Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dont listen to what they say, look at what they do

Sometimes my resolve falters. Really. I mean, you understand, this is an uphill struggle against the policies and practices of all the governments in the world, and against all of the trading system and its component. That's a big bite, believe me. I start to want to believe that the Transnational Corporations may mean well, that they are here to stay, that there may be space for doing good together, that Corporate Social Reponsibility is not just a callous way of making more money. I also catch myself (but more rarely) wanting desperately to believe that the US and other G8 and the Bretton Woods cannot be just self serving evil and that they need guidance, and just they are not corrupt, just inefficient and that Scooter Libby and Chirac are only one off cases, and that Wolfowitz did what he did because he was in love, and he has shown us with his stand on Irak that he believes that alll is fair in love and war, and hey, who hasn't loved?

Then I wake up take a newspaper, and read one headline, any headline, and I'm cured.

But for those who need more to believe, read this great article by George Monbiot, one of my favorite writers.

"Last year, in the hope of arresting this public health disaster, the Philippines' department of health drew up a new set of rules. It prohibited all advertising and promotion of infant formula for children up to two years old. It forbade the formula companies from giving away gifts or samples, and from providing assistance to health workers or classes to mothers. The new rules seem stiff, but they all come straight from the WHO's code. Phap, whose members include most of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, went to the supreme court to try to obtain a restraining order. When it failed the big guns arrived.

The US embassy and the US regional trade representative started lobbying the Philippines government. Then the chief executive of the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington - which represents 3m businesses - wrote a letter to the president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo. The new rules, he claimed, would have "unintended negative consequences for investors' confidence". The country's reputation "as a stable and viable destination for investment is at risk". Four days later, the supreme court reversed its decision and imposed the restraining order Phap had requested. It remains in force today. The government is currently unable to prevent companies from breaking the international code."

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