ACCORDING to anti-globalization activists, current world economic order is only serving the elite minority and making the majority poorer just because the corporate globalization or free-market capitalist system is simply unable to allow the results of economic growth to trickle down to the general masses causing social as well as economic disparities universally uglier with every passing day.
Current international market trading benefits overwhelmingly those who enter today’s exchanges already possessing the most assets. When trade occurs between a US multinational and a local entity in Mexico, Guatemala, or Thailand, higher benefits do not go to the weaker party with fewer assets, nor are they divided equally, but they go disproportionately to the stronger traders who thereby increase their relative dominance. Opportunist rhetoric aside, capitalist globalizers try to disempower the poor and already weak and to further empower the rich and already strong. The result: of the 100 largest economies in the world, 52 aren’t countries; they are corporations.
Similarly, market competition for resources, revenues, and audience is most often a zero-sum game. To advance, each actor preys off the defeat of others so that capitalist globalization promotes a self-interested me-first attitude that generates hostility and destroys solidarity between individuals, industries, and states. Public and social goods are downplayed, private ones elevated. Businesses and nations augment their own profits while imposing losses on others. Human well-being and development for everyone is not a guiding precept. Solidarity fights a rearguard battle against capitalist globalization.
Moreover, in current global exchange structures, cultural communities and values disperse only as widely as their megaphone permits them too, and worse, are drowned out by other communities with larger megaphones who impinge on them. Capitalist globalization swamps quality with quantity and creates cultural homogenization not diversity. What is indigenous and non-commercial struggles to even survive while diversity declines.
In the halls of the capitalist globalizers, only political and corporate elites are welcome. The idea that the broad public of working people, consumers, farmers, the poor and the disenfranchised should have proportionate say is actively opposed. Indeed, the point of capitalist globalization is precisely to reduce the influence of whole populations and even of state leadership for the most powerful elements of Western corporate and political rule. Capitalist globalization imposes corporatist hierarchy not only in economics, but also in politics.
Over and over the ‘mantra’ has been repeated that “there is no alternative” to this deregulated global capitalism. But, from debates over the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO plus discussions for a solution from scholars and activists around the world, progressive alternatives have been emerging. Their aim is to build a new global economy that benefits oppressed poor and exploited working people and the environment around the world, rather than despoiling the planet and its people to enrich a wealthy elite. Anti-global activists name this newly emerging vision for change as ‘global sustainable development resolution’ and goals of this resolution are set to:
* reducing the threat of financial volatility and meltdown;
* democracy at every level from the local to the global;
* human rights for all;
* environmental sustainability worldwide;
* economic advancement of the most oppressed and exploited groups;
The major recommendations of the resolution include:
Global dialogue: The United Nations shall initiate the establishment of a UN Commission on the global economy to initiate a process of global dialogue on the future of the global economy. It will also create a ‘global economy truth commission’ to investigate abuses in the use of international funds and abuses of power by international financial institutions.
Reforms: The IMF the World Bank, and other international financial institutions will be required to reorient their programmes from the imposition of austerity and destructive forms of development to support for labour rights, environmental protection, raising living standards, and encouragement for small and medium-sized local enterprises.
The IMF will terminate all activities except those fulfilling its original mandate of addressing short-term external trade imbalances. In addition, these institutions shall be held liable to the ills and sufferings caused due to their policies to the third world countries.
Debt reduction: The G-7 shall work honestly with others to write off the debts of the most impoverished countries to give their economies a breathing space. They shall work to establish a permanent insolvency mechanism for adjusting the debts of highly indebted nations.
Checks: To help establish public control and citizens sovereignty over global corporations and reduce their ability to evade local, state, and national law, the United Nations shall enter into negotiations to establish a binding ‘code of conduct for transnational corporations’ which includes regulation of labour, environment, investment, and social behaviour. In addition, these corporations shall be held liable for harms caused to any community or country.
Financial strategy: Through such negotiations, the United Nations will develop and implement a strategy to counter those aspects of the global financial system that make it more difficult for communities, regions, and countries to pursue sustainable development. The purpose of this strategy is to restructure the international financial system to avoid global recessions, protect the environment, ensure full employment, reverse the polarization of wealth and poverty, and support the efforts of polities at all levels to mobilize and coordinate their economic resources.
The financial strategy will provide an alternative to the “new financial architecture” being proposed by the IMF, the World Bank, G-7, and the US Treasury. It will:
* encourage economic policies based on domestic economic growth and development, not domestic austerity in the interest of export-led growth.
* encourage the major industrial countries to coordinate their economic policies to stimulate domestic demand and prevent global deflation.
* help countries adjust currency exchange rates without competitive devaluations.
* develop means for assuring global liquidity, such as an expansion of the system of Special Drawing Rights.
* reduce the flows of destabilizing short-term capital by the adoption of capital controls as necessary.
* establish standards for and oversee the regulation of banks and non-bank financial institutions by national and international regulatory authorities.
* encourage the shift of financial resources from speculation to sustainable development that is useful and environmentally positive, such as community development and targeted investment for small- and medium-sized businesses and farmers.
* establish a tax on foreign currency transactions, known as a “Tobin tax”, to reduce the volume of destabilizing short-term cross-border financial flows and to provide pools of funds for investment in long-term environmentally and socially sustainable development in poor communities and countries.
Restructuring Globalization Process
By: Farrukh A. Raja