[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: SG-W:/ Globalization, the Environment, Quebec and Ralph Nader




   The same Sunday Times has an article in The Week in Review section 
pointing out that the anti-globalization protesters have won 
significant victories on the environmental front - in many instances, 
the free trade tribunals are allowing countries to exclude prodeucts 
from other countries that are produced in an environmentally 
destructive way.

    This would not have happened without the protests.

    To say that opposing any part of the process of globalization 
means you are in favor of poverty is an insulting oversimplification 
of the politics and the issues.

- Bob Johnson



At 11:26 PM -0400 4/22/2001, Rober98@aol.com wrote:
>An op-ed piece in the Sunday New York Times, by Paul Krugman, an Economist at
>Princeton University, may be of interest, including the sentences:
>
>"The anti-globalization movement already has a remarkable track record of
>hurting the very people and causes it claims to champion.
>
>"The most spectacular example was last year's election. You might say that
>because people with no heads indulged their idealism by voting for Ralph
>Nader, people with no hearts are running the world's most powerful nation."
>
>Here's the link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/22/opinion/22KRUG.html  
>(May require FREE registration.)
>
>And here's the text of the column:
>
>April 22, 2001
>
>Hearts and Heads
>By PAUL KRUGMAN
>
>There is an old European saying: anyone who is not a socialist before he is
>30 has no heart; anyone who is still a socialist after he is 30 has no head.
>Suitably updated, this applies perfectly to the movement against
>globalization - the movement that made its big splash in Seattle back in 1999
>and is doing its best to disrupt the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City
>this weekend.
>
>The facts of globalization are not always pretty. If you buy a product made
>in a third-world country, it was produced by workers who are paid incredibly
>little by Western standards and probably work under awful conditions. Anyone
>who is not bothered by those facts, at least some of the time, has no heart.
>But that doesn't mean the demonstrators are right. On the contrary: anyone
>who thinks that the answer to world poverty is simple outrage against global
>trade has no head - or chooses not to use it. The anti-globalization movement
>already has a remarkable track record of hurting the very people and causes
>it claims to champion.
>
>The most spectacular example was last year's election. You might say that
>because people with no heads indulged their idealism by voting for Ralph
>Nader, people with no hearts are running the world's most powerful nation.
>
>Even when political action doesn't backfire, when the movement gets what it
>wants, the effects are often startlingly malign. For example, could anything
>be worse than having children work in sweatshops? Alas, yes. In 1993, child
>workers in Bangladesh were found to be producing clothing for Wal-Mart, and
>Senator Tom Harkin proposed legislation banning imports from countries
>employing underage workers. The direct result was that Bangladeshi textile
>factories stopped employing children. But did the children go back to school?
>Did they return to happy homes? Not according to Oxfam, which found that the
>displaced child workers ended up in even worse jobs, or on the streets - and
>that a significant number were forced into prostitution.
>
>The point is that third-world countries aren't poor because their export
>workers earn low wages; it's the other way around. Because the countries are
>poor, even what look to us like bad jobs at bad wages are almost always much
>better than the alternatives: millions of Mexicans are migrating to the north
>of the country to take the low-wage export jobs that outrage opponents of
>NAFTA. And those jobs wouldn't exist if the wages were much higher: the same
>factors that make poor countries poor - low productivity, bad infrastructure,
>general social disorganization - mean that such countries can compete on
>world markets only if they pay wages much lower than those paid in the West.
>
>Of course, opponents of globalization have heard this argument, and they have
>answers. At a conference last week I heard paeans to the superiority of
>traditional rural lifestyles over modern, urban life - a claim that not only
>flies in the face of the clear fact that many peasants flee to urban jobs as
>soon as they can, but that (it seems to me) has a disagreeable element of
>cultural condescension, especially given the overwhelming preponderance of
>white faces in the crowds of demonstrators. (Would you want to live in a
>pre-industrial village?) I also heard claims that rural poverty in the third
>world is mainly the fault of multinational corporations - which is just plain
>wrong, but is a convenient belief if you want to think of globalization as an
>unmitigated evil.
>The most sophisticated answer was that the movement doesn't want to stop
>exports - it just wants better working conditions and higher wages.
>But it's not a serious position. Third-world countries desperately need their
>export industries - they cannot retreat to an imaginary rural Arcadia. They
>can't have those export industries unless they are allowed to sell goods
>produced under conditions that Westerners find appalling, by workers who
>receive very low wages. And that's a fact the anti-globalization activists
>refuse to accept.
>
>So who are the bad guys? The activists are getting the images they wanted
>from Quebec City: leaders sitting inside their fortified enclosure, with
>thousands of police protecting them from the outraged masses outside. But
>images can deceive. Many of the people inside that chain-link fence are
>sincerely trying to help the world's poor. And the people outside the fence,
>whatever their intentions, are doing their best to make the poor even poorer.
>
>
>
>
>
>===============================================================
>smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
>sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
>County.
>
>Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
>email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
>smartgrowth-washtenaw"
>===============================================================




===============================================================
smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
County.

Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
smartgrowth-washtenaw"
===============================================================