misguided and hypocritical
at an accelerated rate
offshore or outsource
PM cites trade as key to world peace,” Sept. 26
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recipe for long-term prosperity, equality, freedom and world peace is both misguided and hypocritical. The call for more international free trade and free flow of investment capital is misguided because we already know this concept as globalization, the results of which are encapsulated in this fact: Oxfam reports the 85 richest people globally own as much as the 3.5 billion poorest in the world.
Income wealth inequalities just keep growing and our planet’s sustainability is diminishing at an accelerated rate. The World Economic Forum, not exactly a social activist organization, regards the gap between rich and poor as the most likely threat to the global economy, while climate change, water and air pollution and overfishing have been linked to globalization.
The reasons are simple: Free trade and free flow of investments benefit primarily big corporations, who can offshore or outsource their production and access other countries resources. Over time, the economies of developed countries are hollowed out.
This can and does result in job losses at home, as seen in our banking sector, and pressure on domestic salaries and working conditions.
Jobs created in foreign countries are often poorly paid and associated with unhealthy, dangerous workplaces — remember the recent tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
Subsistence crops are often displaced by export crops, contributing to loss of economic independence and forced migrations to urban areas, with housing, public health and security problems.
Intensified international trade also contributes to environmental degradation, like the destruction of mangroves in Thailand to exploit shrimp farms, deforestation in Indonesia for oil palm plantations or soil and water contamination by mining companies, notably Canadian operators, in Central and South America.
This is accompanied by severe human rights violations against local opponents, mostly murders, ‘’disappearances’’ and rapes, and widespread corruption.
This was Harper’s tough talk on human rights in China in 2006: “I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out … our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights … to the almighty dollar.” Well, we now have a FIPA with China, which obviously matters much more to Harper than the jailed political opponents in China. This is pure hypocrisy.
The Mother and Child Health Initiative or the Global Financing Facility for Women and Children, however laudable, can never offset the pervasive negative impacts of intensified trade and investment flows.
In Harper’s world, the big corporations call the shots, aided by governments like his, the rich become richer, growing inequalities foster unrest, which can lead to dictatorships, and environmental damage intensifies, resulting in more ‘“natural” disasters.
Is this really the world we want?
Gilles Gamas, Hinton