Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 14:41:28 -0500 (EST) From: Terisa Turner <•••@••.•••> To: Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••> cc: •••@••.••• Subject: Re: RN: Globalization: a view from India this was a wonderful post. thanks. a related book which i strongly recommend to you and others interested in the material in your article is: john mcmurtry, unequal freedoms: the global market as an ethical system, Toronto: garamond Press, 1998, isbn 1-55193-003-x (pb) john mcmurtry has a second book coming out in 1998 with Pluto Press, London called the cancer stage of capitalism. Terisa E. Turner Departments of Sociology & Anthropology and Political Studies University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, CANADA N1G 2W1 ************************************************************************* Yves Bajard, of the Vitoria, BC, Canada based National Centre for Sustainability, has written a paper on avoiding or at least minimizing the ill effects of the disaterous course we as a society are headed towards. I am sure he would be glad to forward a copy to anyone who requests it. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 09:02:47 -0800 To: •••@••.••• (Paul Cienfuegos) From: National Centre for Sustainability <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: Democracy Unlimited web site & other notes Dear Paul Cienfuegos: We received on 10:13 27/10/98 -0400, from Renaissance Network, communication of your announcement of 22 Oct 1998 16:12:34 -0800 Democracy Unlimited's new Website on dismantling corporate rule, as a project of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC). >From your statement of rationale, I see that you are focusing on very down-to-earth affairs in the existing system, and in particular on a crucial obstacle to our common survival on Earth, i.e. the neo-liberal inspired supremacy of corporations above persons. It also seems that you are immersed in the electoral process in the US and in particular in California. Without wanting to deny the merits and usefulness of what you are doing, which is excellent, I wonder if it would not be useful to try and connect with others (I know you are doing it anyway), such as ourselves at the National Centre for Sustainability, so that you can replace the issue of corporate power in a wider context. The economy is only one of many threads in the communications and exchanges among humans on the planet. Also,at the present stage, whatever improvements you can bring to the economic and political system anywhere, I am afraid that past processes have brought humanity to exercise such an intensive and unevenly applied load on society itself and on the natural context within which we exist, that we are far beyond the limits of resilience of the system. In other words, whatever we do to improve the economic processes and the relations between corporations and people, we are at the edge of a general collapse. To avoid it, or minimize its effects, much more is necessary than what you do and in addition to it. In order tot rigger a conversation and some reflection, I am sending you attached a paper written a little over a month ago on the theme of the world problematique. Your comments and ideas for co-operation are welcome any time. Good luck with your Website and related action. All the best, Yves Bajard, D.Sc. Secretary, NCFS. ********************************************************************* In this posting, Yves Bajard reminds us of the reality of how bigwigs like Wolfenson make their public pronouncements. I was a bit naive in attributing any sincerity to his statements; after all, he almost certainly didn't write them himself! all the best, Jan --------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 16:31:33 -0800 From: National Centre for Sustainability <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: Wolfensohn in sheep's clothing! Dear Paul and Jan, dear colleagues: At 11:50 27/10/98 -0400, Jan Slakov sent, with comments a post by Paul Swann expressing doubts about the sincerity of Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank in his recent speech about the ills of the economy now. I have a few comments on Jan's comments and a few harder questions for Paul. 1. RE Jan's comments: 1.1. Wolfensohn's speech is the result of professional work by employees of the World Bank in a special department or section of speech writers. Wolfensohn gives instructions about the directions of the message he wants to convey, and the writers get to work. Wolfensohn corrects, amends, get the revised speech re-polished by the professionals, then he learns it and delivers. This is PR. It does not correspond to a fundamental commitment of the Bank to anything. There has been many nice speeches by World Banks VIPs since the late sixties. They did not change the Bank's course significantly 1.2. Wolfensohn's speech is, like all similar speeches, double edged. One has to analyze, as Paul did, the possible dual meanings of some phrases, to see how many words mean in fact very little. 2. Comments on Paul Swann's analysis: 2.1. Full agreement with Paul's interpretation of Wolfensohn's "new approach to development partnership...led by governments and parliaments of the countries, influenced by the civil society of those countries". As the people and their governments in all countries accept to operate in a debt-based, short-term profit maximization in a monetary system where non monetary values are ignored, the wealthiest and most entrepreneurial financiers will keep everything under their control. " What Wolfensohn calls "civil society" is certainly not what we understand as such. He probably means well chosen businesss' representatives in the country. 2.2. I think that Paul Swann jumps the guns in his declaration that "We, civil society, must cry "Wolf" and demand AUTHENTIC monetary reform and a GENUINELY new global financial architecture that eradicates the parasitic elite and their corrupt institutions." My reasons to say that are the following: 2.2.1, Paul Swann, in spite of his formidable credentials, does not represents "civil society". He does not have a mandate from a sufficient number of organizations claiming to operate within a context of civil society to speak in the name of civil society. 2.2.2 He uses in his declaration a tone which cannot be effective. When he asks for the eradication of "parasitic elites and of their corrupt institutions", or talks about "toady politicians" , he satisfies probably an old beef against those people, but cuts all possibilities of communication with anyone from these groups of persons. They are declared the enemy. Then, if there are among them a few (very few, perhaps) persons already sensitized to the issues raised by globalization or more generally by human load on the system, they will be turned off by Paul's tone and will regroup around the old guard in their camp.. As it is impossible to effectively neutralize the move toward globalization by raising a war (even a guerilla war) against the forces of the system that pushes toward a through elimination of barriers to trade and to the movements of capital, it is essential to try and open communications with the persons in that system who may already be open to some form of alternative or to looking at the situation from another angle than that of the strict "classical" dogma. I would therefore propose a non-compromising and non conflictual approach on the subject. 2.2.3. Rather than demanding a change of attitude among the bankers, corporations, politicians etc.. as a group, I insist that we should try and identify in these groups persons likely to listen, then start a careful development of communication with the idea of bringing them to recognize the extreme danger of the path they are treading on, to the world and to themselves. (We know that they destroy society, but we also know that they are no exception to the destruction. They are not sheltered. This is what we need to get them to understand. Then we can try and find together with them modifications (perhaps drastic) in the structures and processes that would make society change course without too much disturbance (we must avoid creating more damage than we try to avoid), and set sail on something safe and tolerable. Then they would do the selling of these changes to their peers and associates much more easily than any of us could. 2.2.4. When Paul Swann says that "It is time to re-think the basic assumptions on which our societies are based, he is right. However, when he calls for an" AUTHENTIC monetary reform and a GENUINELY new global financial architecture", he preempts on the nature and extent of the solution which is necessary but unknown and can only be determined through a thorough re-thinking of current ways of doing things, against a background of (credible) and quantified assessment of the extent and imminence of the risks. Such an assessment, to be credible, must be prepared by a group of persons including representatives from all sides, including the promoters of the globalization process under way. This is why it is so important not to antagonize the "elite" and the "toady politicians" It is not really too useful to denounce strongly all the shortcomings of the system, the cheating and lies that underscore current socio-economic and political processes, etc.. . This again invites to a defensive attitude from people we would need to communicate with. We are definitely not in a position where it serves a useful purpose to put the noses of people in their excreta because of their role in promoting leading, managing or working in a destructive system. We must remain cool and try to see what needs to be done to overturn the present socio-economic, cultural and political trends and avoid the crash. Gengis Khan said a few centuries ago something which I find very wise: "There is no worse strategic error than making enemies without needing them.." Food for thought.. All the best, Yves Bajard..