Sic transit ...

In the lounge of Budapest airport yesterday, apart from the free WLAN service, the Weekend FT was the only paper in a comprehensible language, so I took the opportunity of scanning it and came across this remarkable piece on being in transit as a lifestyle by Pico Iyer. While I don't consider myself to be a citizen of flux country just yet, I think I can relate to it rather well - and there, I am certainly no exception. It appears to me that most articulate people, and certainly those subject to the dictatorship of relativism, aspire to this style, which has consequences on the content of publicised opinion. Yet, this does not correspond with the fabric of the real world, because the silent majority even of the industrialised world lives in relative stasis, both physically and mentally. So what gives?

It's an interesting thought, though, and one that I think applies to economic subjects at least, i.e. corporations which are active in multiple markets. Thanks to globalisation, they are citizens of flux country, at least so long as the static majority doesn't decide that they want to shut down the place.


Joel said...

I wonder where one can get a passport?

Reading the article I did feel that Iyer is almost boasting of his inter-state-state, rather than
just describing it, although that may be a reflection of him rather than me. Until quite recently I
was always excited by airports and the trip as much as the destination itself. Now, business class
lounges have started to lose their lustre (then again, that may itself be a subconcious boast).

Deyan Sudjic wrote in 100 Mile City that airports are our new village squares. Statelessness may be a trancendental state which we only dream of achieving, especially when watching English tourists on the coast of Spain.

Agree that many multinational corporations aspire to be citizens of the state of flux and they're
often aided by our political masters. Deft manipulation of taxation and regulation boundaries
suggests the nebulous borders already exist.

Chris said...

The passport usually comes in the form of an invitation only, top-level membership card of a premium airline's frequent flyer club. ;-)

Anyway - I knew this post would hit a nerve with you! However, it seems that I haven't made myself quite clear regarding multinationals: It's a good thing in my book that they are increasingly able to dissociate themselves from individual countries' spheres of influence, thereby creating a space of international regulatory competition which keeps the power of politics in check. At least so long as free trade is accepted as an overarching principle.

Joel said...

Within a reasonable social and environmental regulatory framework, I hope, to overcome those failures of the free market...