Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
No doubt about the problems the appearance of transnational companies and financial system has produced on the environment. But it goes quite hand in hand with the technological development and our (western) fundational myths about progress and property.

You are certainly right in that the more closed-off economies of 'communist' dictatures were even worse on the environment - just because of this progress myth. However, transnational companies are a rather special obstacle to solving the problem.

Regarding crime and all that stuff. I do not think it has to do with globalizationa at all.

That's a strange opinion, at least with a Central-Eastern European eye. Organised crime was rather limited to nonexistent during the dictature here, in significant part due to less open borders. You are also limiting the scope of your views to drugs - you should also think of arms trade and trade in women. Do you want to legalise the latter?

Similarly, Lula in Brazil is trying to do it...

...and cooperates with IMF, woos Western investors and legalises GM food.

nd these approaches have produced the fastest and deepest reduction in poverty level of all human history

Where? Not in China, not in India, and not that dramatic in Brazil either. What measure of poverty do you think of? Not average per capita GDP, I hope!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:09:15 AM EST
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About the second point. Yes. I take your point. It really helps in some cases. I was talking more about the issues what are illegal. So globalization helps.. but the root is not globalization.

Regarding the last part, no, I was not talking about GDP per capita except for South Korea. I just counted the number of people above 2 dollars income per day...I know it is not that much..In any case, I think people become poor in certain cases more because of the specific policy that because of globalization as a general concept.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 01:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodo you ask:
You are also limiting the scope of your views to drugs - you should also think of arms trade and trade in women. Do you want to legalise the latter?

I would propose the question is not, do we want to legalise the trade of people? -which obviously we don't, but, do we want to lessen, and ultimately eradicate, the conditions that pressure people to enter into the types of relationships where they find themselves being bought and sold?

In sex trafficking and labor trafficking the trafficker is most often taking advantage of the vulnerability of someone who can not migrate using legal means.

A smuggling, or trafficking network, offers someone a service and opportunity they could not get in their country of origin -perceived access to greater opportunity through entrance into a foreign country that they can not access "legally". Once they have entered into a relationship with these networks they can then become ensnared in a brutally exploitative situation.

People use smuggling networks or end up in trafficking networks to access opportunities they cannot get through legitimate means of migration. The majority of people in this world cannot migrate through means legitimated by destination countries.

Thus to parallel kcurie's drug legalization model, if destination countries offered people with legal means to move to and from more freely, the need for the services offered by smuggling networks would be greatly reduced, if not made useless all together. The corresponding opportunity for exploitation and abuse by these networks, which we refer to as trafficking, would equally reduce.

On the country of origin side, one thing that can contribute to the "push" factors are economic policies from developed countries that are weighted in favor of the developed country. To ask a country made up of small and mid-size farmers to open their market to cheap agricultural products grown on highly subsidized industrial scale farms can remove the economic means of survival from an entire class of people. (I should add, highly subsidized industrial scale farms that often used exploited, and sometimes trafficked, migrant labor).

Once this class of people have lost their means of making a living, well... they have to go look for work, which most often means the need to migrate.

Developed countries' talking points about globalization often discuss the movement of goods and services but rarely include discussions about the movement of people.

It is ironic that with one hand politicians from developed countries make big bold noble statements against the evils of human trafficking and the "commodification" of people, and then with the other hand push imbalanced trade policies and greater restrictions on the flow of people across their borders.

If interested, here is a link to an audio interview on the potential for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to contribute to the conditions that could lead to an increase in human trafficking.

by aden on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To ask a country made up of small and mid-size farmers to open their market to cheap agricultural products grown on highly subsidized industrial scale farms

just to connect another dot here:  industrial scale farms which are often completely petro-dependent, squander water on an epic scale, and are runnung a net-negative topsoil balance yearly.  in other words it is often a case of pitting a small relatively sustainable business against a corporate megamachine in the process of liquidation.  and the sustainable model will always lose in the short term.  then the industrial ag transnat will buy out the bankrupted small farmers and proceed to liquidate soil and water resources in their country as well...

meanwhile both the original hostile intrusion of factory ag products from industrial A into rural B in phase 1, and the ruthless extraction of soil and water resources in phase 2. will depend on fossil-intensive longhaul air and ship transport.

which of the eurotribbles is it who says, "when locusts move on they leave nothing behind"?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good point.
by aden on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 08:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point--if true. My limited experience is that the big industrial farms in the U.S. are very aware of the optimum use of water, fertilizer, and fuel to maximize production. Are small farmers so careful?
by asdf on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's so much an issue of moral character, as of skewed notions of what's "optimum".  third world farmers generally grow whatever crops are well adapted to the local climate and resources, because they don't work in the tradition of "throw enough fossil fuel at the problem and it will go away" that informs e.g. factory farming of water-intensive crops in regions of California that are naturally semi-arid.  (I'm not downplaying the remarkable achievements of pre-petro cultures in large-scale irrigation, but most of them led over time to the same results as fossil-fuelled massive irrigation projects:  soil loss and saline incursion... a notable exception being Bali, iirc, where an extremely complex and fascinating system of terracing and collective water management was developed over many centuries, only to be wrecked by well-meaning and arrogant Western "experts" during the so-called "green revolution," but that's a whole other interesting story).

"maximising production" also means something quite different if your production is staple foodstuffs for local consumption, vs cashcropping for longhaul luxury trade (table flowers, beef, gourmet veg).   and then there is the whole meat consumption issue, i.e. "maximising production" may mean growing lucrative soy feedstock for cattle for Western tables instead of essential staples for human consumption.  which automatically intensifies the corporate factory farm's existing tendency to monocropping with all the long-term vulnerabilities and inefficiencies that this entails.  there's a difference between growing feedstock and growing food.

an aside:  A full 90% of an agricultural business' electricity bill is likely associated with water use. In addition, the 8 million acres in California devoted to crops consume 80% of the total water pumped in the state.
Energy Savings in Agriculture

I recall from a discussion with farming friends a couple of years ago, mention of a problem with mechanised industrial ag wrt the reduction of soil into hardpan by at least two factors  impoverishment of organic material and microbial life in the soil due to pesticide and synthetic fertiliser application, and use of heavy mechanised farm equipment which crushes and compacts the soil;  the ensuing dead soil and hardpan was unable to absorb or retain water like healthy soil and therefore more and more water had to be applied to damaged soil in order to maintain crop life.  soil that is rich in organic (mulch and micro-organisms) matter retains water longer and soaks it up faster.  there's also the issue of the runoff from hardpan contaminating streams etc... all of which makes factory ag less "efficient" in water use by any real-world measure, no matter how it may look in terms of cowrie shells (dollars).

suicidally wasteful practises may very well seem "optimal" to the industrial agriculturist if the price of fossil inputs is subsidised (it is), the price of water is subsidised (it is, massively), and the subsidised price of fossil fuel for long haul transport makes it "smart" to grow intensive exotic monocrops for distant markets.  presented with the same skewed opportunities to get-rich-quick by bankrupting the soil and wasting water, a fair percentage of peasant farmers might get just as greedy and do likewise.  but in general third world countries have not had these options, and have had over millennia to adapt their farming methods to what was sustainable w/in whatever ecosystem millennia of their farming methods has left, if you see what I mean.  sorry if this is a bit incoherent, long day...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 02:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dio not you think sometimes immigration could be detrimental(in economic terms) to the local people,especially the workers with less qualifications. For example, in California the wage has fallen to 2-4$ per hour due to the illegal Mexican immigrants. And the employers prefer them to the Americans who can not anyway keep a reasonable standard of living with such wages. When I studied in Vienna, the Easteuropean students worked for 40 % less money that the Austrian. And that causes negative feelings for both sides: the low-paid are feeling inferior and the Austrian are xenophobic.

I'm not ugly,but my beauty is a total creation.Hegel
by Chris on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 04:03:32 AM EST
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