cj#775> NWO / Dept. of child slavery (ZNet fwd)


Richard Moore

From: "viviane lerner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Women Organizing for Change" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Spencer Fitz-Gibbon" <•••@••.•••>,
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Subject: Fw: Robin Hahnel on Child Labor & Globalization
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 09:38:14 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Albert <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Monday, July 12, 1999 11:34 AM
Subject: ZNet Commentary July 12 Robin Hahnel

Here is today's ZNet Commentary Delivery from Robin Hahnel. The attached
file is the same material in nicely formatted html so that you can read it
in your browser if you wish. [omitted - rkm]

To pass this comment along to friends, relatives, etc. please note that the
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learn more about the project folks can consult ZNet (http://www.zmag.org)
and specifically the Commentary Page

Here then is today's ZNet Commentary...


Slick Willy Goes After Fast Track Authority on Trade Again
By Robin Hahnel

On June 12, 1999, flush from victories over House Republicans intent on
coup via impeachment, and over Slobodan Milosevic, Europe's "new Hitler,"
President Clinton launched a new attempt to win "fast track" authority to
negotiate new international trade and investment agreements - without
further congressional interference -  in his speech to graduating students
at the University of Chicago. Washington Post staff writer William
Claiborne reported in "Lauding Trade, Clinton Urges 'Fast Track'" (6/13/99
A5) that "presidential aides said Clinton's speech was one of several
intended to promote a consensus on more open trade," and that "the
University of Chicago was an especially appropriate venue because of its
strong advocacy of free markets." The Clinton administration sure got that

What is particularly annoying about Clinton is that he has refined the
practice of dressing reactionary policies in humane garb to an art form.
Slick Willy promised to negotiate "free and fair trade that will expand
global commercial exchanges that benefit all people... that will lift
everybody up, not pull everyone down... that will spread the benefits of
global growth more widely... that will widen the cradle of opportunity
since growth widely shared is better sustained." In a stellar contribution
not only to economic theory but to environmental science and English
literature as well,  he proclaimed: "It is not true anymore that you can't
grow the economy without destroying the environment." It's almost enough to
make one wish for a Republican in the White House who just comes out and
tells it like it is: "I'm doing everything I can to promote more global
liberalization because it strengthens American business at home and
abroad." But forthrightness is not Slick Willy's shtick, and the truth
holds no value whatsoever for the Slime Meister.

The crowning moment of the speech was Clinton's announcement that he had
signed an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from buying products
made with "forced or abusive child labor." Claiborne reports that Clinton
"said he was appalled by the conditions in which 8 and 9 year-old children
work in many countries," and that "White House economic advisor Gene
Sperling said that the Labor Department will have four months to compile a
list of products with a history of child labor and that any time a federal
agency buys a product on the list it will have to ascertain that the
contractor did not purchase it from a plant engaging in abusive child
labor, even if it is the low bidder."

Inquiring minds who wanted to know exactly how the Labor Department would
go about distinguishing between "forced or abusive" child labor from "free,
non-abusive" child labor did not have long to wait for an answer. In his
Washington Post article "Clinton Advocates Child Labor Crackdown" (6/17/99)
Charles Babington tells us that Sperling "said the compact should face
minimal opposition in the Senate and even in developing countries that rely
substantially on child labor, because it targets only 'the most abusive
forms of child labor.'" Since any restrictions that would easily pass the
US Senate and win the approval of third world governments that rely heavily
on child labor will certainly be literally meaningless, it turns out the
Department of Labor's task will be quite easy: Child labor will be "forced
or abusive" only in countries whose governments do not meet Washington's
approval. Child labor in countries whose governments are amenable to
Washington's agenda will invariably be judged "free and non-abusive."

But what kind of international agreements does Slick Willy want a blank
check to negotiate in return for his rhetorical but meaningless campaign to
"wipe from the earth the most vicious forms of abusive child labor in which
tens of millions of children work in conditions that shock the conscience?"
And what would be the predictable effects of these international economic

Whether it be negotiations leading up to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
meetings in Seattle this December, negotiations over including other Latin
American countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or
negotiations to revive the stalled Multinational Agreement on Investment
(MAI), the Clinton Administration is pressing for further liberalization of
international trade, investment, and foreign ownership. Since the US
delegation to the recently concluded G-8 meetings in Germany virtually
wrote the final communique we need go no further than that document to
discover the Administration's current thinking about globalization. In
paragraph 2 the communique states: "Globalization, a complex process
involving rapid and increasing flows of ideas, capital, technology, goods
and services around the world, has already brought widespread improvement
of living standards and a significant reduction in poverty. Integration has
helped to create jobs by stimulating efficiency, opportunity and growth."
What's great about communiques is there is no need to back up sweeping
generalizations with any supportive evidence. Of course the truth is that
the kind of corporate sponsored globalization that has been accelerating
since 1980 has reduced the rate of growth of per capita GDP in the world by
roughly 50% as compared to the Bretton Woods era that preceded it. The
truth is only a hand full of East Asian economies enjoyed significantly
higher rates of growth during the neoliberal era than the Bretton Woods
era, and when the flood of international investment that swept into those
economies in the late 1980s and early 1990s swept out again in 1997 every
one of the East Asian dream economies turned into a nightmare. The truth is
that even in countries that have done better than most, corporate sponsored
globalization has unleashed a wave of down sizing, unemployment, and job
insecurity. The truth is that corporate sponsored globalization has
dramatically increased the pace of environmental destruction. The truth is
that the dramatic increase in wealth and income inequality within countries
and between countries that has occurred during the era of corporate
sponsored globalization has been so overwhelming that not even mainstream
economists bother to deny it. And the truth is that elected governments
have less control over their economies than at any time during the past 50
years. But what's a little hyperbole among friends? Why should the Heads of
State and Government of the eight major democracies and the President of
the European Commission -- as they referred to themselves in their
communique -- not assure the world that globalization "has already brought
widespread improvement of living standards and a significant reduction in
poverty," and "helped create jobs?" The international press covering the
25th Economic Summit certainly did not bother to question the rosy picture
our leaders painted at its conclusion, or ask for corroborating evidence.

Slick Willy's job is to claim on the one hand that globalization has
already been great for almost everyone, and to claim on the other hand that
while this may not have been the case in the past, it will certainly be the
case in the future provided American leadership is preserved and he is
given a free hand to negotiate. In other words, he needs to keep lying and
to keep asking everyone to trust him. His chief liabilities are: (1) All
evidence indicates that corporate sponsored globalization has, in fact,
retarded growth, hastened environmental destruction, increased inequality,
and undermined economic democracy. (2) All evidence indicates that Clinton
(and Gore) are more in the pockets of the tiny minority who have benefitted
from globalization, and less responsive to the majority constituencies who
have been hurt by globalization than every before. And (3) Clinton has
reneged on promises to modify globalization so as to "lift everybody up,
not pull everyone down" every single time he has made them. His chief
assets are: (1) Both the major media and most of the economics profession
are supportive of corporate sponsored globalization, and are therefore
unlikely to question Clinton's unsupported paeans of praise to the
globalization gods. (2) There is no electable opponent whose position on
globalization is significantly different from Clinton's  (and Gore's)
despite continuing evidence that a substantial majority of the US
electorate opposes further globalization. And (3) Slick Willy is a
practiced liar and master manipulator.

And lest you think that liberals in Congress would never fall for the Slime
Meister's latest ploy, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) who Claiborne describes
as "a strident opponent of child labor," was quoted in the same article
covering Clinton's University of Chicago speech saying that Clinton's
executive order sends a "strong signal at home and abroad that the US
government is serious about eradicating abusive and exploitative child
labor." It makes one wonder if  the fix between the White House and liberal
Democrats in Congress is already in.


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