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Year 2001 Number 18, January 31, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Militant Anti-Davos Protests in Switzerland

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Militant Anti-Davos Protests in Switzerland

Protesters against Globalisation March in Brazil

Anti-Davos Group and Brazilian Farmers Storm Monsanto

Editorial:
The Movement against Globalisation

For Your Reference:
About the WEF Annual Meeting

For Your Information:
Addressing the Backlash Against Globalisation

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Militant Anti-Davos Protests in Switzerland

Police attacked a protest against the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos on Saturday, January 27, but anti-globalisation protests spread to other Swiss cities.

Four cars were set on fire during protests in Zurich by up to 1,000 demonstrators after police prevented many of them from travelling to Davos. Police responded by firing tear gas and rubber pellets.

Earlier, several hundred demonstrators had defied a ban on protests in Davos and a strict police crackdown to travel to the ski resort. When demonstrators marched toward the heavily fortified compound where the forum meets, a huge force of riot police, who sealed off the street with barricades, vehicles and a water cannon vehicle, confronted them. Police surrounded about 200 protesters – some carrying signs saying "Justice, Not Profits" – and ordered them to disperse before deploying the water cannons.

Swiss police mounted their biggest security operation in decades to try to prevent protesters from disrupting the conference. Swiss authorities had stopped suspected demonstrators travelling to Davos and turned back more than 100 people at the Swiss border.

"Davos has become a 'fortress' with ominous consequences for the future of global dialogue," several of the groups attending the conference said in a statement. They said their participation in future forums would depend on the organisers' willingness to support peaceful gatherings on the streets.

Claude Smadja, managing director of the World Economic Forum, defended the authorities' tough response. "They decided to break the law. They have to assume the consequences," he said.

In Berne, police detained two people after a group of about 100 demonstrators against the World Economic Forum threw bottles and stones and damaged parked cars.

In Landquart, in the flatlands below Davos, police used teargas to break up about 300 demonstrators who had been prevented from heading for Davos. They briefly blocked the tracks before boarding a train for Zurich. Others staged a sit-down protest on a local highway.

In Geneva, about 200 demonstrators tried to get into the World Trade Organisation’s headquarters. When prevented, they spray-painted anti-WTO slogans on the walls of the building, a WTO spokesman said.

Article Index



Protesters against Globalisation March in Brazil

Thousands of protesters against globalisation from around the world took to the streets in Brazil on January 25 in getting under way a five-day ``Anti-Davos'' summit to counter the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Activists from 120 different countries and 1,000 organisations converged on Porto Alegre, the capital of the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, to protest against the neo-liberal economic policies being promoted at Davos.

Among other issues, the World Social Forum debated alternatives to debt relief programs, fiscal adjustment agreements backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and free trade accords, and raised environmental and human rights concerns.

Article Index



Anti-Davos Group and Brazilian Farmers Storm Monsanto

More than 1,000 poor Brazilian farmers and activists from the international ``Anti-Davos'' summit, stormed a US-based Monsanto biotech plant and threatened last Friday to camp out indefinitely to protest against genetically modified (GM) food.

Some 1,200 workers from the Landless Workers Movement (MST) invaded the unit owned by the life sciences multinational. The protest was timed to coincide with a summit in Brazil countering the Davos World Economic Forum.

The World Social Forum in Porto Alegre is being attended by 10,000 people opposed to globalisation. The activists attending the ``Anti-Davos'' forum condemned GM food along with a wide range of neo-liberal policies that have deepened the divide between the rich and poor.

The World Social Forum is being addressed by Nobel prize winning Portuguese writer Jose Saramago, former French first lady Daniele Mitterrand, East Timor freedom fighter Taur Matan Ruak and MST leader Joao Pedro Stedile.

Brazil is practically the only country to ban the commercial planting, importing or sale of GM food, but the country does allow research.

Article Index



Editorial

The Movement against Globalisation

The movement against globalisation which was manifested at the World Trade Organisation's Ministerial Conference in Seattle in December, 1999, and at last year's World Bank-IMF meeting in Prague, as well as other demonstrations, has also been forcefully represented at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This opposition against globalisation and the neo-liberal agenda had also been directed against MAI, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and had been a factor in that Agreement never being concluded.

Under this agenda of the international financial oligarchy and the multinational corporations, the immense disparities between the developed and developing countries have not only continued to increase but the pace of the divide has accelerated. The movement against this agenda in the developing countries has begun to take the form of the demand that the marginalisation of these countries from world affairs be ended, and that the world order represented by globalisation, under which the divide between "north and south" is so glaring, be replaced by a democratic world order in which all countries have an equal voice on the global stage and that the developed countries make reparations for the damage they have done in the economic, political and social and cultural spheres. In the developed countries, it is taking the form, not only of opposition to the intervention of the developed countries in the affairs of others, but also is addressing the problem of democracy at home and why the people are alienated from political power.

In developed countries, states which hold to the values of the Paris Charter of 1990, the problem of democracy is reaching critical proportions because governments can be seen not to represent the people, but instead do the bidding of the multinational corporations and champion the agenda of big business. The rules of international trade are being rewritten to favour the unfettered expansion of finance capital, abandoning national social and environmental goals. The law of supra-national bodies such as the WTO and the EU often overrides national law. Norms which defend the rights of the workers and protect the environment are undermined in the interests of becoming competitive in the global marketplace. The rich demand tribute from the whole society, and governments are put in their service, giving rise to the anti-social offensive and the destruction of the environment.

In both developed and developing countries, the people are concerned that multinational corporations are destroying whole cultures and in the name of tolerance are dividing the polity on the basis of nationality and other grounds, while the big powers are intervening abroad to impose their values and incite ethnic divisions.

In these circumstances, the movement against globalisation is growing, as is the disillusion with the national and international institutions which embody this agenda, as well as with the monopoly-controlled media which spread disinformation. People are demanding a say against the agenda of the multinational corporations and the financial markets.

The governments of the imperialist powers and the developed countries are seeking to put into place new arrangements which deal with contemporary reality of globalisation, and are providing justifications in terms of new methods of interaction between governments, civic society and large corporations at international level. It is being argued in the face of the anti-globalisation movement that NGOs, as representatives of civil society, might take a more direct role in international institutions, such as the WTO.

However, while the governments are evolving new arrangements, they are exacerbating the crisis of representative democracy by having these arrangements underpin the situation where they claim that the government has a mandate given to them by elections to represent the national interest. They deny the people their right of decision-making and assert that the political executive must alone have the right to balance the interests of "producers and consumers". At the same time, these governments demand that to be allowed to participate in the international forums, the governments of the developing countries must accept the globalisation agenda, accept the penetration of their countries in the name of bridging the "digital divide", and accept that the basis of these forums continues to be competitiveness in the global market.

The fact that the valid concerns of the movement against globalisation are not being addressed by governments is exacerbating the crisis of representative democracy. The reality that these governments are either powerless or the instrument of the international financial oligarchy is becoming more and more exposed, as are the relevant strategies of these governments of reliance on inward and outward investment and compromising the sovereignty of their countries in the face of international blocs and institutions. These strategies are removing all the fetters to the unrestricted ability of the international financial oligarchy and the multinationals based in the various developed countries to exploit the human and material resources of the world and move capital as and when they desire.

Article Index



For Your Reference:

About the WEF Annual Meeting

Over the years the Annual Meeting of the members of the World Economic Forum in Davos has become the world summit dealing with global business issues. At the Annual Meeting, 1,000 business leaders, 250 political leaders, 250 academic experts, and some 250 media leaders come together to discuss the global agenda and address what they regard as the key economic, political and societal issues.

Each year, major initiatives are launched during the Annual Meeting which are said to go beyond the purely business realm. For instance, the 1996 Annual Meeting theme, "Sustaining Globalisation" set in motion the debate on the impact and implications of the process of globalisation.

In the context of the Annual Meeting, a number of constituent groups meet privately, among them the 13 existing governors groups comprised of the top executives of the most important companies in key sectors of the world's economy.

The Annual Meeting is an environment for business networking and for the exchange of first-hand information on the latest trends in business, management, culture, and economic and political domains. Thousands of private discussions take place, in addition to the official sessions where Foundation Members, Constituents and other participants pursue business opportunities, deal with international relations and socio-political processes, and forge global partnerships and alliances.

A Brief History of the Annual Meeting

During the period from 1991-2001, the Foundation focused their agenda on the following themes:

1991 - The new direction for global leadership

1992 - Global co-operation and megacompetition

1993 - Rallying all the forces for global recovery

1994 - Redefining the basic assumptions of the world economy

1995 - Challenges beyond growth

1996 - Sustaining globalisation

1997 - Building the Network Society

1998 - Priorities for the 21st Century

1999 - Managing the impact of globalisation

2000 - New Beginnings: Making a Difference

2001 - Sustaining Growth and Bridging the Divides: A Framework for Our Global Future

Agenda of Davos 2001

The themes and issues of key sessions are given below:

25 January

How Can Globalisation Deliver the Goods: The View from the South

What are the critical issues that need to be addressed in order for globalisation to meet the expectations of the southern hemisphere?

26 January

The Shape of the 21st Century Corporation

How do new technologies affect the way we work and the way corporations interact with their clients, partners and customers?

27 January

The Corporation and the Public: Open for Inspection

What changes are necessary to regain the public's confidence in corporations and to allay fears about corporate power?

28 January

Addressing the Backlash Against Globalisation

How can we address fears about globalisation and respond to the backlash in a constructive and meaningful way?

29 January

Seizing the Global Digital Opportunity

What practical measures must be taken in order to turn the global digital divide into a digital opportunity?

30 January

Business & NGOs: From Diatribe to Dialogue

This session will build on the initial results of an initiative launched by the World Economic Forum inviting representatives from major companies and influential NGOs to identify possible areas for a more constructive dialogue.

30 January

Can Technology Alleviate Poverty?

The IT revolution on its own will not improve living standards. Which technologies are best suited for helping people escape poverty? Who should be responsible for the technology transfer?

(Source: Website of the World Economic Forum –http://www.weforum.org)

Article Index



For Your Information:

Addressing the Backlash Against Globalisation

Quotes from the session

"It cannot not be a global world. It is a world in which we are coming together. The forces of globalisation are there ...

"We should not, in my judgement, come up with a simple reaction that globalisation is the problem. The problem is democracy. The problem is rights. The problem is equality. The problem is equity." -- James D. Wolfensohn, President, World Bank, Washington DC

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"When people say 'globalisation,' what we see in that global world is a world that is divided into two--there is a structural fault in it, a structural fault of poverty.

"On one side of that fault are the powerful and the wealthy. On the other side of that structural fault are the powerless and the poor." -- Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa

Selected comments and questions

"Globalisation is good, why are you opposed to globalisation?" is the typical straw-horse created by PR hacks interested primarily in smearing their opposition. You know perfectly well that the opponents of CORPORATE-DOMINATED globalisation are not opponents of globalisation. They are opponents of a variety of globalisation in which power is disproportionately allocated to non-human corporate institutions instead of humans and their democratic representatives. This - By the way is the definition of the ANTI-corporate citizenship movement. Corporations are not and cannot become citizens -- they aren't even human. Please see <www.POCLAD.org>. What the proponents of fair-trade rather than free-trade are saying is that the process of globalisation, which began millennia ago, must be lead by people in grassroots community institutions, not in foreign-dominated anti-social institutions like Exxon or the WEF. --Raul, 'aiea, hawai'i nei

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For me, globalisation", (in the way that our leaders understand) has only made bigger the distance between the ones who have all and the others (of course the majority) who have nothing. -- Marcial, Pachuca, Mexico

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As Africans, it is imperative that we rally behind the African Renaissance Agenda in order to strengthen our economic capacity as a continent so that we could be in a position to contend with the daunting challenges of international competitiveness which the comes along with the process of globalisation. Africa is rich, yet so poor. This unfortunate state of affairs must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The only way to address this problem is to build our economic capacity so that we could influence the process of globalisation to our advantage. -- MH, Pretoria, South Africa

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But globalisation is kind of a force of nature at this point. Trade and communications are making the intermingling of cultures and economies inevitable. How our political leaders react to this will affect whether this force of nature ends up being a good thing or a bad thing. If they use this as an opportunity to address issues of poverty, environmental decay, etc. in a positive way, the world will be better for it. If they act cynically to promote their perceived "national interest," or worse, sit on the sidelines and let corporations run amuck, we'll be in BIG trouble. -- James, Detroit, USA

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I think we need to be aware of globalisation and its impact on regional community values and the control of information pipelines. In addition to discussing the immediate future of the worlds underclass (the next 20 years of globalisation), we also need to recognise the affects of globalisation and what it means to the future of world population during the next 200 years. -- Adam, Los Angeles, USA

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Globalisation is just another term for the continual plundering of the southern nations especially Africa by the all-powerful north and the dollarisation of the world economy. Until issues such as the globalisation of the source of wealth of western nations (the stock exchange) are opened to all inhabitants of the globe until it is possible for an investor in Kenya to buy shares in Microsoft paid for in Kenyan shillings and therefore be able to participate in the in the creation of wealth, nothing much is going to change until Nokia are prepared to build plants in Ghana to supply phones to the locals, until De Beers are prepared to start cutting and selling its diamonds in Angola, and Dupont site its next plant in Nigeria until Novartis is prepared to build its next 100 million dollars research facility in the Congo basin working hand in hand with its last 100 million dollar facility in Cambridge, and the Bank of England is prepared to step in and buy naira to stop its fall, the divide is just going to get greater . -- Akin, Lagos, Nigeria

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Globalisation is a process whereby those people who benefit from it will be asked to withhold, if not to withdraw from, their intrinsic emotional values, and the point is this is perceived increasingly at home, where no one expects to have extraordinary. The question is whether and how we can come at terms with this virtual cultural shock at home, like watching Economic Forum in Davos through Internet. -- Togo, Yokohama, Japan

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"Globalisation", in my view, does not sound as universal as 'humanity' and 'brotherhood of nations'. It sounds more of a war cry of the global 'bigwigs' who need a bigger platform or playing field to reap the benefits from the 'economy of scales'. -- Sayed, Singapore

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What is the immediate action that the Latin American, specifically, the Mexican government will take in order to improve the current situation in which poverty, as the official statistics show differently, is increasing. Inflation is causing public discontent and this threatens to bring trust in the economy to a down point. The General Public is not investing in banks, because there is no money left after paying extraordinary prices for a kilogram of tortillas and beans. How, Mr. Fox, will you solve the problem? Will you keep the promises you made to our people? -- Daniel, Tijuana, Mexico

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Perhaps if you allowed the people of the world to control their own destinies, through their democratically elected governments, free from coercion by wealthy business interests, those concerns would be allayed. Are your goals to improve the economic situation of the wealthy corporations alone, or of the whole world? -- Ben, Cliff Island, USA

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It is high time to understand that the promotion of globalisation has only one aim -- economical globalisation. It has nothing to do with the cultural, intellectual globalisation. However, the last one happens IN SPITE OF the efforts of the multinational corporations to commercialise the process! -- Asparouh, Sofia, Bulgaria

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How do you defend globalisation when it is based on ideology, the idea that GDP=Progress? ... Our institutions are a measure of the sum total of the integrity of those who make them up...and the procedures they allow to operate...Silence is compliance. -- Freda, Oakland, USA

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Why do only a few huge corporations who dominate the market around the world tell people what to do, what to wear and what to say? Why can't personal needs be respected? Why do those who are not part of the system have to be considered against it? -- Debora, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Tearing down trading barriers has been a main driver for that what we call globalisation, imposing at the same time economical transparency and competition between different political and social systems. How do we expect the "market for political systems" to develop, and what is the level of government intervention we would like to accept in order to increase the "global GDP"? -- Michael, Zurich, Switzerland

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What is the much talked about human face of globalisation? -- M.P. Singh, Chandigarh, India

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I am of Indian origin, now a Norwegian citizen, work for an American consultancy and work in Europe. I see and experience the benefit of Globalisation, BUT, somehow I feel that globalisation has not contributed to improving the state of the world -- only from a purely capitalistic perspective. What about social responsibility? -- Francis, Oslo, Norway

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Why are the WEF and WTO meetings held in such secrecy with such a heavy and violent police presence? Why are they held at all, with public opinion so vocally opposed to them? What can you possibly achieve, other than furthering your own interests and ignoring the needs of anybody other than yourself? The UN estimates it would take about $41 billion to provide access to clean water, decent healthcare and education worldwide, we have that much money, let's use it before it's too late -- Chris, London, UK

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Mr. Kofi Annan has said in one of his speeches that the so-called globalisation is nothing but a scandal. Why there is no serious response to his statement and why the UN does not actively work against globalisation if this is the view of it's Secretary General? Why the UN does not openly support those who are protesting against the globalisation? -- G.D. Jasuja, Ahmedabad, India

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Forget about measuring and promoting national competitiveness, and start focusing on how local governments can be effective in promoting the right environment in their communities, for small and medium enterprises with a global orientation to succeed. Think about the power of a network of local governments sharing information and competing to attract new investments to their communities in a healthy and organised manner, with the "Big Brother" central government out of the microeconomic decision-making. Can you imagine the power of a cluster of small and medium enterprises closely linked between them, and with suppliers and customers around the world along the value-chain, through information technology??? A way to address the backlash against globalisation is clearly to empower more and more networks of local governments and their communities, so as to allow the old saying " think globally, act locally" to really work. -- José, Lima, Peru

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The NGOs and the grassroots groups that protest against the globalisation, at a certain extent, have not realised yet that they are making use of the visible benefits of the process they are trying to "stop." Paradoxically, they are protesting against an issue that they are users.

It would be worth observing how those who do not accept the process as well as the progress of globalisation make use of its benefits. If we consider these ONGs [NGOs] as companies, which are all over the world keeping their primary objectives in sight, we will have to accept that they are part of the globalised world. We cannot deny that they are everywhere, their mottoes are advertised in hoardings, on television and on the radio (is communication not a child of globalisation?), their ideas are spread over the Internet (is not Internet a synonym to globalisation?), their "CEOs" travel long distances to attend international conferences (this is so common nowadays because of the globalisation), to name but a few.

My point here is not to tear ONGs [NGOs] down, but to show that they are indeed part of the globalised world; they do make use of the benefits of globalisation.

Bearing this in mind we are obliged to ask a few questions:

1) How do they make use of these benefits?

2) Can we learn with them?

3) What is globalisation in their point of view?

4) How to work together both (theirs and yours) points of view?

We are all aware that the world is undergoing a critical momentum. Poverty, wars, famine, lack of water in some countries and other issues are older and they have to be solved in the present as well as in the near future. Thus, the huge organisations around the world -- ONGs [NGOs], UN, WEF, WTO, etc. -- have to work together, learn with each other and putting an end to violent or peaceful demonstrations which just make those without opinions furious and involved in issues that they know nothing about. -- Denilso, Porto Velho, Brazil

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If globalisation will result in a global market, how are global market failures going to be addressed? - Windy, London, UK

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The industrialised world under the banner of globalisation is exploiting the world greedily to satisfy its own citizens and even to a limited extent a few greedy shareholders and owners of multinational corporations who will never be able to enjoy all their wealth even in a 100 lifetimes. Meanwhile the rest of the world continues to suffer. The same reasons been expunged today for globalisation, were the same reasons used years ago to justify the transatlantic slave trade, the extermination of the native Americans in North America, the exploitation of natural resources and people in India, Africa and elsewhere. One would think that with all the sophistication and technology humankind would have moved on. We have not...the wars will continue and the privileged will continue to work hard and sleep in fear.... -- Akwasi, Accra, Ghana

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Why is it that these extremist anti-globalisation groups wake up and get on board. While they do present difficult, and challenging questions. They must have faith that these challenges can be met. They have made public their concerns about the west being empathetic, to countries in the southern hemisphere. I don't speak for all Americans by any means. But I am ready and I believe many other Americans are as well. Just put the plan in place, and the American politicians will fall to public opinion. With the many problems we have in the world, and the many we will face as we head into the new millennium. Surely we will need global co-operation, to answer the many global issues present and future. So, why not global governance? We all share the same planet. So we all must bear the burden for our children, and theirs'. From this person's perspective nationalism is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" meant to suck us into loyalty, and promote violence and wars. Peace and equality for all mankind at any cost. Maybe a battle cry for the New World Order which surely must come to achieve this great dream. -- Derrick, USA

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Is it really globalisation of business and commerce an answer to earth's problems? Since commerce and business are our inventions, why do we have to be dependent upon our own ideas? Is it my idea, or am I my idea's slave? If the world crisis is not a political, religious, commercial one, why don't the leaders focus their sight towards the real origin of this crisis? Do world's people need a new kind of leaders? If this is so, What kind of leader would that be? Do deep concepts such as love, brotherhood, light, consciousness; of phrases like: "Let the Light, and the Love and the Power, restore the Plan on Earth" have anything to do with real globalisation? Wouldn't be better to globalise in the first place understanding, peace, brotherhood of man, and in the second place -which is its real place-, commerce, politics, religion etc? -- Federico, Guadalajara, Mexico

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At the end of the day, Globalisation will happen, you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. The only question is in what form. I would encourage all sides to work together to achieve acceptable solutions. I would all encourage those willing to comprise on both sides to take the lead. The zealots will never add anything but hate and misunderstanding to the efforts, lest someone might look to them to explain their position. -- Kevin, Denver, USA

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I have absolutely no doubts that globalisation - in the absence of mechanisms to protect the weaker economies - will result in a wider gap between rich and poor, and will only benefit the multinational corporations. I defy anyone to prove I am wrong. -- Nuno, Lisbon, Portugal

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Globalisation tries to set a level playing field; however, the playing field will never be level, because of geography, English as the dominant language and the wide disparity in education. If globalisation is ever to work, it must start with certain fundamental understandings, regarding the underpinning requirements for economic growth and prosperity. It cannot just rely on some two bit French philosopher and his 'laissez-faire'. -- Brian, Toronto, Canada

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We are sick of hearing the lies; we want action that really counts. We want the exploitation to end, we want companies to stop obstructing efforts to end such crises as climate change, and to STOP trying to turn everything into their personal profits at the expense of our health, welfare and planet. -- Debbie, Prague, Czech Republic

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My wish is that the Forum educates all of US that "A strong Africa especially in economic terms is good for Africa and its partners." To have a strong Africa requires that we all support the Concept of co-responsibility for African debt that is the external debt of Africa is a shared responsibility between debtors and creditors. Hence, it is proposed to enter this concept in an international law and to establish an international "economic" court where hearings between the opposing parties will be held in view of settling the external debts of Africa. All the debts owed by Africa should be paid under the proposed cost-sharing arrangement. In this way, African leaders and people will recover their dignity and credit worthiness. -- Niang, Addis Abba, Ethiopia

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What we need is new methods of measuring prosperity and corresponding economic goals. World economic health is NOT measured in corporate profits and consumer dollars spent. We WILL come to a world wide disaster if structure our laws and policies so that our economy will grow at an increasingly larger rate. This we know in our hearts, and this calls us out into the streets. Plan for the future generations, and judge ourselves on what we have done for the poorest. -- Eric, Boone, USA

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There is no way that the ideology of the free market will take hold among the peoples of the world when it causes so much misery for so many - with any luck, the WEF prediction of the possible derailment of globalisation will succeed. -- Jason, Seattle, USA

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Economies undergo a continuous process of "creative destructionism", as Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter once noted. Globalisation is just such a process. Trade and investment liberalisation along with technological innovation have had unsettling consequences for some (the vocal minority), but they have lifted more people out of poverty in the last five decades than any other man-made device. -- Jay, Seattle, USA

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Why do some of NGOs' invited people pass to the opponent side? Perhaps because nobody listen to them during sessions.... -- Rudy, Lausanne, Switzerland

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I have been curious about one very basic thing about globalisation for quite some time. As an employee of the world’s largest aluminium producer the term "global economy" is nothing new to me. For probably the last ten to fifteen years now it has been preached to us that to remain competitive we must think "global." For the last 200 plus years the U.S. has been concerned pretty much with its own economy and the well being of its own people as has been the rest of the world in its own way, most of it for much longer. Now we are being told that mostly due to technology if we are to survive and/or maintain at the very least our current level of prosperity we must think globally. I must ask, after the world has been "globalised" by the corporate world, then what? What will then be the next conquest for the greedy corporate leaders of the world? -- Larry, LeClaire, USA

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While the notion of Globalisation and its peripheral economic benefits are widely heralded as being in the "best interest" of both industrialised and third world citizenry, I can't help but find it extremely hard to accept it as true. Especially, when my own country (a leader in this initiative and one of the richest in the world) has over 1,000,000 people, including children, that are still homeless and hungry. How can this be? Is this what globalisation means: neglect at home?

Globalisation is not being perceived as simply an expected pain associated with transition from a national economy to a global one. It is being perceived as neglect on the home front. If I were to let my own family go hungry while I tried to convince the world that I knew how to solve their problems; would you believe me or criticise me as being delusional and negligent?

I think the above epitomises a major reason for the "Backlash Against Globalisation". In a world of transparency and instant information, how can any rational person be expected to believe that globalisation is good for all, when everyday they walk past a mother and her child begging for food money on the streets of the richest country in the world?

A wise person once said, "If a man cannot be trusted with little, how can he be trusted with a lot". If the richest nation in the world cannot feed and house it's own population; how can anyone expect others to believe that they know how to feed the entire world? -- Lee, Phoenix, USA

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Globalisation is not just an economic issue. It also has a social, cultural and political dimension. The NGOs that are protesting against Globalisation are also its main beneficiaries. Without the advent of Internet and other forms of advanced communications, which are the main drivers of globalisation, these NGOs would be incapable of attracting attention to their causes.

The people who protest against Globalisation should come forward with a reasonable and viable alternative. I don't think they have one, however. The fact that I am able to participate in this session by Internet is an example of everything that's right about globalisation. -- Orlando, Madrid, Spain

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This is a comment on the "Cherry Picking" of highly qualified professionals from the developing countries by the developed countries like the US or Germany or Canada etc. by adjusting their immigration rules. This is a phenomenon by which the developed countries gets the 'brain' out of the developing nations for furthering their self interest and without any contribution to the interest of the developing nations at all. I would appreciate if this forum in Davos comes up with a model which deals with this "one-sided", utterly "self-interest seeking" policy of the developed nations. I suggest as a compensation the developed nations should pick, as a rule, twice as much the "potatoes" as they pick the "cherries". This shall expand the job market for people in developed nations in those sectors where unemployment / under-employment is a problem. The developed nations should learn to give as well. -- Tanmoy, Stuttgart, Germany

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Democratic participation in this very forum would be a good place to start. Before you address "bringing the 'rest' of the world into the information revolution", you might want to address the fact that much of it is yet to experience the indoor plumbing, electrical, and refrigeration revolutions. We've had the needs of Capital substituted for the needs of people for far too long. The louder the voices get outside the "gates" of Davos, and the higher the barbed-wire protecting you from them rises, the more you should try to understand this. -- Jason, Brooklyn, USA

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Unfortunately, the actual globalisation means to explore the work and natural sources in a global form and, in other hand, to monopolise the profits.

There is not how to defend this policy. - R., Porto Alegre, Brazil

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What is meant by Globalisation? If it is means increased speed of global trade e.g. "trading by the wire or even wireless " instead of the old conventional means, we have not learned much from the old millennium where the Northern has been exploiting the Southern half of the globe prospering only the few. The only difference is the speed at which it will be done and globalisation could easily end up in a new form of colonisation only this time via technology instead of force. If it means entering into a new global partnership between the North and the South with the aim of equal sharing of the economic benefits and with coaching, education, infrastructure and environment getting same level of attention as economics we can be more optimistic about the world entering a complete new millennium with the chance of greater prosperity for all and globalisation should be permanently on the agenda of both politicians as well as industry. -- Piet, Cobham, UK

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What pressure will the World Economic Forum apply on ALL governments to ensure that land is brought into use to help economic development in transition and developing economies as soon as possible and share wealth amongst the poor? -- Robert, London, UK

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As far as I am concerned the world forum and this Globalisation thing is nothing but gathering of few fat cats who are swimming in money and who are trying to find new ways of breaking barriers of other countries in order to destroy the local economy so that they can sell more and pocket the profits. They are looking for Carte Blanche allowing them to do whatever they want to do without ever being questioned because they have already bought the cheap politicians. Those politicians who put car salesmen to shame. -- You can't fool me, Washington, USA

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It is one thing to allow free imports that do not affect ones basic interests or an item which is not produced locally and it will be maximum benefit to the consumer. But imports that threaten a nation's economic viability are of no help in globalisation. -- Satish, Kottayam, India

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(Source: Website of the World Economic Forum – http://www.weforum.org)

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