Dear cj, "Neoliberalism", for those readers unfamiliar with the term, refers to the present-day economic mythology -- that market forces should reign supreme, that the private sector is in almost every case to be preferred to the public sector, and that free trade is an obviously good thing. If anyone out there actually thinks neoliberalism is a good idea, then I'm very glad you're reading this. You have a lot to learn. You might start with these books and then rejoin our discussion: Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization Of Poverty - Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms, The Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia, 1997. Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, eds., The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward The Local, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1996. There may be others who realize that neoliberalism is destructive of everything human and good in the world -- but who believe neoliberalism represents a 'failed effort', or a 'mistaken policy'. No such thing. Neoliberalism is a case of hocus-pocus fool-the-masses... don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain... a fool is born every minute... you can fool most of the people most of the time... a Big Lie is easiest to sell, the emperor has no clothes... in short a SHAM. Here's an example. I'm looking at D Korten's "When Corporations Rule the World", paperback, p. 81... NAFTA was sold to the U.S. Congress by many means, and one of them was a set of computer models, which purported to show that NAFTA was going to benefit everyone. Korten lists some of the assumptions programmed into these models... 1) Capital is immobile... investors will _not take their money accross the border and invest it there instead. 2) Labor costs are the same in both countries. 3) Americans will always clearly prefer American (vs Mexican) products even if Mexican products are much cheaper. (And similarly for Mexicans re/ U.S. products). 4) There is always full employment in both countries. 5) Nothing will ever be imported to (from) Mexico unless it is exactly balanced by an import from (to) Mexico. Do you get the picture?? These assumptions are not simply wrong, not simply approximations... they are totally and absolutlely ABSURD. If you think Clinton (and his owners) believed these assumptions, and promoted NAFTA out of error, then you need a psychological counselor, not an email news list. Below are some interesting reports about how neoliberalism has demolished New Zealand, and how it is now preparing to drain Canada dry. bye for now, rkm ============================================================================ Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 12:05:15 -0500 To: •••@••.••• From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••> Subject: more sustainable states: the case of New Zealand [Forwarded text that shows how structural change facilitates a more representative polity. Mark Whitaker] In short: 1) Neo-liberal privatization schemes only enrich the rich at the expense of everyone else; 2) NZ's experience shows how crucial important proportional representation is -- only their adoption of PR enabled them to start turning things around (although, as in the US, the losses are huge and will take decades to mend) Key passage: The only thing that stopped the zealots from going even further was the introduction of proportional representation in the early '90s and the subsequent election of minority governments [in US English: governments that included minority representation]. http://www.nationalpost.com/financialpost/fpcomment/story.html?f=/stories/20 000815/370328.html Financial Post August 15, 2000 By Murray Dobbin THE REAL LESSONS FROM NEW ZEALAND Vaunted privatization push devastated the country, rather than saving it. It has been so long since anyone in the business press has praised the New Zealand "miracle" it is almost as if we imagined the whole thing. But, of course, the current silence is really no mystery. The fifteen year free market experiment has been an unmitigated disaster. The suffering caused amongst ordinary New Zealanders is well known: the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world, the proliferation of food banks, huge increases in violent and other crime, the bankruptcy of half the farms in the country, the economic disruption of hundreds of thousands of lives and health care, education and other social services devastated by the mad marketplace scientists. But, of course, neo-liberal ideologues don't hold much truck with the human consequences of their experiments. So let's examine those things they do care about. The revolutionaries promised to tear down the "debt wall," unleash spectacular economic growth, spur foreign investment and productivity, create enormous new wealth and new and better jobs. They failed on every count. Instead of a brave new economy they delivered an economic Frankenstein's monster. The initial wave of changes - deregulation, privatization, tariff elimination - was justified by the infamous debt crisis. This was a ruse all along. Even Sir Roger Douglas admitted this when I interviewed him in 1992. The "crisis" New Zealand faced post-election in 1984 was a currency crisis brought on by Douglas himself. As for the debt in 1984 it was NZ$22 billion but after ten years of experimenting it had doubled to NZ$45 billion - in spite of the sell off of NZ$16 billion in state enterprises. Today it has finally returned to 1984 levels but only through more crown assets sales. And economic growth? In the years 1985 - 92 average economic growth in the OECD countries totalled 20% while in New Zealand it was negative: -1%. The promised creation of enormous new wealth went into reverse with real GDP in 1992 at 5% below the ^85-86 level. A burst of growth from1993 to 1995 petered out and steadily declined until it dipped into negative territory in 1998, posting the fourth worst growth in the OECD. The transformation of the economy was supposed to spur foreign investment but it mostly meant a feeding frenzy on domestic corporate assets. In 1993 the proportion of GDP in investments was just 70% of what it was in 1984. The restructuring of the economy failed most dramatically on the unemployment front and the country has never managed to get back to any where near the 1984 level of 4%. The "workless and wanting work" figure peaked at over 18% in 1993. In 1999 that figure had only been reduced to 11.2%. The radicals also promised increases in productivity but again they failed to deliver. After eight years of restructuring and massive labour deregulation New Zealand's productivity began a steady decline compared to its neighbour, Australia. From 1978 to 1990 the rates had been similar. The gap steadily increased between1990 and 1998 with Australia posting a 21.9 % increase and New Zealand just 5.2%. Only the wealthy in New Zealand could see any success in this destructive exercise in social engineering. Between 1984 and 1996 only the top 10% of income earners measurably increased their share of total income. The lowest 10% lost 21.6% of their 1984 income. Over 50% of the total working population had lower real income in 1996 than in 1984. There are lessons from New Zealand, but they do not involve adopting that tortured country as a model. The first lesson is that the unfettered application of ideology is inevitably destructive -- not just of democracy, social peace and equality but of the economy. Even as the revolution continued to deliver disastrous results its promoters claimed it was because it had not gone far enough. The second lesson is that parliamentary democracy Anglo- Saxon style has proven extremely vulnerable to the ravages of ideology. A virtual executive dictatorship can implement policies that are never even debated during elections - as happened in New Zealand in 1984. The only thing that stopped the zealots from going even further was the introduction of proportional representation in the early ^90s and the subsequent election of minority governments. And that leads to the last lesson. Globalization is not inevitable nor irreversible. The current New Zealand government (a coalition of a chastened Labour Party and the left-wing Alliance) is unfortunately still committed to signing free trade and investment agreements. But it is reversing many of the most destructive policies. Included in this re-think is the reversal of privatisation of Accident Compensation Insurance, an immediate rise in pensions, a halt to sale of state houses and a commitment to rebuilding the state housing stock, the appointment of review committee on electricity pricing, the freezing of tariffs on clothing and footwear, and the re-recognition of unions. The pity is that New Zealanders had to suffer through so much in the first place. ====================== *** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Feel free to distribute widely but PLEASE acknowledge the source. *** ============================================================================ Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 18:11:32 -0400 From: Steve Kurtz <•••@••.•••> X-Accept-Language: en MIME-Version: 1.0 To: Coopers List <•••@••.•••>, RunningOnEmpty <•••@••.•••> Subject: Blue Gold:The fight for Canada's water has only begun ---------------------------------------------------- By Jim Hightower <http://www.utne.com/azBio.tmpl$search?db=dAuthor.db&eqauthordatarq=Jim%20Hi ghtower&max=1>, Utne Reader <http://www.utne.com/magazine/freeissue.html> Should we invade Canada with armed forces? Sure, they're nice people, and ever so peaceable. (It's going to be hard to work up much xenophobic hatred toward a country that thinks "jeepers" is an expletive, and that has "Be Polite" in its constitution.) But Canadians have something we need, and I don't mean hockey players. "Blue gold," it's been dubbed by a Canadian newspaper, but it's far more valuable than that implies, because the world can do without gold. Water. That's what Canada has that parts of our country and much of the world might literally kill for. Hell, you say, water's everywhere. Yes, but as Canada's Maude Barlow points out, less than half of 1 percent of all the water on the globe is drinkable. An author and agitator for common sense, Barlow heads the Council of Canadians and is founding chair of Action Canada Network, two grassroots groups working for progressive policies. "Worldwide, the consumption of water is doubling every 20 years," she writes in a stunning report called "Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis." In a very short while, most of the world's people will face shortages or absolute scarcity. This is not a matter of seeing more stories of wretched African children dying in horrible droughts, but of imminent water crises in America (the Southwest, Florida, and California especially), Southern Europe, India, England, China, and other nations not usually thought of as facing massive water shortages. Canada, on the other hand, has a blessing of agua fresca. Some 20 percent of the world's entire supply of freshwater is in its winding rivers and countless lakes. This reality has not dawned on Canadians alone; others are casting their eyes northward. But it's not countries making invasion plans--it's corporations. To get their hands on the gold, the corporate grubbers first have to change how drinking water is managed. Instead of letting countries treat it as a commonly held resource allocated for the general good, they want it considered as a commodity traded by private investors for profit. Like oil or pork bellies . . . only this is your drinking water they want to privatize. Will it surprise you to learn that those bratty globalization twins, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, contain provisions that advance the commodity concept? Both baldly assert that "water, including ordinary natural water of all kinds," is merely one form of "goods," subject to the new rules of global trade. We're talking about bulk sales here: not Evian, but whole lakes and aquifers bought and mined, rivers siphoned off, the Great Lakes themselves on the market. Barlow and others report that multinationals are ready to use supertankers, pipelines, canals, river rerouting, and other mammoth schemes to shift the product from the water-rich to those willing to pay top dollar: o Nordic Water Company totes H2O from Norway to thirsty Europe across the sea in giant, floating plastic bags. o Global Water Corporation, a Can-adian firm, has cut a deal with Sitka, Alaska, to haul 18 billion gallons of water per year from nearby Blue Lake to China--"Water has moved from being an endless commodity that may be taken for granted to a rationed necessity that may be taken by force," says GWC's chilling statement. o The Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal involves building a dike across James Bay to capture water from 20 rivers that feed it, converting the bay into a giant reservoir, then building a network of canals, dams, and locks to move the water 400 miles south to Georgian Bay, where it would be "flushed through" the Great Lakes into pipelines that would take it to America's Sun Belt for lawn watering, golf course sprinkling, and other essentials. o The McCurdy Group of Newfoundland hopes to "harvest" some 13 billion gallons of water a year from one of that province's lakes, pipe it to the coast, pump it into old oil tankers, and ship it to the Middle East for a hefty profit. o One Monsanto executive, seeing a multibillion-dollar business opportunity, says bluntly: "Since water is as central to food production as seed is, and without water life is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water. . . . Monsanto [has launched] a new water business, starting with India and Mexico, since both these countries face water shortages." "Canada," barked editor Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post in a 1999 editorial, "is a future OPEC of water"; he urged that the country begin trading this commodity. But thanks to citizen groups like Maude Barlow's, the Great Canadian Water Sale-a-Thon has yet to begin; their vigilance has produced a temporary moratorium on bulk sales. This might be a good place to add that Maude, and Canadians generally, are not saying, "It's our water and the rest of the world can go suck eggs." To the contrary, they are pushing for a public policy of sharing their bounty to meet the global water crisis, allocating water particularly to help those in need. But the pressure is intense to simply let "the market" decide who needs it. And the big stick of "free trade" is being wielded to turn the water loose. Sun Belt Water Inc., based in Santa Barbara, California, has filed the first NAFTA water case. It had an agreement with a British Columbia company to ship water in tankers from B.C. to Southern California. But such an outcry ensued when the scheme became public that the provincial government enacted a moratorium on all water exports.The corporation sued Canada in 1998, claiming that its future profits were "expropriated" by British Columbia's export moratorium and that, under NAFTA's Chapter 11, the nice people of Canada owed it $468 million. Money isn't enough, though. Sun Belt CEO Jack Lindsey is also outraged at what he perceives as Canadian stinginess: "California has 33 million people--more than the entire population of Canada. This is expected to double in the next 20 years, and they have been living in a permanent drought condition. In 20 years, the shortfall in California will be 4 million acre-feet of water [per year]--1 percent of what spills into the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia--and they're saying 'Sorry, you can't have it?' " Such a humanitarian. Jack just wants a few drops for California's poor parched people. What a crock. Bulk water deals have nothing to do with global need and everything to do with global greed. Privateers will deliver the water to whoever will pay the most--like Silicon Valley's water-gobbling high-tech comp- anies and agribusiness corporations that suck up aquifers like insatiable sponges. Then there is Lindsay's snide comment about water that just "spills into the Pacific Ocean," a common refrain, as if water that isn't being used commercially is being "wasted." Never mind that water running to the sea is essential to the ecological cycle, delivering nutrients, sustaining fishing economies, replenishing wetlands, and doing much more useful chores than fattening the wallets of would-be water barons. ---- This message was sent by •••@••.••• To signoff from the list, send an email to •••@••.••• the message body should read "unsubscribe infoterra" (without quotes). Visit http://www.cedar.at/unep/infoterra/index.html for more info, list commands, and mail archives (searchable). ---- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ featured article: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/Whole_Earth_Review/Escaping_the_Matrix.shtml A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .