Thinking globally, acting locally

The Center for Civil Society, a free market think tank in India, has created an official weblog. Their flagship program is a series of student outreach seminars similar to those of IHS that recently won the Templeton Freedom Prize for Student Outreach. The weblog only has a few entries at the moment, but if they keep it going it should provide a good libertarian perspective on life in India. Parth Shah’s description of a strike in Kerala and Aftab’s post on the “Amartya Sen Fallacy” both provide examples of how poor governance leads to extremely frustating ineffeciencies there.

And while were on the subject of international weblogs, Tim Wu has a post on Lessig Blog about the “Balkanization of the Internet”:

So how often do you actually visit sites in other countries? How about in other languages?

If you’re like many users, the answer may [be] “not that often” (apologies to the foreign readers of Lessig Blog). Its a small sign of the Balkanization of the Internet, a process that is happening faster than anyone is noticing. What we once called a global internet is becoming, for many practical purposes, a collection of nation-state networks, still linked by the internet protocol, but for many purposes, separate. Some of the evidence:

See his post for the evidence. Looking at just the weblogs I read, they’re almost all U.S. based. A large percentage are based in the D. C. metro area. I don’t think that’s a problem so much as it is a natural response to the Internet’s lowering the cost of disseminating information. As costs drop and more people connect, it makes sense to publish information that’s only useful to local or idiosyncratic communities. Websites with broad appeal like major newspapers and stores pop up before Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide to Washington, D. C. (and how many cities have a Tyler Cowen?). There are vast reserves of local knowledge yet to be tapped, so I suspect that this partiular sign of “Balkanization” will continue to develop (to our benefit).

On the other hand, some of Wu’s other examples (Australia’s government run content filter, IP laws in the U. S. and libel laws in Europe, and China’s non-IP intranet) strike me as more serious contenders for threatening the Internet’s open borders.


  1. Yazad says:

    Well, I love the CCS (used to work there), but Spontaneous Order is not the only libertarian blog based out of India. Do a little more digging and you’ll find quite a few. I was surprised myself!

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