Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

GENERAL => Special Reasonings Archive => Topic started by: Bantu_Kelani on June 08, 2003, 01:55:14 AM

Title: The Global Rulemakers
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on June 08, 2003, 01:55:14 AM


Our national leaders tell us that top-down corporate globalization is an inevitable, naturally-occurring phenomenon. But the terms of globalization have been defined by a few powerful organizations that operate without transparency or democratic oversight



Established in 1995, the WTO is a powerful new international body that develops and enforces rules for trade and investment A global economy is being created where corporations have all the rights, governments have all the obligations, and democracy is left behind.


Through loans, often to unelected governments, and "structural adjustment" policies, these institutions have kept most nations of the global south in poverty. Their policies ensure open market access for corporations while cutting social spending on programs such as education, health care and production credits for poor farmers.


The FTAA will extend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the entire hemisphere, and is to be implemented by no later than 2005. Negotiated behind closed doors, with no citizen input but plenty of suggestions from business interests.


Agreements such as NAFTA, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (which passed the House and is currently before the Senate) and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas all provide great opportunities for corporations while creating downward pressure on wages and environmental regulations. These agreements are long on protections for corporate profits but short on protections for workers. We want fair trade, not "free" trade!  

"There never was economic evidence in favor of capital market liberalization. There still isn't. It increases risk and doesn't increase growth. You'd think [defenders of liberalization] would say to me by now, 'You haven't read these 10 studies,' but they haven't, because there's not even one. There isn't the intellectual basis that you would have thought required for a major change in international rules. It was all based on ideology."
-Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank

Title: Re: The Global Rulemakers
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on June 08, 2003, 02:15:52 AM
Race, Poverty & Globalization

May/June 2000
By john a. powell and S.P. Udayakumar

The world economy is in a state of what is commonly viewed as unprecedented growth. But with this growth has come dangerous and destructive economic disparity. On the one hand, we see the "impressive" economy in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in the United States, where Silicon Valley, a region of 2.3 million people, has produced tens of thousands of millionaires, with 64 new ones every day. There are regular U.S. reports of historically low unemployment rates, labor shortages and booming economy.

On the other hand, many people of color, particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere, do not have enough food to eat, resulting in malnutrition and disease. They face growing inflation while their governments, which used to subsidize some aspects of their marginal living, are urged to stop subsidies for food and adopt a more market-oriented economics. Many workers in these economies are trapped in poor working conditions with low pay. Women are often expected to do back-breaking farm and domestic work, with few rights or benefits. Yet many of the fiscal policies pushed onto developing countries and adopted in northern countries exacerbate the problem of the most marginal while celebrating the wealth of the rich.

In the North as well, people of color often find themselves being left farther and farther behind. Even as states in the U.S. and the nation as a whole report budget surpluses, we seem unable or unwilling to provide adequate housing for the growing number of working-class and homeless families, to repair the physical structure of schools that house low-income students of color, or to provide social services or medical attention for those most in need.

Sweatshops that employ people of color working as virtual slave laborers are tolerated -- even encouraged -- as part of the new world trade. The public space people of color and marginal groups are most dependent on -- whether it is public hospitals, schools, parks, or a social welfare system -- is constantly attacked as inconsistent with the needs of capital and the market. Indeed, we are encouraged to remake public space to mimic private space with a market, anti-democratic orientation where we are consumers, not citizens.

How are these disparate conditions related to globalism, and why are people of color under the most severe threat from this process? Certainly, other people are also under a threat from this globalization process, and some would assert that democracy and capitalism itself may be undone by this process if it is not checked. To answer the above question and to understand why minorities and other marginal populations are most at risk, it is first necessary to better understand what globalism is, particularly the type of globalism that dominates today's markets.

What Is Globalism?

In the most general sense, globalism refers to the process in which goods and services, including capital, move more freely within and among nations. As globalism advances, national boundaries become more and more porous, and to some extent, less and less relevant.

Since many of our early industries, such as steel, were location-sensitive, there was a natural limitation to globalization. To be sure, some things remain location-sensitive, but mobility is the trend. It is assumed that liberalizing laws and structures, so that goods and services can become more globally focused, will produce more wealth, and indeed this seems to be true. Using this general understanding of globalism and globalization, it would be accurate to say this process has been developing and growing for well over a hundred years.

But there have been many changes in the globalization process in the last two decades that makes it distinct from earlier incarnations. The major thing being traded in today's global market is information and capital itself, rather than commodities or other products. Technological change allows capital to move almost instantaneously. Changes in monetary policies, as well as in what is being traded and the importance of capital, have created a global market distinctively different from previous eras. Earlier products and capital were more rooted to a place. Today, many of the things traded and produced in the global market, such as knowledge and computer technology, are extremely mobile or rootless.

The United States has emerged as the only world superpower. This has allowed the U.S. tremendous influence in setting the terms for global trade. The style of globalism pushed by the United States has favored the free movement and protection of capital, while being at best indifferent and at worst hostile to the more place-dependent labor. It is the dual relationship of mobile capital and fixed, unorganized and unprotected labor that has created the conditions for capital to dominate. This has been greatly enhanced by the U.S. position toward organized labor and capital. While the U.S. has been aggressive in protecting capital both at home and abroad, it has encouraged both the weakening of organized labor and removing protections for workers.

While both Japan and Europe have aggressively pushed for globalism, each has been more willing to protect labor, the environment and certain markets -- at least within their own borders. It is the United States that has consistently been the most radical on liberalizing capital and protecting it as it moves across boundaries, and the most hostile to protecting labor and fragile markets. Protecting labor expresses itself not only in strong unions and workers' benefits but also in a strong social welfare system. The United States has purposefully moved toward weaker labor unions, as well as an anemic social welfare system. It has used the globalism it advocates as justification for keeping workers' jobs insecure, pay and benefits relatively low. Workers are told that pushing hard for benefits will cause capital to leave to another location in the country or the world where workers are willing to work for less with fewer benefits.

The United States and the international organizations over which it has substantial influence, such as the International Monetary Fund, have demanded protection of capital and encouraged or tolerated the suppression of labor and the environment in the weaker southern countries. Capital is actively being directed to markets with low wages, where workers are sometimes abused and labor organizations suppressed. The wealth this globalism is creating is being forcefully subsidized by vulnerable workers and the environment, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. This logic is then used to weaken the position of labor in the North, as we are required to compete with unorganized, suppressed labor in the South.

While sweatshops and slave labor may attract capital investments, what about the futures of black welfare mothers in Detroit or the Aborigines in Australia, who need government assistance to take advantage of, say, the educational system? How or why does U.S.-style globalism affect their needs? U.S.-style globalism not only attempts to suppress labor, but also seeks to suppress social welfare systems and support for public expenditures that do not directly benefit the expansion of capital. The social welfare system and other public services, such as schools, social services in the North and food subsidies in the South, are supported through taxes, and taxes reduce short-term benefits to capital.

In the North, it is women and minorities who are most dependent on the public sector. These racial and gender correlations make it all the easier to attack the legitimacy of taxation for this purpose. Taxes are seen as undesirable because they reduce profits and interfere with the market. But the public space, including the welfare system, can only be supported by the public in the form of taxes. Whether we are talking about education or other public services, we are encouraged to believe that they should be as limited as possible and made to mimic the market. Those who cannot thrive in the market environment without help, especially if they are people of color, are seen as free-loaders and illegitimate. In many ways, much of the public space in the United States becomes associated with people of color.

Goodbye, Democratic Vision?

Public purposes and civic goods -- to the extent they are even recognized -- are no longer to be achieved through public institutions but are to be privatized. The democratic vision associated with public functions is to be abandoned or seriously curtailed in favor of the ideal of efficiency. There is an abiding belief that democracy must be limited because it interferes with the private decisions of market experts, thereby reducing wealth and capital. And anything that is perceived as interfering with the growth of capitalism -- be it the social welfare system, labor unions, civil rights or government programs -- is being curtailed, while government policies and structures that protect capital, including the military, are enhanced.

Although proponents of this style of globalism purport to support democracy, it is only in a role subservient to capital. In the United States, we are softly encouraged to vote, while being constantly reminded that in these global matters that shape our everyday life, we have no say. We are told that no city, state or nation can or should try to influence this powerful but uncontrollable process. We are reminded that one can regulate capital, and any attempt to do so will hurt the economy.

The deregulation of capital is made to appear both good and natural. Our attention is drawn away from the fact that there are powerful organizations supported by the U.S. government's leadership that protect and facilitate the flow of capital. These institutions include the World Bank, International Development Association, International Finance Corporation, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, etc.

Unfortunately, there are no organizations of equal stature to protect the interests of workers, racial minorities, the environment, or women and children. There are, of course, several treaties and international instruments dealing with some of these issues, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities, and so forth.

However, they are nearly impotent, compared with the institutions with far-reaching and substantial goals of protecting capital. When citizens try to raise such issues, it is simply asserted that making working conditions or the environment part of trade agreements would unduly interfere with free trade. American-style globalism has not just transformed the flow of capital, it has transformed the role of government and the meaning of citizenship.

People are now brought together as consumers but kept apart as citizens. The transformed role of government is not to protect citizens or the precious safety net of public space but to protect and facilitate the flow of capital. So today we speak of free markets but not of free labor. We speak of an expanding global market, but a diminishing public space, and we hardly speak at all of citizen participation and justice. This is an authoritarian vision where armies police people and nations, so capital might be free.

It is very doubtful that capital, despite advances in technology, would be nearly as mobile as it is without the nationally brokered agreements that have the force of law and the coercive power of the state behind them. But while capital relies on the government to do its bidding, we enjoy freedom as individuals without the power that only comes from the collective action of informed citizens. While it might be true that cities and states, and certainly private individuals, can do little to influence globalism, it is clearly false that nations, especially the United States, are powerless in the face of globalism.

Undermining Social Movements

During the last part of the 20th century, the Civil Rights Movement, the women's movement and the environmental movement advanced their claims for inclusion and justice. An attack on the public role of the state is a powerful strategy to limit the aspirations of these groups. They aremade impotent in a forum where wealth, not votes, dictates policies. These groups are marginalized in an economic arena that transforms the market, with decisions made behind closed doors, and not in public and civic spaces.

Destruction of the public space also results in a decline of the public voice. In the United States, this decline in the role and scope of democracy in the relationship to the market occurred just when the Civil Rights Movement began to make significant gains in securing for blacks and other minorities real access to the political process.

This article, then, is not an attack on globalism per se but on the excess and undemocratic nature of the U.S.-style globalism popular now, which is particularly hostile to people of color and other marginal groups. This style of globalism disempowers average Americans in every way, except as consumers. Globalization has been happening for over a century and will continue. It must be re-envisioned to appropriately protect capital, but also to protect labor, the environment and people of color. These concerns must be seen as interrelated, not as separate. Furthermore, we must create the necessary international structures with transparency and accountability in order to make this vision a reality and to develop suitable remedies for the plight of marginalized peoples. These steps should not be seen as hostile to business, but as an appropriate cost of doing business in a justice-oriented and sustainable global economy.

Despite the rhetoric about the unmitigated good that can come from U.S.-style globalism, there is an increasing call to look more closely at the process as it relates to people and the environment throughout the world. Some assert that U.S.-style globalism threatens democracy. Others argue that this style of globalism threatens capitalism itself. We think that both claims may be right.

We believe it is critical to look more closely at what globalism means for people in general and people of color in particular. Given its more recent history of developing a social compact that includes all people, the United States should not be championing a style of globalism that is blind to the needs of some sectors. If this process continues, we are likely to permanently re-inscribe a subordinated, life-threatening status for people of color all over the globe and rationalize it with an invisible hand. We can change this by working to make the invisible visible.

john a. powell ( is Executive Director and S. P. Udayakumar ( is Research Associate of the Institute on Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School.



William Greider, One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism. New York: Touchstone, 1997.

Kavaljit Singh, The Globalization of Finance: A Citizen's Guide. London & New York: Zed Books, 1999.

United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1999. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999.

"Global Finance in the Americas: Wealth & Hunger Revisited," NACLA Report on the Americas 33/1 (July/August 1999).

"The Threat of Globalism," Race and Class 40/2-3 (Oct. 1998-March 1999).

Mario J. Yutzis, "A Special Issue on Globalization and Discrimination," Peoples for Human Rights, IMADR Yearbook 1998 6 (1998).


Focus on the Global South, Walden Bello/Nicola Bullard, c/o CURSI Wisit Prachuabmoh Bldg., Chulalongkorn University, Phyathai Rd., Bangkok, Thailand 10330, Phone: 66-2-218-7363/64/65, Fax: 66-2-255-9976, Email:, Website:

International Forum on Globalization, Building 1062, Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965, Phone: 415/229-9350, Fax: 415/229-9340, Email:, Website:

Global Exchange, 2017 Mission Street, Rm. 303, San Francisco, CA 94110, Phone: 415/255-7296, Fax: 415/255-7498, E-mail:, Website:

Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, Dr. Vandana Shiva, 105 Raipur Rd., Dehra Dun 248 001 India, Phone: 91-135-23374, Email:

People-Centered Development Forum, David Korten, c/o Positive Futures Network, P.O. Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, Phone: 206/842-0216, Fax: 206/842-5350, E-mail:

Title: Re: The Global Rulemakers
Post by: iyah360 on June 12, 2003, 04:15:58 PM

i posted this on as well. this is an article that i wrote that was recently published on one aspect of this matter of globalization. the perspective is geared towards the populist american as it was published for a local peace organization.


With much of the "left" focussing on the Bush administration's seemingly unilateral violation of international UN law with it's war on a Iraq, a blind eye has been turned to this very same administration's wholehearted intentions to subsume the sovereignty of the American people to ANOTHER set of international interests through a WTO generated agreement known as GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services. "The complex GATS negotiation process involves countries asking others to subject parts of their service economy to GATS rules; and then a negotiation over what the requested country is willing to offer. The aim is the 'progressive liberalization' of services industry." (Multinational Monitor, March 2003, pg. 4) The media has created the idea of a war of ideology between Europe and the United States, yet corporate interests in the European Union and elsewhere are being given the green light by the Bush administration to enter, in hopes of privatizing and deregulating, "a broad swath of the U.S. economy. . . . The Canadian Polaris Institute and a global coalition of nongovernmental organizations in February released secret European GATS negotiating documents which reveal that the EU is seeking privitization and deregulation of public energy and water utilities, postal services, higher education and alcohol distribution systems; the right for foreign firms to obtain U.S. governmental small-business loans; and extreme deregulation of private-sector industries such as insurance, banking, mutual finds and securities." (ibid.)

GATS, to put it bluntly is a blueprint of global socialism for transnational corporate interests. Its intent is to level the playing field for the world's wealthy corporate entities as it dilutes a national government's legitimacy in implementing laws which protect the citizenry and the environment. Specifically, Article VI.4 of GATS has "at its heart . . . a bold plan to create an international agency with veto power over individual nations' parliamentary and regulatory decisions . . . once nations sign on to the proposed GATS Article VI.4. something called the 'Necessity Test' will kick in.  Per the secretariat's program . . . national parliaments and regulatory agencies would be demoted, in effect, to advisory bodies. Final authority will rest with the GATS Disputes Panel to determine if a law or regulation is 'more burdensome than necessary." And the GATS panel, not any parliement or congress, will tell us what is 'necessary.'" (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, p. 169)

A few examples of the WTO taking action against laws enacted by the U.S. in the past:

a ruling in January of 1996 that forced the  U.S. "to amend its gasoline cleanliness regulations . . . which required the cleanliness of gasoline sold in the most polluted cities in the U.S. to improve by 15% over 1990 levels, and all gasoline sold elsewhere to maintain levels of cleanliness at least equal to 1990 levels . . . the WTO Appellate Body held that the U.S. government-set gasoline cleanliness requirements could have a discriminatory impact against foreign gasoline." (The WTO, p. 29)
An attack on selective purchasing laws passed by "two dozen U.S. municipal and county governments, and the state government of Massachusetts" (Ibid., p.62) which were implemented to  "ensure that public money is not used to inderctly support a regime(Burma) whose conduct taxpayers find repugnant"(Ibid.) This attack was initiated by both the EU and Japan who argued that the state law"violated the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement and its requirement that governments base purchasing decisions solely on quality and price determinations."(Ibid.)
"As of  July 1999, the U.S. has lost every completed case brought against it, with the WTO labelling as illegal U.S. policies ranging from sea turtle protection and clean air regulations to anti-dumping duties." (Ibid., p.22)

It is important for all people involved in populist and progressive movements to understand that an elite group of private interests represent a power that is increasingly acting above laws enacted by national governments that are not in their interest. Acting through the WTO as a supranational government, multinational corporations are treating the world as a global plantation.

Title: Re: The Global Rulemakers
Post by: Bantu_Kelani on June 14, 2003, 04:08:58 AM
What AFRICANS need is to LIBERATE AFRICAN COUNTRIES from FOREIGN POWERS and INTERVENTION! AFRICA and a lot of third world countries would not be SO HEAVEILY INDEBTED to the IMF, which is REALLY controlled by the U.S. and Britain... There will be some brainwashed elements willing to destabilize AFRICAN countries and the efforts of others, but they should be ignored and DESTROYED. We have to start something! A BASE ON WHICH FUTURE BLACK GENERATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE FORWARD. That is how white people do!! AFRICA's well being will be reflected ON ALL BLACK RACE TRUTH!



Title: Re: The Global Rulemakers
Post by: iyah360 on June 14, 2003, 10:36:26 AM

yes, it is about peoples having self-determination. the excuse for the imperial powers for a world hegemony under a dominating power is that this is the natural state of human evolution. in a way i think we have to deal with that concept. in a way, the fundamental idea is correct, yet the implementation is perverse. in nature. . .  in animal kingdoms, in the solar system, in the cell, there tends to be a natural ordering around a central power.

for example in bees, their is a division of labor all to eventually serve the hierarch, the queen bee

the sun is the magnetism, the central/order/power, the pole which the other planets revolve around.

the question is . . . if it is the natural tendancy for groups of beings to form into hierarchical structures, then is this really the problem OR is the problem the hierarchs themselves who are not pure of heart and intention. here we have the problem of the corrupt high priests, schooled in knowledge yet devoid of higher ethics, serving their lower nature--their greed and lust for power. power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

the question then arises . . .how can self-determination for a group of people be had in these conditions of rules created by corrupt high priests who control the money supply, who are consolidating power and privitize goods and services, patenting life forms, who want to control the water supply?

this is very much unlike the sun which is the lifeforce of our solar system(which itself revolves around a more powerful heart in the universe). the conditions which allow for life are present, this is due to a precise balance. the sun will purify, the sun gives life, yet get too close to the sun and we burn up, take away the balance, take away the ozone layer and we burn up, take away the plants, we burn up -- perhaps the answer can be found in this.

Title: How to control people
Post by: Ayinde on June 16, 2003, 05:09:41 PM
I am reposting this for consideration as it shows part of what allows a few to remain in control of the majority of earth's resources and the minds of many.

August 23, 2000
By Charley Reese

The difference between true education and vocational training has been cleverly blurred.

Here are a few tips on how smart people can control other people. If any of this rings a bell - Well, then wake up!

The first principle of people control is not to let them know you are controlling them. If people knew, this knowledge will breed resentment and possibly rebellion, which would then require brute force and terror, and old fashioned, expensive and not 100 % certain method of control.

It is easier than you think to control people indirectly, to manipulate them into thinking what you want them to think and doing what you want them to do.

One basic technique is to keep them ignorant. Educated people are not as easy to manipulate. Abolishing public education or restricting access to education would be the direct approach. That would spill the beans.

The indirect approach is to control the education they receive.

It's possible to be a Ph.D., doctor, lawyer, businessman, journalist, or an accountant, just to name a few examples, and at the same time be an uneducated person. The difference between true education and vocational training has been cleverly blurred in our time so that we have people successfully practicing their vocations while at the same time being totally ignorant of the larger issues of the world in which they live.

The most obvious symptom is their absence of original thought. Ask them a question and they will end up reciting what someone else thinks or thought the answer was. What do they think, Well, they never thought about it. Their education consisted of learning how to use the library and cite sources.

That greatly simplifies things for the controller because with lots of money, university endowments, foundations, grants, and ownership of media, it is relatively easy to control who they will think of as authorities to cite in lieu of doing their own thinking.

Another technique is to keep them entertained. Roman emperors did not stage circuses and gladiator contests because they didn't have television. We have television because we don't have circuses and gladiator events. Either way, the purpose is to keep the people's minds focused on entertainment, sports, and peripheral political issues. This way you won't have to worry that they will ever figure out the real issues that allow you to control them.

Just as a truly educated person is difficult to control, so too is an economically independent person. Therefore, you want to create conditions that will produce people who work for wages, since wage earners have little control over their economic destiny. You'll also want to control the monetary, credit, and banking systems. This will allow you to inflate the currency and make it next to impossible for wage earners to accumulate capital. You can also cause periodic deflation to collapse the family businesses, family farms, and entrepreneurs, including independent community banks.

To keep trade unions under control, you just promote a scheme that allows you to shift production jobs out of the country and bring back the products as imports (it is called free trade). This way you will end up with no unions or docile unions.

Another technique is to buy both political parties so that after a while people will feel that no matter whether they vote for Candidate A or Candidate B, they will get the same policies. This will create great apathy and a belief that the political process is useless for effecting real change.

Pretty soon you will have a population that feels completely helpless, and thinks the bad things happening to them are nobody in particular's fault, just a result of global forces or evolution or some other disembodied abstract concept. If necessary, you can offer scapegoats.

Then you can bleed them dry without having to worry overly much that one of them will sneak into your house one night and cut your throat. If you do it right, they won't even know whose throat they are cutting.