The theory of "free trade", appearing in the 18th century, was initially formulated to prevent the Dutch from closing their colonial empire to English commerce. It served as the political rationale for British colonial expansion, imposing an international division of labor that revealed itself to be much more effective for pillaging resources than the colonial system itself.
In 1941, the Anglo-Saxons devised, as an aim of the war, a shift from the prevailing mode of colonial exploitation to that of unequal exchange in the aftermath of victory over Nazi tyranny. The Atlantic Charter promoted decolonization, free trade and freedom of the seas. This model was formalized in 1947 with the GATT Agreements. This was reinforced during the Reagan-Thatcher era by a vast movement of privatization and deregulation.
In 1991, President Bush announced his vision of a new world order: globalization. The objective was to fill and profit from the void created by the disappearance of the USSR and extend Anglo-Saxon domination in a manner that closely twinned economic and military expansion.
The new model encompassed not only the free trade of goods but also of services and capital, to be regulated by an arbitrating tribunal that would constrain the sovereignty of individual states, which is today embodied in the World Trade Organization.
In the 21st century, this on-going process has led to the dematerialization of the world economy. Favoring the expansion of military-related industries while manufacturers of domestic consumer goods shut down, the Anglo-Saxons created an economy based on "financial products’ (meaning speculation) and the profits derived from "intellectual property" (so called "fair use"). They extended their control over the free trade of goods and services in air space using the "war on terror" as a pretext and over the seas under cover of a "war on piracy". In the meantime, however, the exorbitant costs of the neocolonial occupation of Iraq in 2003 nearly brought about the complete financial collapse of the empire.
At this point, President Obama and Prime Minister Brown attempted to save the system by eliminating foreign financial positions thus compelling capital to migrate in the direction of an Anglo-Saxon fiscal paradise. Additionally, Western governments have in a concerted way placed their means of public finance entirely in the hands of a small number of private banks. As a result, these are now in a position not only to avert collapse but also to acquire firms as they spiral into failure, accelerating the already gigantic concentration of riches.
An unusual alliance is being formed. Evangelical groups as well as activists and celebrities join their efforts to ask the G-8 leaders to transform poverty into ancient history. Live 8 concerts were aimed at spreading the idea of extending the GDP percentage to 0.7% for the development aid until 2010, eliminate agricultural subsidies and eradicate diseases. It is an unusual moment in which the reduction of global poverty must be the priority. It’s the fashion, it’s moral and it is an (...)
Everybody regrets something. When I was young I could witness Biafra’s extreme poverty and when I analyze my past I realize I didn’t do enough to combat it. As Minister of Finances or Prime Minister I did my best to preserve the funds granted to development assistance. But, in a retrospective way, I regret not having done more. Of course, I have multiple excuses (the refusal of the Parliament to grant additional sums, other urgent problems..., etc.) but this is not enough for my conscience. (...)
Throughout Africa, millions of people live in conditions scarcely imaginable to most Americans. It is too simple to blame the African leaders. Africa has been also the victim of good intentions and half-promises from the West. We should all applaud Tony Blair for making Africa the centerpiece of the G-8 summit at Gleneagles. However, the chief proposal that is supposed to address African needs is suspect. The United Kingdom is pushing for an “international finance facility” that would enable (...)
This week at the G-8 in Edinburgh the European Commission will be arguing for a significant boost on development assistance for developing countries. This money is needed for Africa and this aid has to be accompanied by a debt relief and a policy that in the end would enable this continent to benefit from global trade. Debt relief and humanitarian aid have rock star advocates. Unfortunately, aid for trade has none of this high-profile glamour. Yet, this matter is essential for Africa’s (...)
The Gleneagles summit gave the G-8 leaders the once-in-a-life-time opportunity to take significant actions to reduce global poverty. Nothing stands in the way to eradicate extreme poverty. There has to be evidence of political will. And today, the world and public opinion are mobilizing to firmly support the struggle against poverty.
As responsible for two world communities that would greatly benefit from a strong political commitment in favor of eradicating global poverty, we harbor a (...)
After my visits last week to South Africa, Mozambique and Congo Democratic Republic, I depart for the G-8 summit convinced that the changes in that continent are a vital problem for my generation, not only in Europe but also in Africa. In the South African village of Orange Farm, I gave Ma Williams the telephone which would enable her to get in touch with all her collaborators. She runs a center for public aid that teaches a million South Africans to make their rights that were obtained so (...)
The G-8 meeting where the most industrialized countries were gathered takes place two months before the World Summit of New York in which the leaders from the countries of the U.N. will meet to make decisions about the situation, security and dignity of all human beings. Five years ago, leaders from all over the world approved the Millennium Declaration that provided perspectives for progress, whose conception was further argued at Monterrey and Johannesburg Summits in 2002.
We know what (...)
On June 12, The Observer announced in a headline: “Relieved 55 billions from Africa’s debt”, “a victory for millions of people”. This last quotation is of Bob Geldof. This time, the Irish singer reaffirmed: “Tomorrow 280 million Africans will wake up without owing us any penny for the first time in their lives.” The nonsense of this would have been breathtaking if it had not been continuously repeated by Geldof, Bono, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, The Observer and company.
The African tragedy has (...)
I think Europe is closer to chaos than the United States. I do not make long term statements; I am Keynesian. In the long run, we will die, that was what he used to say. Anyway, in a short run, the United States has built a strong State. A group of radicals or extremists have taken control of the country. They did it first with the Republican Party, thus hampering the American democracy. The extremists confiscated the Congress and presidency, and now they are confiscating justice, thus (...)
Unknown to the French, lawyer Christine Lagarde became the Foreign Trade Minister of the government of Dominique de Villepin. Only a few years ago, she was defending the interests of US multinationals to the detriment of French companies. Her political positions perfectly match her status as a member of the CSIS, the think tank of the oil lobby in the United States.
We do not celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate Russia’s Day: a holyday. Our independence must not be questioned, nobody does. Fifteen years ago now, we lived in a sovereign State, quite a short time for a country like ours. A border separates us from Ukraine, but we are together like good neighbors, like bride and groom. That’s how we must think.
We must learn to live together and resolve our problems. We are eternal partners, just as Yushchenko said. May nobody doubt about it. A (...)
I thank everyone here. Welcome to the White House. I want to express my gratitude to the five presidents who are with us today: President Mogae of Botswana, President Kufuor of Ghana, President Guebuza of Mozambique, President Pohamba of Namibia and President Tandja of Niger, five great patriots, democrats and friends.
All the presidents gathered here represent countries that have organized democratic elections this year. What a great assertion of how important democracy is for the (...)
Genocides (two in ten years), wars and insurgencies have distressed Africa since the days of hope for independence. Today, the Jihad combatants multiply in that continent. They are in two oil-producing countries (Nigeria and Algeria). Out of 400 foreign combatants captured in Iraq, 35% came from Africa.
Economically paralysed, many African countries lose grounds. This led Tony Blair to turn Africa into the focus of the British chairmanship of the G-8. Twenty-eight million Africans have (...)
Different reports from experts who are examining the blights on Africa showed similar conclusions: Africa needs more investments to combat hunger, poverty and disease, and these investments should be mainly financed by the rich countries. Europe has begun to do it but the United States should follow this action. Yet, the White House is reluctant. The investment priorities in Africa are in four areas:
Health, major problem in Africa since the continent must fight AIDS, malaria and other (...)
A year ago, when I suggested Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to establish a Commission for Africa, I expected in secret a political success, open up a public debate about the greatest problem of our time. The success or failure of our efforts greatly would depend upon the will and capacity of the African governments to rule effectively and tackle corruption.
The debate about this matter had extraordinary proportions and went on during the G-7 meeting. The national discussion allowed to define (...)
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