O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

quinta-feira, outubro 23, 2003

O Perigo Anti-Globalista

Johan Norberg publicou ontem no WSJ um artigo em que alerta para o perigo de não se levar a sério (ie combater) as falácias lançadas pelos anti-globalistas.

People and politicians in general get their knowledge from the media, not from university economic departments. And if the media is filled with the likes of Naomi Klein, John Pilger and Ralph Nader every day, the public will come to share their perspective. Anti-capitalist NGOs have already given politicians an excuse to ban genetically modified organisms, they have given intellectual property rights a bad name and they regularly humiliate corporations, which all too often react to public criticism by quickly apologizing for doing what all companies should do, try to make money.

Anti-capitalist NGOs also contributed in their way to the collapse of the WTO talks in Cancun. They had helped to radicalize developing countries so that in the end officials from these countries refused to offer lower tariffs on manufactured goods in exchange for agricultural liberalization. Slowly but steadily these groups gain a bigger influence in--and more resources from--institutions like the U.N. and the World Bank. In these institutions? headquarters you can nowadays count more NGO-activists than employees.


Right now a young generation in its formative years spends its time at seminars or with books that teach them to distrust private enterprise and to believe in the state?s ability to save the world. And they happen to be the best educated students, in the best universities, from the better-off families. They are right now commencing their long march through the institutions. In a few years we will meet them as professors, as politician, as journalists and editors. This is the same process we saw after the student revolts in the late 1960s.

But this is not inevitable. The excitement that we saw over globalization in the 1990s was due in part to the fact that, for the first time in years, a broad public had become interested in the global economy and its effects. That should have been a golden opportunity to explain the complex process that is the market economy. When there was a growing attention to poverty issues, people were willing to listen to the explanation that global poverty and hunger have been reduced faster in the era of globalization than ever before in world history, and that it happened fastest in countries that opened themselves to trade with the outside world.


One of the leading European anti-capitalists, George Monbiot, recently admitted that the protectionism and emphasis on local production he defended in the past would make poor nations even poorer. In time for the WTO-meeting, the British left-wing paper the Guardian started a web site against agricultural subsidies. And the biggest campaign against rich country protectionism and the EU?s common agricultural policy has not been organized by free trade economists, but by the development and relief organization Oxfam. Many traditional anti-globalists have been influenced by that.

The direction in which this movement will go in the future will depend on the extent to which its activists are confronted and forced to be constructive. And that?s important if we are interested in what kind of perspective the young generation is going to be influenced by. As Keynes put it at the end of the General Theory: ?soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.?

posted by Miguel Noronha 7:42 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

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