Qatar saves the day
Responding to the selfish and dangerous actions of special-interest forces at recent free-trade summits, the kingdom of Qatar has generously offered to host the next WTO Ministerial. In Qatar, the sort of lobbying seen in Seattle, Quebec, Davos, Prague, Barcelona, and elsewhere is strictly illegal and heavily punished, and come November 5, the security forces of Qatar have vowed to protect our freedoms with all means at their disposal.
Read the special bulletin or the U.S. State Department's travel advisory.
Brazilian AIDS drugs a sure path to economic sickness
The United States correctly argued that Brazil must no longer manufacture proprietary AIDS drugs in violation of U.S. drug company patents, even if this will mean removing 100,000 Brazilians from treatment rosters. The U.S., calling patent enforcement a form of "tough love," insisted that the number of lives lost to AIDS in the short term will be dwarfed by the number saved in the long term through a more efficient medical products market.
Read the special bulletin, the report and related studies.
The bright side of efficiency
In all the hullaballoo over IBM's wartime behavior, the benefits of industrial automation have been slighted. Indeed, automation has given nutrition corporations the ability to replace outmoded means of food production throughout the Third World with new, massively efficient and profitable methods. And the increased reliance of these developing economies on First World corporations has meant some valuable new lessons for their populations in times of financial lack.
Read the report.
A new Holocaust
Much has been made lately of IBM's participation in the Holocaust. Indeed, IBM proactively and creatively
helped the Nazis
identify all of Germany's Jews, which in turn
made possible the biggest slaughter of all time. Today, however, another Holocaust is taking
place: it goes by the name of "distrust of big business," and it is every bit as terrible as
Read the report.
Protesters rich, study shows
A new study shows that the special-interest lobbyists attending the Seattle, Prague, Nice, Davos, and other demonstrations come from population sectors that have freedom and money to travel, putting them in a different class from those sectors of the developing world they pretend to defend.
Read the report.
Anti-globalization efforts deplorable
The WTO wishes to make known that anti-globalization efforts are escalating to a level that is already tasteless, and could in short order become dangerous to the continued progress of economic forces. The recent impersonations of WTO officials are an unfortunate case in point.
Read about these activities.
Moore urges sanity in dealing with poorest countries
Director-General Mike Moore has reiterated his concern that current trade conditions are unfavorable for almost everyone, and has cited benefits of limiting the ever-increasing power of our world's mightiest "citizens." He was addressing the US National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on 13 April 2000.
Symbolic acts "not necessarily harmless" - Moore
The widespread "sickouts" that occurred May 1 threatened open-mindedness and fair play, and could undermine recent achievements in translucent democracy, says WTO General Director Mike Moore.
Go to summary of the meeting.
Council debates whether geographical indications protection significant
In the name of efficient globalization, these model businesses correctly opposed the Religious Persecution Act of 1998 for reasons of economic soundness, and also opposed sanctions against Indonesia during the East Timor fiasco last fall, correctly judging such a move to be premature in the face of the "feeler" massacres.
Read about them or see who's involved.
Net tentatively re-embraces old rhythm
Trade Regulation Relaxation (TRR) scored a great victory on the Net this year, with the benefits accruing to large investors worldwide. Its repercussions could "be to the Net commerce what the Millennium Round was to the WTO." Go to Mike Moore's report
News from the WTO
"Globalisation is not an ideology, not a political theory, but economic evolution." - WTO DG Mike Moore (Reuters)
Indeed, for about two hundred years the most advanced free trade advocates have been instructing that humanity must evolve towards less and less regulated competition, the only natural/virtuous state for the species. Obeying the dictates of profit-seeking unhampered by local rules and mores will, in this version of reality, lead either to heaven for everyone (1750-1900, roughly), or to prosperity and cleanliness for everyone (1900-present, roughly).
Those who advocate this version of things often have advanced degrees from expensive schools and are very influential and respectable within their fields, and are usually associated with the largest industrial interests; sometimes, like Mike Moore, they have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps from the working professions. They have thus proved their "evolutionary" worth, and should be trusted, but their theories continue to encounter unnatural, uncomprehending, brute resistance from the electorates who are just too stupid to know better. Hence their frustration.
"The truth of Seattle is that we were too far apart on matters of substance.... The protesters didn't stop us. We were just too far apart." - WTO DG Mike Moore (ibid.)
Click here for one account of the physical distance separating the delegates at the "Millennium Round" in Seattle.
More news from the WTO|
WTO General Director Mike Moore explains why the WTO likes free markets: they lead to better pay, and better pay cleans up the environment!
"Every WTO member government supports open trade because it leads to
higher living standards for working families, which in turn leads to a
cleaner environment." (The Toronto Star, October 12, 1999)
This must be because working families are really dirty, and if you give them a little more money they clean themselves up and stop polluting everything. Or maybe they buy new fuel-efficient (14 miles-per-gallon) SUVs to replace their old polluting (13 miles-per-gallon) clunkers.
The WTO gives another reason that free trade will clean up the environment: by spreading clean technologies (instead of all those dirty ones it already does).
A summary issued on the organization's Web site said trade, blamed by
radical groups for most of the world's ills, "could play a positive role...
by facilitating the diffusion of environment-friendly technologies
around the world." (ibid.)
Moore explains that despite these boons, some irrational people do not like the WTO at all, and that their dislike seems deep-seated.
"The WTO seems to be copping the abuse for the failures of every other institution in the world and for everything that goes wrong," says Mr Moore. (The Financial Times, October 11, 1999)
Moore reiterates the "money = cleanliness" argument, and The Financial Times places the blame for the WTO's unpopularity where it belongs: on those pesky electorates that always seem to be jamming democracy.
Mr Moore believes the key to winning the political battle lies in hammering home the message that liberalisation is a force for good, and that its job is far from finished. "We have to make the case that the WTO is about raising living standards," he says. "If living standards rise, environmental standards rise, families are better off and children normally have a better education. That is why we do what do."
The recent behaviour of governments around the world suggests many implicitly accept that argument. Whether they can sell it to sceptical electorates with the force and conviction needed to keep trade liberalisation moving forward is another matter. (ibid.)
These electorates, always reluctant to adopt the rational thinking of the free trade extremists (who have, after all, proved their worth by being the world's wealthiest people, or hired by same), are the only real obstacle to the kind of progress and development that is considered most likely to benefit all.
Finally, a psychological analysis explains the root cause of the electorates' peskiness: envy.
Their [critics'] stance is obviously inconsistent. But it offers an important clue as to why they are focusing so much fire on the WTO.... For many of the WTO's frustrated critics, its powers are as much an object of envy as of anger. (ibid.)
Mike Moore speaks to the issues|
The WTO's purpose is to broaden and enforce global free trade.
free trade already gives multinational corporations vast powers to enforce
their will against democratic governments.
Expanding these corporate powers--as
the WTO intends to do in Seattle and beyond--will further cripple governments
and make them even less able to protect their citizens from the ravages
of those entities whose only aim is to grow richer and richer and richer.
Does free trade mean a better standard of living?
During the last thirty years, the U.S. market has been "opened"
and deregulated more, and more quickly, than that of any other developed
country. But the average hours worked per year in the U.S. increased
greatly between 1980 and 1997, while in every other developed country
but one, they declined. Compared with 1973, Americans must now work
six weeks more per year to achieve the same standard of living--and
not surprisingly, Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with their
Already today, European countries are being penalized by the WTO for refusing
to import genetically modified crops and hormone-treated meat from
the U.S. They are being penalized, too, for purchasing bananas from former
colonies, rather than from El Salvador or Guatemala, which produce bananas
more cheaply, although under harsher conditions. For according to WTO rules
enforcing "free trade," foreign policy and even human rights considerations
are not allowed to enter purchasing decisions, and if a country is found
to have chosen one
Does free trade mean a high growth rate?
There is no evidence at all that it does. There is evidence it does not: for example, the average growth rate of developing countries that are rigorously
"liberalized" is 2.2%, versus 2.1% for those that are
not (a statistically insignificant difference). And markets were never freer than before the Wall Street
crash of October, 1929, after which growth slowed much more than 0.1%....
product over another for humanitarian or political reasons, that country
is subject to huge fines and embargoes.
What is "free market" theory based on, if not on facts
"Modern" free-market theory, in which goods must be free
to travel unhindered, is little changed from the teachings of Adam Smith and
David Ricardo, who wrote two hundred years ago, in Britain, under
conditions entirely different from those of the present. There is
still no statistical reason to believe that this theory works, but
corporations have many selfish economic reasons to make it the law.
The WTO wants to solidify its successes, and grant itself even greater
powers to dictate the law to democracies. If the WTO succeeds in Seattle,
local and national governments will be less able to protect themselves
against corporate policies, or to enact their own policies where these
do not further free trade. Commerce will become the rule and everything
else, including human rights, the exception.
What is the greatest threat to the WTO and its plans?
People. Or as Charlene Barshefsky, U.S. Trade Representative
to the WTO, puts it: "The single greatest threat to the multilateral
trade system is the absence of public support."1
The "free market," far from being natural or inevitable
as its proponents claim, is always enforced from above by the
heavyhanded use of authority. Resistance to the ravages of free trade, on the
other hand, is always spontaneous--i.e. natural and inevitable.
Public outrage scuttled the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in 1998;
the MAI would have accomplished many of the things the WTO intends
to accomplish in Seattle. WTO General Director Mike Moore seems to remember that: "I just hope they [WTO critics] are as reasonable as we try to be and that we engage in an intellectual, democratic way without any media terrorism."2
Here are some natural, inevitable websites which can help you to demonstrate, loudly, your own, personal absence of public support for the terrorism that is the WTO.
"Free Trade under fire," Financial Times, 11
2Quoted in "Trade Body Summit Targeted for Protests," Washington Post, 2 November 1999.
Fake WTO site misleading public
A website purporting to be an informative
official WTO site is misleading visitors and
undermining the WTO┤s transparency.
claims to be "highly transparent" because it contains "60,000 official documents in three
official languages" with "the equivalent of millions of pages" written in a style decipherable by
devoted (or well-paid) readers.
The site includes on its front page
such easily understood
phrases as "[The WTO] is about delivering better living standards for everyone," and "The multilateral trading system established after the end of the second World War has...
guaranteed peace and stability"
has never mentioned, for example, the enormous protests against the WTO and its policies that occurred Nov. 30 in
By pretending that its "millions of pages" translate into transparency, the fake site
is obscuring the issues and helping global commerce to undermine democracy.
Read or download the press release or view the fake site.
Weird follow-up: two years later, again just before a ministerial, the purported WTO gets angry
that it would like to suppress our website, in this article, nine paragraphs down).
This site is maintained by The Yes Men, an international group of men and women who use any means necessary to agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, ask questions, and then smuggle out the stories of their undercover escapades to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of business. Click here to read about our use of this site.