Free trade or slave trade? How the EU's free trade agreements in Colombia and Peru reward human rights abuses, destroy livelihoods, promote land grabbing and strip governments of their sovereignty to regulate capital flows.
The neoliberal FTAs pursued by the EU with Colombia and Peru threaten to exacerbate human rights abuses - which include killings of trade unionists, forced expropriations of indigenous people from land, and environmental destruction - for the sake of corporate profit.
South Africa is playing a significant role in supporting and extending the power of the World Trade Organisation, a new system of global government. This not only entails South Africa surrendering its own policy-making rights and space, but also means bargaining away the South African peoples’ democratic rights to determine their country’s internal economic, environmental, social and cultural policies.
Call to all the social networks and organisations, trades unions, political forces and civil society movements to join the Peoples' Alternative Summit in defense of peoples' sovereignty, human rights, participatory democracy, labour rights, the rights of women and indigenous peoples, social justice, the defense of the environment in the face of climate change, and the establishment of peace.
In a recent editorial comment, The Economist issued a solemn call to all believers in global capitalism not to despair, not to panick, and to do nothing that could endanger the capitalist system (October 18-24, 2008). The magazine invoked the words and spirit of its founder, the Scottish businessman, James Wilson, who, about 165 years ago, gave the paper the philosophy of "economic liberty".
Today, just as faith in deregulated markets has evaporated in the nightmare on Wall Street, so too is the long reign of market fundamentalism (or neoliberalism) ending in the development arena. And, a debate over the best route to development has returned.
Whose interest does the ten-year Strategy document for Africa actually serve? The World Bank has shown little insight into the real problems Africa faces, focusing instead on ineffective policies, support for repressive regimes and projects that are known to have failed.
Signing international investment treaties, in the hope of attracting foreign investments, has been a central strategy for governments looking to improve economic development. The less known side of this story is that by signing investment treaties, governments are giving away the sovereign right to regulate in the interest of people and the environment. They also expose themselves to the risk of spending millions in law suits that could have been used to serve public needs. It’s time that the dark side of investment is put under the spotlight.
Reclaiming Development, a closely-argued critique of neoliberal economic policy, is debunking development orthodoxies at its best. Republished now, ten years after its first appearance, the book has lost none of its relevance for students and those trying to re-direct economic policies away from their financialized doom-loops.
The language contained in agreements being negotiated by the EU through the WTO with their southern counterparts often deliberately diguises real political goals, obscuring the negative economic implications for those countries of the neoliberal agenda.
Dark Victory reveals the roots of rising poverty and inequality in the South in a sweeping strategy of global economic rollback unleashed by the US to shore up the North's domination of the international economy and reassert corporate control.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.