The worst form of global government: that of businessmen
We have dealt before with the empire of the huge multinationals that control the economic flow, and through it, other aspects of world society. This perverse empire was built for lack of a global government, which becomes more urgent every day. There are global problems such as of peace, food, water, climate change, the migrations of the world’s peoples, and others that, because they are global, demand global solutions. But the egotism and individualism of the great powers is preventing such a government.
A global government presupposes that each country cedes a little of its sovereignty, in order to create a global and plural space where global solutions to global problems may be found. But no power wants to renounce any of its power, even if the problems worsen, especially those linked to the physical limitations of the Earth that can negatively affect all of humanity, through extreme events.
Let us say in passing that most economists exhibit a pitiful blindness. In their debates – as an example, in the well known weekly program, Globonews Pinel – the economy occupies a privileged space. But I have yet to hear a single participant include in his analysis the limits of sustainability of the life-system and of the Earth-system that check capital’s renewal. They prolong the tedious economic talk of the old paradigm, as if the Earth were a chest of unlimited resources and the economy were measured by the Gross National Product, GNP, like a chapter of mathematics and statistics. Thought is lacking. They do not understand that if we do not abandon our obsession with unlimited material growth and instead, search for social equity-equality, we will only make the already bad situation worse.
We would like to touch on an even more shameful component of the perverse empire of the huge multinational corporations. It is the search for a Multilateral Investment Treaty. Almost everything is discussed behind closed doors. But to the extent that it is detected, it retracts, to soon return under another name. The intention is to create a free market treaty between nations and the large corporations. The terms were well presented by Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch in Le Monde Diplomatique Brasil, in November 2013.
These corporations seek to satiate their appetite for accumulation in an area where poor countries are relatively weak: sanitation infrastructure, health security, professional schools, natural resources, public equipment, culture, copyrights and patents. The contracts take advantage of the countries’ fragility, and impose leonine conditions. The corporations, being transnational, do not consider themselves subject to national norms regarding health, environmental protection or fiscal legislation. When they deem that due to such norms, the desired earnings have not been attained, they can, through judicial processes, demand payment from the country (from the people!) that can reach thousands of millions of dollars or euros.
These corporation treat the Earth as if it belonged to no-one, like the old colonialism, and get the tribunals to grant them rights to acquire land, water sources, lakes and other natural goods and services. Those corporations, Wallach notes, «have no obligation towards the country and can launch projects when and where they see fit» (p.5). A typical and ridiculous example is the case of Fattenfall, the Swedish energy supplier that is demanding thousands of millions of euros from Germany, for its «energy switch», having promised to abandon nuclear energy and more severely punish carbon emiters. The issue of pollution, of reducing global warming and preserving the planet’s biodiversity are dead letters to those predators, in the name of profit.
The commercial shamefulness reaches such levels that the countries signing that type of treaty «would find themselves obliged not only to submit their public services to the logic of the market but also to renounce any control over the foreign providers of services that covet their markets» (p.6). The country would have only a minimal control on questions of energy, health, education, water and transportation, precisely the topics most demanded in the June 2013 protests by thousands of demonstrators in Brazil.
These treaties were being negotiated with the United States and Canada, with the Free Trade Agreements in Latin America and especially between the European Community and the United States.
What do these strategies reveal? An economy that has become autonomous in a manner where only the economy is important, one that annuls the sovereignty of the countries, takes the Earth as a whole as property, and transforms business into an immense emporium. Everything becomes merchandise: people, their organs, nature, culture, entertainment and even religion and heaven. No consideration was given to the possible massive reaction of civil society that can, furiously and justly, reveal and throw everything to waste. Worse still, full of shame, but still obstinate, these projects are being hidden behind closed doors.
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.