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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the image of globalization « Previous | |Next »
September 10, 2003

Globalization is celebrated in most of our national newspapers as bringing benefits and increased prosperity to all and sundry. It is one of those win win win situations that will solve third world problems. Those who protest about corporate style globalization are routinely dismissed by the free traders as Luddities who live the performative contradication of opposing globalization--being anti-globalization---yet they use the Internet to find what is happening in Cancum.

It is best to view such arguments from the representatives of WTO as attempts at humour in the world of public policy. They are trying to express their lighter more feminine side rather than engage in serious debate and dialogue about environmental considerations of free trade. These are just displaced.

After surfacing from philosophical conversations, I read in todays copy of the Australian Financial Review (subscription required, 10 09 03, p.60) that this weeks meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Cancun will be heavily protected from the direct action of protestors. Cancun is the halfway point in the three year Doha round of negotiations to reduce barriers to free trade.

What struck me is the image WTO at Cancun. It is one of:


"...multiple road blocks and barbed wirefences, 20,000 police and troops, backed by helicopters, warships and patrol boats..."

That's the image corporate globalization presents to the world. Their free trade shuffle walks hand in hand with the military. It's a sort of twostep that does little to give a boost to the much needed confidence in the languishing world economy.

Has anyone told the free traders about semiotics? Or the politics of culture? How they are losing the image war? The semiotics says free trade is backed up warships and troops. That is how Japan and China experienced free trade: it was imposed by force on them by the US and the UK.

Seriously though. The playful semiotics got it right. Free trade is about power. An enemy of free trade is the US. As the Dohra round of negotiations proceeds Washington rails on ad naseum about the bloody-minded French and Japanese protecting their highly inefficient farm sector with restricted market access and subsidies. US free traders do the moral number and say that France and Japan are a disgrace and have little credibility.

There is a big smell here. It's from the corruption in Washington. Corruption that goes by the name of political porkbarrelling.

Washington continues to molly coddle its farm sector with welfare cheques and agricultural protection. Washington is unwilling to reform its agricultural sector and put in place the free and open borders it tries to impose on the rest of the world. So we have over production that is then dumped on (third world) others at reduced prices. That is about power.

What the Americans do is talk up free trade, hide behind the Europeans, resort to short-term political expediency and turn a blind eye to a serious attempt at reform. The US is twofaced on free trade.

Hence the smell at Cancun.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:23 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (2)
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» Ag subsidies wrangling from The Usurer
The US and the EU, are being increasingly pressured by the rest of the world to get rid of their farm subsidies, especially the EU's shameful Common Agricultural Policy. Australia is part of that pressure, and Trade Minister Mark Vaile... [Read More]

» Ag subsidies wrangling from The Usurer
The US and the EU, are being increasingly pressured by the rest of the world to get rid of their farm subsidies, especially the EU's shameful Common Agricultural Policy. Australia is part of that pressure, and Trade Minister Mark Vaile... [Read More]

 
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