone in my world has some sort of election going on!

I live in Alberta, and people around here are pretty sure that our premier, Ed Stelmach will be calling an election pretty quick here. This is notable, because it will likely occur prior to this year’s budget being released, since the good premier does not want his budget being delivered by a member of cabinet who disagrees with him (one Lyle Oberg). This is important, I think, because Stelmach did not come to power by a provincial election. Rather, when King Ralph resigned, the ruling Progressive Conservatives had a leadership race, which “Steady Eddie” won as the dark-horse candidate. Generally, most of the province was fine with that, especially members of the party, since they got to vote (although I heard stories of people buying a membership just to have a say in who would now rule the province).

Now many people are unhappy, even a sizable number of Conservatives I would wager, and the opposition’s voices are growing louder, especially since Stelmach supposedly sold out to big oil last year when it came to reviewing royalty rates. I can’t actually vote in any election that might happen (one of the few drawbacks of only being a permanent resident here), but it sure will be mighty interesting once things get going. *gleefully rubs hands together*

Beyond my own backyard, so to speak, we’re supposedly going to be having a national election pretty quick as well. Apparently, either the opposition parties will make the government fall when it comes time for the budget to be presented, or the Conservative government itself will call an election, hoping to get while the getting is good, and try to snag a parliamentary majority. God, I hope not. But again, this should be rather interesting, and I am very interested to know what issues will be driving this year’s campaign. I can’t vote in that potential race either, but nevertheless, interesting times, especially given what’s occurring just south of the border. And this is where it gets really interesting, because that one I potentially add my two cents to. Canadian cents, because they’re now worth more. So there!

I cannot claim to be anything less than an Independent, when it comes to American politics, because I’m not a registered Democrat, let alone a Republican. In fact, I would consider myself more of a socialist; a democratic socialist, but a socialist nevertheless. Since that does not officially exist Down South, and I would want my vote to actually count for something (let’s face it, the US is not ready for a president who is not a Democrat or a Republican), I generally agree with the principles of the Democratic party and pick from among those candidates.

Social programs are not evil, contrary to popular Republican belief. So there. For a long time, I was torn between the two front-running candidates in the Democratic primaries, but then I learned a bit more about Barack Obama, and what really struck me is that he is not part of the establishment, something that Hillary Rodham Clinton certainly cannot claim, especially given the fact that her husband used to have the job that she now so desperately wants. Someone needs to shake things up and not simply accept that business as usual is the only way. And wonder of wonders, I think Barack Obama may actually be the one to be able to do that.

It’s about damn time we had a president who cared about the plight of the people as much as their potential legacy and how good having “former President of the United States” on your resume looks. Now Imagine what such a President and a cooperative Congress could accomplish together. It boggles the mind.

And by the way, the reason I care, is because I get to help elect that person, I hope. And the reason you should probably care? Well, because like it or not, what happens in the United States affects the rest of the world, whether we agree with that reality of globalisation or not. And if that’s so awful (which I think it is), people need to agitate for change with their governments. The way I’m trying to use my right to vote to effect a little change. No apathy here!

All hail the call to the ballot-box!