The WTO, World Bank and IMF: World Globalization
In the simplest possible terms, globalization is, “A process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of communication, transportation, and trade.” The term globalization however, has come to encompass a wide variety of meanings to different people.
The term can be stretched as far back as the 15th century in Asia, where some of the first great movements of trade and empire were demonstrated. Today, most people referring to globalization are recognizing issues such as world trade, global financial institutions, global-corporate interests and global-political interests.
Modern globalization is argued to have started in the early nineteen hundreds, but the term was not regularly used by economists until the early sixties. Currently, the U.S. and Britain exist as the power centers for globalization including international trade, financial markets and lending, economies, health care, technology, informational infrastructures, and even cultural and religious policies. China is quickly gaining momentum however, and is expected to exist in the future as one of the primary global power centers.
Negative Impacts of Globalization
Since 1955 international trade of manufactured goods has increased by 100 times (from approx. $95 billion to $12 trillion). Globalization by organizations such as the WTO, World Bank, IMF and numerous large corporations has been the cause for substantial world-wide issues including degradation of the quality of food and other products, creation of sweatshops and over-worked/under-paid laborers, global financial crisis’ (as seen in recent years), brain drains (such as the outsourcing of education in countries like India, which pays a foreign exchange outflow of approx. $10 billion annually), environmental degradation in countries with less strict environmental policies, transfer of diseases, illegal trade of drugs and weapons, and massive poverty for countries unable to repay the loans owed to power centers like the World Bank.
Many of these problems could be slowly evaporated with the introduction of regulations or democracy to centers like the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank and the WTO (World Trade Organization). These organization’s often act in the interests of large corporations and large profits, rather than global improvement. Most anti-globalists are not against globalization itself, but are against the lack of democracy surrounding global decision-making by these organizations.
A Case Study of Globalization at It’s Worst: Secret Indonesian Collapse
Achmed Sukarno (the first president of Indonesia) established a new rule of anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. He was strongly opposed to the western powers, and believed imperialism and capitalism to be bad for the Indonesian people and their economy. Sukarno was regarded highly by the people of Indonesia for his constant pursuit of independence, but was not favored by the west because of his communist views.
On September 30th of 1965, six of Indonesia’s highest-level generals were killed by a movement calling themselves the “30 September Movement.” The next morning, Major General Suharto took control of the army and sentenced Sukarno to house arrest (where he remained until his death in 1970). This takeover was justified as an uprising against communism, which of course, was an acceptable purpose for the west.
The massacre that followed Suharto’s reign would be called “one of the worst mass murders in the 20th century,” and was shrouded in secrecy until very recently. Only one public photograph of the incidents is known to exist and most people in the U.S. and Britain would never hear or see anything of it.
In October 1965, in Jakarta, Suharto’s armies began the mass killing of all people considered to be associated with communism or the PKI. These killings began with known PKI members from whom CIA devised a list of approx. 5,000 suspects. This list was provided by the U.S. to General Suharto. However, Suharto did not stop at 5,000. Though the true number will probably never be known, the army itself had estimated 78,500 people had been slaughtered before the killings even stopped. Other serious estimates were attempted following the tragedy, putting the numbers as high as 2 million.
It is important to note that the United States and Britain fully supported general Suharto’s takeover, and the mass killings that ensued. The deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta, Joseph Lazarsky, said that confirmation of the killings came straight from Suharto’s headquarters. “We were getting a good account in Jakarta of who was being picked up. The army had a “shooting list” of 4,000 to 5,000 people. They didn’t have enough goon squads to zap them all, and some individuals were valuable for interrogation. The infrastructure (of the PKI) was zapped almost immediately. We knew what they were doing… Suharto and his advisers said, if you keep them alive, you have to feed them.”
The US embassy also distributed student manuals to the KAMI (Indonesian Student Action Command), and the American ambassador in Jakarta, Marshall Green, approved a plan to provide fifty-million rupiahs to support “the Kap-Gestapu movement.” He described the effort as “carrying [the] burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI,” but neglected to publicly mention that these efforts involved complete eradication of all communist supporters.
The U.S. was also responsible for supplying weaponry and logistical equipment to Suharto’s armies. Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at Princeton University Brad Simpson, said “The United States was directly involved to the extent that they provided the Indonesian Armed Forces with assistance that they introduced to help facilitate the mass killings.”
On October 5, 1965, Green sent a cable to Washington on the topic of how the United States could “shape developments to our advantage.” Suharto needed the U.S. propaganda to help spread the story of the PKI’s “guilt, treachery and brutality.” Ambassador Green responded to General Suharto’s concerns, “The US is generally sympathetic with and admiring of what the army is doing.”
Howard Federspiel, (Indonesian expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research) said this of the numbers slayed, “No one cares, as long as they were communists, that they were being butchered. No one was getting very worked up about it.” The British were equally involved, sending navy escort ships, arms and financial support.
It is important to note that the U.S. and British interests in Indonesia lay directly in it’s resources. Nixon referred to the new availability of Indonesian resources as “the greatest prize in Asia,” and Time magazine referred to entry into Indonesia and the takeover of communism as “The West’s Best News for Years.”
The West Meets to Design Indonesian Policies & Infrastructure
In 1967, the Timelife corporation sponsored a conference in Switzerland that would plan the corporate takeover of Indonesia. This meeting was attended by David Rockerfeller, the oil companies, major banks, General Motors, British Lyeland, ICI, British American Tobacco, Lehman Brothers, American Express, Siemens and many other large corporations. Indonesian leaders approved by the general also attended. For the west Indonesian takeover would be one of the greatest steps for world globalization.
The U.S. and Britain would continue to fund General Suharto’s efforts until he was removed from rule in 1998, during an Indonesian revolution. Attempts to publicize the killings are still suppressed to this day. The events were banned from text-books, and any books containing information about the killings were burned under orders from the Attorney General.
Nathaniel Mehr’s book, “Constructive Bloodbath,” did make it to publication in the UK, and may be one of the only existing publications associated with the Indonesian mass-murders, however, there are documentaries and information available on the internet. You can watch the British documentary, “Globalization: New Rulers of The World” on YouTube.
What Does Indonesia Have to Do With Globalization?
The events in Indonesia are an extreme demonstration of the extent to which countries like the U.S. will go to to obtain financial control and control over resources. General Suharto was loaned billions from the U.S. and approximately 15 billion of these loans was never seen by the Indonesian people. This money was used by Suharto himself, and given to his cronies and family. The U.S. was well aware of the stolen funding, but continued to support Suharto in exchange for a power-hold over Indonesian resources.
Much of the labor for companies like Nike, Gap and Old Navy comes directly from sweatshops in Indonesia. Large corporations will continue to choose the cheapest labor available. Laborers in Indonesia will often work 24 hour shifts with only one brief rest, laborors in China a paid less than $1 and hour to create products for Wal Mart.
Upon recognition of these problems, many U.S. citizens were outraged, so in response, corporations have created “policies,” for foreign factories to operate by. These policies however, cannot be reinforced due to lack of any agreements or international laws to control such issues. It’s important to realize too, that government, large corporations, and organizations like the WTO are not interested in the general well-being of the people. They are interested in large profits and global control. This theory is well demonstrated by the events in Indonesia.
A U.S. Space command document created in the sixties said, “The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a widening between the “haves” and “have-nots,” and “Only military dominance will protect America’s Corporate interests.”
Globalization continues to widen the gap between the rich and the poor around the world, (even in the power centers like the U.S. and Britain). Currently 80% of U.S. wealth belongs to approx. 1% of it’s population. This is a common trend around the globe, as more and more countries drown in debt owed to the United States.
What Can Be Done About It?
As individuals, we must all recognize that consumerism supports the companies who help to create these problems in the first place. Every time we purchase a product made by underpaid workers, we are supporting the degradation of their economy. It is important for people to speak out about these concerns and demand changes to the policies and methods used to outsource production. You can personally contact companies like Gap or Nike, and demand information about where and how their products are made, and how the laborers are treated. These companies should know that the people are aware and informed about these issues, and that they are demanding changes.