The Guardian August 23, 2000


Globalisation: built on lies

by David Eisenhower

Globalist orthodoxy focuses on a deliberately narrow and partisan set of 
political-economic policies: free trade; export-led growth; market 
liberalisation; privatisation; and fiscal moderation.

These are claimed to represent the "keys to the temple"  the path to 
peace, development, and prosperity. Deviation isn't tolerated.

World Bank economist Rovi Kanbur found this out when his draft of the 
World Development Report 2000/01 on Poverty and Development was 
rejected on instructions from US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Summers found the draft too heretical.

Kanbur reported that world poverty "outside of China" increased from 916 
million to 986 million over the past decade of intense globalisation.

Kanbur even suggested that the neoliberal policy mix produces volatility, 
instability and crisis.

But his unforgivable sin was an emphasis on the need to "empower" the 
world's poor through state programs that redistribute income.

If Kanbur needed to be reminded, Martin Wolf wrote in the Financial 
Times on June 20 this year that "the [World] Bank cannot run with both 
the pro-growth, pro-market hares and anti-growth, anti-market hounds. It 
has to choose between them...

"The Bank is a component part of the western system of market-oriented 
institutions and ideas. It must not cut itself off from these roots."

For the faithful, the Bank, together with its sister institutions are on a 
humanitarian mission for the economic gods. For anyone with a little 
objectivity, however, a different picture emerges.

Globalisation represents a set of strategic policies designed to colonise 
financial markets around the world and foster an updated version of 
"primitive accumulation".

The goal of the latter is the vast expansion of the global workforce with 
the products of its labour channelled into imperialist circuits where the 
value can be realised in imperial currencies.

The urgency behind this strategy is provided by the profit requirements of 
rentier (the idle rich's) capital at a stage of rapid unproductive capital 
accumulation.

This is the same force that has been behind the 30-year restructuring of 
the US economy, which, according to a study by the Conference Board, has 
also resulted in more poverty. The Conference Board found that 2.8 million 
full-time US workers in 1998 were living in poverty, an increase of 0.4 
percent from 1997.

Deindustrialisation has resulted in the precipitous decline in urban 
manufacturing jobs.

According to the Conference Board, in the US these jobs have fallen from 30 
percent of the city work force in 1965 to 15 percent in 1998.

At the same time the number of jobs in the retail and "low value" service 
areas (the two lowest paying areas) increased from 30 percent to 48 percent 
during the same period.

While this was occurring, the business ecology of the emerging global city 
was increasingly dominated by high-paying finance, insurance and real 
estate jobs, which feasted off the profits of globalisation.

Saskia Sassen documents how finance and specialised "high value" service 
industries, acting as agents of globalisation, came to restructure the 
social and economic space of the global city.

Building on Sassen's analysis, Christian Parenti in Lockdown America 
describes how "the new upper-middle classes and the post-modern rentiers" 
demanded the "pacification of the business core" together with a constantly 
expanding "gentrified buffer".

A variety of paramilitary and repressive policies were deployed to "reclaim 
the streets". The result was the jailing of urban America.

As more of its interrelated dimensions come into focus the project of 
globalisation is called into question. To organise the global economy for 
the benefit of stockholders and speculators operating from downtown (cbd) 
financial centres, means more poverty overseas and downsizing, outsourcing, 
runaway shops and job insecurity at home.

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People's Weekly World (abridged)

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