Friday, October 03, 2003

World Bank? - Herman Daly

Here is a point of view about international credit and capital well made. Herman Daly is now one of the contributing authors, along with Joseph Stiglitz, at Jubilee Research writing views for creating a new world:

Herman Daly Farewell Speech
Herman Daly Books

......Move away from the ideology of global economic integration by free trade. free capital mobility. and export led growth-and toward a more nationalist orientation that seeks to develop domestic production for internal markets as the first option. having recourse to international trade only when clearly much more efficient.

At the present time global interdependence is celebrated as a self-evident good. The royal road to development, peace, and harmony is thought to be the unrelenting conquest of each nation's markets by all other nations. The word "globalist" has politically correct connotations, while the word "nationalist" has come to be pejorative. This is so much the case that it is necessary to remind ourselves that the World Bank exists to serve the interests of its members, which are nation states, nation communities-not individuals, not corporations, not even NGOs. It has no charter to serve the one-world without borders cosmopolitan vision of global integration- of converting many relatively independent national economies, loosely dependent on international trade into one tightly integrated world economic network upon which the weakened nations depend upon for even basic survival.

The model of international community upon which the Bretton Woods institutions rests is that of a "community of Communities", an international federation of national communities cooperating to solve global problems under the principle of subsidiarity. The model is not the cosmopolitan one of direct global citizenship in a single integrated world community without intermediation by nation states. To globalize the economy by erasure of national economic boundaries through free trade, free capital mobility, and free, or at least uncontrolled migration, is to wound fatally the major unit of community capable of carrying out any policies for the common good. That includes not only policy for purely domestic ends, but also international agreements required to deal with those environmental problems that are irreducibly global (C02, ozone depletion). International agreements presuppose the ability of national governments to carry out policies in their support. If nations have no control over their borders they are in a poor position to enforce national laws, including those necessary to secure compliance with international treaties.

Cosmopolitan globalism weakens national boundaries and the power of national and subnational communities, while strengthening the relative power of transnational corporations. Since there is no world government capable of regulating global capital in the global interest, and since the desirability and possibility of a world government are both highly doubtful, it will be necessary to make capital less global and more national. I know that is an unthinkable thought fight now, but take it as a prediction-ten years from now the buzz words will be "renationalization of capital" and the "community rooting of capital for the development of national and local economies", not the current shibboleths of export-led growth stimulated by whatever adjustments are necessary to increase global competetivness. "Global competitiveness" (frequently a thought-substituting slogan) usually reflects not so much a real increase in resource productivity as a standards-lowering competition to reduce wages, externalize environmental and social costs, and export natural capital at low prices while calling it income.

The World Bank should use the occasion of its fiftieth birthday to reflect deeply on the words of John Maynard Keynes: "I sympathize therefore, with those who would minimize rather than those who would maximize, economic entanglement between nations. Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel-these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let good be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible; and, above all, let finance be primarily national." ....{article link continued}

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