Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The poor want globalization say the rich

"Every so often some international conference dealing with world trade and issues revolving around globalization takes place. Without fail the organized forces of the anti-globalization movement appear outside the gates. They whine, they protest, they frequently riot and attack. If you ask them they’ll tell you that what they do is justified because they represent the world’s poor.What is clear is that rarely are the protesters themselves poor. These protesters tend to come from wealthy nations and tend to have been born in families that are more economically advantaged than the people on who’s behalf they pretend to speak. Critics of the anti-globalists have long contended that they don’t represent the poor at all but are more in tune with politically fashionable views among the more wealthy of the world. Now an on-going poll of world opinion seems to back this up.The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed some 66,000 people in 44 nations. Generally the results have been met with much interest and little anger. But the anti-globalization movement itself is rather unhappy with the results and with good reason.The poorest nations have populations more supportive of globalization than do the wealthiest nations. The survey noted that: “Only one-in-ten Americans and Canadians (10%, 11%) characterize globalization as a very good thing, and fewer Europeans agree. By comparison, nearly six-in-ten in Nigeria (58%), and more than four-in-ten in Kenya (46%), Uganda (44%) and South Africa (41%) see globalization as a very good thing.” Only Jordan has a majority that says globalization is bad."

I am posting this blog post not because it is good, but because it provides food for thought. Mind you, the Pew Global Attitude Project is managed by a bunch of right-wing corporatists, led by Madeleine Albright and including Henry Kissinger and Queen Noor of Jordan, in addition to a string of CEOs from the large corporations. Hardly a group of objective scholars. I like this bit best: "Majorities in Lebanon (64%) ... say commercialism is no threat to their culture."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Resistance to globalization and FTA's is not limited to the "rich" in the developed world. Everybody is feeling its effects. Those in the developed world are seeing a deindustrializatin of their economy and the transfer of jobs due to out sourcing.

FTA's somtimes have clauses that override existing national laws and legislation. Countries in the developing world have become dependent on single commodities . Their economies rise and fall with their prices. Also , it is difficult for them to maintain any subsidies or to protect infant industies. World prices and local incomes only increases poverty and the maldistribution of incomes.

The issues surrounding globalization of economies are very complex and sometimes beyond the comprehension of ordinary folks.

Change is a given , but under globalization it is rapid and pervasive.

Jordan has had its economy altered substantially by almost a decade of FTAs and membership in the WTO, not to mention its peace treaty with Israel , so the results of the poll there are not surprising.

The Jordanian textile industry is a case in point. Local producers have been marginalized by offshore companies . In the begining , there was employment growth with the arrival of these firms but they soon discovered that they could import their workers into Jordan and achieve even better efficencies.

I know two friends that had three textile factories in Jordan that are now closed. One now imports yarn from the far east and boasts that he has almost half of the domestic market for yarn in just two years of operation. The other closed his factories and now uses them to store imported building materials from China.

His son related a interesting story to me about an Israeli company that has built a factory with its back door on the border and inside protected by Jordanian law are Chinese convicts chained to their sewing machines producing Victoria"s Secret lingerie.

What has hurt even more is that these foreign firms are selling their surplus product at a loss in the Jordanian market for what he suspects are money launderers.

This is a huge issue with far reaching consequences. Globalization is too big to stop but we need to assure that our governments protect their citizens,culture and envuronment from its effects.