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July 29, 2002

More Delong and Global Visions

Brad DeLong has replied here to my objections to his libelling of the global justice movement. Here is his main reply:

As for libelling the anti-globalization movement, I do have a book on my bookshelf, looking right at me, called _The Case Against the Global Economy_--not "the case for better international labor standards," or "the case for mroe openness to imports from developing countries," or--heaven forfend!--"the case for leveraging information technology to allow developing countries to participate in low-skill white-collar work." It's _The Case Against the Global Economy_. (Contributors include: William Greider, Ralph Nader, Lori Wallach, Wendell Berry, David C. Korten, and Herman E. Daly.)
...I don't doubt that I would absolutely like your movement for smart globalization, but are you sure that's the movement we have?
Aside from Brad proving he should never be in charge of book marketing-- keep to those captive undergraduates Brad :) -- he does, possibly inadvertently, highlight that the Seattle et al. movement does not have a simple, agreed to label or even vision. The book he highlights is edited by Jerry Mander, one of the intellectual leaders along with Jeremy Rifkin of the localist luddite wing of the movement, so he chooses his preferred label. I know the 43 essays he picks do not all fit Mander's simple prescription for localism.

Since Brad tends to pick on the labor movement, let me highlight the rather detailed International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) position on the World Trade Organization and the global trade regime. The AFL-CIO has strongly supported this position, just as the ICFTU has supported the global justice actions at Seattle and so on. So here are some key phrases in that manifesto:

The ICFTU proposal to include core labour standards at the WTO is not aimed at protecting markets, but at protecting the rights of all workers, worldwide. Core labour standards are fundamental human rights for all workers, irrespective of their level of development, that cover freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; and the effective abolition of child labour, including its worst forms. Minimum wages have never been part of the ICFTU proposal.
The call for democracy and workplace free speech is the position of the ICFTU, which represents 120 million workers around the world. Why not hop aboard, Brad?

Posted by Nathan at July 29, 2002 06:12 PM

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As a member of the so called "anti-globalization left" it never ceases to amaze me how the term is used as a fetish for people to pin their weird beliefs on. It can mean almost anything at this point. DeLong's comments and recent pieces like The New Republic's piece on foreign aid just set up the anti globalization left as a straw man. We speak out for labor rights and the right for developing countries to make their own laws. We are accused of a kind of romanticist primitivism. This is partly our own fault for not having a centraized organization to disseminate our views but the fact is that centralized organizations are the problem that we do not wish to replicate.

In fact we do have a spokesman who is right now saying all the exact smae things we were screaming on the streets in Seattle in November of 1999. His name is Stiglitz. He has a Nobel prize. It doesn't matter if he looks like or even admires the anti-globalist "protest culture." He states the case.

Posted by: Biz at July 30, 2002 12:32 PM

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