Internet activist Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT. He cofounded the international blogging community Global Voices Online.
Ethan Zuckerman on
The term that I often use to describe the world I see today is "imaginary globalization," which is to say I think we have gotten very good at imagining how connected we are to the rest of the world. We're really aware that we're tied together, that we have mutual dependencies, that we're interacting with each other, but we don't know each other very well. Americans have become acutely aware of how intertwined we are with China. But most Americans haven't been to China. Most Americans don't have a very good picture of what China is like or looks like.
The greatest ethical challenge facing the world today is understanding our range of impact, and therefore our range of responsibility. In some ways, the challenge of a connected world is that we're starting to understand the ripples and impacts of every decision that we're having.
It's very hard for me to conceive of world peace independent of justice for everybody living in the states that they are living in. Real world peace isn't just the absence of conflict between states or between groups. It's justice for those who are wronged. It's representation for those who are underrepresented. This doesn't mean that it's impossible. It just means that it's a much, much harder problem than we're generally willing to look at.
I'd really like to see us get globalization right. For me, getting globalization right wouldn't mean that we have stuff from every corner of the world, but would mean that we have people and ideas and opportunities and solutions from every corner of the world.