Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Here's for Worldthink

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Here's for Worldthink

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Why should professional opinion-mongers be the last to cash in on globalization?

Here we see the once-Big Eight accounting firms amalgamating into the Big Two. Gone are the worries about conflicting client interests; the new giant will handle Coke and Pepsi and profess not to tip their secrets to Dr. Brown's Diet Cel-Ray.

As that trend continues, the walls between advertisers will collapse, as the new hyperagency of Burnett, Thompson, Grey & Rubicam find no headache in simultaneously selling Tylenol, Excedrin and Advil and pretending to compete. For competition means stress, and stress is seen to be evil. To avoid creating gastric acids among investment bankers, superbanker Goldman Salomon Barney will manipulate a merger among the Seven Sisters of oil with Russia's Gazprom monopoly. Law firms will surely follow the trend set by single-bean accountancy and the superbankers going into the supertank. Where is it written, except in archaic ethics rules, that one huge agglomeration of attorneys (Jones, Baker, Skadden, Cravath & Case) cannot handle both sides in a civil dispute? Consider the efficiencies in having big-name criminal defense lawyers become "of counsel" to the local U.S. attorney. This surge of corporate centripetalism is bottomed on the supposed need to compete on a global basis. Thus is competition squelched in the name of competition. It's time that pundits got with the program. Hence my proposal for the creation of Worldthink Inc., the opinion superstore chain. Deliciously adversarial Surely if all the carriers of telecommunication can jack up stock prices to gobble up each other, we content-providers (formerly writers) can join forces, assemble our intellectual power, pool our marketable celebrity and earn the decent respect of the opinion of mankind while becoming multibillionaires. Skeptics will ask: Wouldn't Worldthink Inc. reduce competition in the marketplace of ideas? Just the opposite -- the conglomeration of columnists will stimulate intercontinental argument, which, as is well known, is in danger of domination from group-thinking New Europeans and econo- cultural combines of bright-burning Asian tigers. …

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