Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The foreigners are coming, the foreigners are coming.

Recently I had a discussion with someone about immigration and global government. From the way he talked, I got an eerie feeling as if I forgot something very important on my quest thinking about sustainability.

“I wouldn’t go to Mexico, you’d get killed there by those cartel. I’m happy right here;”

“Is it true that it is illegal to worship God in China?”

“Did you know there is a world government that is behind all of the problems we have?”

I was polite and I only reminded him that there are sensible people in other countries, not all are murdering cartels or jihadists; and all people are entitled to believe in what we wish. It’s a free world.

I tried my best to explain why I believe in local development, I even tried to parallel the grassroots with the Tenth Amendment hoping to spark his patriotic spirit. But he insisted it should be the federal government who should enforce the immigration laws it passed and foreigners are stealing our jobs abroad and in our communities. At least he used "our" to make me feel less threatened, I wonder what he had in mind to purge these thieves?

But I was thoroughly confused. Wait, you think there is an evil empire building against you, yet you wish for more power to be placed in their hands to interfere with our rights? How did we end up talking about immigration to unemployment from religion in China and my honeymoon? (Lauren and I are visiting Mexico after we get married.)

I did not dwell on his comments for too long. He had lived in Indiana his entire life and Hawaii is the most foreign place he can think to brave. He probably still think Obama is not American, and Hawaii is not a state. I don’t fault him for not knowing what he does not see.

But fearing that I may mislead you to think I’m defending his point of view by my talks for "buy local," I want to set the record straight:

The problem of protectionism.

China is fiercely defending its regional infrastructure. Indigenous innovation policy and national standard policy are the hot topic these days amongst American lawyers. Our lawyers and business men are still demanding China to allow for a more free market to come into play, granted China's reason is not sustainability, but the Americans also do not care about the long term sustainability either. They are almost as bad as the corrupt officials in China. Thsese arguments goes no further than for a quick profit: come’on China, let us sell our superior products to your massive consumer base.

My defense for localism is sustainable in nature. I don't endorse protectionism for any other reason. Use the most local resources and build and progress according to the regional context. But I urge you to embrace an open mind and allow more global cooperation. Do not shut your mind to all things foreign.

Developing sustainable communities doesn’t mean we shouldn’t buy anything not made in the US. It means we should not buy things just for the lowest price. We should buy because it is the most sensible thing and most low impact. We should not buy anything made by a manufacturer that pays a ten year-old girl a dollar a day working for twenty-two hours a day in China.

We should focus on re-distribute the national power grid to the local level but work with the global community to invent new solutions to our world’s energy problems. We should distribute the farming process and make more health and slow food for the world. We should make efforts to create a bio-diverse localized landscape, but create a global distribution chain to help alleviate emergencies and rapid changes of the global environment and social context.

My father came to this country on a scholar exchange program, we should have more of that and encourage free flow of information and intellectual pursuits. We should also cure the root of the problems of illegal immigration not just build a wall along our borders. China built one, its only benefit is being a tourist attraction.


Not all Mexicans are cartels and China’s religious problem is one of freedom of speech and human rights. We have a vested interest in both countries.

The global economy and environment is becoming unstable and is changing rapidly. Africa is a prime example and China is heavily investing on the continent. China’s interest is not in helping Africans live better and improve their standard of living; I have a feeling China is only interested in the extraction in the raw material. I can’t begin to imagine the ramifications. As Americans, we have a duty to the preservation of world peace. Our men and women fought two world wars for it. The least we could do is be a good steward of that peace. We should get involved with China on the African developments, on the world developments. If China is going to become the leading manufacturer and buyer, let’s help them produce more sustainably and buy more sensibly.

So buy local, grow the local market place for the benefits of its people, economy, and environment. Think global, remember we can always learn from each other as opposed to fear each other.

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