Globalization gets a bigger audience
State of the World Forum lures current, former heads of state
By Gary Seidman MSNBC
NEW YORK, Sept. 5 Ever since a teenager clad
in black and espousing anarchist ideas tossed
a rock through the window of a downtown
Seattle McDonalds 9 months ago, world leaders
have scurried about debating the benefits and
detriments of borderless trade. Its a nod to the
anti-globalization demonstrators at that Seattle
World Trade Organization meeting who
identified the fast-food chain with global
homogenization that this dialogue is
THIS WEEK, the debate is getting a bigger and more
powerful audience. Some 1,500 delegates, including current
and former heads of state like ex-Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev, are tackling the issue at the State of the World
Forum in New York.
While the group includes global investor and
philanthropist George Soros, the grassroots organizer
Vandana Shiva and John Sweeney, president of the 13
million member AFL-CIO labor union, the most aggressive
of the anti-globalization protestors who marched in the
streets of Seattle and later Washington are nowhere to be
seen. The freight train, it seems, will not be stopped.
Our topic shaping globalization recognizes
that globalization is a reality, said Sweeney in his remarks
to the forum. Identifying the phenomenon with the
corporate offensive and conservative movement that
swept through the West when Americas Ronald Reagan,
Britains Margaret Thatcher and Germanys Helmut Kohl
came to power 20 years ago, Sweeney maintained a broad
focus, avoiding mention of his own constituents, who fear
job losses to lower paying countries, such as China.
Now, said Gorbachev, there is a danger that
globalization could be like a steamroller creating a
homogenous cultures around the world. It has made it
possible to create a vast flow of culture; films, art, he
said. But in countries like Russia, 80 percent of films are
American. The task for leaders around the globe, he said,
is to govern the process and make it work for all.
Like others at the forum and those attending the
United Nations Millennium across town Gorbachev
rattled off statistics about the worlds unemployed and
impoverished, people he says who have seen little or no
benefits from increased trade and the most prevalent
aspects of the globalization trend.
One billion unemployed and 1.2 billion people living on
less than $1 a day are the fourth world peoples that are
not subject to the benefits of globalization.
Vandana Shiva, the director of Indias Foundation for
Science, Technology and National Research went a step
further in her indictment of globalization. Not only, she said,
are many of the worlds people not enjoying the fruits of
globalization, but small producers such as tea farmers in
India are being forced out of their livelihoods by cheaper,
less quality imports. We cant afford globalization. It is too
much of a luxury.
Soros advocated stronger international organizations to
ensure a more equitable sharing of the wealth. At the same
time, Soros said while the spread of capitalism could very
well lift many of the worlds people out of poverty and
despair, capitalism and political freedom dont necessarily
go hand in hand.
Perhaps the greatest threat to freedom and democracy today
is the unholy alliance between business and government, he
said. Markets, he added, are not designed to take care of the
Perhaps, said Vandana Shiva, we have to listen to the
people who were on the streets of Seattle.
The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
"Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.