Although once was called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT), this organization has come to be known by a name that makes mothers in third world countries quiver in their stockings… the WTO. Since the year of 1995, the World Trade Organization has stated that its goal is to increase international trade by lowering and removing trade barriers and to make trade more predictable. They portray themselves as heroes, saving the day by ridding the world trade of tariffs and subsidies. This ideal system is labelled ‘Free Trade’, and the WTO has granted itself the power to ensure that the terms of trade agreements are followed. As many 153 countries, with 30 pending, are members with this destructive force. The governments of these countries are putting their trust in this villain to effectively implant trade liberalization throughout the nations, as well as to resolve the disputes between them. Why is the WTO such a monstrous snot-licker? What is its weapon of choice? Read along to find out…
What I have drawn from my research is that the WTO seems to be full of a lot of fake promises. For example, they claim to be responsible for international confidence and encouraging good government. However, they seem to take no responsibility for the harmful decision they make that causes inequality between people of lesser developed countries. Who gave them the right to trample labour and human right laws, or destroy our environmental sustainability? Do transnational corporations have the WTO polishing their shoes?
If building country’s confidence levels is there claim to fame, then they should understand the Parker Brothers ‘Sorry!’ game. An unexplained amount of debt from a less-wealthy-to-begin-with country might send them back to start! Most children in the schoolyard have learned that a false sense of confidence can lead to disaster! In this case, a poor leader might be confident in his luck to draw a backup four, but end up backing up the importing levels due to a bad move on his part.
“We encourage good government” – well, I suppose this would be true, if you were so closed minded to think that the only government worthy of a gold star is the cookie-cutter democracy the larger nations have embedded into their history. Other governments have a potential of thriving, if only they weren’t beat over the head with a rolling pin, told to “be democratic”.
Did I mention the WTO is killing people? Although many speculate about 2012, the fact that the eight months of life to people around the world are being denied is inhumane. Like, wtf WTO? For example, in places such as South Africa and Thailand, they are being prevented from developing their own versions of AIDS drugs that can be sold at a fraction of the original price. Because this drug was developed in a U.S. pharmaceutical industry, they became all hoity-toity and upset that they were not making exorbitant amount of money off of Thais on their deathbeds. Kick them while they are down! Maybe while your over in their country beating them up, you will understand that the extent of the health emergency…. All of this hassle due to the fact that the WTO was not ok with Thailand putting up a chalk line trade barrier to protect itself from the raging HIV destroying thousands of lives. Maybe a little investigation first?
A game of Monopoly is no fun if the rich get richer, because it usually means the poor get poorer. Imagine if the WTO hovered over your family games night and ensured this happened?!?! In fact, the UN Development Program reports that the richest 20% of the world’s population consume 86% of the world’s resources while the poorest 80% consume just 14%. Now, the WTO attributes to this because they allow the richest to invest in the poor. And by invest I mean use cheap labour and low exploitation cost to destroy the country’s economy and make them more poor then they were before. This pulls down wages and environmental standards in developed countries that have to compete globally.
Have you ever heard of a company using child labor to lower manufacturing cost? How about companies that infringe on human rights in other countries where there is no one to stop them? Now, that is a big issue for an overseas country like Canada to try and help with. So instead, we do our share of good deeds by banning products made by these companies, giving them less profit and therefore less damage done. But of course, the WTO “saves the day” but crashing down the trade barrier, crushing Canada’s attempted act of compassion.
And if that isn’t bad enough, like everything else in our modern day world, the WTO is ruining environment sustainability. Although they are not like other companies, who litter our Earth with plastic bags or pollute the waterways. Instead, they target the people trying to make our world a better place. What better way to destroy the environment? For example, in 1993 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a rule that required gasoline refineries to make cleaner gas in an effort to reduce air pollution. They were gracious, though, allowing five years for Venezuela and Brazil to get their act together before threatening to stop the trade. “But there must always be free trade!” according to the WTO, which forced the Clean Air Act to rewrite their standards, and allow citizens in the U.S. to be crippled by asthma and other health problems.
The WTO policies impact all aspects of society and the planet. So why are we letting transnational corporations inside access to the negotiations? If the WTO claims to be for the interest of the people, how would corporations influence that? As I recall, the goals of transnational corporations are to get as much money from as many people. The combining of these ends in chaos. For example US the Trade Representative relies on its 17 ‘Industry Sector Advisory Committees” to provide input into trade negotiations. Like Pokémon, having a powerful backup line with Charizard, Lapras, Gyrados, and Dragonite will overpower the cries of environmental concerns and human rights from a Magikarp, Zubat, and Metapod.
But until someone stands up to this force of evil, it will continue manipulating the world within its mighty hands. Perhaps a social studies class of grade 10 students will be able to make enough of an uproar to get the world’s attention. But for now, the WTO will continue to mask itself as a superhero, stealing candy from babies and medication from dying grandmother.
-By Jennifer Taylor