"Which side are you
A large majority of Americans think we should proceed
full throttle with the process of globalization, according
to a poll conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program
on International Policy Attitudes.
A large number of very thoughtful Americans have taken
to the streets of the nation’s capital to protest the
globalizing direction of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.
Are these fine folks positioned on opposite sides of
the barricades? Or could it be that they’re actually one
and the same group of people?
I suspect they are. And this identity may promote a
search for solutions to the world’s rapidly escalating
economic mess, suggests national affairs correspondent
William Greider in the April 24 issue of the Nation.
The organizations under fire came into being during the
financial crisis at the end of World War II. And indeed,
they did bring order out of chaos. It was only later that,
egged on by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S.
banking world, the overseeing organizations swelled up
like Jabba the Hutt, waddling determinedly into every
economic crisis with the same admonition:
Now once again economic chaos threatens. The United
States, as master importer to the world, owes foreign
creditors something like 20 percent of its Gross Domestic
Product, Greider reports in another article dated April
10. Sounds like this country’s charge card is nearing
its credit limit. If it goes over, we’re going to have
to do something to shore up our own shaky economy.
One modest proposal emerges from the desk of Jane D’Arista,
director of programs at the Financial
Markets Center , a think tank housed in Philomont,
Virginia: transfer the organizations’ present omnipotent
currency-regulating functions to an "International
Clearing Agency," a truly international body that
would make sure currencies stayed within pre-set ratios.
Upon this premise, Greider erects an economic utopia that
begins, "Every nation, rich or poor, conducts foreign
trade in its own currency and, therefore, gains greater
ability to steer its own national economic policies.
Where do the globalization-loving subjects of the PIPA
poll come in? Unlike the mother-knows-best masterminds at
IMF, most of them saw globalization as interconnectedness:
"It means we've become a more global society,
economically and politically, so decisions being made here
affect other areas, and other governments' decisions
affect us." They tended to take seriously the
globalizers’ promise that democratic institutions would
flow easily from a worldwide marketplace, and they
insisted that environmental, labor, and human rights
safeguards must be a part of the international trade
All over the country — all over the world — they’re
beginning to choose sides. With a little luck and a lot of
pressure, the big guys may be the odd men out.