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writing for godot

As I see it: Have all the facts about globallzation and human rights in one place.(Part 2 of 2)

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Saturday, 19 September 2020 20:01

Human rights: Food for a crumbling thought  ‘HR and globalization’ (2)


Human Rights Reader 545


As I  see it: Have all the facts about globallzation and human rights in one place.(Part 2 of 2)


[**TLDR** (too long didn’t read): This Reader assembles HR-thinking about globalization; it includes the role of markets and the world economic disorder, the US example and the distribution of wealth; a word is added about Keynsianism].


Markets discipline trespassers instantly; they hold, as it were, permanent elections (Susan George)

-Big money is nomadic and travels at the speed of bytes.

-Money can only pass hands wisely or unwisely, or else by means of violence. Only in appearance does money multiply itself. (Muriel Spark)


12. We know: Unstable financial markets do not behave rationally; they can and do create losers on a scale which today makes the 1930s look like a bad day at the races. (S. George)


13. Globalization actually links the labor, production and capital markets in economies around the world. It is clearly to blame for growing inequality in rich countries as well. It leads to debt* and to sharp short-run changes in the distribution of income. It makes it more difficult for governments to implement equitable policies. It also limits the ability of union workers to bargain.

*: In this context, the debt problem globalization has deepened has to be made more manageable to prevent the economic stagnation that will only fuel the existing vicious circle of poverty as a HR violation.


14. Increasing the purported interdependence that globalization brings, works not for people, but just for profit. (UNDP) Globalization has been outpacing its negative repercussions on people by shrinking the global space, shrinking time and shattering borders. It also further squeezes markets and non-market activities vital for human development. As such, globalization increases human insecurity (e.g., increasing global crime, diseases and financial volatility).

No more palliatives: The US example


15. The US economic system excludes from consideration precisely those social effects that constitute the nation’s greatest problems. Its economy is almost entirely governed by private decisions made by those who own and control the capital needed that, these days, is multiplied not by investing in productive, but in financial enterprises. …It is, after all, a capitalist system where greed reigns --a casino economy…


16. US institutions have not solved the problems that they were created to deal with. The numerous welfare agencies have not eliminated unemployment, poverty and, most of all, not at all addressed inadequate health care --all of greatest human rights (HR) concern. Interventions needed would have to remedy the fault at its source rather than merely attempt to remedy its effects by adding a costly and burdensome bureaucracy.


17. Under the present arrangements, social interventions are exerted in such a way that they have no effect on the root causes of all these severe social, HR and environmental shortcomings. As relates to the latter, the country is now involved in the hopeless and expensive process of patching up environmental damage after it has occurred when much of it is irreversible. Failure to address the imperative problems of unemployment, inflation**, resources depletion, environmental degradation and urban decay will simply make these problems persist, god knows for how long. (Barry Commoner)

**: Elsewhere, the US has pushed ‘less developed countries’ to designate the fight against inflation rather than fighting against unemployment as the Nr. 1 economic target. So, economic stability is clearly what is being pushed in our times --and dissidents are being kept quiet. (Hobart Rowen)


18. Do not be fooled: Prosperity is advertised in aggregates***, but it is only experienced by individuals. That is why America has always been able to thrill with high GDP numbers and healthy average incomes without reckoning with the horrific inequality on the ground. (Hamilton Nolan)

***: Cost-benefit analyses used to sell these prosperity aggregates are understandable to economists and bureaucrats (and probably to business and industry), but are not understood by common men and women, particularly those rendered poor.


19. “Strong in appearance but, in reality, a paper tiger incapable of resisting the wind and the rain” said Mao Zadong of the US imperialism. Yes, America purports it is a ‘defender of values’ …but certainly not less a defender of interests. (Daniel P. Moynihan)


World economic order or world economic disorder?

-John Mauldin offers the market anthropomorphic characteristics that man attributes only to gods.


20. Moments of economic disruption present a rare opportunity to tackle the status-quo. But, Alas!, these moments are often used by those with vested interests to further entrench the same.**** (Ignacio Saiz)

****: While ignorance and stupidity must be given their due, most things come out the way they do, because the powerful want them to come out that way. (S. George) Take new technologies and trade, they both do not have intrinsic positive or negative values; they have ‘potentials’ based on who pushes them and for whose gain. For example, when, in days past OPEC countries ran surpluses, somebody had to run a deficit. The strong industrialized countries did not run these deficits, so it was the countries rendered poor that paid the bill. They hemorrhaged economically during years of consecutive negative financial flows.


21. We are in the hands of the vested interests of large corporations that must be persuaded, cajoled, or even forced to change. Few of them are interested (or even much less committed) to such change. We must expose the negative social impacts of their activities when they pay only lip service to having changed their practices (or changed in pitifully marginal ways --presented in glossy ‘corporate responsibility’ brochures). Add to this their lack of transparency (they duck, dive, invest in smoke screens, espouse gradualist solutions and attempt to derive maximum publicity from piecemeal changes). Such is the face of the ‘corporocracy’ and of the ‘corporarchy’. (Robin Sharp) Just look at how more radical visions of social and environmental change have been diluted or silenced…


The distribution of wealth is more important than its creation


-Fair tax and effective transfer systems taken together do have an equalizing influence on the society, yet a limited one --HR issues need dedicated attention; period!

-So, when economics has ceased to strengthen social bonds, it is time to start thinking in political terms again. (Daniel Cohen)


22. As a corollary, this time around, we must hold governments and international institutions accountable. We hear it said: “Promoting any of the (few) benefits of globalization requires mechanisms to prevent its excesses, because there is a trade-off between market efficiency and the social welfare of workers”. But is this enough? Hardly. An effective challenge of globalization (so as to make sure HR are progressively fulfilled) demands the same kind of intellectual commitment and vigor that characterized anticolonial or independence struggles.


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

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-Keynes explained the way he understood the practical wisdom of economics in these terms: "The study of economics does not seem to require any specialized gifts of an unusually high order. Is it not, intellectually regarded, a very easy subject compared with the higher branches of philosophy and pure science? Yet good, or even competent, economists are the rarest of birds. An easy subject, at which very few excel! The paradox finds its explanation, perhaps, in that the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts. He must reach a high standard in several different directions and must combine talents not often found together. He must, to some extent, be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near the earth as a politician."  …far removed from what I often find…

-John Maynard Keynes and the depression of the 1930s. Keynes was not a socialist, but he understood that the vagaries of capitalism were a consequence of an absence of markets regulation, as well as of the incapacity of orthodox public policies to face the overwhelming economic crisis of the times. Keynes proposed to increase public spending so as to stimulate investment and tackle unemployment. He trusted that state intervention in the economy could moderate the capitalist crisis. He was of the opinion that unemployment was the result of an insufficient demand and not of an imbalance in the labor market. Keynsianism oriented the development of most capitalist countries at the end of World War II. The progressive fiscal policy, the control of capital markets, the significant social transfers and a greater balance between labor and capital he proposed did not translate into negative impacts on economic growth. On the contrary, economies and their productivity expanded notably as inequalities increased. This is why Keynsianism was labeled the greatest success of the twentieth century; it gave birth to the welfare state. The 1970s and 80s buried Keynsianism. The role of the state shrunk, 1% of the population became immensely rich and, to this day, inequalities reached unprecedented levels. This just goes to show that we can no longer believe in the infallibility of the automatic functioning of the market. (Roberto Pizarro) your social media marketing partner
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