Thursday, March 14, 2013

Deglobalization?

I hear a lot about globalization and its phenomena, but I read something a couple of weeks ago about deglobalization. In the French newspaper 20Minutes (free in the Paris metro), the the Arnaud Montebourg, the French Minister of Industrial Renewal, defended the "deglobalization of personal data."

The interview with Montebourg was about guidelines his ministry wants to put in place and promote at the national and EU levels of governance for Facebook and Google. According to him, the two Internet giants basically do whatever they want because they have no regulations. He defended the idea of personal data belonging to the individuals who use Facebook and Google.

When asked, "N'est-il pas normal que Facebook et Google puissent exploiter ces données? Ils ont inventé ce business" (Isn't it normal for Facebook and Google to exploit these data? They invented this business.), Montebourg replied, "On ne les empêchera pas de les exploiter. On va 'juste' leur demander d'investir et de payer des impôts en France. C'est la démondialisation des données personnelles" (We're not going to keep them from exploiting the data. We're "only" going to ask them to invest in and pay taxes in France. It's the deglobalization of personal data).

I'm not sure what I think about Montebourg's politico-economic position, though my gut feeling is that it sounds nice. When he talks of "souveraineté économique et numérique des Européens" (Europeans' economic and digital sovereignty), I am definitely reminded that I'm in Europe and not the U.S. But what interested me most was his use of the term deglobalization. It's natural, of course, to have to talk of that now, since we have so globalized the world through language, politics, entertainment, and industry, that particularities are bound to come surging back, which is the process of deglobalization.

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