Tag Archives: globalization

Ch’ao Tsu on Connectivity and Control

A House Divided, by Pearl S. Buck, pg 176, 1935.

Thus spake Ch’ao Tso:

Crime begins in poverty; poverty in insufficiency of food; insufficiency in neglect of tilling of the soil. Without such tilling, man has no tie to bind him to the soil. Without such a tie he readily leaves his birthplace and his home. Then he is like the birds of the air or the beasts of the field. Neither battlemented cities nor deep moats, nor harsh laws, nor cruel punishments, can subdue this roving spirit that is strong within him.

Exactly. Barnett’s connectivity shares a lot with control. Horizontal connectivity — information flow — can open a man to the wide world or close him to his physical neighbors. Vertical connectivity — security flow — can provide safety or destroy social bonds.

Much of the world is being disrupted by globalization. In the short term we are seeing an ugly side of it — horizontal connectivity destroying horizontal control (the erosion of traditional cultures), and vertical connectivity building vertical controls — (the worse parts of neocolonialism).

Ch’ao Tsu’s quote ties economics into our efforts. The Gap’s blasted economies prevent strong horizontal ties and leave the region in chaos. But reckless food distribution would be just as bad. Mass welfare to a third of teh world would wreck what little horizontal control there is. A stable world requies a stable economy: globalization is the solution to the Global War on Terrorism.

Last, the philosopher reminds us that horizontal ties are stronger than vertical ties. We need to remember this, and beware of vertical measures that harm horizontal society. Health mullahs, by converting implicit horizontal rules into explicit vertical ones, weaken society and threaten to destroy our culture.