About this week’s show:
- Who will be the internet Doorkeeper?
- Cyber Space doesn’t recognize physical borders
- We’re BIG DATA and we’re here to help…right
- Nazli Choucri’s book: Cyberpolitics in International Relations
About the guest: Is a Professor of Political Science. Her work is in the area of international relations, most notably on sources and consequences of international conflict and violence. Professor Choucri is the architect and Director of the Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD), a multi-lingual web-based knowledge networking system focusing on the multi-dimensionality of sustainability. Read more: CLICK HERE
The McAlvany Weekly Commentary
with David McAlvany and Kevin Orrick
“The aggregation of ideas and ideologies across borders created a serious problem for the individual states in the region. We can see exactly the same thing in Latin America and elsewhere where the use of the Internet for democratization is taking place, but the outcomes that we would welcome elsewhere are ones that we, perhaps, would not welcome as much.”
– Nazli Choucri
Kevin: We have a unique guest today, and I think we should probably talk about why we would tie this in, Dave. You have often taught us the model of moving from the financial to the economic, and the economic then influences the political. The political then moves to the geopolitical. But frankly, I am a child of the 20th century, so when I think of those models I think of physical things, I think of what someone who would look at cyberspace would call kinetic, but we have a whole new world that has developed in the information field, the cyber field, and our guest today is addressing that new way of thinking.
David: That crisis domino affect just highlights how interconnected the world is, and how, in point of fact, when you go about your business as an investor, or as a household manager, so to say, there are so many things that you need to be thinking about, and factoring in, that ultimately impact the world in which we live. And here in our own lifetime we have had technological change not unlike what we saw with the creation of the Gutenberg printing press. A radical democratization of education followed that, and a major change in terms of our approach to knowledge, a major change in our approach to learning, higher education, etc., something that today we take for granted.
We take for granted the fact that children should go to college, and it is just sort of a given that that is a course of growing up in most families and most societies; that is something to aspire to. Well, that didn’t exist prior to the Gutenberg printing press, in large part, because there were only two or three universities that existed. Starting in the 11th century you had one in Oxford, of course. You had, a few years later, one started in France. Again, these were very exclusive. Today, education is not exclusive, it is accessible to all, and a part of that, today, is even more so, given the venues that we have via the Internet.
Kevin: Dave, let’s pretend we’re having this show 500 years ago. Let’s say we have the technology to talk about this incredible new invention, the Gutenberg press. There were powers in established places at that time that were threatened because of the establishment of the press. The free reading of the people all of a sudden changed, not just governments, but the church control over the people. We had a Reformation that came about, we had a Renaissance that came about after that. When you look at power structures as they are today, they will have to change with this new complete widespread access of information.
David: Right, and of course, the folks who control the flow of information, and control how this information is interpreted, are the folks that ultimately have control of the world. And it is interesting to me, this is one of the reasons why I wanted to visit with Nazli Choucri. Professor Nazli Choucri is a professor of Political Science at MIT. She is Associate Director of MIT’s technology and development program, and also works with their global system for sustainable development. She’s written a lot of books, but the one that caught my interest a number of years ago was Cyberpolitics in International Relations. I started reading this in 2012, and just got around to finishing it, but it really, I think defines what tomorrow looks like.
If we want to understand political relationships, if we want to understand new changes in terms of information flow, and who controls the information flow, consider this: We have had legislation proposed that would mandate a certain kind of information-matching, opinion-matching, if you will, with radio transmission, and so much more. I think those kinds of ideas, where you have control over who says what, when, how, where – today the Internet is actually sort of free-wheeling, it’s like the Wild, Wild West, but that’s not something that is palatable, ultimately, to states that like to control the narrative, and like to, basically, reinforce their own legitimacy. And so, on the one hand, democracy should have nothing to fear, but there are many political systems which will have much to fear with the expansion of this particular disruptive technology.
Kevin: And that type of thing can be sold to the people. Control by the state can be sold if their security is threatened. Let’s just look at radical Islam right now in the Middle East. If we knew that they were congealing and coming together based on free access to the Internet, there is going to be a voice that cries out that says, “Let’s regulate this, let’s bring about law.” But that may not necessarily be good for the whole.
David: And I’m not particularly concerned about a dystopian world, as much as I am just understanding what change looks like on the horizon. There will be many positive elements, and there might be some negative elements, too. It depends on who you are and where you exist in the world, what your interests are, so to say, what power you have today and what power you stand to gain or lose in the process of change. So, this is, again, where I defer to professor Choucri. Cyberpolitics – again, it is the cyber space that politicians and political policy which will be impacted, and of course, there is the notion that cyberspace, because it is trans-spatial, it is not limited by territories, we’re automatically talking about something that involves international relations, and potentially, international conflict.
To date, we have had thousands of attempted cyberattacks against our country, and of course, we have probably initiated the same, whether it is against Russia, or China, or what have you, so this is becoming more and more a common theme, asymmetrical warfare, not the old tanks, bombs, and guns, but again, the way that you can undermine a regime by changing the capital flows to that country, done via technology. So, to understand international relations in the future, this cyber space has to be further explored, and that is our interest, because again, going back to our old crisis domino effect, we’re interested in the whole world; the whole world is relevant. We’re not just interested in 10-Qs and annual reports, where that may be relevant for making an individual investment decision. The context is absolutely critical.
Kevin: David, you turned me onto this book and I realize that this is an entirely new vocabulary, it’s a new way of thinking, because what we are talking about what is termed the empire of the mind, or basically, it is information, but it is an empire of information. I’m looking forward to the interview.
David: I would encourage anyone who is intrigued by this interview, order Cyberpolitics in International Relations. You won’t be disappointed. You will be exercising your brain actively, and I hope you enjoy that as much as I do.
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David: The creation and expansion of cyberspace has been as disruptive to old orders of power as the Gutenberg printing press. A lot changes when knowledge and learning are more accessible, and in your book, Cyberpolitics in International Relations, you quote Winston Churchill saying, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” And here, we see this age-old struggle for power, because as you say, controlling the content of knowledge is, in itself, an exercise in power. Maybe you could explain for us, if you would, this idea of empires of the mind, and who, and how, is that domain governed?
Nazli: Well, you’re really hitting the proverbial nail on its head. It is governed almost entirely by the private sector, and for profit, and not for profit, and at this very moment, we do not have the complete ecology, demography, cartography, of the entire management domain of cyberspace, with the Internet at its core. Every time we think we know where the pieces are, and who is running it, we realize that there is not one “it.” There are bits of very important, but very distributed pieces, around the globe.
The thing that amazed me most of all when I got into this is that the entire initiative of the Internet, the physical structure of it, was shaped by the major power, the United States. They then turned it over to the private sector for management, and so forth. And then the diffusion of access for other people around the world went very, very, very fast. So, we kind of have a contradiction, and frontier technology that becomes available to just about everybody under the sun, with minimum effort if there’s some connectivity.
And that allows us to rethink the issue of the empires of the mind, so to speak. I think it is the first time in human history that the individual, thee and me and Joe Smith, wherever he is, have equal access to publicly available knowledge. That is a reversal that forces us to think about the empire business, but then, it also allows many empires to develop – Google empires, or Apple empires, or Ali Baba, the latest entry as an enterprise. It is so dynamic, it is very hard to keep track.
David: Cyberspace is a relatively new domain of power. It’s a new domain of influence and leverage and wealth.
David: And there are political issues at a domestic and international level which are thus becoming a priority related to this new space. Maybe you can set the context for us, relating to politics and international policy.
Nazli: For a long time now, we thought that the cyber domain and the physical domain we are accustomed to could march hand in hand, and to be separate from each other, but the intrusiveness of the cyber in just about everything that we do took us by surprise. So, among the challenges we have now is a new wrinkle on national security, the whole cyber security element.
And what makes it so much more interesting, and also more dangerous, is that in the old days we knew who the good guys were, who the bad guys were, and we defined security accordingly. Now, with the fact, so far, of anonymity, we really cannot trace the action, the disturbance, or the damage back to its original source. And if we do, we tend to attribute it to a country, whereas there is no reason to assume, necessarily, that it is a country that inspired the threat, or the damage, or whatever. We have all sorts of new competitions and new businesses that are so large that an individual state may not be able to control them. It is not clear to me how much bigger a Google can get before becoming larger than most of the middle-sized economies of the world.
Then we have a track record of individuals using Internet and related technologies to mobilize opposition to the state, which under certain circumstances is really a good thing to do, and what the state system does is do what it does best, and that is, to use instruments of leverage and force, and that isn’t always effective in that domain. So, it tries to shut down networks, and that has economic consequences, usually negative. And I could go on and on and on. Most of it is in my book, but because the world has been changing so fast, what I have in my book is really foundational, and we can’t reverse it, we can’t rewind. The best we can do is try to kind of keep up with the changes that are happening.
David: You say that it is a venue that allows users to engage in activities conducted over electrical fields whose spatial domains transcend traditional territorial, governmental, social, and economic constraints. And the venue, itself, transcends the usual physical space, which is governed by the state. We know those who make the rules really control the game, and that idea suggests that state actors do take an interest in the control and direction of cyberspace.
Nazli: Oh yes.
David: Even though in some respects, it is outside their traditional domain. So, maybe you could explore that issue of control of cyberspace, and the background issues leading, then, to the functional activity – access, filtration, kill switches, things of this nature.
Nazli: The state system is a late-comer. It really is a very, very late-comer, and it is desperately trying to catch up, and I’m not talking about the United States major power, I’m talking about the rest of the world, even the European states. The control part is more elusive because nobody actually controls the entire cyber domain. That is entirely out of the question. The language is even not consistent with the reality.
In terms of the communication network, itself, it goes through a variety of channels, and we have in place now – some geniuses have created anonymity networks that make it even more difficult to trace the content over space. And the entire system has been originally set up irrespective of territorial boundaries. But, at the same time, we have seen new entities that give us information about the terrestrial, the physical connectivities, the points of convergence. For example, the Internet exchange points in London, in Dusseldorf, and elsewhere, there are some physical sovereignties, and in such cases, the state system can manage, control, eavesdrop, or simply shut it down, if need be.
There is another one that is kind of interesting, that the state system, other than the United States, should begin to think about, or is beginning to think about, and that is the undersea cables. How often do you think about undersea cables, David?
David: Not that often.
Nazli: Not too often, exactly. Exactly. Well, if you look at the undersea map of the Internet, and I’m drilling into a part of my book, I just bumped into the undersea cables, I didn’t expect to find them there, but I guess I would say the state system is a late-comer, it is catching up very fast, but the machinery, itself, the networks and the ISPs and IXPs, and so forth, so far have been largely private sector, so are we going to see a state taking over, or are we going to see a co-existence between public authority, which is the state, or private authority, which is the private sector? And we don’t have an historical precedent for this.
David: Cyberspace – it is interesting how it aggregates together interests, and people with unique interests, and it provides access to communication by all, and this sort of permeability, as you have described it, goes beyond state boundaries, goes beyond state regulation. And so that question of authority and jurisdiction, how have, and how will, in your opinion, states deal with who transmits, what is transmitted, and when and how they govern the effects of those transmissions?
Nazli: The who, I would say, not for the next few years because of the anonymity, although the technologies and the ingenuities are coming in, to trace back to the source, but tracing back to the source machine doesn’t lead us back to the source individual that used the machine. But let’s leave this aside. The what – already the state system, in very many countries, controls access content. Denial of service is a technical word for this, having to do with the reasons that states use to ask Google, or whoever else is involved in this, to prevent this type of content, whether it is child pornography, or whatever, from passing through.
And what I haven’t been able to focus on yet is whether the content, that is, child pornography, as an example, is identified by virtue of precedents we have seen from the source, the stuff coming through, or whether it is by looking at the content, itself. There is a map that I came across that I really find very interesting about denial of service, and that map has many, many countries, including the United States, Brazil, etc., but not China. And when I noticed that China wasn’t there, really, I started to laugh because China doesn’t deny service, it controls the service completely.
Nazli: So, it’s a distinctive case, a unique case. Maybe not unique, but very close to it.
David: So, you have, to some degree, the individual superseding the state, both in singular expression of opinions, then of course, aggregated with others of a similar bent, and you could judge that either as a democratized venue, or a space that breeds anarchy. How do you view it, and how do policymakers view it?
Nazli: Policymakers, by definition, don’t like anarchy, but the scholars that look at policymakers, we might have to remind them that, actually, the international system, the normal one that you and I were brought up to understand, is rather anarchical, in the sense that we don’t have an overarching police force managing everything that we all agree to, so collaboration operates very well. But in this new world, the extent of individual voicing is amazing, and the extent of diversity of languages used for cyber-based interactions, just looking at the Internet, the language diversity is enormous.
What started out as, essentially, an English-speaking medium, give or take, is now in a state where English is very close to losing its dominance. Chinese is number two, up there. You can understand why. The demography of the physical world is representing itself in the cyber domain. So, there is a diversification of cultures and of languages, and of goals, objectives, etc., and with this come the good guys and the bad guys. And there has been a reaction in the cyber communities to excessive spam, to excessive negative actions, damaging, etc., and we see governance emerging from the roots upward. We see order emerging from the private individuals that simply want to help maintain some order in this mess.
The next time you have nothing to do, David, take a look at Spam House. There are lots and lots of entities whose self-defined goal is to prevent anarchy and to prevent damages to the culture of the cyber domain, but the major issue that is at stake is, can we retain a relatively open communication network, or will surveillance and fragmentation of current networks take place because of the inability of governments to agree on core principles? And stated this way, this is a familiar refrain. But what is different is that the governments are not the major players in this game.
David: It is interesting that you mention the roots-up governance, as opposed to top down, the contrast between sort of Hobbes and Locke, perhaps, if you are looking at political theory, it really sounds like there is, as you say, order taking shape. Let’s kind of look at that in a slightly different way. We live in a post-colonial era where there are a greater number of states that exist than ever before. This suggests that there are many ideals and many political agendas, hither and yon, and the established order in any state prefers to control the dialog which supports legitimacy of that order, and it seems that cyber venues create pressure on any and all regimes, spanning the entire political spectrum, and it would seem that the conflict of accessibility – on the one hand, it creates economic growth, productivity, and what have you, and that is desirable, but on the other hand you have this increase in political voice. How do politicians navigate these issues, the benefits, and what for some may be a drawback in terms of this notion of voice?
Nazli: I think in democracies the tendency of politicians is generally to support the voicing. No self-respecting politician would talk about, or even run on a platform of controlling communication on the Internet. Thus, the winner might run on controlling child pornography. But I think that the most serious part of this is that the politicians really don’t have a sense of how little they can actually control, and you and I have been using the word control somewhat loosely. Normal is not, loosely, normity. But now there is a new set of methodologies that we have developed at MIT that we call “control point analysis,” which is to figure out, in any issue that we are dealing with related with the Internet, exactly who is the doorkeeper as we go down the various corridors, and the doorkeepers have influence in opening the door or closing the door. And because we don’t have a full ecology and a full demography of who the doorkeepers are, they are all over the place. It’s like, first we have to excavate and see what is going on here, and then the question that you raise can be answered a little bit better. But what I am certain about, the genie is out of the bottle, and you can’t rewind it back in.
One other thing. Hobbes and Locke and company were talking about core principles for society, and core norms, and explaining core norms, supporting or undermining them as the case might be. What we forget is that the basic core architecture is already in place, in terms of the domain name, the numbering system, and so forth. The physicality and the empire of the mind side of how the system was set up is already in place, and it is going to be very cumbersome to undo it. So, for the next 15 years, at least, the networking world that we are going to be living in is the world that we are living in now. It will become more complicated, and more difficult to track, but major technological changes at the networking level are not going to happen, according to my computer friends and colleagues, for another 10-15 years. I suppose this is good news if we can at least figure out what our current reality is before we worry about the period after that.
David: And then we have the social, political and commercial empowerment that is arguably good for the individual, let’s say, in the developing world. What are the risks? What are the costs of having this open architecture, again, with the positive aspects being accessibility – social, political, and commercial empowerment?
Nazli: Let me turn it around and say that our knee-jerk reaction is to turn to law, when faced with ambiguity. Cyber law is at early stages of development and international cyber law is minimal. So, to answer your question, we have to look at particular constituencies, or particular types of countries, and so forth. And what I have been struck with is that we clearly have seen a technology leap-frogging phenomenon, which is, people in developing countries that can barely read or write jumping into the technologies of the 21st century using visual icons, or of the sort that don’t necessarily rely on written language. This is not a plea for illiteracy. This is not in support of illiteracy. This is by way of saying that even the most disadvantaged have found ways of entering into the 21st century. The problems that the state system, including the United States, is beginning to face is, how do we tax exchanges on the cyber domain? And on and on and on.
In developing countries the taxation system is not high up in national priorities, and what they would worry about more is the aggregation of new constituencies that might not support the government. The experiment to watch is what is happening in the more radical Islamic communities in the Middle East region, or in Africa, for example. Is there a consistency between their behavior in the physical world and their behavior online? Do they try to control the online access of their various members? Are they able to? I haven’t seen the research on this, but I suspect that, if we are talking about any form of authoritarianism, this is where the natural experiment might be going on.
David: Well, if you look at MIT, or Stanford, and there are a number of other well-regarded universities that have begun to change the way we think about education, we go back to that idea of social, political, and commercial empowerment. Well, what about educational empowerment? You have an audience, potentially, online, of over two billion people, and of course that can grow. In theory, this gives educators a very powerful role in shaping ideas and beliefs. So, what changes do you anticipate? (laughs) You are a professor at MIT, but what changes do you anticipate in higher education, as a result of this sort of intellectual free space?
Nazli: Well, it’s funny that you should put it that way. First of all, the point is exactly right. MIT, along with Harvard and Stanford, individually and collectively, have started a full set of global initiatives, the IXEDs and so forth – large scale delivery of courses worldwide, etc., so far, mainly, technologically driven courses. And so far, it has been subsidized by the various universities. But one piece of this that I worry a little bit about is the quality control. Once the material is transmitted out, and once the exams or the tests come back in, are the numbers too large to manage effectively? Are we able to give enough attention to the individual student? Because we are going from customized teaching to large-scale mass diffusion, from the Chanel boutique to, I don’t know, Filene’s Basement, or something like that.
So, what do we do about quality control? When we come to Social Science courses, which we haven’t done yet, other than making available what we now have online, we don’t offer courses for credit on any sort of certificate in the social sciences, or History, or Philosophy, or anything of the sort. This is where I would expect the difficulty to arise, because this is where differences in views, perspectives, beliefs, ideologies, and methodologies will all surface. But, I can’t imagine having a big dispute over quantum mechanics. So, we might see a bifurcation of knowledge pathways, the technical, peaceful side, and the turboid on the other side.
David: Yes, because if you look at the Internet as an information resource, like a library is an information resource, at what point does control or filtering of the information reflect political bias or political agenda? So, it’s like determining which books in the library are acceptable, and which should be banned or burned? There is this interesting issue of information control, even if it is just a question of very subtly promoting certain ideas while not promoting others, and it is a fascinating thing to see happen. Education is on the cusp of a major revolution. The idea that someone pays tens of thousands of dollars a year to sit in a chair, and to travel to a location to sit in that chair, that may be, 20 years from now, an anachronism.
Nazli: Yes. Look, you are speaking to somebody who has been educated in the old education system, and I’m a little worried about how we protect the norms and the values that we care about in higher education. At the same time how do we make the material that we have available? Making it available is not a problem, but moving most of our emphasis from a campus elsewhere could become a problem. There might be further, very rapid advances in content delivery technologies. We certainly expect that. But that doesn’t make for the interactions that we think are important for our students and for ourselves, I won’t say face-to-face, but just the fact of interactions, whether by Skype or in the classroom, I don’t see how we can keep up with the numbers that we would be dealing with.
Now, about control of information, David, I think the problem is a little bit different. I think that we have more stuff than we know what to do with, and here is the experiment. Google “sustainable development,” just the term. What will come back is millions and millions and millions and millions of websites. So, what I have done, and I have a patent on this, is to develop a mechanism to sort out the useful stuff from the junk. And the problem that you are going to have to do later on is to set criteria for what we consider useful and what we consider junk. And the gatekeeper now is the professor. And once contentions arise about our methods of principle, creationism, for example – how did the earth begin? Or climate change – does the good Lord intend for the climate to change, or is it human action that kind of induced it a little bit? At the global level, in global communication networks, it is kind of interesting to see what the exchanges look like.
David: Well, exactly. And it’s this idea of big data, being able to draw and infer, and come to conclusions on the basis of big data…
David: …that is not only a powerful theme moving forward, but a good friend of mine, actually, a family member, runs a company that deals with predictive behavior, looking at traffic trends on the Internet, and being able to, basically, sort out behavioral qualities, marketing strategies, and things of this nature, so, drawing on big data for predictive behavior. Today, as we started by saying, this really is in the domain of the private sector, and to some degree, if you look at commercial abuse, you can say there are concerns in terms of this sort of predictive behavior and big data. But, it could also, if controlled by government, be equally abused. We’re dealing with the frailties of humanity.
Nazli: Yes. So, remember a few moments ago we talked about the regulation that comes from below? The crisis control? I think what we might see, with respect to the potential abuses of big data domain, is the participants, themselves – the constituency, itself – beginning to police itself, or try to either develop norms and principles, and so forth, or use the power of reputation and shame, which has been quite effective in some parts of the voluntary regulation of the Internet. All of these things, individually, are kind of overwhelming, but when you consider all of them, just the ones we talked about jointly, then we have a world that is not the world of Winston Churchill, not by a long, longshot.
This is why, in my book, I tried to sort out those new elements related to the individual, the enemy and our friends, versus those that relate to the state and the state system, versus those that relate to the international system, and then finally, the global system, because we now have what we never had before, which is a global civil society. Hobbes and Locke, bless them, never pointed to the possibility of global civil society. And it’s kind of an overwhelming concept because that one is not controlled or regulated by governments.
David: Just thinking back to, again, sort of the norms of the educational system that we have today, most of what it is, is looking backward, and learning, trying to find application and applying to the present, and even looking ahead. But the 19th and 20th centuries inform our understanding of politics and international relations, and as you highlight in your book, this deals with state-centric issues, and now we are in a world where physical venues are less important in dealing with these non-territorial interests. Again, you said the global civil society was not conceivable in the 19th or 20th century, and yet, technology has changed the way we look at politics and geopolitics. Maybe you can just explore the range. When you are looking at individual versus sovereign control, there is a whole range of possibilities as to whether or not this is, ultimately, something that is in the sovereign domain, because again, when we think of civil society, most think in terms of state involvement, but there is also, perhaps, on the other end of the spectrum, the individual defining relevance in cyberspace.
Nazli: Well, defining identity, and with identity comes a possibility of constituency, pulling like-identified people together. But I think the point in which the state system matters, really matters, is the point at which there is a physicality of a network, or an institution like an IXP that puts on common switches, or switches off. And, I don’t particularly like it, but I can imagine, let’s take the European case, away from the United States for the moment, the London Exchange, or the Deutsch Exchange, I can’t remember the exact name, or a few others, that have physical structures, with connections and switches in them, subpoenaed by the state, or taken over or managed by the state. I don’t expect that, but in a condition of crisis, whatever that might be, this is what we would expect the state to do, and if it doesn’t do that, we would worry about it. But the other angle to a civil society is, trans-border civil society, where the state can control, or deal with, its own civil society, but it can’t deal with the affinities that its civil communities have with other areas.
Back again to the Middle East region, which is always like a laboratory for all sorts of good and bad innovations, the aggregation of ideas and ideologies across borders really created a serious problem for the individual states in the region. We can see exactly the same thing in Latin America and elsewhere, where the use of Internet for communications for democratization processes, or pushing openness, is taking place. But the outcomes that we would welcome, outcomes elsewhere, are ones that we, perhaps, would not welcome as much. But, to cut a long story short, civil societies now have a voice also, and the state system wasn’t built for that.
David: It is interesting, you go back to Albert Hirschman’s ideas in Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, and of course, he is dealing, not just with states, but with companies, and with organizations, and cohesion is optional, in his view. There are these choices. You can exit. You may find it adequate, if you are able to give a voice, or there are these things which sort of bind together and cohere a society together. We have seen, over the last 20-30 years, a move toward globalization. Right now, we have an interesting issue afoot, in that the global economy is not fully prepared, and to some degree, talking with another guest on our program, Harold James, about the end of globalization, how do you combine this move toward globalization at the level of technology, with this unhinging of globalization from an economic standpoint, where, if the money is not flowing, you find a return to national interests, and in some instances, you actually find a pushback against anything transnational. For instance, you have the Treasury Department here in the United States presuming some sort of transnational compliance amongst the banking community globally, and this is beyond boundaries, it is resetting jurisdictions. There is this tension between the globalization effect, but also the shrinking back toward national boundaries. How does cyberspace fit into these conflicts, if you will?
Nazli: Actually, this is very, very interesting. First, on the Treasury Department point, major powers or entities that control a large fraction of the globe’s dollars, or whatever the equivalent might be, have in the past always tended to protect their own jurisdiction. So, that is not new. The question is, what are the tools that the Treasury can use to force compliance from the other side? Now, globalization has come at the same time as renewed localization. We tend to focus on the global aspect, the vertical, top, but there has been a lot of impact of global influences at the local level that may have made extremely local communities more autonomous than they had been before. I think this is a hypothesis, more than anything else.
And then, just to revert back to character, we tend to think of globalization largely in economic terms, and largely in terms of benefitting the national economies. But if we think of globalization as a transformative byproduct of accelerated flow of goods and services and economic well-being, etc., every single country we know something about, and even maybe pieces of North Korea, every country has been transformed internally, maybe not reflected in its aggregate economic statistics, but the impact of the influences from outside have been transformative, and it is this transformativeness that I would consider the core of globalization, more than anything else. Anything else is really internationalization. One thing that you point to implicitly, that I would like to make explicit, is, to what extent do we see large financial enterprises, let’s say, big banks, relocating in areas beyond the reach of the jurisdiction of the state?
David: Regulatory arbitrage.
Nazli: Escape, arbitrage – depends on the situation, yes.
Nazli: Now, if the big ones do this, in a sense we have escaped from law, and we don’t call that corruption, so the related point, and we are going all over the place here, but the serious point of this is that we are trying to deal with these new elements using our old vocabulary, which is fine because we don’t have a better one now. But on the educational side, we are going to have to develop, or we are starting to develop, a better vocabulary to deal with the issues that we have been talking about, because what we got from the old days is not necessarily portable, and my favorite example, and thank you for being so patient about this, is the concept of deterrence. Deterrence was invented and pursued during the Cold War, where we knew who the adversary was, and my colleagues in national security still believe that you can import into the cyber domain the traditional deterrence doctrine, and you really can’t do that without substantial changes or refinement, because you don’t know who the adversary is, and you don’t know the channels of transmission of damage, and on and on and on.
David: Well, I think our conversation could go on, and on, and on, and on, and this is probably a conversation we should finish over tea in Cambridge, I think, so I look forward to that. And thank you so much for sharing your ideas and opening up new avenues of thinking for our audience to consider cyberpolitics, to consider the cyberspace, and the things that it is changing, domestically, international, as it relates to international relations, as it relates to our educational system. There are so many things that are in a massive state of flux, and to begin to identify some of those critical areas is really important for us, and we appreciate your contribution to that conversation.
Nazli: Thank you so much, and I hope that your audience will take a look at my book on Cyberpolitics in International Relations. Thank you, Dave.
David: Nazli, thank you very much for your time, and sincerely, next time you plan on posting one of your courses online, if you include that in the MIT/Stanford/Harvard mix, I’ll be the first student to sign up.
Nazli: Okay, thank you. Bye-bye.
David: Thank you. Bye-bye.