The WTO Fiasco

An inevitable consequence of Globalisation has been the globalised protests by common people at the venues of highly publicised economic summits, beginning with the Seattle round of talks of the World Trade Organisation to the Group-8 meet at Genoa, Italy. These protesters have been attacked by security forces with clubs, water cannons, rubber bullets or even actual bullets. Yet the protests have tended to overshadow the outcomes of the actual summits. Some say that the recent plan to hold the next round of WTO talks in Doha, Qatar, has been made to avoid the scenes of protests that have dominated the television images.

But what are these protesters clamouring for? Have not they been told over and over again by marketeer economists that they live in a world, which has never been as prosperous as it is today? Has it not been dinned into their ears that more free trade meant more jobs and, in turn, more money? Obviously, the protesters who belong mostly to the affluent West have not seen the results of those postulates in the past decade. In fact, they have watched as the gulf between the rich and the poor in their societies have enlarged beyond imagination. Inequality in advanced capitalist societies have grown even as individual governments have failed to intervene in favour of the poor.

This has driven one message home: and that is, the rules of liberalised trade in a globalised economies are framed by the Trans National Corporations (TNCs), for their own enrichment and skewed against the majority population. The people have passively seen the steady erosion of the role of the government. They have mutely viewed the surrender of the state apparatus to the overarching interests of the commercial corporates. And they have helplessly suffered the consequences of the withdrawal of mechanisms for providing social safety nets.

We at Naya Ishtahar in India intend to go beyond the jargons, the slogans and want to examine the phenomenon in its true ramification. We want integrate ourselves with the protest groups in other places about the programmes of action. And we intend to bring out a publication focussing on the WTO’s role in fostering these inequalities. Please do contact us at the following: