south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4429, Wednesday 5 April 1999


Development: Globalization agenda threatens market system (Chakravarthi Raghavan)

Environment: Monsanto wins 'Roger' Award for worst TNC (TWN, Geneva)

Brazil: Darwinism dominates the national economy (IPS, Sao Paulo)

United Nations: Third World favours radio over internet (IPS, New York)

Excerpts from some selected articles:

Development: Globalization agenda threatens market system

Geneva, 3 May (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The global market economy system may be closer to losing legitimacy, maintaining order in the system and assuring a welfare outcome due to the aggressive pursuit of globalization and ever-widening trade and capital liberalization agendas, the UN Economic Commission for Europe has warned.

The UN regional body has put the responsibility for the present situation of developing and transition economies on the policies recommended and pushed on them by "mainstream" consensus, which are dangerously close to becoming dogmas.

The main elements of the "Washington Consensus" -- of macro- economic stability by lowering inflation and pre-empting further outbreaks, and liberalisation of trade and "flexibility" in labour markets -- and the more recent moves to amend the IMF articles to enable the Fund to make capital convertibility a condition for IMF loans, were developed in the context of the inflation crisis of 1970s in the developed market economies and the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s.

"The certainty with which they are proposed and pursued is not reflected in the available empirical evidence," and the tendency to simplification is not confined to policy recommendations for developing and transition economies, the ECE pointed out.

On the recommendations that Europe introduce labour market flexibility, the ECE said, "there is little evidence that reducing employment protection is a solution to high unemployment". Experience over the last two decades show that lowering unemployment will need stronger demand, and more investment to sustain this.

As for reducing and controlling inflation, "the evidence suggests that inflation is costly in terms of lost output only when annual rates exceed 40 percent - then there is a danger that high inflation will lead to low growth rates." Below this (40% rate), growth and investment can recover, even if inflation is still in double digits, if there are expectations that it will remain on a downward trend.

Environment: Monsanto wins 'Roger' Award for worst TNC

Geneva, May 3 (TWN) -- The transnational giant Monsanto, leading a crusade for expansion and control in genetic engineering in agriculture, has been chosen by a panel of judges in new Zealand for the 'Roger' award, an annual event to single out transnational corporation which have had the most negative impact in the country.

The award ceremony -- organized by Corso, GATT Watchdog, and the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa -- and being held in Christchurch (New Zealand) Wednesday, is part of a programme of events opposed to the meetings of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation).

The annual award is given to the transnational corporation judged to have had the most negative impact in New Zealand in each or all of the following fields: unemployment, monopoly, profiteering, abuse of workers/conditions; political interference; environmental damage; cultural imperialism, pursuing an ideological crusade; impact on women; and the health and safety of workers and the public.

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