Third Party & Independents Archives

Iraq privatization and economic globalization

On recent news we all have seen the possibility of a privatization of all the state-owned companies, trying to achieve democracy through the arrival of a free market and the opening of Iraq to investment by foreign companies.
Although all this is presented in the spirit of democracy, this imposed globalization goes contrary to any perception of equality or respect for the vanquished country. More to the point, the possibility of selling the state-owned companies at give-away prices is bound to create more distrust and enmity among the population of Iraq, as well as further confirm the image that the United States is getting all over the world, that of an empire with little respect for local customs, laws and culture.

One of the values of the Green Party is that of localism, pursuing solutions through local initiative, as opposed to the dreary homogenization of a global culture. It is much rather enriching to have a proper culture anywhere in the world, than to have to accept the presence of yet another McDonald, this time in the streets of Baghdad.

But the case of Iraq is not an isolated one, although clearly an indicative of the incessant pressure of transnational capital to engulf and expand beyond borders and cultures. The great problem lying here, of course, is not the presence of foreign ideas or the stamping out of local culture and traditions. There is other unintended consequence of this extensive reach for profits: the transference of he external costs to small or unindustrialized countries, reducing their ability to compete, overwhelming the local economies, and creating huge social disparities among the population.
Those that participate in the global play, a increasingly restricted minority, usually controlling economic and political power, where the great majority of the population is forced to accept whichever conditions there are in order to protect the interests of the global economy. That disparity is what creates a center-periphery structure, where there is a flow of capital and resources to the center, and a trickle of payments to the periphery. Political power, tightly held, also contributes to severe inequalities and discontent, often directed toward the country that is perceived as the "source" of all ills.
Imagine then what it is, then, to have the state run companies sold to the highest bidder, or to the one with better contacts in Washington DC.
Not only it has been shown time and time again, private companies fare particularly poor in providing basic services to unindustrialized countries, it would also run contrary to a basic tenet of respecting the other country’s values and people.

If not for the philosophical reasons, then for the practical ones, the USA must refrain from selling the assets of the invaded Iraq. Otherwise, it would be foolishly courting the anger of an already alienated population, and providing alibis and fanatics to its eager enemies.

Posted by Camilo at June 29, 2003 5:49 PM