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Old 01-13-2002, 08:21 PM   #1
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The Babel Tower of Globalization

THE BABEL TOWER OF GLOBALIZATION
Are we missing the chance to give a place to everyone ?

Translated from French to English
- Éric Desrosiers
Le Devoir (www.ledevoir.com)
January 5th 2002

A lot of people hoped that the tragic events of September IIth would be the necessary electrical shock to the rich countries to take conscience of the urgency of giving a place to everyone in their new Economical Order. Unfortunately, the majority of these countries, Canada included, seem to not go beyond the simple primitive self-defense relfex against terrorism. Are we missing a golden opportunity to change the flow of globalization ?

"Not a long time ago, I would have thought that we actually had good reasons to be optimistic" says Christian Deblock, director at the new Centre d'Études Internationales sur la Mondialisation de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) [International Study Centre on Globalization of the University of Québec in Montréal (UQIM)].
"We were in a remarkable growing period. The Left formed the Governments of a lot of countries in Europe, Bill Clinton was the President of the United States of America. The Vice-President at the time or this country, Al Gore, spoke of a 'more human globalization'. Now, we are in recession. The Bush Administration is centred on the affirmation of the United States of America's power, the only mega-power. And the social preoccupations aren't on the first spot."

"The times of thinking" on the objectives and effects of globalization is over, says Deblock, himself an economist. "Since I0 years, we opened the flows of all the markets. There is been a constant growing of capitals, of exchanges on an international level. Some countries profited from it. But at the same time, we discover that the market is not an end, that unequalities also growed in our countries and that a great deal of countries are completely left aside and marginalized. We cannot simply let this flow of markets open. If we do that, we head directly towards a wall".

Lessons of the Summit of the Americas in Québec City, April 200I

Its been a couple of years since the anti-globalization movement and it's other forms denounces the vices of the economic model that is been promoting by the occidental countries, the United States of America being the leader, and oftenty imposed to other countries. These nebulous groups are now part of the International Summists. Its action during the Summit of the Americas, last spring in Québec, pushed some politicians and some people in the economics to question themselves for the first time on the New Economical Order.

"I'm convince that the Summit of the Americas was the main factor in the beginning of conscience questions, mostly for the population an Government of Québec, says Deblock. With a crowd of 60 000 people, mostly pacifists despite the image that the big medias tried to impose, primaly composed of young people and even old people, the population and Government couldn't avoid the question 'Why so much opposition, so much questions, even the use of violence against somthing that in theory would bring us happiness ?'."

"The question is not wether we should top globalization in its basical definition", continues professor Deblock. "Its a movement that opens societies to other societies. The question that should be asked, is in the end the same that we asked ourselves after the crisis in the I930s, regarding unequalities and unemployment." The answer, at the time, was the venue of each National Government to take the form of a Welfare Government.

In front of the challenge to humanise globalization, the International Institutions adopted some initiatives, like those programs of struggle against poverty or these 'good conduct codes' that companies follows on a voluntary basis. But that all remains "shy and slack" says Deblock.

We still continue to say, like the World Bank a few days ago on its report on globalization and poverty, that we are optomistic viewing the auto-reparing capacities of globalization. We continue its development without asking questions regarding possible impacts and effects of such measures. "Who can be against a liberalization of services ? No one. Its appearing totally logic, says Deblock. But everything is a service, everything is a product: a hospital, a museum, a shcool. We are quickly overhwelmed by all these new measures."

We would have every reasons, according to Deblock, to start end this mystification of globalization. If some reseaches confirmed that the de-regulation and the liberalization of exchanges helped the countries who applied its principles to know since I0 years an absolutely remarkable economical growing these same researches remind us that this famous period of prosperity is still less important that the one that we known between I950 and I975, during the complete construction of the Welfare State.

"Now, there is only one right emerging at an International level and its the right of commerce, exchange, capitals, etc..".

[ the parts that follow is regarding the Government of Québec. article resumes at the end of the real article ]

...Then came the terrorist attacks that we know. National Government and Financial Institutions didn't wait to put their efforts together and arrived, in a couple of weeks, to put new rules regarding these economical activities.

"This experience teach us that the political action is an important element and that the Government can act. If there was fiscal heavens, its that it wasn't bugging us and that we were profiting from it. If, together, we were able to take charge of our National and International Institution to re-enforce the economical system, it means that we can to do the same things in other fields, such unemployment, human rights, the AIDS, healthcare, education and our social conscience".

------------------
United Nations : www.un.org - UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) : www.unicef.org
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) : www.unesco.org

Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) : www.ezln.org
"The one who governs with weapons is surely poor in ideas" - Marcos

Solidarités : <A HREF="http://www.solidarites.org

Parti" TARGET=_blank>www.solidarites.org

Parti</A> pour une Alternative Progressiste : www.parti-rap.org
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Old 01-13-2002, 08:51 PM   #2
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A few points. IMO opinion 'globalisation' is neither good nor bad. It's not a movement or a plan, it is a historical trend.

Also, Bill Clinton was not in any way liberal. I can't actually understand why people think he was (ending welfare as we know it? Even our ultra-conservative Australian government wouldn't have the gall to attempt that).

I'm just wary of wolves in sheep's clothing, and the tendency of many to latch onto the likes of Clinton (or Blair) because they supposedly represent(ed) a 'humane' alernative. Spin-meisters can do wonders sometimes. Point being, that at this point in history, no major western country has a government that in any practical sense could be remotely considered left-of-centre.

Maybe that's a good thing, you tell me...
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Old 01-13-2002, 10:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kieran McConville:
Also, Bill Clinton was not in any way liberal. I can't actually understand why people think he was (ending welfare as we know it? ...)
I am not usually wont to come to the defense of former President Clinton, but when he said "ending welfare as we know it" he was referring to reforming the welfare system - a bipartisan goal. It had come to be a bureacratic moneypit that wasn't doing much to get recipients OFF of the welfare rolls. Both the President and Congress passed welfare-to-work legislation that emphasized training and the goal of independence, and admirable goal as opposed to the culture of poverty created by permanent welfare dependence.

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Old 01-14-2002, 12:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama:
I am not usually wont to come to the defense of former President Clinton, but when he said "ending welfare as we know it" he was referring to reforming the welfare system - a bipartisan goal. It had come to be a bureacratic moneypit that wasn't doing much to get recipients OFF of the welfare rolls. Both the President and Congress passed welfare-to-work legislation that emphasized training and the goal of independence, and admirable goal as opposed to the culture of poverty created by permanent welfare dependence.

~U2Alabama
Alright, I should clarify myself. Yes, that first bit was rhetoric to an extent. I guess my point was that the EXTENT of the measures undertaken would not be countenanced in Australia, although our government is very much right-of-centre.

And indeed, though my example wasn't the best one, the fact the goal was bipartisan, says something. Nothing new, just the fact that in practice (I could care less about Bush/Clinton personality debates), the so-called parties of right and left, are not that removed from each other. Hence my comment about Clinton not being a liberal. It was in my own mind shorthand, and what I should have said was 'Clinton administration'.
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Old 01-15-2002, 05:12 PM   #5
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I'm sorry, Kieran McConville (I hope I spelt it right) but I don't think you are right in saying that no western government is practically 'left of the centre' as it were or liberal; I do think that Britain's Labor Goverment is a distinction from the would-be Tory government, quite a large difference might I add.

Apart from the obvious 'Euro' controversy which separates the Consdervatives and the Laborites there is also the issue of the welfare state; Tories believe in starving people to work rather than providing benefits and incentives, they prefer to cut benefits and increase taxation a la regressive (in stead of PROGRESSIVE) and basically help out the rich, as they have been classically known to do.

Labor, or NEW Labor as that pathetic fool of a prime-minister we have has called it (although I am pro-Labor and pro-Euro for that matter, I dislike Blair immensely)is considerably different from the Tories, I can assure you. Tories believe in the conservation of the pound, keep the higher proportion of high wages fit and healthy, deindustiralise industries that aren't as profitable as others and tend to have their noses shoved up America's arse all the time.

I'm sorry, but the Labor government IS pretty left-wing, as much as Blair can allow it at least.

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Old 01-15-2002, 08:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
I'm sorry, Kieran McConville (I hope I spelt it right) but I don't think you are right in saying that no western government is practically 'left of the centre' as it were or liberal; I do think that Britain's Labor Goverment is a distinction from the would-be Tory government, quite a large difference might I add.

Apart from the obvious 'Euro' controversy which separates the Consdervatives and the Laborites there is also the issue of the welfare state; Tories believe in starving people to work rather than providing benefits and incentives, they prefer to cut benefits and increase taxation a la regressive (in stead of PROGRESSIVE) and basically help out the rich, as they have been classically known to do.

Labor, or NEW Labor as that pathetic fool of a prime-minister we have has called it (although I am pro-Labor and pro-Euro for that matter, I dislike Blair immensely)is considerably different from the Tories, I can assure you. Tories believe in the conservation of the pound, keep the higher proportion of high wages fit and healthy, deindustiralise industries that aren't as profitable as others and tend to have their noses shoved up America's arse all the time.

I'm sorry, but the Labor government IS pretty left-wing, as much as Blair can allow it at least.

Ant.
I too am sorry, but none of that indicates to me that the Blair government is particularly left-of-centre.

1. To me, the Euro/Pound issue is a bit of a smokescreen. It seems that it's the one patriotic issue that the Tories feel they can gain some traction on.

2. I appreciate your point about the Tories' approach to welfare. But, (and this is an honest question, because everything I've read suggests otherwise), is the current New Labor government any different in practice?

eg. - spending on welfare, spending on the National Health Service, industry policy etc.

I guess, in a nutshell, everything I read about British politics suggests to me that the Blair Government is right-of-centre, and simply that the Tory party is ravingly right-of-centre.

3. I thought Tony Blair had his nose shoved pretty far up the American arse too.
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Old 01-17-2002, 02:46 PM   #7
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Kieran McConville;

'To me, the Euro/Pound issue is a bit of a smokescreen. It seems that it's the one patriotic issue that the Tories feel they can gain some traction on.'

You'd be right in saying that.

'2. I appreciate your point about the Tories' approach to welfare. But, (and this is an honest question, because everything I've read suggests otherwise), is the current New Labor government any different in practice?'

Yes, it is different in practice. Not to a huge extent, admittedly, but in practice there are differences. For instance, the spending on welfare has indeed increased for certain rates and child-benefits for single families have also improved, as has this new policy on child-minders for working mothers who are faced with the daunting task of caring for young children while at the same time trying to support them. Unemployment benefits have marginally increased, but more significantly is the exependiture on courses and training facilities to improve the labour market, a strictly supply-side policy that is very much a 'Labor' characteristic as it isn't Conservative; the Tories do NOT believe in Supply-side policies, they tend to favour demand management.

Regarding your point on the NHS, what can one say but admit to it being a complete disaster, however, this is a problem that has been there for yonks, and it is far more an economic problem than a political one. ie - it doesn't matter if you're left of the centre of right of the centre, the problem can only be tackled one way. However, the Labor government has proposed to increase expenditure on the NHS.

Industry policy is far more controversial, as you may have heard, Labor has wanted to nationalise more than privatise (a sentiment I agree with for many reasons), however, because the UNited Kingdom is dominated by certain capitalistic fat-cats, it is extremely hard to do it completely, and when I mean nationalistion I mean nationalisation of the Rail Service. What has happened just recently is the government trying to control the Rail Industry on an unofficial capacity while at the same time maintaining it privately funded, however, already this is being criticised as a way of slowly nationalising an industry. Therefore, nationalisation - something the Labor government really desires - is something that is very controversial and hence harder to achieve. Having said that, it doesn't mean that they haven't tried and won't continue to try, they're going to attempt to clean up the mess the Tories did two decades ago when Thatcher went on her privatisation spree.

'3. I thought Tony Blair had his nose shoved pretty far up the American arse too.'

Indeed, if you've read my other post in another thread you would have noticed that I share your sentiments, however, LABOR doesn't encourage it and never has. The Tories very much depend on the states for everything and always have, it is this dependence that makes it hard for the prime-minister to basically get himself out of the political picture diplomatically, though the foreign policy of the Labor government is very much isolationist and independent from USA, though at the same time trying to maintain a stronger relationship between Britain and Europe, as Gordon Brown's economic budget proposals show.

Mr.Blair might be brown-nosing Bush's arse, but I assure you the British Government does not.

Ant.


[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 01-17-2002).]
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Old 01-17-2002, 08:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
Kieran McConville;

'To me, the Euro/Pound issue is a bit of a smokescreen. It seems that it's the one patriotic issue that the Tories feel they can gain some traction on.'

You'd be right in saying that.

'2. I appreciate your point about the Tories' approach to welfare. But, (and this is an honest question, because everything I've read suggests otherwise), is the current New Labor government any different in practice?'

Yes, it is different in practice. Not to a huge extent, admittedly, but in practice there are differences. For instance, the spending on welfare has indeed increased for certain rates and child-benefits for single families have also improved, as has this new policy on child-minders for working mothers who are faced with the daunting task of caring for young children while at the same time trying to support them. Unemployment benefits have marginally increased, but more significantly is the exependiture on courses and training facilities to improve the labour market, a strictly supply-side policy that is very much a 'Labor' characteristic as it isn't Conservative; the Tories do NOT believe in Supply-side policies, they tend to favour demand management.

Regarding your point on the NHS, what can one say but admit to it being a complete disaster, however, this is a problem that has been there for yonks, and it is far more an economic problem than a political one. ie - it doesn't matter if you're left of the centre of right of the centre, the problem can only be tackled one way. However, the Labor government has proposed to increase expenditure on the NHS.

Industry policy is far more controversial, as you may have heard, Labor has wanted to nationalise more than privatise (a sentiment I agree with for many reasons), however, because the UNited Kingdom is dominated by certain capitalistic fat-cats, it is extremely hard to do it completely, and when I mean nationalistion I mean nationalisation of the Rail Service. What has happened just recently is the government trying to control the Rail Industry on an unofficial capacity while at the same time maintaining it privately funded, however, already this is being criticised as a way of slowly nationalising an industry. Therefore, nationalisation - something the Labor government really desires - is something that is very controversial and hence harder to achieve. Having said that, it doesn't mean that they haven't tried and won't continue to try, they're going to attempt to clean up the mess the Tories did two decades ago when Thatcher went on her privatisation spree.

'3. I thought Tony Blair had his nose shoved pretty far up the American arse too.'

Indeed, if you've read my other post in another thread you would have noticed that I share your sentiments, however, LABOR doesn't encourage it and never has. The Tories very much depend on the states for everything and always have, it is this dependence that makes it hard for the prime-minister to basically get himself out of the political picture diplomatically, though the foreign policy of the Labor government is very much isolationist and independent from USA, though at the same time trying to maintain a stronger relationship between Britain and Europe, as Gordon Brown's economic budget proposals show.

Mr.Blair might be brown-nosing Bush's arse, but I assure you the British Government does not.

Ant.


[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 01-17-2002).]
Anthony, thanks for the response. I agree that traditionally, nationalisation of selected industries is precisely what you'd expect a Labor government to do, I'd just had the impression the current administration had all but discarded that aim (perhaps for the reasons you suggested).

Perhaps I draw too much of a link with Australia's version of Labor, which is indeed right of centre (and Blair at one point seemed to be quite the budding apprentice). It, during the 1980's, pushed much the same privatisation and deregulatory agenda (albeit more modestly) as Thatcher's govt in the UK. And currently, I'd say our Labor party differs from the Liberals (Tories, basically) only in its rhetoric toward certain 'soft' (read social) issues, such as multiculturalism and indigenous rights.

The UK rail service example that you raised is an interesting one, in as much as nationalisation (which in cases like this I also agree with) isn't a word you'd hear much these days. The word that dare not speak its name, in fact. Time will tell, I guess.

Believe me I share your contempt (from a distance) for Blair, partly because he strikes me as the most presidential of British PMs for a long time. Presidential as in controlling from the centre, with a small clique around him. Of course that too is a world-wide trend, parliaments don't get too much of a look-in these days. Hence, I've tended to regard Blair's agenda (which IMO is defiantly right-wing) as synonymous with that of the Labor party. Yes, I know there are individual MPs who disagree with all that, but it seems to be the hardliners who get promoted (one example might be Clare Short with her imflammatory rhetoric against single mothers and the like - again, Australia is no stranger to wedge politics either).
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Old 01-18-2002, 05:38 PM   #9
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Well Kieran;

Today, it has been announced in Britain that the Tories are pushing for the NHS to be privatised as well, and that made me think of this discussion we were having. All I can say is, besides how ridiculous and absolutely pathetic it is for the Conservatives to even PROPOSE such a mind-blowingly awful idea, this shows how differently Labor and the Tories work within Britain.

I have no clue about Australian politics, my best friend who was Australian always used to answer, when asked of his political leanings, that 'oh, I don't really give a shit... much like the rest of Australia'. His explanation was that there isn't really any difference between the parties, except that the Conservative leader is particularly despised for some reason (is this true? I have no clue... just his cynicism).

Anyway, it would seem that things are far more difficult to distinguish down there, however, I firmly believe that British politics is slightly different; the absolutely awful effect Thatcherism had on Britain, the consequent shape-shifting of the Conservatives, Labor's attempt to change their past image into New Labor, Gordon Brown's endeavours for Socialist economics and the controversy that tears Britain apart for the joining of Euro is what maintains the political picture as a rather confusing one.

Ian Duncan Smith (the new leader of the Tories) has proposed a return to Thatcherism and privatising the country's industry even more, and the worse thing about it is that this campaign could indeed work... hopefully it won't though. However, the fact remains, Labor is radically different from all that, though in practice it is less extreme, naturally.

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Old 01-18-2002, 09:17 PM   #10
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Ant. you are accurate enough about the situation in Australia. Most people don't really give a shit about politics, partly because the parties are so alike in their policies (what that really means is that over the last 20-25 years, the Labor party has moved to the right, and the Liberal party has moved even further to the right, examples include the introduction of free tertiary education in the 70's, and the subsequent winding back of this over subsequent Labor and conservative governments; our own hospital funding problems, with the present government apparently intent to giving a boost to the private health insurance industry, and private hospitals, wherever possible- the govt justifies this as improving 'choice').

Howard (PM) is despised in many quarters, including some who vote for him, ha ha. To explain why would take forever. He's a survivor though. Which probably explains some of his appeal.
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