People working together for peace, justice and the restoration of the community of life.
Reading on Globalization
Brenda: My name is Brenda. I am divorced. I live with my three children in a small apartment in San Jose. I am a waitress, and I have to put in lots of overtime just to pay the bills. I worry a lot about my kids walking home after school to an empty house. I call and check up on them, but they have to fend for themselves a lot. Now when I call I have to remind them not to turn on the heat, and I worry because it’s been so cold. But I’m afraid I won’t have enough to pay the rent and also PG&E.
PR Person: Yes, PG&E Corporation is making huge profits, but it’s fair to charge whatever the Market will allow. It’s right to let Market forces to rule. And drilling in the Alaska Wilderness will give us a greater supply of oil, so prices should go down.
Maria: My name is Maria. I’m from Mexico. My husband and I used to grow enough food to feed our kids and to trade in the village marketplace. But when NAFTA came, the government took our land. A company from the US turned all the land around into a huge plantation, with tractors and piped water and chemicals, so they grow coffee to export. We had nowhere else to go, so we came to Mexico City—but there’s no work! So we’re walking selling gum, cigarettes, and candy—even the kids. And we can’t afford rent, so we’re living in a shantytown outside the city.
PR Person: Everyone knows that there are winners and losers in the global economy. But since NAFTA went into effect, trade has increased. And Mexico now has the fifth highest number of millionaires in the world.
Environmentalist: I’ve been working for years on trying to save endangered species and forests, to stop global warming and to end the pollution of the earth. But things keep getting worse. With the WTO, tuna is no longer dolphin-safe, sea turtles are no longer protected. With NAFTA, California is being sued for banning MTBE. Glaciers are melting and now global climate talks have collapsed. More and more people are seeing that corporate-led globalization is driving the environmental destruction.
Questioner: What is globalization?
PR Person: [Wisdom of this world]
Globalization means economic integration among nations: free trade and investment across borders, without trade barriers, without government interference. It means letting the Market decide how money and goods flow around the world.
Globalization also means cultural integration, complete with Western-style development, commercial marketing, and technology. It means a world growing ever more wealthy, with people everywhere gaining access to the good life that we have here in the United States. Poor countries will develop along Western lines, with fast food restaurants and cars. My friend Thomas Friedman, who supports globalization, calls this “The Americanization of the world.”
Justice Advocate: Wait just a minute! That’s an insult to the diverse cultures and traditions of the United States. We are exporting corporate culture, not American culture. I call it “the McDonaldization of the world. Corporations are leading the way and making a fortune doing it. That’s why so many people call it “corporate globalization.”
Whatever you call it, it cannot be stopped. Besides, globalization will bring peace. Countries with economic ties won’t go to war with each other, since war is bad for business. We will have global village of material abundance, understanding, and peace.
Sounds great! We’ve been working for years to foster peace and understanding among the world’s people. That’s what our world missions are all about.
Hold on! What about the environmental crisis? And why is poverty growing? The billionaire’s club is booming and corporate profits have never been higher. But the gap between the rich and poor is growing all over the world. Now the top 20% of the world’s people own 86% of the world’s wealth. The rest of us, the other 80%, make do with the 14% that’s left over.
Something is wrong with this picture.
PR Person: [Wisdom of this world]
Yes, there are winners and losers in the global economy, but free trade will bring economic growth to poor countries. And advances in technology will allow us to feed more people and to clean up the environment.
We already have enough food to feed every person on earth. Distribution is the problem. Technology won’t solve everything. And everything can’t just be left to the Market. The Market doesn’t deal with needs, only “demand,” based on what people can afford to buy. Corporate globalization is not about creating a global village, but a global shopping mall.
What concerns me is the economic ideology behind economic globalization. People call it “Economic Orthodoxy,” or “Market Fundamentalism.” It’s like a religion, an idolatrous religion, because it makes a god out of money. It puts money above all else.
This secular religion has its own high priests, those corporate executives and government officials who make the rules and oversee the functioning of the whole.
It has its own “saints,” people who have attained the success that the system promises, millionaires and billionaires, CEOs and Media Moguls, sports stars and movie stars, people who make it all seem possible, people upon whom we can pin our hopes.
It has its own symbols, corporate logos such as Golden Arches and the Nike swoosh that can be seen everywhere.
This religion prepares children as candidates for confirmation through corporate links to grade schools and universities.
The Religion of Corporate Globalization has its own sacraments, but first you have to be baptized with at least some of the money upon which the religion is built, whether you are in the U.S. or Somalia, in order to partake of the “means of grace,” the caviar and fine wine or the hamburgers and cokes, depending upon what level of attainment you have achieved.
This religion encourages the use of its rituals, such as investing in the stock market and shopping, whether you have a lot of money or only a little to invest or spend.
It has its own preachers, whose message is carried by commercials that promote its sacraments and rituals, by news programs that carry the official ideology, and by sitcoms and other programs that are steeped in its milieu.
It even has Articles of Faith, basic teachings that are hardly questioned.
PR Person: The ideas behind globalization are not at all like religion. They are objective, rational, and mathematically precise, based on sound economic theory.
Questioner: What is the theory behind globalization? I’d like to know more.
PR Person: I’m glad you asked. Here are some of the basics: the value of self-interest, the sanctity of the Market, the value of wealth, and the need for limitless economic growth.
First: self-interest is good. If everyone acts in their own economic self-interest, competing with each other, it will lead to the well-being of the whole and of all its various parts. Besides, it is just human nature to act in a self-interested way.
What a patriarchal and sinister view of human nature! I don’t believe it. This makes a virtue out of selfishness
Reader: “Whoever would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
PR Person: Second: the sanctity of the Market. The Market is always right, because it is guided by a Higher Power, an “Invisible Hand” that brings about harmony and well-being to all through the Universal Law of Supply and Demand.
This sounds idolatrous! I’m sure Supply and Demand work well for some things, but the Market isn’t sacred. The Market isn’t God.
Reader: “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve God only.”
Justice Advocate: The Market brings well-being to those who can afford to pay. If you have no money, it leaves you behind.
PR Person: Third: The value of wealth. There is value in making huge profits and accumulating vast amounts of wealth. It helps the economy to grow.
Concerned Christian: This turns greed into a virtue.
Reader: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… You cannot serve God and money.”
PR Person: Fourth: The need for limitless economic growth. As the economy grows, the economic pie gets bigger. That way, there is more to cut, so no one has to take a smaller slice. Everyone gets a bigger slice, leading to a higher standard of living for all.
Not! The wealth isn’t shared equitably. Besides, the whole idea of limitless growth defies common sense. We live on a finite planet that has limited resources. The global economy can’t grow indefinitely.
Yet that idea drives the current insanity, as corporate globalization speeds up, at an ever- accelerating pace, using up resources, spewing out toxins, converting countries to gear their economies toward export, giving corporations ever-more rights while taking away the rights of governments to regulate them, privatizing and deregulating government services so corporations can make ever greater profits—all this to keep the global economic system going and growing. The planet is being plundered and pillaged. There is no logical place to stop according to this standard economic ideology. Where will it end?
Questioner: I can see it now. Though the ideas behind globalization sound rational, they contradict observable reality and common sense.
Concerned Christian: Its values are opposed to the values, wisdom, and ethical standards of our religion. And there doesn’t seem to be any place for human rights, social or environmental concern in its agenda.
It is a secular religion—an idolatrous religion. It puts money above all else.
It is the dominant Religion in US, and now it is being institutionalized and exported by trade agreements. We are steeped in it milieu. It is hard to even see it, unless-
we are grounded in something deeper and more real: in the earth; in the love of God that is showered on us through the creation; in the bonds of love that we have for each other and the interdependence that we share with all creation; in the teachings, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who showed us who God is and what human life can be; in the vision of peace on earth and goodwill to all creation; in the gift of discernment that enables us to appreciate true wealth, which has nothing to do with money.
Great Evil requires great resistance-Time of great evil-
Dessecration of earth & human societies by TNCs
Destruction of earth/ human life
Also a time of great courage- around the world- people rising up/ organizing/ demonstrating/ realizing how high the stakes are/ determined to take up their responsibility- reclaiming democracy for sake of all life and future/ global surging--creativity, cooperation, passion for life, organized resistance, hope
On the cusp of a new age in the history of the world- stakes high
House of Cards: Seattle- Held up only by our consent- if the people withdraw consent- tumbling down
Pivotal time in earth’s history & and this is a worthy struggle,
For the very body and soul of the earth itself.
I’m convinced that God is working on behalf of life
through every person who is engaged in this struggle.
growing protests at economic summits around the world
Nothing can justify the damage being done to children in the push toward globalization. The good news is that many people are realizing it. A global resistance movement is growing. It includes labor unions and environmentalists, church groups and advocates for peace, justice, and human rights. In many ways, the movement is led by our young: college students working against sweatshops, forest activists living in the the tops of trees, young people joining with old to blockade the meetings of the powers that be.
Pedro: I’m Pedro: I live in a small house in Cochambamba in Bolivia, with my wife Rosa, our two children, and Rosa’s parents. I’m a handyman, and Rosa works as a maid and cook in someone else’s home. Together,we bring in just a little over $100 per month.
Under pressure from the IMF, Bolivia privatized its water. Bechtel Corporation took over the water supply. That first month, our’s water bill went up to $20. We couldn’t pay it. All over Bolivia, people couldn’t afford to buy water. People took to the streets, demonstrated, and practiced nonviolent civil disobedience. Rosa and I joined in the protests. In our town, the military couldn’t even get into the city because of all the people blockading the streets. We drove Bechtel out of the country, and the water supply is in public hands again.
A little over a year ago, here in this country, people traveled to Seattle to challenge the most powerful organization in the world, the World Trade Organization.
Anti-globalization activist: a global movement of people coming together to bring democratic change for the sake of justice, for the sake of the earth. It was as if the powerful network of interlocking institutions was like a house of cards, ready to fall down if the people stopped supporting it.
Since that time, wherever the rich and powerful meet to expand the agenda of globalization, protesters are there. The resistance movement against corporate globalization is growing. The question I ask is this: Where will the church be in the struggle? I know where I will be: on the front lines. There is no place I would rather be.
At times it may seem that we are “out there,” without support, with all the powers of this world lined up against us, as if- fighting a losing battle. But we cannot lose—the stakes are too high. And we are not alone in struggle.
Though we cannot always see or feel it, we have tremendous support.
A “great cloud of witnesses” surrounds us and urges us on.
Part of –
Emerging global community of resistance,
people who are engaged in various struggles around the world.
This global community supports us—we support each other.
Those who have gone before, martyrs, heroes,
ancestors who invested themselves for the sake of future generations, Those who will come after.
They support us--we are their champions.
Related to the earth and all its creatures in a web that cannot be broken without injury to all—We are their advocates.
We are connected to the divine, in whatever way we understand it,
As we courageously resist-powers of destruction and live in hope
We are supported by all that is sacred in life.
Narrator: This is a pivotal time in the history of the earth. So many people are awakening to the value of God’s creation. Listen to these words Father Thomas Berry:
“As humans we are born of the Earth, nourished by the Earth, healed by the Earth. The natural world tells us: I will feed you, I will clothe you, I will shelter you, I will heal you. Only do not so devour me or use me that you destroy my capacity to mediate the divine and the human. For I offer you a communion with the divine. I offer you gifts that you can exchange with each other. I offer you flowers whereby you may express your reverence for the divine and your love for each other. In the vastness of the sea, in the snow-covered mountains, in the rivers flowing through the valleys, in the serenity of the landscape, and in the foreboding of the great storms that sweep over the land, in all these experiences I offer you inspiration for your music, for your art, your dance.”