OK. We’ve had a rant about America. Best discussion for ages. I thought Tigerman won by a KO. My opinion.

Now, lets rant about globalisation.

I admit I do not understand the arguments against the WTO, IMF, and World Bank. I thought they were generally helping smaller countries and minimised dominance of large companies.

So why do they get so much bearded opposition? Could one of the protesters explain their position and then we can have a bit of a barney?

If we could include the UN in the terms of reference, I would gladly join in.

Anyone else enjoying the irony that the anti-globalisation movement has become so globalized?

UN, UN, did someone say UN. The lap dog of the U.S. The international face of the stick waving international policeman of America.

Troll, Troll, Troll :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

I guess this will get some interesting replies but I won’t be answering as it may reveal my ignorance.
But globalisation - YEAH BABY - open up the States for all to move on in.

The anti-globalist groups converged on Florence, Italy earlier this month in opposition to three things: “neoliberalism” (capitalism), war (especially the one they expect the US to wage in Iraq), and racism. They claimed to come in peace, in the name of “universal rights and democracy.”

An article was posted today on this topic at

anti-globalization and the protestors mostly ridiculed and criminalized in the media are obviously not well-served by the coverage they get. they are not treated as having any clear goals or objectives. its easy to write them off when we don’t know the simple concerns that they are representing.

lots of people see inequities and misrepresentation in UN rule and lack thereof. the misrepresentation and even more one-sided work of the IMF and World Bank is less well known. recent publication of the book, GLOBALIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS, by the renegade World Bank economist and ex-economic advisor to Clinton (not in that order) might remedy this some. his personal experience with decision-making and the irresponsible enforcement of policies serving outside interests and ignoring local concerns in restructuring third-world economies as part of their ‘debt relief’ packages is revealing.

globalization refers to economic globalization and the integration of the world economy. free trade is stupid. trade is about goods, services, and in the hands of the most rich, trade or speculation in money or currency itself. trade is not free, but more responsible policies for third world development are certainly possible. well managed development could deal more effectively with famines and all. its not really that ironic that the anti-globalization movement is so global. its natural and necessary because the anti-globalization movement is dealing with global concerns and seeks transparency and accountability in the control of financial markets. its an international movement for democratic control of financial markets (or at least for more democratic control).

so accountability or responsibilty for what it does and transparency, simply revealing what it does to the countries seeking help and to the world public, are very reasonable demands to make of organizations as powerful and widely influential as the IMF and World Bank. the current concerns and allegiances of the members of this organization are scary.

the Tobin Tax, named after the Nobel-winning economist and stemming disruptive, unchecked short-term international currency speculation is another good goal anti-globalization protestors rally round. its surprisingly supported by Canada and most of the EU but quite naturally well-blocked by the US.

a good site for news of anti-globalization activity, organizations, and so forth is: , they should have lots of links to others…

a Free market is the biggest problem some anti-globalization protesters have, because this favors the stronger countries like America to the disadvantage of smaller countries. Secondly the WTO and those guys have double standards. Third-world countries, like my country have to totally open up our economies to the first world, but we do not get the same in return. The third world produced a lot op high quality agricultural produce for a fraction of the price that the first world countries produce it for. So naturally this competitive edge should allow us markets, but the first world agricultural markets are highly subsidized and there are trade barriers that impeed. So there is no real free trade any way. It works like this USA: “South Africa! open up your markets to our dumping of below standard goods or we will make life difficult for you at the WTO and the UN and and and…” South Africa: “Okay but then we want open acsess to your canned tomato market” USA:“Fuck you, do what we say or else!” This by the way is a real life example simplified. I can go on about west Africa’n coco, oil and a lot more stuff. But I’m sick of thinking about it, it really pisses me off. The WTO, IMF and all those organizations are the lap dogs of the rich, and help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

there are tons of people in the us who believe that farm subsidies(including the massive help that ethanol and SUGAR get from our tax dollars) should be done away with. but instead of supporting their efforts, all the hippie protesters just paint them with the same brush and call them rich-world oppressors. the wall street journal is the hashest critic in the us of protectionist laws that keep goods from poor countries out. when’s the last time an anti-globalization protester praised the wsj?

slagging on the us is not going to get your tomatoes into our country. and quite frankly, you need your tomatoes in our country more than we need our goods in your country. i WANT your tomatoes in our country. i believe freer trade is the best way to help poor countries out of poverty. better than dumping aid on them that gets wasted anyway.

so put away the tired “america sucks” spiel and help promote the economic studies which point out that the steel tarrifs and sugar subsidies cost the consumers, promote inefficiencies in our economies, and end up lining the pockets of rich factory/plantation owners who are too lazy to innovate. oh, but protesting the sugar tariff or france’s farm subsidies isn’t as fun as burning us flags or trashing random cities around the world, is it?

the anti-globalization movement is global…if by global you mean mostly white, well-off wannabe hippies from rich countries. poor people in poor countries don’t have time to take holidays to party and riot in cities around the world. sugar farmers in latin america WANT a free trade deal with the us…they just want a good deal that gets rid of us tarrifs. but instead of supporting them, the anti-globies label any deal as evil and want to kill it off altogether. but i’m sure some 19 year old student in italy knows more about what’s good for the sugar farmer than the sugar farmer himself.

i read the article in the attac newsletter arguing against the free trade zone of the americas. it’s hillarious. first it rambles on about currency speculation. then it attacks the agreement for not enshrining universal human rights, the right to an education, freedom of speech, right to health care, abolishment of intellectual property, and the ALLEVIATION OF POVERTY. i’m surprised it didn’t mention the impending war on iraq. :unamused:

btw, get rid of the wto and the us can do whatever it wants and you have ABSOLUTELY no recourse. with the wto in place, the us has actually changed some dubious laws in response to findings against it(mainly to avert costly trade wars with the eu).

do you want to improve the wto or get rid of it altogether? do you actually care about getting your tomatoes into our country, or are you just looking to spout off about how much america sucks?

tobin tax:

“The pot of money could be controlled and distributed by a new democratic authority under the auspices of the UN General Assembly, set up specifically to deal with sustainable development”

ok, so you want the us to implement a tax that would raise up to a hundred billion a year and then hand all of it over so some un bureaucrat can spend it. sorry, our constitution doesn’t work that way. no taxation without representation. if you want, put the idea to a vote by the us people. unlike other countries, we don’t like our leaders forcing extremely unpopular laws down our throats. next time canada faces a funding crisis over their health care or education system, i’m sure they’ll be glad to know that they handed billions of dollars over to the un so they could dole it out to inefficient and ineffective poverty-alleviation programs which end up lining the pockets of dictators and corrupt politicians in 3rd world countries.

sounds like the international treaty making war illegal way back when. yeah, sounds good, but impossible to implement.

ok, so you want the us to implement a tax that would raise up to a hundred billion a year and then hand all of it over so some un bureaucrat can spend it. sorry, our constitution doesn’t work that way. no taxation without representation. if you want, put the idea to a vote by the us people. unlike other countries, we don’t like our leaders forcing extremely unpopular laws down our throats. next time canada faces a funding crisis over their health care or education system, i’m sure they’ll be glad to know that they handed billions of dollars over to the un so they could dole it out to inefficient and ineffective poverty-alleviation programs which end up lining the pockets of dictators and corrupt politicians in 3rd world countries.[/quote]

Hear, hear. In Europe we have our national inefficient bureaucracies, then a futher level of European “Union” bureaucracy, then to top it all off nicely, the United Nations Gravy Train. Is it any wonder taxes are so high ?

In the field of economics, Adam Smith showed back in the late 1700’s that each economy should concentrate on producing the products for which it had a comparative advantage, and then trade those goods with other countries. In this way, everyone benefits. If you want the detailed analysis, consult any introductory economics textbook.

However, in the world today this doesn’t quite work out. Here is how a consultant for Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture explained it to me. ITEM #1: Originally in a remote area of Chiayi County, papaya could sell for NT$ 30 a kilo. Today, the fields are filled with papaya most of which is not being harvested. The price has dropped to NT$ 5 per kilo, but there are still no buyers.

In the markets, there is abundant papaya. A lot of it is imported from Thailand at a very inexpensive price. Hence, the Taiwanese papaya growers have been priced out of the market. That much appears clear. However, it is still not that simple.

Even if we say that the Thailand papaya growers have a comparative advantage in growing papaya (which is at the most basic level because their costs are lower), still we must ask: When the Thais sell all this papaya to Taiwan who benefits? According to the economic theory, the Thai farmers should benefit. In fact, the Thai farmers have received little benefit. They are paid very little for their papaya. According to some research, they are actually paid less than the price they received before WTO. (This may be somewhat offset by the fact that they now sell more papaya into the international markets however.)

The ones getting rich are the middlemen.

ITEM #2: We can do the same analysis in the opposite direction to look at those products for which Taiwan has a comparative advantage in production. The international trader (i.e. middleman) may negotiate a very low price with these Taiwanese suppliers, with the promise to purchase a very large quantity of goods. When the middleman then sells those goods in the market of an overseas country, he receives a very good price and of course pockets the difference. The Taiwanese producer does not gain the full benefit to which he should be entitled from this transaction.

ITEM #3: This entire matter was illustrated very graphically by an article on page 6 of the Sunday, Nov. 17, 2002, CHINA POST entitled “Pork Barrel Educations”. The reportage is about Lindenwood University in Missouri, where the President Dennis Spellmann has implemented a barter system to allow the students to pay for tuition. In one telling example, a farm family sent 50 hogs to the slaughterhouse (over a period of time) and the meat was delivered to the university. Considering the wholesale cost which the university would have had to pay to purchase this similar quantity of meat, the accounting department made an allowance of US 22,000 toward the daughter's tuition payments for junior and senior years. By comparison, the same quantity of hogs, if sold at auction, would have brought less than US 4,500.

Hence, I believe that the anti-globalization movement is actually a reaction to the exhoribant profits which these middlemen are making. It adds up.

Just a quick mention of something which should maybe be drawn to people’s attention when they write-off “anti-globalisation” protesters as mindless, violent thugs.

A close personal friend of mine has spent the last 6 years of his life involved in opposing the benevolent policies of the IMF, World Bank, and “globalisation.” While I may disagree with some of his politics, he is a good friend and if he tells me something that he witnessed first-hand, I believe what he says. He’s not hell-bent on destruction, and while most of the time he sits around debating “alternatives,” he’s not adverse to going out there and rousing some rabble at an "anti-globalisation protest.

If you’ve been paying attention, most of the acts of vilolence are carried out by members of the Black Block; black-clad radical anarchists that seek nothing more than a good old-fashioned riot, and play right into the hands of those who wish to discredit the whole movement. Though, the only problem is they can’t always be counted on to show up in large enough numbers and tend to stay in groups seperate from the larger peaceful protests. So, what to do? Never fear, off-duty cops and thugs-for-hire are here. Strap on some combat boots and a baclava, and yer an instant anarchist, ready to bust some heads and disredit what was fomerly peaceful protesters. I’m not saying the Black Block doesn’t exist, nor am I denying that violent elememts are present in the movement. All I’m saying is that my friend swears he’s repeatedly seen “anarchists” being bussed in in police vans and sharing a smoke with riot cops before venturing out to infiltrate and agitate amongst larger groups of non-voiolent protesters. A couple of broken windows and the riot cops are sent in. Instant mayhem and it looks great on the news. By the time the tear gas clears, the anarchists are nowhere among the wounded, and are off freely agitating somewhere else.

Just passing on some info from a friend who’s been there. Believe it if you want. Though, if you refuse to believe in the possibility “the-powers-that-be” would resort to such dishonest behaviour to discredit those who oppose the “policies” of “globalisation” then all I can say is your implicit trust in authority is… well, inspiring. :?

I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.

What do the middlemen do with the profit?
The middlemen form a company called PTC (Pork or Papaya Trading Corp.) They appoint several former politicians and high-profile community leaders to the board of directors. Then they have a initial stock offering, supported by one of the more influential Wall St. investment firms, so the business and political elite of the country have an interest in the profitablity of their company. Just to be sure PTC’s position is secure, they start a trader’s association, staffed with yet more former politicians, that is mandated to lobby government officials, and make big campaign donations to all political parties and candidates supporting the status quo!

I wasn’t trying to slag the US, it was just the first example I could think of, and one that I felt on my pocket. The world is globalizing and it is naive to think that we can all go back to a simpler way of life! If we went back to a simpler way of life it would be to inefficient to feed the world, you would have starvation and warlordism and a world wide Afghanistan. I just wanted to show why people want an alternative. Further, I was at the world conference for sustainable development (when I thought that there would actually come something good from it) and the majority of the anti-globalization protesters there that day was homeles people of South Africa. I don’t agree with a lot of what the AG protesters say, but the problem is everybody’s screams are drowning out everybody’s messages. There are groups that have propper messages and ideas, and they arn’t all just dead against globalization (which is an organic process that can’t be stopped) . At the WCSD sustainable development wasn’t even touched a pon. What does it mean to say “By bla bla bla date we want to have eradicated poverty!” Political point-scoring and thats that, no idea how to sustain the world anymore, that is why we are all going to party into the doom that we can’t do anything about. No big corps are going to give up there profit margin. You see the biggest problem facing the world is over population, and the idea of a growth market. There arn’t enough resources to go around. And a lot of these resources are non-renewable, so once they are gone they are gone. It is not possible for the economy’s of the world to grow ad infinitum. For that we need unlimited resources, and that is one thing we don’t have. Another thing we don’t have is time. We have already run out of time. So the burning ship is sinking, so it really doesn’t matter what anybody thinks any more. So “ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE, TA DA, TA DA DA DA DA DA!” :laughing:

[quote=“Hartzell”]The ones getting rich are the middlemen.

Hence, I believe that the anti-globalization movement is actually a reaction to the exhoribant profits which these middlemen are making. It adds up.[/quote]
Coffee beans = Substance that causes physical dependency and is legal.
Coffee beans!

Mack Rebenack

OK. I intend to read Stiglitz book (

Sorry for such a long quote, coming up, but this article is simply too good to be left as just a link on the page:

SYNOPSIS: The criticisms of anti-Globalists lack context and full understanding
When Seattle Man went to Washington, his activities were coordinated in large part by a Web site, Browsing the site, I was struck by the critique of the World Bank, written by Robert Naiman – the activist who threw a pie in the face of Michel Camdessus, the former International Monetary Fund chief, a few months ago. Mr. Naiman’s favorite – indeed only – example of how bank-imposed policies inflict economic damage is the way the bank “destroyed Mozambique’s cashew nut processing industry, by forcing Mozambique to remove export tariffs on raw cashew nuts.”
Cashew nuts? It turns out that this is one of those stories that anti-globalists tell over and over, part of the canon that supposedly proves the righteousness of their cause. Such tales rarely get fact-checked; nobody asks whether the moral of the story is really as clear-cut as it seems. So let’s look at the truth behind this particular legend.
Mozambique’s cashews are grown overwhelmingly by small farmers. The great majority of the country’s 19 million people live on the land; at least a quarter of them grow cashews. Until 1995 farmers were forced to sell those nuts to a state monopoly at artificially low prices; the state company then processed the nuts, employing about 10,000 workers. In 1995 the processing plants were privatized, bought mainly by foreigners, and the state monopoly was eliminated. But it was replaced by a stiff export tax levied on raw, but not processed, nuts. This in effect prevented the farmers from selling their product on the world market, and forced them to continue selling cheaply to domestic processers.
The World Bank demanded, as a condition for new loans, that this export tax be reduced.
The reason for this demand is familiar to anyone who knows something about the political economy of the third world. In poor countries organized urban workers (and factory owners) typically have far more political clout than much more numerous but illiterate and unorganized farmers; the result is an often extreme policy bias against the countryside. Governments frequently tax the rural poor to subsidize urban industries – industries whose workers are very badly paid by Western standards, but nonetheless receive much higher wages than most of their compatriots. This case – in which peasants were forced to sell their crops cheaply in order to protect the jobs of 10,000 processing workers – fits right into the pattern.
You might try to justify the cashew tax on the grounds that it promotes industrial development, and will eventually make everyone better off. (Did someone say “trickle-down economics”?) But – again characteristically in such cases – while processed nuts do command higher prices than raw nuts, Mozambique’s nut-processing industry requires imported machinery and other inputs, and the tax on exports discourages raw-nut production. On balance the export tax almost certainly subtracts from, rather than adds to, the country’s miserably low income.
The World Bank is evil, then, because it tried to end a policy that not only made Mozambique as a whole poorer, but directly hurt millions of impoverished small farmers. Its high-minded critics want to keep the prices those farmers receive low, on behalf of 10,000 politically influential workers and a handful of foreign factory owners. No doubt the faithful will say it ain’t so, that farmers aren’t hurt by the export tax because the burden falls on a mysteriously invisible class of rich middlemen. But why should so morally dubious a case – one in which the bank was defending the interests not of multinational corporations but of starving peasants – be a touchstone for the opponents of globalization?
The answer, I believe, is that anti-globalists, though they are quite sure that international trade hurts poor countries, have an annoying problem: Most people in those countries want to export more, not less. So the anti-globalists trumpet one of the few cases in which a third-world group actually advocates export restrictions. Somehow nobody notices that this group actually represents a small, relatively privileged minority, and that its demands would directly harm a much larger group of even poorer people. And thus Seattle Man maintains his comfortable sense of moral superiority.

Originally published in The New York Times, 4.19.00

I think we should be concerned about the impact of globalization on our economies and lifestyles.

The areas that I would be concerned about are concentration of global economic and political power in the hands of an elite super class.

For example: 51 of the top 100 economies in the world are corporations. A company like WalMart in the US is a bigger economic entity than Poland. And naturally enough these 51 supercompanies are located in the top 10 of the remaining 49 biggest economies. This makes for an incredible concentration of wealth and power.

What does this mean for democratic representation in the world’s biggest economies? Who are these companies responsible to other than their shareholders and in the light of the Enron and Anderson corporate governance scandals, are they really reponsible to anybody at all?

These supercompanies are getting bigger every year and adopt “begger thy neighbor” strategies when dealing with governments. For example: most of these companies ask governments to tender for them to locate inside their national borders. Governments offer tax incentives, compromised environmental policy, infastructue and in some cases straight out cash incentives to have the companies set up business in their countries. The average tax payer ends up fitting the bill for some corporate giant to set up and make squillions and then pay no tax at all.

As the dominant ideology in the world is toward globalization governments feel pressured and in many cases through their technocrat advisors take the lead in perpetuating globalization. They do so not just because they think it’s the right thing to do, but also because the relationship between government and big business has never been tighter and more interdependent. I think people realize this and feel disenfranchised as a result of the homoginization of government. When people feel this way they don’t vote. So for example in a country like the US less than 50% of people voted in the last election. In some countries this kind of turn out would result in a revote. In the US these people don’t vote not because they are dumb but because they feel powerless to effect the system through their vote. It’s a perfect situation for the large companies and governments of course, so they have little interest in stimulating the people to vote.

As a result of this homoginization of power some people feel the only way to effect the sytem is through street protests. How can you get your message out there if none of the political candidates are representing it. As it’s more in their political and economic interest to manipulate consent than it is for them to represent any kind of new or more balanced thinking.