Here's a buzzword familiar to many people, but I wonder how many know what it represents for mankind as a whole. To put it shortly, "citizens" and governments alike are becoming slaves to big business, but at least the former are either unaware of or conformed to this enslaving process. In 1997 a visit to India had the virtue of opening my eyes to the manipulations arranged to shield from the public eye the unsavoury deals that are made everyday.
The MNC Masala site dedicated to present-day India will speak with greater eloquence than me. From the USA, with a piercing view on corporate power, are Mokhiber and Weissman, the authors of "Corporate Predators" ("big business sacks the global village") and the column
"Focus on the Corporation". Another important source is the book
"Our Global Neighbourhood" (ISBN: 0198279973, Oxford University Press, Inc., February 1995), with an impressive compilation of facts and figures that help reflecting on what is going on. Cornell Press has also released an interessing book on "Korean values in the age of globalization" called Think no Evil, in which Westerners can take a look at themselves on a clear mirror.
But, perhaps most interesting of all, is The Story of Stuff, a 21-minute video that is really worth your time watching.
If you care about being part of Ğa system that does not waste resources or peopleğ, your next move is to click on the banner on the right and watch attentively:
The European Social Consultation, although abandoned, was a valuable initiative (a better society under greater equity) and the jump site I have made remains online. Some of those resources are in English.
As to this page, I foresee it as a loose listing of topics that are related to the subject of globalization, with introductory notes and a few links for each topic. It is maturing and its coverage is expanding. I welcome all kind of feedback with constructive criticism and suggestions: please send me your messages.
Paulo de Oliveira
The demography problem
Many people today are concerned with the consequences of population growth in the world. Hunger and massification are two sides of the same coin in this question, and the formal response, at the agronomical level, is based on a doomed practice: high-input agriculture (or its recent high-profile "replacement", transgenic plants). Another response, started in the seventies, was the economic growth based on speculation. Very much like the stocks exchange markets, high-input agriculture performs erraticly and wears out the natural resources (transgenics do not solve anything except in very short term). Those working on either of these know that every tomorrow may come with a catastrophe.
Do visit the extraordinary images of the world's activity during the night as compiled from satellite images. The amount of energy for light, the exploitation of fossil fuel, the large-scale deforestation in the tropics and the monumental squid fisheries are all under the satellite lens, unveiling a part of the truth of irrational overuse of land and sea.
Blood is everywhere, isn't it? And the logistics of globalization are not so compatible with local warfare, but the freedom to decide by the local populations is equally inconvenient. Political Control is a very timely concern for Governments and business alike. Very subtle approaches are found to be necessary for communities that adopt unarmed strategies for claiming their sovereignity rights. And, from what one can see during recent street protests in Europe, the authorities are having an ever harder job at enforcing order.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity
obliges most countries in the world, since they co-signed it in 1992 (sadly the
USA did not), in the protection of natural resources and implementing social,
research and political measures to trace the limits of human activities that are
aggressive to these resources -- while fostering those that contribute to improving
them, like in-situ conservation of crop varieties to name only one example.
Of course, this Convention has not gone very much beyond the paper since its
inception, and many believe that this well-intentioned text (visit the
World Resources Institute
to have a copy available online) will never make an effect.
some governments do stand for a conscious commitment to conservation. I have no idea
whether it is true that a certain Minister of Education from Lula da Silva's government of Brazil,
on a visit to the United States, gave the non-chalant response to the notion of
"internationalization of the Amazon rain forest" that is transcribed (and embellished
visually) in the following page. In any case, it
is an emblematic rendition of what the Convntion proposes, and its application to many areas of Human Heritage.
Mad cows disease
One may wonder, what does Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) do in this page? Well, a lot! It is for me one of those cases of media manipulation which I reckon to be at the service of globalization. The future will tell whether I am seeing right.
In 1996 I wrote an article, entitled in loose translation "Mad cows and the policy of public horror" that was more concerned with the misinformation about BSE (it can be consulted in my Portuguese texts directory). In 1998 I have also discussed the subject in a letter to a friend, and based on it I have collected a list of questions that the media never ask.
Think them over and inform yourself!