The Guardian November 1, 2000


Putting a "human face" on capitalism

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which 
develops the principles behind the policies of the World Trade Organisation 
and the World Bank, was forced to shelve its Multilateral Agreement on 
Investment (MAI) treaty. It tried to force the same MAI objectives onto the 
agenda at the WTO meeting in Seattle. But the big corporations failed in 
Seattle as well.

"... it has to be admitted that the more delicate negotiations have largely 
been dominated by the principal trading partners of the `Quad'  the 
European Union, United States, Japan and Canada", says the OECD Director of 
Trade, Jean-Marie Metzger, but admits that the developing countries were 
frustrated by both the content and form of WTO decision making.

He acknowledges that the transitional (former socialist countries) and 
developing countries now constitute "a very large majority", 113 out of 136 
WTO member states, and suggests some "thought has to be given to the 
organisation of discussions".

The OECD is looking at co-opting NGOs through partnerships with industry  
"globalisation with a human face", as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan 
called it.

But the actual policies remain business as usual  full-steam ahead with 
privatisation and the destruction of the public sector, competition policy, 
financial deregulation, lifting of restrictions on foreign investment, 
"free" trade, removal of price controls, attacks on workers' rights and 
government cutbacks in social services and spending.

The same corporate agenda, but with a smile! Sorry if it kills you.

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