Our Global Economy

The world corporate leaders see the Global Economy as an integrated system with unrestricted and free transnational movement of goods, services and labour. They have worked hard at an increasingly inter-connected world with free movement of capital across borders. They hope for globalization to be the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures become integrated into a world-wide consensus of political ideas through communication, transportation, and trade.  This global economic framework was shaped following WWII and most strongly advanced after the cold war and the break-up of the former Soviet Union in 1989. Over this time, globalization has become a world-wide trend towards making the rich richer and the poor poorer. To control trade more effectively and encourage it to work in the interests of the world's corporations, they created the World Trade Organization (WTO) as an international organization working on liberalizing international trade between nations. The WTO commenced operations on January 1st, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, and it replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which originated in 1948 but had failed to fashion an international trade organization. WTO’s creation initiated a major reorganization of international trade.

The first conference was in Singapore in 1996, attended by representatives of more than 120 countries. The outcome of Singapore's conference and the trends apparent in subsequent meetings served to frighten attentive readers and observers of world events. They determined that the WTO is nothing but a mechanism for accumulating wealth for an elite group of people at the expense of hard-working people, the resources of developing country and the planet's environment. The third WTO conference, beginning on Nov. 30, 1999 in Seattle, was to be the start of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, but it evolved into a seminal clash between the forces surrounding the WTO and the rich array of concerned citizenry operating in North America. It then devolved into a bloody attack on human rights, but it helped scuttle the conference and introduce important issues surrounding globalization to a huge world-wide audience. Protests in Seattle: The massive demonstrations and brutal National Guard crowd control efforts drew the world’s attention to a different face of the WTO, and started a chain of demonstrations in each subsequent location that has hosted the WTO conference.

After Seattle, the next WTO meeting was in Gatar in 2001, where the organization formally recognized that access to essential medicines should have primacy over commercial interests and that the needs of poor countries should be addressed. To nobody's surprise, since then little progress has actually been made concerning those promises. And it's not only in the developing world that the multi-national corporations which are behind the WTO display no regard for community health. For instance, in the U.S. millions of jobs have moved offshore, wages have declined, and we have seen a marked increase in imported medicines, cosmetics and foods contaminated with various chemicals and bacterias. All this has inspired activists to continue confronting the march of corporatized globalization. In 2003 in Mexico, developing countries walked out after it became clear that the real agenda was to expand the failed WTO model. Also there, Lee Hyun Kae, leader of the Korean Federation of Advanced Farmers Association, sacrificed himself to protest the impoverishment of farmers due to WTO policies. An example of this was the sharpening agrarian crisis in India, especially in the southern states of the country. As corporations flood local markets with imports, 40,000 Indian farmers committed suicide to escape their debt.

Even though governments would never again be caught off guard as in Seattle, subsequent large protests around the world against the WTO, IMF, World Bank, G8 and other such summits demonstrate that people know there is still a problem and won’t give up. They are naturally opposing the current forms of globalization and marginalizations which are causing disparities between the rich and the poor. In a related matter, over 36,000,000 people across the globe took part in the largest protest in history against the proposed war in Iraq. Though President Bush still invaded the country and destroyed the already collapsed economy of the country, subsequent revelations about the false pretenses for the war were made all the more damning in that so many people had already demonstrated that awareness.

When will be the time for people to be more important than profit?

Let's hear/read about the thoughts of some of our citizens / scholars concerning Globalization...

Paul Collier on the "bottom billion"

Noam Chomsky's thoughts on Globalization

Misha Glenny, UK writer

Broke and Broken? The Psychological Effects of Poverty

Profiting Off Prisoners

US Debt Crisis

Economic Hitman reveals shocking truths about the Government

Noam Chomsky Discussion on Globalization

The Secret History of the American Empire

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwarts

The real crisis? We stopped being Wise

Noam Chomsky on Barack Obama

Noam Chomsky: Obama recycles George W. Bushs plans

Food prices at dangerous levels

The World Bank says food prices are at "dangerous levels" and have pushed 44 million more people into poverty since last June.

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