New York

Capitalist Kumbaya

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Wall Street marches on Qatar. (Or is it the other way around?) Soon we’ll all be one big unhappy family.

Planet Earth’s economy has taken another major step toward globalization: NYSE Euronext — itself a conglomeration of the New York Stock Exchange and a big Paris-based one — has snatched up a 25 percent stake in the Doha Securities Exchange in Qatar.

Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that everybody’s coming together.

That’s one way of looking at it.

Another way is that the operators of the London Stock Exchange are hopping mad.

Another, more important, way of seeing this move is that global big-money has taken another step in uniting against the rest of us.

And yet another way is to view this step into the Arab marketplace as a dangerous one to people’s physical health.

There’s no question that the 9/11 hijackers targeted the World Trade Center because it was at the heart of Wall Street and was a hubristic monument to Western capitalism.

This isn’t the first instance of Wall Street’s move toward conglomming with the world’s other marketplaces. With this move, however, even more big money will pour into places like Qatar and the neighboring United Arab Emirates (new HQ of Dick Cheney‘s Halliburton), and the big-money people are erecting ever more ostentatious structures in Dubai that celebrate their moneychanging and lifestyles.

What better target for terrorists than, say, the UAE?

And in fact, the U.K. recently warned its expatriates of a high terror threat in the UAE. A BBC story notes:

Many observers are surprised that Dubai, with its high concentration of westerners and relaxed dress code, has not yet been struck by al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militants.

It’s that kind of talk that could even hurt the global economy, say market analysts quoted in Zawya. Not to mention those really tall monuments to 21st capitalism that are being erected in Dubai.

Meanwhile, with every new step that big money takes into places like China or the UAE or Qatar, average Americans’ clout, wishes, desires, and needs become less important.

It will be China’s middle class that global bidness types will be focusing on, instead of us. We’ll no longer be the most important country on the planet, except when it comes to arms-dealing and country-invading.

We’re already the victims of our own propaganda that the U.S. is the most wonderful place in the world. Yes, it’s great in many, many ways, but one truth is that people die younger in Harlem than they do in Bangladesh, as I noted in a December 2004 story “The Numbers Beyond the Bling.”

As far as the global economy goes, it will take some time for this realization of our decreasing importance to take effect. We may no longer be the most important country, but we’re still the most self-important one.

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