Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 14, 2005
Globalization comes at a cost
Bishop Fred Henry documents the plus and minus aspects of our growing universal community
By BILL GLEN
"It would be important for Canada as a G8 member, to slow down a little bit to do more listening instead of simply looking at what we think is best."
- Bishop Fred Henry
As more operations become mechanized, human labour becomes the variable cost. Machines are replacing workers while global communication is almost instantaneous. Technology has revolutionized our lives.
"If I send an email to Rome, I can get an answer in five minutes," Henry said.
God teaches us a universal common good that the resources of creation were given to the human community as a whole to meet the needs of all people.
Henry called the privatization of water in Africa "insidious."
While he spoke Nov. 5, the Summit of the Americas was taking place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Prime Minister Paul Martin was quoted as saying fairer and freer trade will take care of poverty better than all relief programs combined; that free trade was not a haven for capitalists. The prime minister was responding to allegations by Venezuelan President Hugo Ch vez that free trade pads the bank accounts of the rich off the backs of the working poor.
In an interview, Henry said: "It would be important for Canada as a G8 member, to slow down a little bit to do more listening instead of simply looking at what we think is best.
"Maybe we can form a partnership and say, 'Tell us your needs and let's help you out because we're doing fine. How can we help you achieve some sense of solidarity and justice in the marketplace with respect to your own particular country?'"
Many transnational companies seek countries where taxes and wages are low to maximize profits. If a company can set up a business in Sri Lanka and make a baseball cap for $1 that they can sell in North America for more than $30, other large companies will follow suit.
Companies learn to take advantage of their mobility by threatening to relocate if a government begins to impose controls.
This competitiveness, Henry warns, is prone to bribes and corruption when fail-safe regulatory frameworks are loosely worded or ignored altogether by the companies.
Henry concluded by quoting Princeton political scientist Richard Falk who contends that the "prevailing bankruptcy of the regnant global schemes cries out for a religious voice.
"The best of secular thinking falls short of providing either a plausible path to travel in pursuit of human global governance or a significant inspiring vision of its elements to mobilize a popular grassroots involvement for drastic global reform."
He mentioned a publication by Kairos that deals with development and peace and global economic justice. Visit www.kairoscanada.org to read more.
"There is something there to help humanize globalization," Henry said.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.