Medium 9781576753033

Alternatives to Economic Globalization

Views: 1587
Ratings: (0)

Written by a premier group of 21 thinkers from around the world, the second edition of Alternatives to Economic Globalization lays out democratic, ecologically sound, socially just alternatives to corporate globalization more fully, specifically, and thoughtfully than has ever been done before. Focusing on constructive, achievable goals, the authors present ten governing principles for establishing truly sustainable societies and describe alternatives to the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO that would better serve the needs of the planet. They offer detailed proposals for protecting vital goods and services from corporate exploitation, limiting corporate privileges and power, rebuilding economies to make them more responsive to human needs, and more.

This revised and expanded edition features a new opening chapter on the global balance of power, a new section on the media and globalization, and a new final chapter on what ordinary citizens can do to fight the injustices of globalization. It also includes many new charts, sidebars, and other updated information.

List price: $22.95

Your Price: $17.21

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

13 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter One Conflicting Worldviews

ePub

THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who have taken to the streets in India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, and elsewhere in massive demonstrations against the institutions and policies of corporate globalization have often been met by skepticism or even hostility from the media. Rarely have mainstream media attempted seriously to inform the public on the issues behind the protests, usually preferring to characterize demonstrators as “ignorant protectionists” who offer no alternatives and do not merit serious attention. Many in the media have tried to reduce the complex issues involved to a simplistic contest between “protectionism” and “openness,” or between “anarchy” and “an orderly democratic process.” In North America and Europe, those involved in the protests are dismissed as spoiled children of privilege—selfish, ill-informed malcontents who would end trade and international cooperation.

 

Chapter Two Design for Corporate Rule

ePub

THE ALTERNATIVES OFFERED in this volume grow from the widespread damage inflicted by corporate globalization over the past five centuries as it passed from colonialism to imperialism to postcolonial export-led development models. Since World Wa r II, the driving forces behind economic globalization have been several hundred global corporations and banks that have increasingly woven webs of production, consumption, finance, and culture across borders. Indeed, most of what we eat, drink, wear, drive, and entertain ourselves with today are the products of global corporations.

These corporations have been aided by global bureaucracies that have emerged over the last half-century, with the overall result being a concentration of economic and political power that is increasingly unaccountable to governments, people, or the planet and that undermines democracy, equity, and environmental sustainability.

Advocates like to describe economic globalization as a long-term, inevitable process, the result of economic and technological forces that have simply evolved over centuries to their present form. They describe these forces almost as if they were uncontrollable, like forces of nature; they say that it’s utopianism to believe things could be otherwise. To accept this inevitability, as most governments, academics, and mainstream media tend to do, would mean that no resistance is possible. But on the evidence of the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated in Seattle, Quebec City, Porto Alegre, and Cancun, in Geneva and various other European capitals, in India, Japan, and Brazil, in Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, it should already be obvious that such passivity is no longer the norm.

 

Chapter Three The Unholy Trinity The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization

ePub

THE THREE MAJOR GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS that create and express the rules of economic globalization are the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, variously called the “unholy trinity” or the “iron triangle.” It is their fundamental job to align all of the world’s formerly disparate national economies behind a central formula, to create the standard gauge railway by which corporate-led economic growth can more easily fulfill the mandate of Bretton Woods.

Each has its own basic function. The World Bank funds large-scale projects, promotes structural adjustment policies, and dominates the development debate through its research department. The IMF presses similar economic “reforms” through short-term emergency loans. And the WTO is the rule-setter for global trade and investment. But they all work together to be sure that all countries adopt identical visions, policies, and standards and keep in line. And they all share the overall goals to deregulate corporate activity, privatize whatever is public, prevent nations from protecting natural resources or labor or safety laws or standards, and open all channels in every country for a free flow of investment and trade.

 

Chapter Four Ten Principles for Sustainable Societies

ePub

ON A RAINY DAY in late November 1999, environmentalists dressed like turtles marched arm-in-arm with teamsters down the city streets in what has become known as the Battle of Seattle, an extraordinary event that deadlocked WTO negotiators and brought that powerful agency’s momentum to a standstill. These unlikely partners were joined by tens of thousands of others—students, religious activists, women’s rights activists, family farmers, health activists, indigenous people, and economic justice organizers from many countries—in what was baptized the Seattle Coalition.

In sifting through the thousands of pieces of literature produced by these formerly disparate groups, we found that a fascinating pattern emerged. Certain words cropped up time and again as core principles, no matter the particular group or specific country in which the organization was based.

Almost all the authors of this volume were in Seattle, first at a giant International Forum on Globalization teach-in, organized in Seattle’s symphony hall, and then on the streets. We all remarked on this commonality in core principles.

 

Chapter Five Reclaiming the Commons What Should Be Off-Limits to Globalization?

ePub

AS RECENTLY AS two decades ago, large parts of the world were not part of economic globalization. The majority of people in the world still lived off the land with little dependence on outside markets. In many rural areas, seeds were exchanged as the collective property of the community, not the private property of Monsanto or Cargill. Of the three hundred million indigenous people in the world, most lived in complete isolation from global trade activity. Municipal water systems were usually under local government or community control. Much of the economic activity in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China was not linked to global markets. Most developing countries restricted foreign investment in their banking, insurance, and other critical economic sectors. Most stock markets were national, closed to global investors. Even though global corporations clamored to enter each of these domains, national and local governments and communities maintained strong barriers.

All of that has changed. Under two decades of market fundamentalism, introduced by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and their counterparts elsewhere, the boundaries came crashing down. Some of this was seen in dramatic fashion on CNN in living rooms around the world, such as the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Some happened in the face of remarkable citizen opposition, such as the passage of NAFTA in 1993 and the WTO in 1994. Other battles over the global spread of corporate control occurred on the local stage, such as the determined fight by Bolivian workers and peasants to keep the municipal water system in Cochabamba out of the hands of Bechtel and the struggles of Indian peasants against the Cargill and Monsanto assertions of property rights over their seeds. During these two decades, global corporations—with the strong support of many national governments—forcefully asserted their right to any market anywhere. And today their reach has extended into virtually every domain of even remote rural communities around the world.

 

Chapter Six Subsidiarity Recalling Power from the Global

ePub

IT IS THE MAJOR CONCEIT, or gamble, of the proponents of economic globalization that by removing economic control from the places where it has traditionally resided—in nations, states, subregions, communities, or indigenous societies—and placing that control into absentee authorities that operate globally via giant corporations and bureaucracies, all levels of society will benefit. But as we have seen in earlier chapters, this is not true, and it is a principal reason why so many millions of people are angrily protesting.

The captains of globalization are driven by what is still essentially an economic ideology. They operate on a macro scale removed from the everyday realities of local conditions or awareness. They lobby for their ideas and theories as though they were viable and cogent, as if they themselves were expert visionaries and managers of their new centralized global architecture. They continue to praise their formulas despite the numerous spectacular breakdowns they have caused: the Asian financial crisis, the Russian financial crisis, the near-economic meltdown of Brazil, and the collapse of the Argentine economy, along with the global increase in poverty, hunger, inequity, dependency, and powerlessness. These theories do not work and cannot work; the main beneficiaries, unsurprisingly, remain the global corporations and economic elites that have instituted these processes.

 

Chapter Seven Alternative Operating Systems (1)

ePub

In chapter 4, we listed ten principles that should set the standards for all economic activity: democracy, subsidiarity, ecological sustainability, common heritage, diversity, human rights, sustainable livelihoods and employment, food security and safety, equity, and the precautionary principle. These principles guide our recommended changes in the institutions that form the basic architecture of the global economy. No longer should bureaucracies and global corporations operate on their set of values, placing economic growth and corporate profits at the top of a hierarchy that does not take crucial social and ecological norms into consideration.

But our discussion would be incomplete if we did not recognize that the problems do not reside only in the bureaucracies and corporations that presently deprive citizens and nation-states of the ability to act on their own behalf. They are part of the fabric of the practical operations of society, especially in its most important economic systems: energy, agriculture and food, transportation, and manufacturing.

 

Chapter Eight Alternative Operating Systems (2)

ePub

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER we spoke about three central, related, operating systems of contemporary society—energy, transport, and manufacturing—and a fourth, the way we measure the success or failure of the other three, using the wrong standards for judgment. We charted new courses for all. In this chapter, we will discuss two more crucial operating systems—agriculture and media. Although these two are not as closely related as the previous group, each of them has a crucial influence and role everywhere on earth, and each is at an important point of crisis. It is mandatory that we address and correct the present direction of both of them.

And then, finally, we present a series of examples of groups that have decided to set their own course and put into practice their visions for alternative economic and social activities on a local and regional level. Would that there were room for many more of these examples, because they are models and inspirations for all of us.

If globalized energy systems are the primary cause of the world’s environmental and geopolitical crises, then the undermining of small-scale, diversified, self-reliant, community-based agricultural systems and their replacement by corporate-run, export-oriented monocultures has been the primary cause of landlessness, hunger, and food insecurity. Furthermore, this conversion of agriculture is increasing rapidly as agriculture corporations spend billions of dollars annually in lobbying, advertising, and public relations efforts to promote trade policies that accelerate it. Such corporations argue that industrial agriculture is more efficient than traditional farming and has a better chance of feeding a hungry world. Yet all the evidence consistently shows the contrary; industrial farming’s so-called efficiencies are sustained only by large government subsidies. And it causes more hunger than it solves.

 

Chapter Nine Corporate Structure and Power

ePub

IN DECEMBER 2001, shock waves rippled first through the business world and then through all segments of society. The front-page story of almost every newspaper in every country shifted from the war on terror to another: one of the most dominant and successful energy companies in the world had suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Enron Corp., once celebrated as the leader of a new wave of innovative enterprise, had managed to spearhead the conversion of electricity provision in much of the United States into a privatized speculative commodity, contributing to big energy problems in California while avoiding government oversight. It had also brilliantly contributed toward and then exploited the global deregulation juggernaut that accompanied the new rules of the WTO, the GATS, and other agreements in order to gain entry into foreign countries and gather up tens of billions of dollars in overseas assets, while causing grave social and environmental problems in such countries as India, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and over two dozen others.

 

Chapter Ten New International Structures

ePub

THOSE OF US who have contributed to this volume have all faced variations on a nagging question from journalists, pundits, and government officials as we debate economic globalization around the world. “Isn’t economic globalization, along with the key global institutions that underlie it, inevitable?” That this question persists for institutions that have existed from merely a decade (the World Trade Organization) to a half-century (the World Bank and the IMF) is a tribute to the power of the forces that have backed and benefited from economic globalization during this period.

But as this volume goes to print, the grip of inevitability is loosening. With colossal failures by the Bretton Woods institutions in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and most recently Argentina, coupled with the confidence-shattering collapse of Enron Corp., WorldCom, and others, the notion is spreading that perhaps the guardian institutions of economic globalization are not guarding so well—or are guarding only the few. And perhaps more important, the array of forces rising in opposition to economic globalization have begun making a convincing case for the replacement of the Bretton Woods institutions with alternatives that could better serve humanity and the planet.

 

Chapter Eleven Global to Local What You Can Do

ePub

AS THE TWENTY-ONE AUTHORS OF THIS BOOK have met with hundreds of thousands of other individuals over the past decade in protests, social experiments, local house meetings, national hearings, global teach-ins, and the World Social Forums, we have experienced the transformation of anger about economic globalization into a politics of hope for the future. Hope lies in many promising events, from the declining legitimacy of the key institutions of corporate globalization to the flowering of citizen groups and peoples’ movements to the emergence of new governments that reject the old models. Most fundamentally, hope lies in the remarkable spectrum of alternatives work that spans piecemeal reform to visionary proposals and local economic experiments to national transformations in countries like Brazil.

After decades of Margaret Thatcher and other globalization cheerleaders telling us there were no alternatives, that fiction has been exposed. There are alternatives—tens of thousands of them. The failing legitimacy of the institutions of global corporate rule combined with the political force of an enlivened civil society have created an unprecedented moment of opportunity to rethink and transform the institutions of economic life, advance the democratic project, and realize the ageless human dream of liberty, justice, and prosperity for all.

 

Resources Groups Working Toward Alternatives to Economic Globalization

ePub

50 YEARS IS ENOUGH

United States

http://www.50years.org

Coalition of citizens groups working to reform the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). It calls for debt cancellation, ending WB and IMF structural adjustment policies, and transparency and accountability within international financial institutions.

ACTION, RESEARCH & EDUCATION NETWORK OF AOTEAROA (ARENA)

New Zealand

http://www.arena.org.nz

An Aotearoa/New Zealand network of individuals and organizations committed to resisting corporate globalization in all its forms. Promotes an alternative development model based on self-determination, social justice, genuine people-centered development, and environmental sustainability.

ACTION FOR SOLIDARITY, EQUALITY, ENVIRONMENT, AND DEVELOPMENT (A SEED)

The Netherlands

http://www.aseed.net

A network that initiates actions and campaigns on environmental and social justice issues, promoting small, local organic farms instead of agribusiness, biotechnology, and supermarkets selling genetically modified food; helps coordinate the World Bank boycott in Europe.

 

Resources Useful Tools and Indicators

ePub

THE COMPASS OF SUSTAINABILITY

http://www.iisd.org/cgsdi/compass.htm

Provides a Sustainable Development Index.

THE DASHBOARD OF SUSTAINABILITY

http://www.iisd.org/cgsdi/intro_dashboard.htm

Provides a Policy Performance Index.

THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

http://www.redefiningprogress.org/programs/sustainabilityindicators/ef

Estimates consumption of natural resources.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY INDEX

http://www.ciesin.org/indicators/ESI/

Includes twenty indicators on environmental sustainability.

THE LIVING PLANET INDEX

http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/general/livingplanet/lpr02.cfm

Includes indexes on animal species and ecosystem change.

UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORTS

http://hdr.undp.org

Annual global, regional, and national reports that include a Human Development Index, a Gender-Related Index, a Gender Empowerment Measure, and a Human Poverty Index.

THE WELLBEING ASSESSMENT/BAROMETER OF SUSTAINABILITY

http://www.iucn.org/info_and_news/press/wonback.doc

Measures human and ecosystem well-being together.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023447
Isbn
9781609943141
File size
689 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata