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Original purpose of globalization: During the past few years, we have heard steady proclamations emanating from the advocates of economic globalization and leaders of the Bretton Woods institutions - the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), et. al. - that their deepest purpose in pushing economic globalization is to help the world's poor. More specifically, they contend that removing barriers to corporate trade and financial investments is the best path to growth, which they say offers the best chance to lift the poor from poverty. They also assert that the millions of people who have visibly opposed the economic globalization model are harming the interests of the poor. Everyone should please back off and leave it to corporations, bankers and global bureaucracies to do the planning and solve the world's problems. Such claims are routinely replayed in the media. One prominent national columnist, for example, says, "protesters are choking the only route out of poverty for the world's poor." In other words, if the protests would stop, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, Nike and Monsanto would save the day. Is this true? Are the interests of global corporations and bureaucracies really aimed at helping the poor? Or do these institutions have other primary motives? Key question: WHO BENEFITS?
So far, almost all of the evidence from the past three decades (1970-2000) - the period of economic globalization's most rapid ascendancy - shows that it is bringing exactly the opposite outcome that its advocates claim. The evidence now comes nearly as much from the proponents of globalization as its opposition. Clearly, poverty and inequality are rapidly accelerating everywhere on earth. A 1999 report by the United Nations Development Program found that inequalities between rich and poor within and among countries are quickly expanding, and that the global trading and finance system is one of the primary causes. (Evidence) Even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirms the United Nations' (UN) conclusions, agreeing that globalization brings massive inequalities. The benefits of globalization do not reach the poor, says the CIA, and the process inevitably brings increased global protest and chaos. Robert Wade of the London School of Economics, wrote in The Economist (2001), "Global inequality is worsening rapidly...Technological change and financial liberalization result in a disproportionately fast increase in the number of households at the extreme rich end, without shrinking the distribution at the poor end...From 1988 to 1993, the share of the world income going to the poorest 10 percent of the world's population fell by over a quarter, whereas the share of the richest 10 percent rose by 8 percent." (Does this mean an income disparity?) (Contributing to the definition of globalization): The ideologies and rules of economic globalization - including free trade, deregulation, privatization, and structural adjustment - have destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people, often leaving them homeless, landless and hungry, while removing their access to even the most basic public services such as health and medical care, education, sanitation, fresh water, public transport, job training and the like. The record shows that economic globalization makes things worse for the poor, not better. (Reality check) Economic globalization has only proved to be successful in making global corporations and a few elites wildly wealthy. For example, of the largest 100 economies in the world, 52 are now corporations. In what the UN describes as the "staggering concentration of wealth among the ultrawealthy," total wealth controlled by people with assets of at least $1 million nearly quadrupled from 1986 to 2000, from $7.2 trillion to $27 trillion. Even with the dot-com crash and the current global financial slump, Merrill Lynch predicts...
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