Another World is Possible
Dear Fair Trade Activist,
In a series of emails to you this week, we have explained how the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed the most conservative of tests: do no harm. But what are the prospects for replacing this mess? What are the alternatives?
Defenders of the WTO sound like broken records. There is no "alternative plan" that should be imposed on all the peoples and governments of the world. That is the very point of the worldwide challenge to the WTO: there is no single, one-size-fits-all plan. There are thousands of alternatives: that is what democracy looks like. You know it's a democracy when people living with the results choose what is best for them.
What are some of the options on this smorgasbord of possible plans? Check out the free "Global to Local: What You Can Do" chapter (PDF) from the International Forum on Globalization's 2004 Book, Alternatives to Economic Globalization, which Public Citizen helped write.
Sure, we do need rules to set the terms when countries decide it is beneficial to trade. And, there are many instances when trade is good news - under the right rules. But the WTO's Trojan horse move — jamming a bunch of retrograde non-trade rules that undermine democratic, accountable governance or public-interest safeguards or access to essential services and to food, water, and other necessities of life into something they call trade and then sell through Congress — no way!
Most of civil society — including the Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network, a worldwide network of peoples' movements and NGOs — call for the WTO to "Shrink or Sink," that is, to save the notion of having legitimate trade rules by scrapping the many invasive constraints on domestic policy and policy-making contained in the WTO rules.
Putting into place the WTO and the corporate-led globalization it implements required its proponents to undertake an enormous amount of planning, public relations, and political work. If we do not like the outcomes of this design, then we must undertake similar efforts to change it.
And if you get involved, it can be done: Another world is possible. Take action now, and join the movement for global justice.
The Global Trade Watch Team