THE END OF GLOBALIZATION
[This article originally published in: Zeit-Fragen Nr. 5, 1/31/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch.]
CRITICISM OF THE INFORMAL WTO MINISTERIAL IN DAVOS
Switzerland uses the WEF as a platform for an exclusive informal WTO ministerial meeting on a small-scale and hopes for new impulses for future WTO negotiations. The "Declaration of Bern" urges the Swiss government to hold WTO meetings in official forums and not to only emphasize its own economic interests.
"With the help of the economic representatives in Davos, the industrial countries seek to pressure developing countries to open their markets, especially in the service sector, the financial sphere, tourism and public service," fears Marianne Hochuli from the "Declaration of Bern." This fear is very justified since the US in Davos hopes for concrete steps to future market openings. In its 2005 Foreign Trade report, Switzerland also set the goal of opening up new markets for services in developing countries whether by the WTO or in a bilateral way."
"The Declaration of Bern" criticizes this kind of informal WTO meeting and calls upon the Swiss government to hold official forums for WTO discussions in which all WTO members can participate. Moreover third world aid policy and environmental concerns should be in the center of world trade discussions. Switzerland will not fulfill its promise of realizing the Millennium Development Goal, cutting poverty in half by 2015.
THE END OF GLOBALIZATION
Globalization comes and we must adjust. These and similar statements are popular pseudo-arguments used when practical arguments are lacking. Globalization does not come; globalization is made. Globalization is a human product, no more and no less. However in the wind shadows of this term, economic circles usually attempt to justify economic and social changes - "one must make adjustments" - that have nothing to do with the real needs of people but aim at greater stock market profits. In Switzerland, this strategy is seizing nearly all areas of life. The question about the end of this development is more urgent than ever.
Thk. The agricultural policy of Switzerland clearly shows the end of the journey. After the first reforms were introduced, Switzerland has been working out a 2011 Agricultural Policy. The current Dauha round of the WTO requires far-reaching changes than "only" abolishing the milk quota. The WTO demands lowering agricultural prices to the world market level. As a first step, prices should be lowered to the European Union level. For Switzerland, this can only mean the abolition of protective tariffs and state support for farmers. The consequence is clear. Farmer deaths will continue. Only mammoth corporations are desired. Whoever cannot keep up must close shop, emigrate or do something else. 3000 farms are abandoned annually today. The number seems to be rising.
The goal of this agricultural policy is to have a few globalized international agricultural multinationals that don't need any state subsidies any more and can prevail on the globalized market. Human provision no longer has first priority. If the agricultural corporation has 15% annual profits, those investors benefit who already control large parts of the market.
This development does not only involve expansion of personal freedom of movement in agriculture. The new EU countries are part of this development. What is central is not the human freedom to live here or there. No, people are sent about like commodities all over the world. That is globalization.
The new agricultural policy of Switzerland will lower prices for products. The possibility of carting cheap workers of other countries to Switzerland should help force down wages in the train of price cuts. Persons are thrown on the market like commodities; the least expensive gets the job. Thus everything is destroyed that people gained in a hard struggle since industrialization in the 19th century. Social security is systematically destroyed in all countries.
On account of unbridled capitalism, the state of former eastern block countries has not improved. On the contrary, an unscrupulous upper class profits from market opening and creates an elevated living standard while the majority is plagued by poverty, social undersupply and rampant unemployment. These are effects of accelerated globalization that is only focused on profit and isn't concerned about the fate of people. Instead of investing in their own country and championing the development of a healthy economy, the economy concentrates on private advantages and worldwide investments in lucrative companies. The bonum commune has become a foreign word.
Driven by social misery, people leave their home and seek a livelihood abroad. That is the future of humanity. The democratic nation state as a guarantor for a dignified life is successively destroyed in country after country. People are uproote3d; the feeling of solidarity is destroyed. Naked survival is uppermost. What is left is a multitude of people who roam around all over the world, seek work, are not at home anywhere, can be hired anywhere and don't resist the flagrant injustice. After considering the development in agriculture, one can calculate where this will lead in other branches.
Globalization has not reached its end. In Switzerland, we can still oppose this development and defend the dignity of people, all people. By supporting the referendum on personal freedom of movement, we reject this unworthy treatment of people who seek work somewhere in the world - without connection to their home and culture - and are exploited as cheap workers.