TED Conversations

Peter Wilson

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America is not the center (or is that centre) of the universe as we know it! Amercan arrogance is astounding (and I like Americans)

American arrogance as its position as the world leader in everything is astounding. I just don't think that Americans 'get' that there are other views in the world. However rather than it being a big debate lets start with all the small things Americans, and American companies can do to recognise, or even demonstrate that they are open to other ideas. Lets start with who owns the Internet?

In fact lets start with a simple example of registering for TED Conversations (and nearly every other forum registration on the internet) - Why is the United States listed first and all other countries in alphabetical order after this?

The internet is awash with 'Americanisms' (is that even a word - separate debate!) but should the internet not have a common denominator that is not US centric. (That word common, works on so many levels). Default date selection should not US based, spelling should not be US spellings and when asking for an address ZIP code should not be the default!

Now you may think this is a petty debate, but its not. The Internet is a force for good. We have all been admiring its use in the 'Arab Spring'. We all love the idea of collaboration and easy access to research and expertise. However all the major bodies that govern the internet have a strong US bias and perhaps it is time to change that. I read recently that Superman is to become a more global figure, standing for Truth and justice the global way: fighting tyranny no matter the perpetrator. Perhaps the internet needs to be the same and perhaps we can start with small steps instead of looking for big solutions. Perhaps next time I register on a forum the country list will be purely alphabetical?


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    Jun 6 2011: Actually, I think what you are describing is just a single manifestation of a larger issue - the anglo domination of the world. The English language has become the de-facto international language. And ever notice how in most places that the English colonized, they wiped out the local populations (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)?

    What is it about anglos that have made them so dominant? Culture? Religion? Genetics?
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      Jun 9 2011: I'm not sure it was culture. I, myself, agree with the anthropological view of culture, in that every group has some form of culture, and that it doesn't always follow the Anglo view of Culture from the Renaissance onwards. I don't think it was religion either, and I certainly don't think it was genetics. Rather, I think it was military and weaponry. You point out that in most places the English colonized, the local populations were, for the most part, wiped out. Well, yes, I know that the diseases that were introduced by the colonists played a large part. But, more importantly, in the long run, spears, and bows and arrows are no match for cannons and rifles. Colonists, in general, could take over a piece of land and if they felt it was necessary, could use force to do it. I believe, it's really a case of who dominated in terms of military and weaponry innovation. In this case, the Anglos won.

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