STATE OF WORLD ECONOMY & BUSH VS GORE
I wrote the article that is attached below, at the time of US elections in October, and in that article I recommended to vote for Al Gore, because of Gore’s program of what he called building the “Information Highways” or simply the next generation of Internet. I think this is so critical to world economy that if the Bush administration does not pick up that program, and continues with his current old economy programs, the crisis that has already started in the West, can get bigger dimensions and we may witness the worst of its effects in the third world economies.
The issue of expansion of the Internet at this time of history is the central topic of the Vision of the Future for any country and the world as a whole. If a century ago, the electrification infrastructure was crucial to the world development, and at times it even became synonymous with development and progress itself, and if a quarter century later, telephone system had the same significance, today the development of Internet's infrastructure is crucial to the world development and actually its lack of development can hurt some small countries like Iran, more, and this infrastructure can stay as an elite privilege in the countries that have access to it at the highest speed.
Development, marketing, and selling products of small countries in the global market can be done using this kind of a cheap data transformation, *only* if the infrastructure exists and the infrastructure itself is very costly to build and needs government backing. The infrastructure of Internet was built by DARPA (US Department of Defense) and it was the US military network and then it was network of NSF (National Science Foundation), the network of universities in the U.S, before becoming commercialized.
Unfortunately for projects of *this* scale, such as Space Exploration, government support is essential to lay the foundation (sometimes, the problem is when it stays in government forever, like the case in former Soviet Union.) I hope some kind of national or international fund could be formed in the future to fill such need of government action but for the time-being, unfortunately I do not see any other alternative, except governments active role, to expand the worldwide infrastructure of high speed Internet.
It is noteworthy, that the infrastructure of telephone networks, was subsidized by governments, all over the world. In fact, in most parts of the world, the phone companies are still government-owned entities, because of the reason that those infrastructure projects are very capital intensive. Even infrastructures like the US freeways were developed thanks to government vision following World War II. Transportation of information today has a lot more significance economically, than the significance of transportation of goods in the old industrial economies.
If the US government spends money on things like SDI, rather than the Internet infrastructure, this can have devastating impact not only on the US economy, but on economies of small countries like Iran as well. Projects like SDI proposed by the GW Bush administration are a joke in this day and age. In the old days of Cold War, this was being justified as a defense against Soviet Union. Now it takes a lot of stretch of imagination for US militarists, to justify SDI on the basis of military capabilities of governments of North Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan. There is a lot of efforts by US militarists to show the military threat of Iran's missiles or nuclear capabilities to justify their defense plans. But we all know these are nothing, as we saw the case of Iraq in the Gulf War, and justifying SDI on this account is fooling people.
Basically I think GW Bush is borrowing from programs of three decades ago, of the height of Cold War, and is using these antique policies for his lack of vision to understand today’s world and economy. And Dick Cheney's support of nuclear power plants is another one of those old programs that have failed miserably. Our times calls for next generation worldwide Internet infrastructure and there is the need for increase in budget for Solar and Fusion alternative energy programs, and the sooner the US leadership comes to grip with it, it can reverse the crisis of the US, and the resulting world economic crisis that is ensuing. From field of education on-line to e-commerce, the world is impacted by these decisions, and it seems like governments of countries like Japan and South Korea are more aware of this reality than the US government.
Freedom is an essential part of information economy, just as education was essential to the industrial economy, because the movement of information and not the movement of things is basic to this economy. And it is the content that drives the need for bandwidth. In other words, governments like the theocratic system of Islamic Republic of Iran, with their violations of human rights, are obstacles to the growth of the new information technologies. Thus noting the lack of vision in the US Administration, is not losing sight of governments such as Iran and China, which are blocking the growth of their people, by blocking the most basic requirements of the information age, namely freedom and human rights.
Unfortunately at the time of the US elections last year, most of the discussions were unfortunately centered around technicalities of election (which hopefully should one day translate to an amendment to US Constitution about Electoral College), and the discussions did not focus on the issues in that election and the unfortunate reality that Iranian-Americans mostly voted for GW Bush because of Palestine-Israel issue. Frankly I think there is not much difference between Palestinians and Israelis and I do not support one side against the other in that conflict. And as far as GW Bush and Al Gore in that regard, I think there is little difference in their policies regarding that Palestine-Israel issue. But I think Al Gore had a very different economic plan from George Bush’s plan, and if Bush does not borrow from Gore’s plan, US can damage the growth of the world economy and can be the reason for a world wide crisis that can cause a lot of suffering in the world.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
May 13, 2001
* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on May 13, 2001. The postscript was first posted on Jebhe BB on March 30, 2002.
Why Vote for Al Gore?
The election of new U.S. president is in less than a month. I think if one can vote in the U.S. election, it is better to vote for Al Gore:
My reason is not that I support all policies of Al Gore, especially as it relates to the Middle East. My reason is very simple. I think the most critical issue before all nations in the world, at this time, is the commitment to the building of the infrastructure of Internet, and this task is not something that just some private companies such as Tyco can achieve. I think a national commitment from governments is an absolute must to achieve this goal.
The same way that U.S. government's commitment to building Interstate highway system, after World War II, was a critical decision to create the necessary infrastructure for U.S. industry to go forward for four decades of post-WWII economy, I believe building the infrastructure of Internet has equivalent importance, if not more.
I believe Bush's policies are very backward and his close ties with old industries, especially the Oil industry, has stopped him from developing a strategy that can even remotely serve the needs of the 21st Century.
As far as being charismatic, I believe both candidates are anything but charismatic, and the decision should not be made on current emotional issues. I believe the Internet infrastructure and a strategy serving this goal, takes precedence over any other issues, in this particular time.
BTW, I do not think Al Gore is the founder of Internet:-) But I do think that he had been the most vocal about Information Highways in Washington for a long time.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
Oct 22, 2000
* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on Oct 22, 2000.
Postsrcipt3/30/02 Some mention Gore’s even losing his home state as his incompetence. I think that does not mean anything when one is running for a national election as his program may be appealing for the whole nation and not necessarily for his home state. American people overall made a wrong decision. Many of those who did not even care to go and cast a ballot and did not know that in a close election one vote can make a difference, when even one vote did make a difference in this election, and thus their absence damaged the chances of their candidate to win. It is ironic that the same people who were so busy with work that they did not care to take a day off from work to go and vote for Gore, whom they liked, later lost their job because of the new administration. In democracies people have a choice and sometimes they make a wrong choice. Reading my article above carefully, my point is that even Bush has to adopt Gore's program if he wants to stop the bleeding of the US and world economy which we are witnessing and I noted this a year ago and we have seen the bleeding of the economy for a year now, and the New Economy more and more, where the old economy companies are even getting subsidized in this tough economy, but the New Economy companies have been going bankrupt one after other for two years now, without any help from the government. Even the 100 meg initiative to the home which is as important as the post office initiative at the time of founding of the U.S. was killed a few months ago and it means stopping the growth of Internet. As far as the election, people simply made a mistake. Among them, Iranian-Americans made a mistake of supporting Bush for the misunderstanding that they had about Palestine-Israel issue because they thought of Bush supporting Palestine as I noted. Others made their mistake for myriad of other reasons including the scandals, etc which took their attention off from programmatic issues that they should have focused. Basically people lost sight of the issue of *programs* which were so diametrically opposed between the two candidates during the last election. Gore was for New Economy with Internet as its spearhead and Bush was for old economy with Oil and Military spending (basically SDI) as its spearhead. BTW, I am not denying tactical errors by Gore. For example, I think his choice of VP was really bad as he was a very weak choice. Not because he was a Jew, which I think that was a good thing to finally have someone who was from a non-Christian background in the ticket for a change. I just think his VP was very weak in comparison to someone like Dick Cheney on the other side.