Wto: From Seattle To Geneva

My friend Walden Bello is a fellow member of the House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines. Like me, he was with the protesters inwards the streets of Seattle during the WTO’s 3rd ministerial coming together together with has participated inwards parallel civil gild events at all the other ministerial meetings. He represents the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South. He is the writer of fifteen books, including Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy.

I necessitate maintain e’er admired Walden Bello for his realistic agreement of the global economical system. He wrote this comment for the Yes! magazine, Dec 2009 issue. I am certain y’all volition abide by it thought-provoking.

The Meaning of Seattle: Truth Only Becomes True Through Action

WTO+10: Before 1999, the momentum of globalization seemed to sweep everything inwards front end of it, including the truth. But inwards Seattle, ordinary women together with men made truth existent with collective action.

By Walden Bello

It is right away by together with large accepted that globalization has been a failure inwards price of delivering on its triple hope of lifting countries from stagnation, eliminating poverty, together with reducing inequality. The electrical flow deep global downturn, which is rooted inwards corporate-driven globalization together with fiscal liberalization together with the ideology of neoliberalism that legitimized them, has driven the final nail into the coffin of globalization.

But things were rattling dissimilar over a decade ago. I nevertheless squall upwards the greenback of triumphalism surrounding the kickoff ministerial coming together of the World Trade Organization inwards Singapore inwards Nov 1996. There, nosotros were told past times representatives of the United States of America of America together with other developed countries that corporate-driven globalization was inevitable, that it was the moving ridge of the future, together with that the sole remaining job was to construct the policies of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, together with the WTO to a greater extent than “coherent” inwards monastic say to to a greater extent than swiftly larn to the neoliberal utopia of an integrated global economy.

Protesters of the World Trade Organization’s ministerial coming together filled the streets of downtown Seattle inwards 1999.

Indeed, the momentum of globalization seemed to sweep everything inwards front end of it, including the truth. In the decade prior to Seattle, at that spot were a lot of studies, including United Nations reports, that questioned the claim that globalization together with gratuitous marketplace policies were leading to sustained increment together with prosperity. Indeed, the information showed that globalization together with pro-market policies were promoting to a greater extent than inequality together with to a greater extent than poverty together with consolidating economical stagnation, particularly inwards the global South. However, these figures remained “factoids” rather than facts inwards the eyes of academics, the press, together with policymakers, who dutifully repeated the neoliberal mantra that economical liberalization promoted increment together with prosperity. The orthodox view, repeated advertizing nauseam inwards the classroom, the media, together with policy circles was that the critics of globalization were modern-day incarnations of Luddites, the people who smashed machines during the Industrial Revolution, or, every bit Thomas Friedman disdainfully branded us, believers inwards a apartment earth.

Then came Seattle. After those tumultuous days, the press began to utter most the “dark side of globalization,” most the inequalities together with poverty beingness created past times globalization. After that, nosotros had the spectacular defections from the military camp of neoliberal globalization, such every bit those of the financier George Soros, the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, together with the star economist Jeffery Sachs.

The intellectual retreat from globalization in all likelihood reached its high indicate over 2 years agone inwards a comprehensive study past times a panel of neoclassical economists headed past times Princeton’s Angus Deaton together with quondam International Monetary Fund primary economist Ken Rogoff, which sternly asserted that the World Bank Research Department—the source of most assertions that globalization together with merchandise liberalization were leading to lower rates of poverty, sustained economical growth, together with less inequality—had been deliberately distorting the information and/or making unwarranted claims.

True, neoliberalism continues to live on the default discourse with many economists together with technocrats. But fifty-fifty earlier the recent global fiscal collapse, it had already lost much of its credibility together with legitimacy. What made the difference? Not together with then much enquiry or ground but action. It took the anti-globalization actions of masses of people inwards the streets of Seattle, which interacted inwards synergistic fashion with the resistance of developing province representatives inwards the Sheraton Convention Center together with a law riot, to select most the spectacular collapse of a WTO ministerial coming together to interpret factoids into facts, into truth. And the intellectual debacle inflicted on globalization past times Seattle had rattling existent consequences. Today, the Economist, the prime number avatar of neoliberal globalization, admits that the “integration of the world economic scheme is inwards retreat on almost every front,” together with a procedure of “deglobalization” that it 1 time considered unthinkable is genuinely unfolding.

Seattle was what the philosopher Hegel called a “world-historic event.” Its enduring lesson is that truth is non but out there, existing objectively together with eternally. Truth is completed, made real, together with ratified past times action. In Seattle, ordinary women together with men made truth existent with collective activeness that smashed an intellectual image that had served every bit the ideological warden of corporate control.