21 janeiro 2006

180) Benjamin Franklin, o primeiro globalizador?


Cristovão Colombo já tinha sido um globalizador (ainda que ele estivesse à procura de um outro mundo, possível), assim como Vasco da Gama, Fernão de Magalhães, o capitão Cook e tantos outros, aventureiros, piratas, missionários, espiões, mas também empresários, banqueiros, comerciantes globais, diplomatas e muitos turistas acidentais.

Da antiguidade aos tempos atuais, muita gente atuou, ao contrário dos atuais anti-globalizadores, no sentido da história. A incessante corrente da história é uma trama complexa, que unifica povos e sociedades, nem sempre de maneira pacífica, algumas vezes com confrontos e muito sofrimento para um dos lados. No cômputo global, o encontro "assimétrico" de tantos povos acabou trazendo benefícios para todos, ainda que por meios indiretos.
Alguns desses contatos e encontros foram catastróficos, como a chegada da peste negra aos portos europeus do século XIV, ou as epidemias trazidas do Velho Mundo pelos "descobridores", que dizimaram milhões de nativos no Novo Mundo...

Hoje temos a gripe aviária, que arrisca tornar-se, depois da AIDS, a nova pandemia global. Em todo caso, a humanidade está atenta e, neste caso específico, os cientistas já estão a postos para criar uma vacina (por tecnologia genética) que possa eliminar os riscos para os seres humanos de um salto de espécie do virus da gripe aviária (mas se depender dos ritos burocráticos da nossa lei de biossegurança, o Brasil vai demorar um pouco para ganhar acesso à vacina).

O site The Globalist acaba de dar ao simpático Benjamin Franklin o título de primeiro globalizador, o que não está de todo errado, mas isso me parece, com toda sinceridade, um pouco anacrônico. Como escrevi acima, outros são candidatos antes dele, e a competição vai continuar. Descobriremos que os primeiros globalizadores eram dos tempos de Hamurabi e dos faraós ou, quem sabe mesmo, os primeiros homo sapiens que deixaram a África?
Enquanto isso, vejamos o que podemos aprender de novo com um dos pais da independência dos Estados Unidos, trezentos anos depois de seu nascimento...

Ben Franklin — The World’s First Globalist?
By Stephan Richter
The Globalist, Thursday, January 19, 2006

Benjamin Franklin — who was born 300 years ago on January 17, 1706 — was one of the most respected of America's Founding Fathers. His words of wisdom about the need for cooperation and integration — uttered when he signed the Declaration of Independence some 225 years ago — ring truer than ever today. Would it serve the world to pay closer attention to his sage advice?

In the early days of the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin was sent to Paris with instructions to get France's financial and military support for the rebellious colonies.

Hanging together
Mr. Franklin proved extremely popular in the French high society. He dressed very simply, like a backwoodsman.

But at the court of Louis XVI, it was sharp wit that was more appreciated. And as far as wit was concerned, Mr. Franklin could hold his own against even the best local practitioners of that art.
In fact, when a handful of other Americans signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it was Mr. Franklin who summed up perfectly the mood of apprehension that accompanied that momentous event: “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately."

Founding a nation
Of course, when Mr. Franklin and other American patriots signed the Declaration of Independence, they were facing a highly uncertain future. Mr. Franklin’s statement was not an exaggeration. If their revolution had failed, they would have almost certainly been hanged by the British for high treason.
However, there was a deeper meaning in Mr. Franklin’s words of wisdom. Even if they succeeded in defeating the British, the signers of the Declaration of Independence still confronted a choice: Either to forge a new nation — or let the 13 independent-minded colonies go their separate ways.

Different interests
Of course, in retrospect it seems that getting together to form the United States of America was the only logical course of action. But back in 1776, it was far from obvious.
Although all 13 colonies were British, they were extremely different in their history, social order and ethnic composition. There were the Puritans in New England, the Quakers in Pennsylvania and the Church of England aristocrats in the South. New York was heavily Dutch, while Maine contained a large French-speaking population.
Big states had different interests from small ones. The North — foreshadowing a conflict nearly a century later — had different economic and political preoccupations from the rural and agricultural slave-holding South.

A major effort
However, Mr. Franklin understood the differences between the states and the challenges they faced first hand. At the age of 17, he ran away from home in Boston and went to Philadelphia. At that time, those cities — and cultures — were a world apart.
In the end, the American colonies chose to bury their differences for the sake of a greater good. They banded together and became the world’s most powerful and influential nation.

Globalization junction
However, the alternative would have been dire — as Mr. Franklin correctly pointed out.
Given the hostile world around them — and the vastness of the new continent — the English-speaking colonies might not have survived if each of them had been left to fend for itself.
If Mr. Franklin were alive today, he might have said the same thing. But he probably would not have been addressing the United States — whose unity is not in question — but the rest of the world.

Crucial time in history
Just like the United States in 1776, the world is at a crucial junction in its history. Globalization has brought nations together, but also produced immense challenges.
Conflicting political, religious — and economic — interests are pulling nations apart. Many of them see no advantages in unity.
The U.S.W. = United States of the World?
Yet, the only way to find a solution to modern society's intractable problems — like environmental degradation, poverty, economic crises, weapons of mass destruction and a large number of others — is for nations of the world to form a new, close-knit community.

Something like a 21st century notion of the United States of the World.
Thus, Mr. Franklin’s warning, although addressed some 225 years ago to his countrymen, remains apt today in a global context.
Moreover, Americans, who hold their Founding Fathers in high regard, should also pay attention to what Mr. Franklin said. In 1776, they chose to hang together.

Unique opportunity
The United States — being the superpower that it is — has been presented with the unique chance to lead the world on the path toward equitable, sustainable globalization.
It also has the opportunity of building a community of nations. That is certainly something Mr. Franklin would advocate.
But on the issue, the jury on which of the two forms of leading — together or separate — is still out.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mariano Tindaro said...

Bem-vindo ao Blogspot, Ministro, é realmente mais ameno!

O artigo é interessante, mas acho que falta definir melhor "pai da globalização". Me parece que a globalização seja, antes de tudo, uma forma de pensar o mundo, e que pessoas como Vattel foram "globalizadores" antes de Franklin - que nem seria, necessáriamente, o mais "globalizado" dos founding fathers americanos. Mas é um bom artigo, regardless.

sábado, janeiro 21, 2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Santa said...

Ri muito lendo seu último post (o empancado...).Ri mais ainda quando percebi a data (20.01). Significa que vc nem pensou duas vezes e cá está com esta quantidade toda de posts. Eu como brigo com mula levaria (no mínimo)uma semana pra entregar os pontos.
Bjs

domingo, janeiro 22, 2006 8:19:00 PM  
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sábado, abril 22, 2006 7:55:00 AM  

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