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From clore@columbia-center.org Thu May 17 07:22:38 2001
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 22:58:37 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: The Soylent Green Party
From: Clore Daniel C <clore@columbia-center.org>
Subject: [smygo] Third World Suffers Demo Backlash
Article: 120064
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Third World suffers demo backlash: CBC

By Leon Gettler, The Age, Monday 14 May 2001

The thousands of anti-capitalist protesters who took over Quebec last month and their predecessors in Seattle, Prague and Melbourne can claim another victory.

Mohan Kaul, the director-general of the Commonwealth Business Council, says Third World politicians are now more inclined to blame their problems on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund than on their own mismanagement and ill-conceived policies.

He says the anti-globalisation backlash has not only polarised the debate, it has also failed to advance the cause of the world's poor by creating a situation where developing countries have become even more alienated.

By shifting the blame, he said, politicians in those countries were just tightening their grip on power by keeping their constituencies in the dark.

The demonstrations may have played a role in Seattle but now it's become counterproductive, Dr Kaul said.

It's not really addressing solutions for the issues that they were raising. These issues have to be debated inside, rather than outside on the street. The debate has to move on through dialogue with the developing countries.

The demonstrations are now definitely becoming counter-productive. The longer they delay the participation of developing countries (the less) development will take place and little investment will flow in.

While Dr Kaul conceded the problem with globalisation was that its much-vaunted benefits had never been global, he insisted the Commonwealth Business Council was well-positioned to address that divide.

The Commonwealth not only includes some of the wealthiest and poorest countries in the world - it also represents about 40 per cent of World Trade Organisation membership and its 54 member nations belong to other trade blocs such as ASEAN and NAFTA. At the same time, businesses and organisations in the 54 Commonwealth nations generate 22 per cent of world trade, adding up to a staggering $US2 trillion ($A3.8 trillion) annually. Investment outflows from the Commonwealth last year exceeded those from the US.

Developing a consultative approach and a common platform for globalisation would be one of the issues on the agenda when the Commonwealth Business Forum met in Melbourne in October, Dr Kaul said.

The summit will be on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Brisbane. Politicians, business leaders from the UK, Canada, India, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and Australia, regulators, trade groups, and academics would be there. Because the member nations shared common ground, and because the US and Japan were not in the picture, there was less of a north-south divide. Countries that are not seen as domineering can play a constructive role by engaging developing countries, Dr Kaul said.

Countries like Australia and Canada now have a bigger role to play than ever before. Unless they do that, globalisation will go just one way, the US companies will dominate along with the US Government and that may not be a good thing for the whole world.