Friday, December 17, 2004

on globalization

a recent news item from the bbc reports that millions of textile jobs will be lost in some of the poorer countries of the world, such as bangladesh, as the world trade organization (WTO) ends the multi-fibre agreement on the 31st of december. a broad description of this agreement is on the bbc link.

this loss of millions of jobs in countries such a bangladesh underscores a point made by other authors concerning globalization: that without any adequate international body out there that will help guide and temper harsh market and economic forces, weaker countries without any influence and a strong voice in the global theatre, will continue to experience adverse effects of economic globalization. these countries could be "left out of the table" and will continue to be marginalized as the drive for greater profits and revenue take precedence over the welfare of workers and laborers in developing countries.

the issue of globalization is not unfamiliar to the catholic church. the present pope has spoken about this on various occasion, such as at a speech to the pontifical academy of social sciences on may 2003 and a message to business executives on march 2004. on these occasions, and most notably in his encyclical centesimus annus (may 1991), john paul II has always voiced the need that global agencies "give sufficient consideration to peoples and countries which have little weight in the international market, but which are burdened by the most acute and desperate needs, and are thus more dependent on support for their development" (from centesimus annus, #58): on the road to greater and greater international integration, one must still exhibit a preferential option for the poor.

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