Majority World: October 2008 Archives



"If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name."

I get confused when people talk about "World Music."  I don't know what that is.  All music comes from some place.  Sometimes music can have influences from more than one place.  Sometimes a musician has traveled a lot and picked up musical threads from many cultures. 

But "World Music" reminds me of nothing so much as this.

It could be, however, that the World Music of the 1990s was just a pale prelude to the music of a global culture that is emerging.  Sri Lankan refugee Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., embodies this music as well as anyone.  
Chris Bertram asks:

[W]hat sort of conclusions about the world would you expect well-paid American liberal intellectuals to reach when they came to think about global justice? I guess I'd expect the following. I'd expect a good deal of hand-wringing about the relationship between patriotism and universal morality, and I'd expect them to discover a legitimate role for patriotism. They'd find out that it is perfectly permissible to have a limited preference for one's fellow citizens (especially poor and minority ones) over outsiders. They'd therefore agonize about issues such as immigration but accept the right of states to control their borders, reject the notion that justice requires any kind of global redistributive principle but favour some limited doctrine of "assistance" to those suffering desperate poverty overseas. And I'd expect them, being smart people, to come up with some varied and ingenious arguments to support such conclusions. John Rawls, Michael Blake, Samuel Freeman, Richard Miller, Thomas Nagel, Elizabeth Anderson ... even (or especially?) Michael Walzer, end up in the same place. Kind of a coincidence huh?
Um, yes. 

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