Thursday, March 22, 2007

Democracy Fades as Transnationals via WTO Take Over

Democracy Fades as WTO Seizes Control For Multinational Corporations
The Stealth Coup: US Democracy Fades As WTO Seizes Control For Multinational (Transnational) Corporations...

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: (Note: Bold and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posting/article. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated)

The below article, somewhat dated but still very relevant, is not filled with hearsay nor written by a nationalist nor left-leaning anti-globalist, as those so-called technocrats among us might hastily say. Any mature, intelligent and socially-conscious citizen will appreciate the fact that multinational corporations --many of which are American-controlled-- have only brought havoc to their employees/workers and overall to the society these global corporations are in regardless of location. In America which has practically de-industrialized, or abroad such as in poor/Third World countries like ours where serial peso devaluations have practically made Filipino workers -- college-educated or not-- highly dispensable employees clocking into, what one can aptly call, sweatshops.

Filipinos in the Philippines have perpetually and worseningly suffer the punishments the IMF/WB now through the WTO (controlled and used by the G7 nations for their multinational corporations) have continually brought to our homeland, thanks to our traitorous technocrats and political rulers who, because of their miseducation, vested economic and/or political interests, unquestioningly kowtow to these organizations.

(Phillips was educated at the Bronx High School of Science, Colgate University, the University of Edinburgh and Harvard Law School. After his stint as a senior strategist for the Nixon campaign, he served a year, starting in 1969, as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, but left after a year to become a columnist. In 1971, he became president of the American Political Research Corporation and editor-publisher of the American Political Report (through 1998).

In 1982, the Wall Street Journal described him as “the leading conservative electoral analyst -- the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right, and prophesied ‘The Emerging Republican Majority’ in 1969.”

Ironically for someone who in later life became a virulent critic of Republicans from the south and west, Phillips in his 1969 book identified the "Heartland" as the future core of Republican votes, and the "Yankee Northeast" as the future Democratic stronghold, foreshadowing the current split between Red States and Blue States. More than 30 years before the 2004 election, Phillips foresaw such previously Democratic states as Texas and West Virginia swinging to the Republicans while Vermont and Maine would become Democratic states. The rise of such partisan leaders as Howard Dean; John Kerry and Ned Lamont for the Democrats and religious conservatives in the Republican ranks would have come as no surprise.) - WIKIPEDIA

“The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain" - Thomas Jefferson, 1809

"To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” - William Corbett, 1830

"You show me a capitalist, I'll show you a bloodsucker" - Malcolm X, 1965

""Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society" - Ayn Rand, 1961

"The chief business of America is business" - President Calvin Coolidge, 1925

"The glory of the United States is business" - Wendell L. Willkie, 1936

"What else do bankers do -- walk-in and turn-off the lights in the country." - William Slee, 1978

"There is no literate population in the world that is poor; there is no illiterate population that is anything but poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

“One of the major errors in the whole discussion of economic development has been the tendency to look at the United States or Canada and say that this has worked here, and therefore it must work in the poor countries.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

Democracy Fades as WTO Seizes Control For Multinational Corporations
The Stealth Coup: US Democracy Fades As WTO Seizes Control For Multinational (Transnational) Corporations...

The WTO and the Fed have essentially become two new branches of government, in many ways more powerful than Congress and the president. Who elected them anyway?

By KEVIN PHILLIPS , November 21, 1999

WASHINGTON--An important prelude to the 2000 elections could take place
in Seattle, if organizers can produce their hoped-for "protest of the
century" against the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade
Organization that begins Nov. 30.

Doubters scoff at this. While activists urge people to travel to
Seattle to protest the WTO, nine of 10 Americans probably can't explain
what the organization is
. So they won't be paying attention to
complaints that the WTO is about to become an unelected fourth branch
of the U.S. government, or that it is a magna carta for U.S.
multinational corporations
to further decrease their dependence on
American employees and loyalties.

The World Trade Organization, though officially only 4 years old,
represents a huge intrusion on U.S. politics and on national, state and
local decision-making, largely in the interest of multinational
corporations and trade lobbies. Scare talk like this has been
exaggerated before. But this is not hyperbole: Legislators in
Washington could be on the brink of understanding that they--and the
voters--are losing control over the evolution of America's role in the
global economy
in the 21st century.

This is a grave danger. The historical evidence from the two previous
great economic world powers is that whatever financial elites
want--high-profit global priorities--is bad for ordinary citizens
, who
are more vulnerable and require that domestic economics come first.

Yet, headlines from Seattle could launch a public debate, especially if
the protesters are largely American. It's this nation whose ordinary
citizens have the greatest political and economic stake in limiting the
WTO and its anticipated role.

Alienated voters bemoan losing control over U.S. policymaking, but
representatives and senators share in the loss. Where the U.S.
government once had three branches--executive, legislative and
judicial--it now has five. The newest branches are the unelected
Federal Reserve Board,
which controls money supply, interest rates and,
in many respects, the U.S. economy; and the WTO, which not only
controls trade practices but can overrule federal, state and local laws
that interfere with trade rights as the organization defines them.
Politicians and voters have little or no control over either the Fed or
the WTO.

Power, quite simply, has been shifting to major financial institutions
and multinational corporations
. In the Federal Reserve system, which
operates behind closed doors, controls its own funds and is independent
of Congress, the presidents and boards of the individual regional
Federal Reserve banks are selected by the business and financial
communities. Yet, some of the regional Fed presidents sit on the Open
Market Committee, which makes Federal Reserve interest-rate and
monetary policy. This lack of democracy didn't used to matter much. But
in the last decade, the world's central banks have been gaining
influence over national and international economies and becoming
increasingly independent of politicians and elected officials.

Trade policy has similarly been moving from elected hands to unelected
private interests and global bureaucrats
who better represent the
multinational trade and investment communities. This includes
international agencies, trade lawyers and lobbyists, banks and
multinational corporations
of all national stripes, though U.S. firms
have the most clout.

Despite occasional talk by right-wing kooks that the WTO is dangerous
because the United States has only one vote and could be outmuscled,
the effective control in WTO--as in the International Monetary Fund,
the World Bank and other such organizations--lies with the Quad
countries--the United States, Japan, Canada and the European
--whose decisions, in turn, are dominated by multinational trade
and investment elites. The real problem is that their loyalty is to the
man in the executive suite, not the man on the street.

In the last decade, the Washington trade-policy establishment has moved
to strip U.S. politicians and voters of their influence over trade
policy by a number of devices. For example, in 1994, the key
congressional vote in favor of establishing the World Trade
Organization was held according to "fast track" rules and during a
post-election lame-duck session of Congress, when defeated lawmakers
would be pliable and the measure could be slipped through with little
discussion. The fast-track procedure was established so that Congress
could not tinker with trade agreements sent to Congress but had to
reject or rubber-stamp them, as it did with the North American Free
Trade Agreement.

The WTO is exhibit A in the neutering of Congress and the voters. WTO
procedures allow countries to challenge each other's laws and
regulations as violations of WTO trade rules. Cases are decided in
, with documents, hearings and briefs kept confidential and
unreleased, by tribunals of three bureaucrats, usually corporate
lawyers. There are no conflict-of-interest restraints for these people.
In addition, no appeal is possible outside the WTO.

Under this authority, barely debated in the legislative fast shuffle of
1994, the WTO has already overturned part of the U.S. Clean Air Act and
declared illegal a recent U.S. environmental regulation. Now there is
talk of enlarging WTO's jurisdiction to include education and health
matters. Congress is being fleeced like lambs at a shearing.

Proponents of this transfer generally argue that either 1)
globalization is the inevitable and we have to guide it or 2)
globalization may involve some sacrifices but, in the long run, most
Americans will profit.

History's example, however, raises major cautions. Indeed, the two
great world economic powers before the United States--the Dutch in the
17th and early 18th centuries, and the British thereafter--followed the
same internationalization trajectory as their world leadership peaked
and then went into decline.

This precedent is as frightening as it is clear. As the Dutch and
British global economies peaked, their future, said the elites, lay in
embracing international rather than internal economic opportunities.
As the old industries started to fade--textiles, shipbuilding and
fisheries in the Netherlands; coal, textiles and steel in Britain--the
elites said: Never mind. We now lead the world in services: banking,
finance, overseas investments, shipping, insurance, communications.
And that's where the payoff is.

Within each nation--1720-40 Holland and Britain in the "Upstairs,
Downstairs" era of 1900-1914--two things came to pass. First, common
people started losing the old industrial jobs
that had made ordinary
Dutchmen and Britons the envy of Europe. The old industrial districts
deteriorated. Second, even as industrial decay worsened, finance and
investments soared, inequality mushroomed
and the elites buzzed about a
new golden age. But then, something went wrong; finance, investments
and services lost their way. The golden age imploded and the economy
became no more than a shell of its old broad-based heyday--Holland in
1770 or Britain in 1945.

This is the enormous risk that ordinary Americans--the huge two-thirds
in the economic middle--now take in allowing U.S. democracy and
representative government to be undercut and restructured by the U.S.
equivalent of the financial and multinational elites that so selfishly
misdirected early 20th-century Britain and 18th-century Holland. Recent
statistics showing the top 1% of Americans soaring on financial wings,
even as inflation-adjusted median family incomes are about the same as
they were 25 years ago, buttress the parallel. So do efforts of current
U.S. elites to move their investments overseas
, as the earlier Dutch and British elites
did, and to sell technology to nations like China that could easily become a
threat to U.S. interests.

It's easy to see why U.S. corporate CEOs and investment bankers want
the new globalism. Dozens have publicly admitted they don't want their
organizations to be American any longer; they want them to be
so they can cut loose from stagnant median family incomes
and the future pensions and benefits for those 58-year-old workers in
Kansas and Kentucky.

The WTO is many things, some of them reasonable. To say otherwise would
be misleading. Nonetheless, too many multinational banks and
corporations silently applaud the WTO as an enabler of overseas
investment that will make it safe for U.S. companies to move more of
their employment, profits and loyalties elsewhere
. Ordinary Dutchmen
and Britons couldn't stop the earlier trends, and maybe Americans can't
stop these.

Even so, tens of thousands of angry people in the streets of Seattle,
giving these issues a human face, could do more than attract headlines
and evening-news coverage. They might propel the matter into an arena
where such important decisions should be made: the 2000 presidential
and congressional elections. *

- - -

Kevin Phillips, a Political Historian, Is Author of "The Politics of
Rich and Poor" and "The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics and the
Triumph of Anglo-America."


No comments :