After a breakfast supplied by the sponsors of the event, attendees were able to choose from a range of three workshops: the Basics of International Trade and Neo Liberalism; Immigrant Rights in a Liberal World; and Labor and the Corporate Agenda. This was the first of three sets of workshops being offered throughout the day, providing our community an opportunity to gather information and participate in discussions on a wide range of topics concerning global and local economics.|
This report is from the first workshop with Martin Hart-Landsberg, professor of Economics at Lewis and Clark College and Meredith Schafer, presently a business student who has worked with the ILWU and AFSCME in the recent past.
Martin Hart-Landsberg was the main speaker and Meredith, who, after a few brief comments of her own, facilitated the ensuing discussion. I was only able to get good audio from the main speaker, and am providing a 17 minute audio file of his presentation.
Martin began by speaking about what Neo Liberalism is. "It's a theory, it's a set of policies, and it's a political agenda, a political strategy. And it kind of plays off these different things depending on how we confront it" He then discusses the situation in Iraq in which "we have a political agenda implemented by a set of policies covered by a theory. But you can really sense the political agenda part of it by also noting that within these Neo Liberal policies is the fact that the restrictions against union organizing would be kept......that people didn't have the collective right to join together and say 'do we want to control critical resources in our country and use the revenue to promote universal coverage in education or health care or economic stability or employment.' Those kinds of freedoms don't enter into the Neo Liberal theory or policy because they conflict with the Neo Liberal agenda.".
"So what you really have with Neo Libralism is a very clear political agenda that designed to create the maximum freedom or profit maximumization for private capital, that gets implemented through a selected set of policies designed to promote that freedom, and then covered by this broad theory which is designed to explain why doing all this will somehow be beneficial for all of us."
"But if you think about an Iraqi economy, where everything is privately owned, large parts of it are foreign dominated, where there is no control of the movement of capital in or out of the country, no protection for domestic industry, no right to unionize, no right for a democratic collective decision making about how to promote social values, how well do you think that economy will function for people? What's the point of that economic activity which is being created?
Martin uses Iraq to demonstrate the strategies and goals of Neo Liberalism, which culminated in theformation of the World Trade Organization in Marrakesh Morocco in 1994. And all this was presented in only the first few minutes of the 17 minute talk.
This was an extremely educational presentation. I would recommend it for those who know very little about Globalization and Free Trade, but also even for anyone who might already have an understanding of the politics, policies and agenda of the World Trade Organization.
A link to more audio files taken from other local Forums on these issues. The first file, by Barbara Dudley is about 40 minutes in length and addresses some of the same material as does Martin, but goes into more detail and also speaks to the many recent failures of the WTO to come to agreements, due in no small part to community resistance.
PhilosopherSeed. Globalization Page
Audio files in both RealMedia and Mp3 formats:
Political Agenda Of Capitalism, REAL PLAYER
Political Agenda Of Capitalism, MP3