Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jerry Mander on Global Economics Destroying the World

Jerry Mander has an interesting name, but I think he's eloquently described how the United States and western economics destroyed resilient communities around the world in the name of progress, by which I mean corporate profiteering.

[A] basic part of the free trade ideology which is that all economies should shift from ... the import substitution model, that is to say the model where small countries decided they didn’t want any longer to be dependent upon large colonial powers, and they wanted to establish self-sufficiency in food and necessities, and not have to buy necessities on the open market, where everything, variable prices, and so on.

Some countries were doing very well by that but the World Bank came along, especially under the leadership of Robert McNamara, who did, by the way, more harm at the World Bank, I think, than he did in Vietnam, and said all countries have to shift to export production and we no longer can have the self-sufficient models. And that is simply because there’s profits, global corporate profits can only really be made [when] there’s no profit in self-sufficiency.

If people are producing food and eating it and sharing it with their communities there’s no opportunity for profit. So what they really wanted to do was open access to these big corporations to come in, create giant monocultures, drive people off their land who were self-sufficient farmers and other kinds of self-sufficient artisanal producers, turn everything into an export orientation – small industry plus agriculture – ship everything back and forth across the oceans and in that shipping was where there was the greatest opportunity for corporate profit.

Because of that, that’s brought on one of the greatest environmental crises. Just that shift has created an environmental crisis of staggering proportions because the increase in shipping since the shift to export oriented economics, since the Bretton Woods, since the mid 1900’s has brought with it tremendous – you can’t increase transport activity without also increasing infrastructure everywhere in the world enormously -new pipelines, new roads, new dams, new seaports, new airports.

All that list of things that I did at the beginning, half or 70% of those battles that are going on with native peoples are about transport infrastructure construction, causing tremendous environmental havoc, tremendous social havoc.
Aside from just the increase in fossil fuel, the increase in ocean and air pollution, the increase in bio-invasions which may be one of the great environmental catastrophes of our time. These bacteria and viruses and nematodes and bugs of all kinds, and animals are walking around on peoples’ shoes and in cargo ballast and shipping back and forth across the oceans are great threats to environmental stability in every country of the world. All of that is because of increased shipping.

So if you are going to have an export-oriented economy you are going to have these horrific environmental results. There’s no way around it. It goes hand-in-glove. But they need to have that because that’s where the profits are. There’s no profits in economic self-sufficiency for global corporations. So they have to destroy that – put everybody into shipping their stuff back and forth and make profits that way. And in agriculture, it’s particularly a problem, of course, because it drives people off their lands. People who used to grow food to eat are no longer on their lands; they’re in this mono-cultural agricultural production with these global agricultural corporations. There are very few jobs because they are all pesticide and machine intensive.

People have to leave their communities. They don’t get jobs; they are cashless; and hunger actually increases from that model. They claim that this is the way to solve hunger but we know that there is tremendous increase in hunger as the industrial, mono-cultural model increases for an export oriented production. |Lannan Foundation interview - emphasis added|

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