Archive Page 2

Swine Flu: Hogging the Resources?

In this preview of a BBC HARDtalk interview, Christophe Fournier, the President of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), contrasts the global mobilization of money and technology towards developing a vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu virus with the less driven commitment to battle tuberculosis and malaria, despite the higher death toll of these diseases. Has the world over-reacted to the swine flu threat?


Next Week: Corporate Social Responsibility

To wrap up the semester, we will have as our guest William Anderson, the head of social and environmental affairs in Asia for Adidas. Mr Anderson will discuss corporate social responsibility and his company’s innovative CSR program. After the session with Mr Anderson, I will end the class with a short lecture to finish up the discussion we had on global governance a few weeks ago.

Malaria Vaccine Trials Begin in Africa

After seeing today’s film in class, you may be interested in the news that a massive malaria vaccine trial has recently been launched in Africa. If successful, the first commercial malaria vaccine could be available as early as 2012 – a major achievement.

BusinessWeek on How Social Media Will Change Business

To further our discussion of the impact of social media, you may be interested in this BusinessWeek story which focuses on how these new tools of communication and interaction will change the way companies do business.

Vandana Shiva on Carbon Trading

Another prominent critic of globalization is the Indian scientist and activist Vandana Shiva. In this New Statesman essay, she argues that  carbon “emissions trading, or offsetting.  is not in fact a mechanism to reduce emissions…Such schemes are more about privatising the atmosphere than about preventing climate change.” She concludes:

“Regulating by carbon trading is like fiddling as Rome burns. Governments and the UN should impose a carbon tax on corporations, both for production – wherever their facilities are located – and for transport, which the Kyoto Protocol does not account for directly. Incentives for renewable energy are also essential. We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to ‘free-market’ fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice.”

Walden Bello on Deglobalization

Filipino legislator and activist Walden Bello has been a steadfast critic of globalization and a proponent of the concept of “deglobalization” as an alternative paradigm. In this essay on the Foreign Policy in Focus website, he argues that the current global economic crisis marks the death of globalization. He outlines what he calls the 11 pillars of deglobalization:

  1. Production for the domestic market must again become the center of gravity of the economy rather than production for export markets.
  2. The principle of subsidiarity should be enshrined in economic life by encouraging production of goods at the level of the community and at the national level if this can be done at reasonable cost in order to preserve community.
  3. Trade policy — that is, quotas and tariffs — should be used to protect the local economy from destruction by corporate-subsidized commodities with artificially low prices.
  4. Industrial policy — including subsidies, tariffs, and trade — should be used to revitalize and strengthen the manufacturing sector.
  5. Long-postponed measures of equitable income redistribution and land redistribution (including urban land reform) can create a vibrant internal market that would serve as the anchor of the economy and produce local financial resources for investment.
  6. Deemphasizing growth, emphasizing upgrading the quality of life, and maximizing equity will reduce environmental disequilibrium.
  7. The development and diffusion of environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry should be encouraged.
  8. Strategic economic decisions cannot be left to the market or to technocrats. Instead, the scope of democratic decision-making in the economy should be expanded so that all vital questions — such as which industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc. — become subject to democratic discussion and choice.
  9. Civil society must constantly monitor and supervise the private sector and the state, a process that should be institutionalized.
  10. The property complex should be transformed into a “mixed economy” that includes community cooperatives, private enterprises, and state enterprises, and excludes transnational corporations.
  11. Centralized global institutions like the IMF and the World Bank should be replaced with regional institutions built not on free trade and capital mobility but on principles of cooperation that, to use the words of Hugo Chavez in describing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), “transcend the logic of capitalism.”

What do you think of Bello’s critique? Is globalization dead or dying?

Obama Outlines Asia Policy

In Tokyo this morning, US President Barack Obama outlined his Asia policy. The transcript of his address may be found here.