THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MARKET FUNDAMENTALISM OF GLOBALIZATION ARE IRRECONCILABLE.

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Human Rights Reader 236

  •  Let’s call a spade a spade: Globalization is a project of the North to globalize its corporate power.
  • The market fundamentalism at its base is not only a system of ideas, but also an algorithm for restructuring state institutions; it shifts responsibility for social provision away from the state and towards individual households; it is antithetical, for instance, to health equality. The idea of human rights simply loses meaning if its realization is contingent on income or purchasing power. (T. Schrecker)

 1. Under the optic of the title, the concept of market responsibility is an oxymoron. Markets are not responsible. Ultimately, the market is interested in inequality so there are people who move-up and can become consumers. 

 2. For the staunch proponents of the superiority of the marketplace to, eventually one day, wield benign influence, they will have to be disempowered, because they systematically oppose laws and regulations that protect the public good and thus human rights (HR). (A-E. Birn)

 3. In the name of HR, isn’t there thus an ethical obligation to actually guide the market’s invisible hand? Isn’t intervention, therefore, legitimate when supply and demand dramatically go off-course to the detriment of HR?

Aren’t we supposed to (or expected to) question the acquired, privileged rights of the elites and the standards of living the same afford them? * (CETIM)_____

*: It is worth remarking here that what rich governments promote abroad, they do not follow at home. (J. Williamson)  Moreover, keep in mind that the division of the world into rich and poor countries ignores the existence of classes within the countries. (V. Navarro)

4. The structural violence of the process of globalization fits what F. Engels said, namely that the status-quo is commensurate with social murder of the people who happen to be poor. This, as a result of the prevailing exploitative and oppressive living and working conditions they are so often subjected to. (…and –we can add– as the result of the past and present aggressive and unequal economic and trade policies the IMF, the WB and the WTO have imposed on poor countries ** that have resulted in avoidable damage caused by, among many other, unaffordable drugs and unaffordable health care). The results of war, of genocide, of racism, of fundamentalism, and of deepening poverty –not unrelated to the process of globalization– should not be forgotten either. (A. Scott-Samuel)

**: It is difficult to deny that the IMF and the WB have been control instruments of the North over the South. So, as long as their ultimate goal has been and is to design yet more complex globalization processes, all interventions in the development field have been and are under the threat of failure.  

5. In our globalized world, development aid (ODA) is seen as a kind of redistribution, but we are never told about what kind of effect it has on HR (if any). It behooves us to search for globalization’s HR effects (positive, negative or non-effects) since much of ODA simply serves the self-interest of the foreign policy of the donor countries who proclaim being defenders of HR. Although ODA often does not perform, there are no penalties for the donor countries behind it. Let’s face it, donor behavior has, at best, simply been ambivalent towards HR. What matters to major donors is that development interventions do not have a negative impact on globalization and actually help shape its dynamic. If you do not believe this, just think of the alleged poverty-alleviation/disparity-reduction measures that, over decades, have not delivered, often because they are countered by unfair trade policies set and controlled by donor countries.

6. Furthermore, the drive of donors to channel ODA through NGOs undermines the capacities and credibility of local government systems; it is argued that NGO programs often usurp, rather than support, local government activities. To make matters worse, many NGOs right-to-their-own-initiative is now thwarted: If aid agencies want to apply for EU funds, for instance, often they can no longer make decisions about content or geographic focus.

7. Any wonder, then, that while the Establishment forces applaud Globalization, the anti-establishment forces mourn it? (V. Navarro)

Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

cschuftan@phmovement.org

______________

Partly adapted from D+C, 35:7-8, July/Aug. 2008; D+C, 35:11, Nov. 2008; and D+C 36:9, Sept. 2009.

Postscript: These HR Readers do want to entertain you but, at the same time, keep you away from too-long-a-distraction so that you quickly (re)focus your attention on the main tasks still ahead; those that we expect you to take-on. 

Human Rights Reader 236

 

THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MARKET FUNDAMENTALISM OF GLOBALIZATION ARE IRRECONCILABLE.

 

Let’s call a spade a spade: Globalization is a project of the North to globalize its corporate power.

The market fundamentalism at its base is not only a system of ideas, but also an algorithm for restructuring state institutions; it shifts responsibility for social provision away from the state and towards individual households; it is antithetical, for instance, to health equality. The idea of human rights simply loses meaning if its realization is contingent on income or purchasing power. (T. Schrecker)

 

1. Under the optic of the title, the concept of market responsibility is an oxymoron. Markets are not responsible. Ultimately, the market is interested in inequality so there are people who move-up and can become consumers. 

 

2. For the staunch proponents of the superiority of the marketplace to, eventually one day, wield benign influence, they will have to be disempowered, because they systematically oppose laws and regulations that protect the public good and thus human rights (HR). (A-E. Birn)

 

3. In the name of HR, isn’t there thus an ethical obligation to actually guide the market’s invisible hand? Isn’t intervention, therefore, legitimate when supply and demand dramatically go off-course to the detriment of HR?

Aren’t we supposed to (or expected to) question the acquired, privileged rights of the elites and the standards of living the same afford them? * (CETIM)_____

*: It is worth remarking here that what rich governments promote abroad, they do not follow at home. (J. Williamson)  Moreover, keep in mind that the division of the world into rich and poor countries ignores the existence of classes within the countries. (V. Navarro)

 

4. The structural violence of the process of globalization fits what F. Engels said, namely that the status-quo is commensurate with social murder of the people who happen to be poor. This, as a result of the prevailing exploitative and oppressive living and working conditions they are so often subjected to. (…and –we can add– as the result of the past and present aggressive and unequal economic and trade policies the IMF, the WB and the WTO have imposed on poor countries ** that have resulted in avoidable damage caused by, among many other, unaffordable drugs and unaffordable health care). The results of war, of genocide, of racism, of fundamentalism, and of deepening poverty –not unrelated to the process of globalization– should not be forgotten either. (A. Scott-Samuel)

**: It is difficult to deny that the IMF and the WB have been control instruments of the North over the South. So, as long as their ultimate goal has been and is to design yet more complex globalization processes, all interventions in the development field have been and are under the threat of failure.  

 

5. In our globalized world, development aid (ODA) is seen as a kind of redistribution, but we are never told about what kind of effect it has on HR (if any). It behooves us to search for globalization’s HR effects (positive, negative or non-effects) since much of ODA simply serves the self-interest of the foreign policy of the donor countries who proclaim being defenders of HR. Although ODA often does not perform, there are no penalties for the donor countries behind it. Let’s face it, donor behavior has, at best, simply been ambivalent towards HR. What matters to major donors is that development interventions do not have a negative impact on globalization and actually help shape its dynamic. If you do not believe this, just think of the alleged poverty-alleviation/disparity-reduction measures that, over decades, have not delivered, often because they are countered by unfair trade policies set and controlled by donor countries.

 

6. Furthermore, the drive of donors to channel ODA through NGOs undermines the capacities and credibility of local government systems; it is argued that NGO programs often usurp, rather than support, local government activities. To make matters worse, many NGOs right-to-their-own-initiative is now thwarted: If aid agencies want to apply for EU funds, for instance, often they can no longer make decisions about content or geographic focus.

 

7. Any wonder, then, that while the Establishment forces applaud Globalization, the anti-establishment forces mourn it? (V. Navarro)

 

Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

cschuftan@phmovement.org

______________

Partly adapted from D+C, 35:7-8, July/Aug. 2008; D+C, 35:11, Nov. 2008; and D+C 36:9, Sept. 2009.

 

Postscript: These HR Readers do want to entertain you but, at the same time, keep you away from too-long-a-distraction so that you quickly (re)focus your attention on the main tasks still ahead; those that we expect you to take-on.

 

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