John Micklethwait on the Unevenness of Globalization
Question: What most surprises you about globalization?
Micklethwait: I think, a thing like globalization is its unevenness, it’s not a… people always assumed it’s a fact, it’s not, again, as I said earlier, business people see globalization as just there and it’s never going away, they should go and read history books very quickly because the answer is, it can get reversed and in the end, globalization relies on political decisions. It relies on tariffs being down, it relies on people being… and goods being able to cross borders and just to give you a sort of frightening example, what happens if there is a dirty nuclear bomb in Delhi or in Manhattan? What would that do to shipping stuff around the world? People will be far more paranoid, it’s those sort of things which could yet unstable it, the underlying bits of globalization, I mean, the… I think you have to look at it as broadly as possible, I see globalization as an ever freer movement of goods, capital, people and also ideas around the world and that is generally why, you know, we are hoping, a kind of great, liberal newspaper, that is why we’ve always been sort of four-squared behind it, for us, it’s economic freedom and individual freedom, they don’t absolutely go together but they come from the same source.
Question: What’s the biggest downside of globalization?
Micklethwait: I think there are lots of downsides in a sense of individual people who get caught out by this kind of often cruel process, a particular group of people who had always been vulnerable, have tended to be the workers in richer countries who are more vulnerable to foreign competition, you shouldn’t push that too hard, I mean, if you look at most things, there’s been big arguments about wages in America, why wages in America get down and globalization is usually figured to be the culprit and that’s… most of the evidence is no, it’s not. The real thing which has kept wages down is technology and the problem is that it’s very hard for a politician to blame computers for people’s jobs going off of pressure on wages, it’s much easier to say it’s the Chinese or the Indians but again, just think through your life and if you think about the difference between banks when there were a lot of tellers and now the fact that you have ATMs to go and get stuff, that had a colossal effect on the industry, far greater than, say, NAFTA, which I remember was sort of going through roughly at the same time but NAFTA attracted all the headlines and that’s the problem with globalization, the basic economic logic of it is always disturbed by the politics of how it’s pushed forward.
The Economist editor on the challenges and opportunities of a flat world.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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