The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What if the United Nations was just a Facebook page?

united nations, geneva, switzerland
Image by :: Radar Communication :: via Flickr
The United Nations is an incredibly bureaucratic and expensive way for 193 member countries to sit down now and then and yap. In fact. let's face it: It's an insane asylum. When countries with the worst human rights records sit on the Human Rights Committee, you know that madness prevails. With its $5-billion yearly budget and 63,000 people on its payroll we've managed to create an international monolith so large that is almost impossible to respond effectively to any situation. In face, their feeble attempt at justifying their numbers is even incorrect. From the UN website:
"The number of people employed worldwide by the UN in all capacities - nearly 16,000 people by the UN Secretariat and some 63,450 by the entire UN system - is remarkably small for a system of organizations engaged on a global scale in virtually all areas of human welfare, from promoting peace to furthering development, to organizing humanitarian relief. By comparison: the United States Department of Education employs nearly 71,000 people; the city of Ontario, Canada, has over 80,000 public employees; and the Coca Cola Company has 74,000 employees."
The UN in action
The first problem with this justification is that Ontario is a province in Canada, not a city. Great research for an organization filled with researchers. And frankly, does the U.S  Department of Education even need to exist, given that education is a state controlled issue? Comparing itself to another inept bureaucracy, doesn't really give it any more credibility. Coca Cola!!!

Yes, the UN does lots of good work as well,  but what if the organization was simply a Facebook page? Think of all the fun with the friends and groups restrictions. And the apps. How about a Peace Keeping app? Want to send the troops somewhere? Just create a simple member's poll. And on and on.

Obviously, this isn't really possible, but what a great Facebook Timeline it would produce!

"I have a dream" – oops that just cost $10. Watching Martin Luther King's heroic speech is going to cost you

Want to watch a video clip of Martin Luther King giving his inspirational "I have dream speech"? Better get your wallet out. You won't find video or audio of this speech on YouTube or other portals on the interweb. The reason is the King family, along with British music publishing conglomerate EMI Publishing, owns the rights to the clip. You can buy the audio clip directly from the family on their website.

This is not new information, but it does have a certain resonance at the moment given the controversy over the crippling Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Interestingly, the King family has protected its copyright quite well without SOPA in placs, which makes you wonder just how badly the entertainment industry botched their digital content strategies. Given that it took a computer company, Apple, to create a realistic model for the sale of their digital content, this is no great surprise.

I tried to show you the speech being used in an Alcatel commercial, but if was removed as I was embedding it! 

 Here's what King had to say about capitalism:
 "The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. It can make men so I-centered that they no longer are Thou-centered. Are we not too prone to judge success by the index of our salaries and the size of the wheel base on our automobiles, and not by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity? Capitalism may lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the theoretical materialism taught by Communism."

 I have a dream and SOPA ain't part of it.