Note from the editor: Being healthy in today’s world involves freedom of choice in healthcare and keeping our environment free of toxins and contaminants. Therefore, we must educate ourselves and take steps to preserve our personal freedoms and the sovereignty of our country.
Is Globalization Good or Bad?
Newspapers and the media inform us that globalization is:
a) inevitable, and b) by inference, at least, good.
Good globalization We have to work together to save the oceans and the species that live in the oceans and we have to work together to save the environment and the ozone layer. International cooperation is absolutely essential in many areas. Much of good globalization is technology driven; the internet for instance opens up a whole world of knowledge and information to people.
Bad globalization is unrestricted capital flow and the unrelenting concentration of ownership and wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands. This kind of globalization is agenda driven.
Corporate Ruler Ship by a Powerful Elite
There are many powerful groups who support globalization, and I will mention the three most important in their chronological order: (i) the Council on Foreign Relations in New York initiated the idea of a one world order and the elimination of national boundaries; (ii) the Bilderbergers – a secret group that first met in Holland in 1954 and have met every year since, except one; and (iii) the Trilateral Commission is the most open, and you can get information about it from the internet.
There is a certain cross-fertilization between these three groups and some members are involved in all three groups. A quotation made by David Rockefeller at a Bilderberger meeting held in Baden Baden, Germany in 1991 tells you what globalization is all about: “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazineand other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years.
It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the light of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”
That one statement reveals that globalization is a transfer of what we have known as democracy to a ruler ship by a powerful elite. We have to stop the relentless drive on the part of multinational corporations and international banks centered largely in the five major powers to take over the governance of the world for their own benefit.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
We Canadians are largely responsible for our own predicament. We gave the globalizers a rocket boost when we agreed to the Free Trade Agreement. We were duped, of course. We were led to believe it was a trade agreement. I admit freely that I was naive enough to believe it was a trade agreement until I read it.
I will bet there aren’t many people who have read it and I doubt that even two cabinet ministers in the cabinet that approved it ever read it. The Free Trade Agreement is primarily an investment agreement. Tariffs were eliminated over a period of ten years, but that was happening anyway under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). What the Free Trade Agreement was all about was that the Americans wanted access to our industries and our resources, especially our energy and at some stage, our water. They also wanted our land.
Instead of Canada being open for business again as the Prime Minister said at the time, he should have said, “Canada is now up for sale.” With the Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Mulroney accomplished two things. He virtually guaranteed the demise of Canada as a nation state and he allowed Ronald Reagan with one stroke of the pen to do what American generals and American armies have been unable to do on several occasions and that was to conquer Canada.
The conquest is still tentative, however, for perhaps another year, after which we will reach the point of no return and annexation by the United States will become inevitable. I am not saying the flag will come down in two years. It won’t, but it will eventually come down because there will be no reason left to fight for what is left of Canada.
The “National Treatment” Clause (within FTA and other agreements)
Clause which 98% of Canadians have never even heard of, was a relatively new concept of law. The “national treatment” clause gave U.S. investors the same rights in Canada as Canadian citizens and allowed them to invest in Canada with no conditions and no limits. That is wrong in principle. What is the point of citizenship if foreign investors have the same rights you do? It degrades the value of citizenship.
We can no longer say to them: “You are welcome to invest in Canadian companies, but only if you hire Canadians and if you leave the technology when you pull up stakes and leave, and so on. There are no conditions to this clause, and furthermore there are no limits. We can no longer tell them that they can’t buy more than 50% of our forest industries, because this treaty says they can buy them all.
And we can no longer say to them “You can’t own more than 80% of our gas and oil reserves” because this treaty says they can buy and own them all, which they are in the process of doing. The “national treatment” clause is not only the provision that will kill Canada, it is the means by which the transnational corporations and international banks can colonize the world and transform its citizens into mere vassals. The “national treatment” clause is the essence of these trade agreements, and it is the foundation of an evil empire every bit as bad as the evil empire that was the Soviet Union.
NAFTA Is Worse Than the FTA – Suing Canada under NAFTA
Globalization is really a code word for corporate rule and colonization. When we signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it gave foreign investors greater rights in our country than we have as citizens. They can sue our government for doing a lot of things that we as Canadian citizens cannot sue for. Chapter 11 is the dispute settlement mechanism, and under Chapter 11, if any of our governments, federal, provincial or municipal, passes or amends a law or regulation which affects their profits or future profits, they can sue.
And they do! For example: (i) Most of you have heard of the Ethyl case. The Parliament of Canada passed a law forbidding the importation and the distribution within Canada of MMT, which is a manganese-based gasoline additive because the latest scientific evidence indicated that it was harmful to the health, especially of children and could cause neurological damage.
When the U.S. giant Ethyl Corporation realized they were going to lose profits as a result, they sued us, and when our lawyers indicated to our government that we might lose the case, we settled for $13 million U.S., $20 million Canadian. But the important thing from our point of view is, that our parliament had to repeal the law.
Now what kind of democracy is it, when a foreign corporation can tell the parliament of Canada what laws they can pass and what laws they can’t pass? And equally shocking, part of the settlement required two cabinet ministers to read statements that MMT was not harmful either to the environment or to the health, even though this additive is banned from gas in the U.S.
Other suits include: (ii) Sun Belt Water Corporation of California who is suing us for between $1.5 and $10.5 billion U.S. because we won’t let them sell our water. (iii) Pope & Talbot, an American company that has forest operations in Canada has been given permission to sue us because they said the quota that the Canadian government gave their company was not fair. (iv) United Parcel Services is suing us for $225 million because they say that Purolater Courier is unfairly subsidized by Canada Post. Corporations are running our country!
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
The FTAA is being sold under false pretenses; it is being sold as free trade, but it is far more than that. It is the extension of NAFTA to all of North and South America. It is part of a New World Order where power is transferred from countries to corporations, to unelected, unaccountable international bureaucrats. It represents a tremendous change in the way the world is governed so it is important to understand it.
The Free Trade Agreement, FTAA, NAFTA, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) that was almost signed, the World Trade Organization and attempts to extend the NAFTA-type agreement on a worldwide basis are all designed to accomplish the same thing – to create a world order that ensures that if any small country like Canada develops a company that is powerful enough or ingenious enough to bite into the market share of one of the transnationals, that they have the right to buy it, make it part of their empire, shut it down or move it to Malaysia.
Furthermore, if they do move it to a Third World country there is no point in trying to buy the plant and compete; because the same treaty says we can’t impose tariffs on the products coming back into our country. So we are caught between a rock and a hard place. The net result is that no small country can ever build up its own industrial base and have any kind of self-sufficiency. It is impossible.
The whole world will be dependent on a few transnational corporations for its seed, its food and its money supply.This is colonization gone mad, and in Canada’s case, first colonization, and then because of our unique geographical position with the United States, ultimately annexation.
Can We Still Back Out Of The Agreements?
With the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA we can abrogate with six months notice. However, if we were, for example, to sign the FTAA, that would be game over for Canada. Under the MAI as proposed, it was five years lock-in plus 15 years grandfather rights, in other words about 20 years and had the MAI been signed or if the FTAA is signed, it would have been the end of our country, which gives you some idea of why I think protesting the FTAA is so important.
The World Trade Organization
It is another threat to our democratic traditions. It has ruled that the Auto Pact is illegal. It has ruled that the European Union has to accept Canadian and American beef that has been raised on bovine growth hormone even if they don’t want it. It has ruled that the United States could not ban tuna caught in nets that drown sea turtles.
It has also ruled that the United States could not ban the importation of gasoline that has impurities far beyond the environmental standards in effect in the United States. Now it has ruled that Canadian patents are too short, and we have to change our patent laws to correspond with those in the United States. Not only is this an affront to our sovereignty, but it will mean higher drug costs at the very moment when our health care system is in crisis from inadequate funding.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
There are now negotiations taking place in the World Trade Organization under the GATT under which health care, education, intellectual property and agriculture are all being commoditized. We will in effect lose control over these areas because foreign providers will have open season providing for profit services in all of those areas. What will be the use of electing anyone, because they will have no power to legislate on our behalf in health or education, anywhere.
The Permanent Government – Corporations
What it means is the end of democracy and the institution of an elite rule of plutocracy. The decline of democracy in the United States has reached the point where Lewis Lapham, chief editor of Harper’s Magazine, stated that the U.S. has two governments: the permanent and the provisional.
The permanent government consists of the 500 Fortune companies, plus the largest law firms in Washington that do their legal work, the largest public relations firms in Washington that do their public relations and the top civil servants both military and civil, and these people run the United States.
He continues (and I am paraphrasing a little bit now), “Every few years they have a charade called an election and they elect the provisional government which you could call ‘politicians for hire’.” In other words, they pick actors to go on the stage and read the scripts written by the permanent government, and they prefer actors who read the scripts the way they are written, who make the least improvisations, and then they provide the money to get them elected.
George Bush, for example, spent $68 million just for the primaries, and you can’t raise that kind of money without having strings attached. And as a result the United States government today is little more than a big bully enforcer for big American corporations.
Enforcement by the WTO
For example, if Time Warner wants a bigger share of the Canadian magazine advertising revenue, the U.S. government goes after us to the World Trade Organization and the WTO, which doesn’t know the difference between Maclean’s and Time Magazine ruled that we can’t keep out split-run magazines, even though it is one of the worst forms of dumping you can envisage.
A classic case of dumping. But we have been told by the World Trade Organization that we can’t legislate to keep foreign split-run magazines out, and consequently that is going to cost us, the taxpayers, about $125 – $150 million in subsidies to keep our own magazine industry alive. And then if Dole and Chiquita want a bigger share of the European market for bananas, they just say to the U.S. government, “Go after them!” which they do.
Even though there isn’t a single banana grown in the United States, the objective is to allow the big transnational corporations to put the small producers everywhere in the world out of business, buy their land and then hire them back as casual labour, so that for most of the season they are unemployed indigents. And that is happening to farms and small plantations and small businesses all over the world. That is what globalization is all about.
People don’t matter in the globalized society; only corporations do. If the U.S. wants to open foreign markets for Monsanto, for example, they just twist the arm of everyone who tries to prevent it. To our shame, the Canadian government has been helping! We just gave a subsidy to Monsanto of $280,000 for an experiment in genetically modified foods in China.
Can you imagine? And this is the company which has been developing Terminator seeds. Do you know that the United States Department of Agriculture helped them develop Terminator seeds? I couldn’t understand it, and then I found out that one of Monsanto’s most important directors was one of Bill Clinton’s major fundraisers. That is the way the world is working. You all know what Terminator seeds are.
They are seeds which have been genetically modified to be sterile and whose seeds cannot be replanted. There are billions of subsistence farmers all over the world who depend on the seeds they grow for their next year’s crop, and here is an effort on the part of one or two transnational corporations to take over the world’s seed supply and to make farmers all over the world dependent upon them, so that they have to go back to them every year and buy a fresh supply of seed. The development is absolutely evil, a crime against humanity – that is how bad it is.
Our government is working for the multinationals in many ways, and is helping drive Canadian farmers out of business. Last year in Saskatchewan, more than 25,000 farmers went bankrupt. They are going to lose their farms, but worse than that, we are destroying a way of life, and we are destroying any possibility of food self-sufficiency in this country.
Our farmers are the least subsidized of any country in the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, except New Zealand, and that was all the result of a few civil servants deciding to take off the tariffs, while U.S. business is trying to monopolize the world food supply with their genetically altered species and to make everyone, everywhere dependent on them for food. Some of our best land is being bought as our farmers go bankrupt.
They want to buy everything. They bought MacMillan Bloedel, the icon of our forest industries. Not a murmur. On the other side of the continent Le Groupe Forex, Club Monaco, Tim Horton’s. The Dallas-based Hunt Oil company acquired its rival Newport Petroleum Corporation of Calgary.
There is another oil company almost every day. And the list goes on and on. Since the Free Trade Agreement was signed, 13,000 Canadian companies have been sold to foreigners, 10,000 to our cousins below the border. And in 1999 we sold twice as many as the year before. We are now losing five or six companies every working day. Soon there won’t be anything left to sell.
Mr. Manley told the National Post last year, that they were going to take their ownership restrictions off transportation, telecommunications, and even the banks. So you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that ultimately, Shaw and Roger’s Cable will go and Air Canada will be bought by an American airline and even Bell Canada, with CTV in tow, will be bought by AT&T.
All of our banks will be ultimately controlled or owned by international banks of the size or scope of Citibank or First Boston, or Chase Manhattan or somebody else. Recently, the chairman of CPR announced they are going to split into five companies. Why? So that each of those companies is readily saleable. And it won’t be long unless the Canadian government does something about it before that band of steel that binds our country together, as a country, is sold to the Americans. It is almost inevitable.
Governments insist that treaties be signed like the FTAA which gives transnational corporations the right to cherry-pick the assets and industries of all the countries of the world. And all of this is justified in the name of laissez-faire economics, which insists that governments are bad and markets are good. Even government-owned services must be privatized.
Basic services like health, education and the ‘for profit providers’ are not accountable to sovereign citizens. They are accountable to sovereign shareholders. And that makes a tremendous difference. Twenty-five years of neoclassical economics has been a dismal failure. From 1950 to 1973 the average compound growth rate per capita in the world of the GDP, was 2.9%. In the next 25 years, from 1973 to 1995, it was down to a disastrous 1.1%, more than a 50% reduction.
So when you see pictures on television of children who are not properly clothed, who don’t have proper water or health care, who are not being educated, there is a reason for it. It is bad economic theory and bad economic practice. If you are a doctor or nurse, you are probably overworked, overstressed and can’t provide the kind of care that you really would like to give. It may be the same for teachers.
No matter who you are, if you lack skills you are likely to be unemployed for a large portion of your life because the globalized market is not a system designed for full employment. On the contrary, demand management that did so well for us for the 25 years following the war is now a neo-classical no-no. The saddest part of the whole thing is that fun is being taken out of work. Everywhere I go people tell me that it’s not fun anymore to get up in the morning and head out, that the joy of working is being eroded.
There are two great ironies involved in what is going on in the world today. First the United States insisted that European imperial powers give their colonies freedom after World War II, which they did. The five major powers, led by the United States, are now colonizing those same countries to an extent never before considered possible. The second irony is that the power to create money was what the American War for Independence was all about.
We are told it was about tea and taxes. But Benjamin Franklin in his memoirs, said that it was about the power to create money. The colonies had been printing their own money and it worked just fine. But the banks in London didn’t like that, so they got the King to say, “You can’t print your own money. You have to borrow from banks in London and repay both principal and interest in gold that you haven’t got.” And that was the reason for the War of Independence.
Today, through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the foreign policies of the major powers, they are saying to all of the countries of the world, “You can’t use your central banks to help finance your healthcare and education. Instead you have to borrow from international banks and pay back principal and interest in United States dollars”.
In 1974, the Bank of Canada owned more than 20% of federal government debt. That was the same as an interest-free loan. Today they own about 5% because in 1974 everything changed. The Bank of Canada, along with central banks, changed the system and adopted the ideas of Milton Friedman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago. Part of that new system was to give back to the private banks a monopoly to print money.
Do not take offence at the word ‘print’ because that is what actually happens, they just print it on computer paper, you can say ‘create’ or ‘manufacture’. But it was an expensive change for us as taxpayers because when the Bank of Canada stopped buying its share of government bonds, that is when it started bribing foreigners to buy the bonds, and that is when we started getting in debt to foreigners.
We have to go back to the system where money creation is shared between the government (on behalf of the people) and the private banks. It will work today because it worked just fine in the past. If we put it into effect, our economy would grow by billions of dollars a year. We wouldn’t have recessions. And it would allow us to do all the things that we want to do.
We have to, in effect, go back to the monetary system that we had between 1939 and 1974, because then we will have what you might call fiscal flexibility. Government-created money would be available to finance healthcare, education, environmental concerns, the armed forces and the arts and there would still be enough left over to reduce taxes and pay down the debt at a reasonable rate.
And it would also be possible to finance full employment. Who is going to do it? We need political coalitions, a united front consisting of a number of existing parties and a new party of the progressive slightly radical centre, which will take back our political and monetary sovereignty and make laws that benefit all Canadians.
Replace FTA & NAFTA with Fair Agreements
Is there any hope? It will require a revolution of the intellect, and then a revolution of the ballot box. We have to abrogate the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA. I am not suggesting that we turn the clock back ten years on trade. Far from it, but we have to replace the FTA and NAFTA with fair trade agreements.
We must get our house in order on the investment front, get rid of the “national treatment” clause, not sign any more treaties, including the FTAA, or the World Trade Organization 2000 with the “national treatment” clause in it, and refuse to negotiate giveaways in any more of our areas of jurisdiction like the ones now being negotiated under the World Trade Organization. Then we have to turn our attention to the domestic front. First of all, we have to reclaim our national sovereignty and then we have to get back our economic sovereignty.
Globalization is not inevitable. It is only inevitable if we let it happen.