C O N T E N T S

Introduction
Genesis of the Resolution
The Faults of Globalisation
Goals of the Resolution
Capital Controls
Sustainable Development
Encouraging Democracy
Dialogue on Globalisation
Financial Strategy
Reform of the IMF and the World Bank
Accountability of Transnationals
Reform of International Trade Agreements
Campaign Considerations
Practicalities of the Campaign
We Face Worse Problems
Links
Quotes from Professor Sibnarayan Ray

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THE GLOBAL

SUSTAINABLE

DEVELOPMENT

RESOLUTION

REGAINING DEMOCRACY

THE CAMPAIGN OF THE 21ST CENTURY

NOTE: This talk was first presented in June 1999 to the Humanist Society of South Australia at the Eastwood Community Centre, Adelaide and in September to the South Place Ethical Society, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London. A small change was made to the text to suit the British audience and this is indicated below.

INTRODUCTION

This resolution has been placed before the US Legislature and if passed tells the U.S. government to persuade other governments to change their policies to ensure reform of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, adoption of the Tobin Tax, forgiveness of debt owed by the World's poorest countries by 2000, require global companies to observe labor laws and environment laws and much else which I will detail later.

At present the global company is not answerable to the citizen and it is essential for these policies to be adopted if we are to restore democratic government.

I predict that this will become the campaign of the 21st century, comparable to the great campaigns of the past, anti-slavery, child labour, the 8 hour day, franchise laws etc. Life in western countries would not be worth much today had these reforms not been made, sadly these reforms have not flowed through to third world countries to the extent that they should have done, because these countries are often dictatorships.

The last 25 years have shown a serious deterioration in the state of the world and the state of most nations. The previous 25 years had shown a remarkably low unemployment rate and the development of the Welfare State. This was mainly due to the general acceptance of Keynes' advise to create employment by spending money and running a deficit. But the problem of inflation was not solved and Freidmanites, taking advantage of the fact that Global companies could set up shop where labor was cheapest, proceeded to advise companies that they must become more efficient by downsizing, automation, computerization etc. Governments had to de-regulate finance, they had to become small governments with reduced expenditure on everything including health and education.

Inflation has been greatly reduced, but unemployment has been consistently high, many people work longer hours for less pay and are fearful that their job will be eliminated tomorrow. In fact it is said that the total world unemployment today is almost 1 billion people. Since world total population is close to 6 billion including children and aged people, this represents a very high percentage of unemployment and consequent poverty particularly in third world countries. High unemployment means a low demand for products with consequent low incentive for the world economy to improve.

The claims of the economic rationalists, that competition produces prosperity, have not materialised, while we are told in Australia and in America that our economy is doing very well, it is clear that the benefits are going to the rich and none of it trickles down to the poor. The "Eastern Tigers" who were doing very well 3 years ago are now suffering conditions equal to or worse than the great depression in the 30s, and many African and South American Countries which have never seen good economic conditions are even worse off today.

The greatest harm in the last 25 years is the damage done to our democracy, much that has been achieved in the last 200 years has been whittled away, the real power lies with global companies and not with governments. Our politicians, of both major parties, believe that they have to submit to the dictates of the global company, thus our education and health services have become starved of funds, our Public Service has been sold or outsourced for private profit, and the GST (similar to value added tax) will switch more taxes to those less able to afford it.

There are not too many countries in the world which have a good democracy. We need to work at improving our own democracy, otherwise the increasing stress of globalisation and overpopulation may well cause democracy to crash. What is important about a democracy is not the Constitution that we have, whether it is the Westminster system or an American style Presidential system, but the power that we have to select the candidate of our choice and through the candidate the policy we believe to be right, without coercion of any kind (including undue influence from the media or any corporation). The government so elected should have the power to alter any Act it wants to and the next government should be able to reverse that Act if it thinks fit. Sadly we do not see this happening today, in Britain, for example, it is clear that Prime Minister Blair is doing little to change the excesses of Thatcherism and what he is doing appears to use a lot of words with little meaning. In Australia it is clear that both parties appear bound, hand and foot, to follow those policies approved by "the market" with little consideration for the poor and unemployed.

Professor Sibnarayan Ray, from the Commemorative Volume of papers prepared for the International World Congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Mumbai, India 10-14 Jan. 1999 said:-

"Man in his self-centred pursuit of power has over the years created a situation where indiscriminate exploitation and use of the earth's resources today imperils the continued existence not only of modern civilisation but all of life including that of the human species itself. The erosion of the ozone layer which protects all life on earth, the poisoning of air, water and land, the enormous stockpile of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the unparalleled population explosion of the present century, the increasing disparity between the very rich and the very poor, both among and within nations, the enormous concentration of power in the hands of the few and the growing resentment and frustration of the many and the spread of terrorism - to mention only a few of the present scenario - spell nothing short of a global disaster. The spirit of cynicism and amoralism which is widespread today among the educated and the revival of obscurantist and anti-rational faiths among large sections of the population make sustenance of renaissance humanism exceedingly difficult, if not altogether impossible"

(To final quote from Professor Ray)

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Genesis of the Resolution

The Global Sustainable Development resolution has been placed before the Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, by Bernie Sanders the Independent Congressman from Vermont and his co-sponsors Sherrod Brown, Democrat, Ohio; Cynthia McKinney, Professor, the first black woman elected to Congress from Georgia; Dennis Kucinich, Democrat and others. Bernie Sanders in his speech dated April 26th 1999 makes it clear that these proposals emerged from debates over North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Fast Track, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and from scholars and activists all over the world. To quote Congressman Sanders; "A group of progressive legislators, NGOs, trade unionists and expert advisers have recently helped draft the Global Sustainable Development Resolution, incorporating many ideas drawn from this international dialogue. It lays out a path for reconstructing the global economy based on labor and human rights, protection of the environment, and new initiatives to encourage socially and environmentally sound national and local development......We hope this resolution will help encourage further dialogue among social movements and parliamentarians around the world to forge a real alternative for the global economy that meets the common interest of people in all parts of the globe"

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The Faults of Globalisation

The Global Development Resolution has 9 sections; the first 2 are introductory giving the name and declares that because the global economy has serious and often harmful effects on the peoples of the world, yet is not subject to their control, the peoples of the world should take action to establish democratic control over the global economy. Section 3 sets out the damaging effects of unregulated economic globalisation. I am repeating these in condensed form because many people in western countries, beguiled by the media, do not realise the problems. These include:-

(A) There is $1500 billion flowing across international borders daily, a volume so large that no nation can ensure stability.

(B) Globalisation forces nations to cut labor, social and environmental costs in order to attract mobile capital - a disastrous "race to the bottom"

(C) Inadequate demand, as nations seek to become more competitive, reduced wages and lower public spending mean less buying power. This leads to stagnation, recession, unemployment on national and global scales.

(D) The last 25 years of globalisation have seen a vast increase in poverty, the total number of unemployed is said to be approaching 1 billion people and figures are given to show that even in the USA real average wages are down and the hours worked for those wages has increased.

(E) Globalisation has contributed to an enormous increase in the concentration of wealth and the growth of poverty both within nations and worldwide. Several examples are given, the last one says that the 447 richest individuals in the world have a combined wealth greater than the combined annual income of the people who comprise the least wealthy half of the world population.

(F) Discriminatory Impacts; The downward pressures of globalisation focus most on those least able to resist, including women, racial and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.

(G) Degradation of Democracy; Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations, not countries. The ability of governments to pursue development, full employment etc., has been undermined by the ability of the Corporation to relocate capital offshore. There are few international equivalents to the anti-trust laws, consumer protection and other laws which provide a degree of corporate accountability at the national level. As a result corporations are able to dictate policy to governments, backed by the threat of relocation. Governmental authority has been undermined by trade agreements such as the NAFTA and the WTO and by the International financial Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank all of which put restrictions on governments to govern their economies and these institutions themselves are sorely lacking in democratic control and accountability and are often complicit in the denial of human rights.

It is further pointed out that the growth of the global economy is at its lowest point in 30 years, and that the showcases for globalisation are now economic shambles. The South Korean economy has shrunk by 45%, Thailand by 50%. In Indonesia the economy has shrunk by nearly 80% and gross domestic product per capita has fallen from $3.500 to $750.

These are the problems that the resolution is designed to overcome. It is in the common interest of the peoples of the world to rectify these defects.

Now you may well tell me that this is mainly a third world problem, and the third world has always been poverty stricken, that our economy is doing very well in spite of the Asian crash. Peter Costello and John Howard have recently been crowing about the wonderful set of economic figures which they claim to be due to their superior economic management. John Howard did have the decency to admit that there were disadvantaged members of the community but it is nevertheless clear that the enormous profits made by Banks and the incomes of Chief Executive Officers of large firms have been buttressed by government policy, most of which is designed to increase the assets of the rich and increase the poverty of the poor.

British Version-

The power of the media is such that many in Western Countries do not realize or can easily ignore the fact that there is poverty in Australia, (where I live), in Britain and in the USA, as well as other developed countries.

In the Australian version of this talk I give an example of finding poverty by keeping our eyes open. In this version I want to draw your attention to an article "A Short History of Neoliberalism" by Susan George delivered at a Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World, March 1999. I was delighted to find this document on the web last July because she is a world economic expert and what she says is very much in line with what I have been saying and thinking for some time. But she says it so much better than I do.

Quoting from Susan George "In pre-Thatcher Britain about one person in 10 was classed as living below the poverty line, not a brilliant result but honourable as nations go and a lot better than in the pre-war period. Now one person in four, and one child in three is officially poor. This is the meaning of survival of the fittest; people who cannot heat their houses in winter, who must put a coin in the meter before they can have electricity or water, who do not own a warm waterproof coat, etc. I am taking these examples from the 1996 report of the British Child Poverty Action Group. I will illustrate the result of the Thatcher-Major "tax reforms" with a single example;

During the 1980s, 1 percent of taxpayers received 29 percent of all the tax reduction benefits, such that a single person earning half the average salary found his or her taxes had gone up by 7%, whereas a single person earning 10 times the average salary got a reduction of 21%"

You and I, in the last 25 years, will have been accosted in the street by persons asking for a handout far more than in the previous 25 years, and you will have noticed an increase in the number of people sleeping in alcoves. This is the face of grinding poverty, the cause of hopelessness, of the increasing suicide rate, that causes people to turn to drugs and crime.

Sadly this picture in our city is repeated throughout the western world and is many times worse in third world countries.

Australian Version-

The power of the media is such that many Australians do not realize that in spite of our wealth and economic statistics there is poverty in Australia. But if we keep our eyes open we should know better.

I travel once a month to a humanist committee meeting, walk 2 city blocks to Currie St. and next to the bus stop there is a motley crowd cueing at a van for food and drink, being the leftovers from various delis etc. There are at least 50 people of all ages sexes and colours. sometimes you see a pie thrown in the rubbish - it is already "off".

There are only a few of such places to be found in Adelaide, and you realize that many more people live too far away in a district not served. Such places have been around for at least 5 years, maybe 10, they are a measure of the decline in our society in recent decades.

Of course in the days of under 2% unemployment, the Salvos and St. Vinnie's provided a meal and a bed for the down and outs, today they are stretched to the limit.

This is the face of grinding poverty, the cause of hopelessness, of the increasing suicide rate, that causes people to turn to drugs and crime.

Sadly this picture in our city of Adelaide is repeated throughout Australia and the western world and is ten time worse in third world countries.

Poverty is the breeding ground of irrational thought, of fundamentalist religion, of belief that troubles are caused by some unfortunate and easily recognisable minority. If poverty is allowed to increase in a society it will eventually lead to the destruction of that society and the extinction of science, education, humanism and democracy.

The time has come to put brakes on the deregulation that has occurred, to reclaim our democracy and the Global Sustainable Development Resolution will do just that provided we are all prepared to work at passing this resolution in most governments of the world.

Congressman Sanders' resolution is written in the form "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that it shall be the policy of the United States...." In this document I shall refer to "the Government" which means "your government" as it is intended that similar resolutions will be passed by most countries who will act in concert to reconstruct the global economy. Again the following is condensed from the original motion as presented on the Internet to which you can refer with the links given at the end of this page.

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GOALS of the RESOLUTION (Section 4)

(1) The Government to reconstruct the global economy to realize the following goals:

A) Democracy at every level of government from local to global.
B) Human rights for all people.
C) Environmental sustainability throughout the world.
D) Economic advancement for the most oppressed and exploited, including women, children, minorities, and indigenous peoples.

(2) Governments to construct a democratic multilevel global economy that strengthens the capacity of governments to meet the economic needs of their peoples; giving due regard to Human Rights, including labor, social, environmental, economic, and cultural rights; to use international coordination and international institutions to meet these obligations; and to use the principle, that decisions are to be made as close to the locus of the actual activity being decided as possible.

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Capital Controls

(3) A1) National controls on capital inflow and outflow to reduce the destabilizing impact of international financial speculation.

A2) Levies on currency exchange transactions (The Tobin Tax) to reduce short term transactions and provide a fund for sustainable development and environmental protection and debt relief.

B) Currency stabilization - helping countries adjust to changing conditions without drastic devaluation and increases in exports.

C) Major economic powers to ensure global demand remains adequate to help all economies grow by expanding resources devoted to the global poor and the environment.

D) Discourage high-risk speculation by eliminating international bailouts which have insulated large banks and investors from the consequences of their actions. When assistance is provided for economies in trouble, the assistance should benefit the people, not the international investors who lured them into trouble in the first place.

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

(4) Governments to counter inequality, poverty, and destructive competition by- A) encouraging development that enhances the environment as a long term resource.

B) encourage economic measures, globally and locally that-
  (i) ensures living wages;
  (ii) make credit available for small and medium sized locally owned businesses and farms;
  (iii) pursue progressive taxes that reduce the burden on the poor.
  (iv) promote long term investment rather than short-term investment that skims off speculative profits.
  (v) encourage spending on primary health care, basic education, and other social services that improve the lives of people;
  (vi) empower people in local communities to use their resources to address their needs, in accordance with the principles that- a) International agreements should not prevent communities from setting minimum standards and pursuing economic reliance, and b) national and international policy should channel resources to locally controlled development.

C) Pressuring creditors to write off the debt of the poorest countries and to assist other debtor countries in making sustainable development rather than debt repayment their first priority.

D) Pursuing cooperation among rich and poor countries to reduce world poverty recognising that the existing gap between the global rich and poor is unacceptable and it is unconscionable to act as if the existing gap can be a permanent feature of the global economy.

E) Encourage people at the grass roots to organise themselves in strong and independent trade unions and other organisations to insure their participation in economic decisions and distribution of benefits.

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ENCOURAGING DEMOCRACY

(5) Encourage democracy by using the following methods-

(A) Using economic policy to support democracy and human rights. While humanitarian aid should be available to all in need, financial support should be provided only in ways that encourage democratization and popular participation and should not be used to perpetuate regimes that deny human rights.

(B) Democratizing international institutions including the IMF and the World Bank, and international groups including the G-7/8. Voting in international institutions must move towards the standard of equal representation for all the world's people. International economic policy making must move from the G-7/8 to a renewed North/South dialogue.

(C) Make international financial institutions transparent and accountable. The IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation need to be open to public scrutiny.

(D) Participatory decision making. Instead of closed negotiations with top government and corporate officials, decisions about international economic agreements and loans should require participation by labor unions, environmental groups, women's organisations, development organisations, and other sectors of society in each affected country.

(E) Encourage governments at every level to establish sustainable development plans and provide international support for their implementation.

(F) Ending "crony capitalism" by reducing the domination of political systems and media and by increasing the capacity of people to organize at the grass roots.

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DIALOGUE ON GLOBALISATION (Section 5)

(1) The government shall establish a Commission on Globalisation which shall hold hearings to investigate the effect of globalisation on workers, environment and industry and cooperate with similar commissions established in other countries and by the United Nations.

(2) A United Nations Commission on the Global Economy will be formed to-
(i) Seek to revive the North/South dialogue
(ii) Use and expand the techniques of including representatives of civil society and non governmental organisations in United Nations conferences with funding for civil participation.
(iii) To work with other Nations' Global Economy Commissions.
(iv) Establish a Global Economy Truth Commission that will provide citizens of the world with information needed to monitor the results, impacts and failures of economic institutions and policy at every level with the power to investigate, publicise, and refer abuses to other authorities.
(v) To initiate a series of Bretton Woods type international conferences which should include representatives of countries, bankers and industry and an equal number of citizens organisations from every country. Should also initiate negotiations for global sustainable development.

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FINANCIAL STRATEGY (Section 6)

Subject to the global dialogue under section 5, the Government shall negotiate with other UN members a strategy to counter those aspects of the global financial system that make it more difficult for communities, regions and countries to pursue sustainable development, to structure the financial system to avoid global recessions, protect the environment, ensure full employment etc.

Shall establish "Tobin taxes" as mentioned in Section 4

Shall establish Public International investment funds to meet human and environmental needs and ensure adequate global demands and counter economic cycles by expansion and contraction of fund activities.

Shall develop International institutions to perform functions of monetary regulation previously performed inadequately by national central banks.

Debt cancellation; shall work with the G-7/8, the commercial banks, the IMF, the World Bank, regional development banks and other international financial institutions to write off the debts of the most impoverished countries by the end of the year 2000 - and have as their final goal to allow countries to pursue sustainable domestic development.

The government should urge the principle that debt cancellation should not depend on structural adjustment or similar programs. (Structural or Strategic Adjustment Loans are large loans offered to Third World Countries contingent on their agreement to harsh conditions including lowering barriers to imports, removing restrictions on foreign investments, eliminating subsidies for local industries, reducing spending for social welfare, cutting wages, devaluing the currency, emphasizing exports at the cost of growing food for their own people, etc. International financial organisations are in the business of protecting the interests of those who make money available, without regard to the interests of the Third World country or there peoples who go further into debt and starvation. We need to be fair to all parties.)

Countries receiving debt relief should allocate at least 20% of savings from such relief to basic social services, with input from civil society in developing social service plans.

No country should be required to pay an amount exceeding 5% of its annual export earnings towards the servicing of foreign loans.

Funds received for debt relief should not be used to increase military spending.

Cooperate with other nations to establish a "bankruptcy" procedures for highly indebted nations, drawing on existing bankruptcy procedures as used within nations with arbitration panels fully represented

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REFORM OF THE IMF AND THE WORLD BANK. (Section 7)

Government funding for the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial institutions should be conditional on their reorienting their programs from the imposition of austerity and destructive forms of development to support for labor rights (as set forth in the relevant conventions of the International Labor Organisation), environmental protection, rising living standards. International loan policies should not decrease the availability of credit for small and medium-sized locally owned businesses and farms, should not result in decreased real per capita spending on the part of the borrower government on primary health care or basic education, should not suggest user fees for basic health and education services.

This is a very comprehensive section covering 4 pages including the need for open books for audit by the Global Truth Commission, disclosure of information early enough for affected persons to be able to oppose or participate in the design process. It concludes by saying that the IMF should abandon efforts to amend its articles of agreement to give itself new powers regarding liberalisation of the capital accounts of its member countries (referred to as "backdoor MAI").

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ACCOUNTABILITY of TRANSNATIONALS (Section 8)

The Government shall negotiate with other countries to establish a binding Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations (A corporation that acts in more than 1 country) requiring them to disclose toxic emissions, to disclose all their facilities, hazardous materials they import. They will abide by workers rights, environmental standards, give advance notice and severance pay when operations are terminated. They will disclose financial information and report on their investment intentions, offer employees education and job training and will provide social and environmental standards no less than required in their home country.

Governments should not be subject to trade or other reprisals for efforts to enforce the code of conduct. Our laws should be amended so that firms operating here can be held liable for harms caused abroad, all persons aggrieved can take legal action in our courts.

REFORM OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS Section 9

All agreements regulating international trade, including the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and bilateral trade investment treaties, shall be renegotiated to reorient trade and investment to be a means to just and sustainable development. Governments should cease ongoing negotiations of new trade and investment agreements until such time as new negotiating authority and objectives are passed.

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CAMPAIGN CONSIDERATIONS

What are the chances of this resolution being passed in the USA at the present time? They are negligible, the Campaign for Labor Rights put it this way-
".....If enacted, this resolution would be a starting point for taking power away from corporations and putting it back into the hands of the people. Sceptics will rush to tell us that this resolution cannot possibly pass a Congress whose members have ridden to power on corporate money - and they will be right. The importance of this bill is not in its immediate legislative chances. This resolution bangs on the wall and forces the corporate cockroaches and their friends in government to come running out and declare themselves AGAINST worker rights, AGAINST environmental protection, AGAINST democratic process, AGAINST accountability. And it puts us in the affirmative on those values."

So it will have to be a long campaign, but all the great campaigns have been long campaigns. Anti-slavery, the Eight hour day, they all took many years fighting against seemingly impossible odds. Here in South Australia Don Dunstan was elected in the district of Norwood (1953) and faced the Playford Gerrymander, a 2 to 1 country to metropolitan district ratio which most people thought would make it impossible to elect a labor government. It took 12 long years, concentrating on 1 or 2 districts at a time before Labor was elected.

Already there are signs that this resolution has more going for it than you might suppose. Consider the following points_

(1) A light shines from Canada where on March 24th 1999, the Canadian parliament passed a resolution in favour of the Tobin Tax What Canada did yesterday we can do tomorrow and it may well be that the way of progress is for countries to enact parts of the program until the whole is built up.

(2) There is now considerable pressure being built up, mainly by the churches in favour of a Jubilee on forgiveness of debt for the more impoverished nations by the year 2000 or perhaps 2001. Jubilee 2000 Coalition in its web page states Norway has already announced unilateral debt cancellation for all of the poorest countries and has resolved the problem of "burden sharing".

(3) The Coalition also points out that in the case of Great Britain the cost of cancelling the debt is likely to be less than 2 pounds per year per taxpayer.

(4) Further Britain borrowed money from the United States to fight the First World War and stopped making payments in 1934. The United States Treasury confirmed that the debt is still due, each year it adds on the unpaid interest and the total amount is now 8.8 billion pounds about the same as developing countries owe Britain. In Zambia alone, the lives of 400 babies and children would be saved each year if Zambia stopped paying Britain and used the money for health and education.

(5) Capital controls have been successfully applied by Malaysia. <http://www.news.com.au/finance/4131312.htm>

(6) The BHP (Australian multi-National) was taken to court in Melbourne, Australia for harm done to the environment in Papua-New Guinea by the OK Teddy mine.  True globalism means that the global citizen should have the right to sue for damages throughout the world.

(7) A recent radio report stated that local government in the USA is passing minimum wages Acts which provide for a liveable wage.

(6) While it is true that overseas aid has diminished over the past decade, I understand that the Australian Reserve Bank has made loans available to Papua New Guinea at 1% interest. All of these facts taken together, mean that the resolution proposals are not so utopian as you might suppose.

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PRACTICALITIES of the CAMPAIGN

The first step in the campaign is to influence your representative in your federal (national) parliament by writing a letter simply saying "look, there is this important resolution which will improve our democracy. You will find the details on Bernie Sanders (Independent Congressman for Vermont) web page http://www.house.gov/bernie/legislation/imf/global.html which has links to a summary, the full text, Editorials and Reactions etc. Please examine this resolution, now before the U.S. Legislature, and see what can be done in our country"

The second step is to write a similar letter to the Editor of your newspaper, saying how important it is that their readers be informed about the campaign of the 21st century. The details are on your computer, you don't have to step out of your office!

The third step comes at election time. Ask all candidates whether they support the resolution, examine the record of the sitting member to see what policies they actually vote for, and vote for the candidate who supports the resolution and make it quite clear to everybody why you are doing this. The parties and candidates will quickly learn the importance of heeding the peoples voice.

In between these steps we should be lobbying governments to enact Tobin Taxes, forgive debt, reform International financial institutions etc.

Todays campaign has a great advantage over previous campaigns - we have the power of the Internet at our command. The recent campaign against the MAI has stopped the MAI in its tracks because the Internet was used to break down the secrecy and to inform many people of its dangers. Some say the MAI will resurface through the World Trade Organisation but be assured that there are many people out there using eternal vigilance.

This resolution was first published in March and I got the message, courtesy of Gerhard Weissmann on 27th April and am now passing it on to you in June without any input from the press which is a demonstration of the power of the Internet. I am sure that all the good people who have been fighting the MAI on the Internet will take up the resolution as they will see it as a method of attacking those who support the MAI, attack being the best method of defence.

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WE FACE WORSE PROBLEMS

There are those who believe in competition and the law of the economic jungle, there are those who are determined that little of the money that they earn will be spent on the poor and wont notice the extent education, health services etc. contribute to the money they make. But you may be sure that these people will raise all manner of objections to this resolution, they will laugh and scorn and quote complex economic doggerel to confuse us just as their ancestors did to retain slavery and long working hours.

We must keep our heads and remember that while they insist that our country be subject to global "liberalisation, deregulation and open markets" meaning the right for anyone to walk in and buy us out, "there are no international agreements to put an end to what is common practice in the jungle of big business: secret agreements and cartels, dumping and transfer price manipulation; speculation and insider dealing; financial crime, tax evasion and money laundering; and much else." (from Le Monde Diplomatique, May 1999)

One of the problems that the motion does not tackle is our banking system where over 90% of the worlds money is created as an interest bearing loan, not backed by assets or deposits. Paul Hellyer, in his book "Stop Think" recommends that money creation be split 50/50 between the banks and the government. Of course the banks would reject such a proposal. To my mind we should conduct a side campaign, writing to Bank managers and Executive Officers pointing out that the whole world is suffering from increasing debt including the USA, more peoples are starving and unemployed, governments everywhere are cutting expenditure. These problems have been getting progressively worse in the last 25 years due to deregulation etc. Your banks have gone back to using the same systems used 150 years ago. Banks in general have scorned or ignored all reform proposals. What proposals do you have to reform the banking system?

There are many worse problems facing the world today. War, Insurrection, Overpopulation and pollution. Religious people should be concerned that religious differences appear to be at the centre of so many hot spots in the world. They should be reviewing their education curricula so that their students obtain a sympathetic understanding of all beliefs and peoples. They should also review their teaching on family planning. If religious people object to this comment, then I must point out that in the next 13 years there will be another billion (thousand million) people in the world. Man has gone forth and multiplied and has not merely replenished the earth but is now a plague upon the land.

Compared with these serious problems, the campaign for the Global Sustainable Development Resolution looks comparatively easy, and when enacted the serious problems would be easier to tackle.

Sibnarayan Ray, University Professor at Calcutta, Bombay, Melbourne and Santa Barbara (California) concluded his paper to the IHEU as follows-

"...In the prevailing atmosphere of very widespread cynicism, I too have my moments of darkness and despair. But I have lived through the most devastating war in history, a famine that wiped off millions of my countrymen, terrible communal killings, mass migrations and vast uprootings of populations, and at 77, I continue to believe on the basis of personal experience and deep reflection that the species has great and untapped reservoirs of goodwill and common sense. What at this moment seems to be most urgently needed is a total overhauling of our education system. The present system gives the highest priority to personal success, power, material gain and possessions. What we need is education that will teach people to be kind and brave, honest and intelligent, responsible to the community and one's natural environment, creative and sensitive while retaining the spirit of enquiry and individual freedom. Specialization will come later, but the basics must come first. As always, humanism in the 21st century will also need enlightened teachers - at home, at school, in the community. Shall we find them in time? On that the next phase in our history will largely depend."

(To previous quote from Professor Ray)   (from the "Australian Humanist" May 1999)

In todays economic system we are required to be mean, lean and efficient. We must work longer hours for less pay and be prepared to do a totally different job if downsized. Our young people have fewer available jobs and many of those are dead end, their chances of marriage and a home of their own are remote. In short we are required to compete ruthlessly in the economic jungle.

But many people do not wish to work in that way, we have had a good education, some of our teachers were enlightened people (their work is being undone by Hollywood movies which insist on at least 12 corpses per movie), we need to reverse the current trends of cut-throat competition, which can be done by using the principals of the Global Sustainable Development Resolution. There is so much that needs doing, particularly in the field of improving our land (currently being destroyed by salt), by installing improved sewerage systems so we don't pollute the Pacific and we need to give much more help to third world countries. There is little financial gain in doing this, but much loss if we don't. This all requires cooperation not competition, a new financial system not ridden by debt. (selling or leasing assets is only a very temporary solution)

I met many people when I interviewed for Gallup Polls, and I was always impressed with their honesty and desire to help. Today I meet many who feel very helpless and diminished by what is happening. The Global Sustainable Development Resolution is a campaign to restore good purposes to public life, which has a better chance of achieving the right ends for us and the world. I recommend that we support it.

Dick Clifford.
Bernie Sander's Index page with links to summary, text, editorial, reactions and more.
Full text of resolution from Bernie Sanders pages with acrobat option.
Summary of Key Points by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith Foreign Policy In Focus
UE Political Action Issues Briefing
A Short History of Neoliberalism, by Susan George, to the Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World, March 1999
200 Years from Poverty to Decency - A historical perspective showing how we have progressed in the last 200 years but have gone backwards in the last 25 years.

The Author is often critical of economic ideas favoured by Americans. It gives me great pleasure to be able to congratulate Bernie Sanders and his team for their most excellent Global Sustainable Development Resolution and I hope that it will lead to a much more progressive era.

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