Pit Schultz on Thu, 14 Aug 1997 17:51:54 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> what is not acceptable - Riccardo Petrella

[this refers to an earlier note by Frank Hartmann, 
mentioning the 'limits of globalisation' (i think 
the British 's' works better here signifying a
reference to colonialism) -- it's easy to make fun 
about this new phantom-issue but it desserves
just some more context to combine the critique
of the rise of a 'hi-financial Weltstaat' with the
project of net criticism. for example how the 
hystery on the stock market relates to net issues 
like the anachronistic failure of net.pravda Ventures
it seems to me that a certain collective concept of 
'the net as a space for heroic myths' had it's time, 
and we head to a much more specific, pragmatic 
and invisible digital practise /p]

btw: check out our polymedia ambient lecture at
100/100 program of documenta x TODAY 1900 MEZ
(then open a 'New Web Browser' to get a full screen..)

newsgroup: workspace.deep_europe

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Subject: what is not acceptable - Riccardo Petrella
From: pit@uropax.contrib.DE  (Pit  Schultz)
Date: 31 Jul 1997 22:18:00 +0200
Newsgroups: workspace.deep_europe
Organization: International City Federation, Hybrid Workspace

              * * *

Riccardo Petrella 
President of the Group of Lisbon 
Head of Social Research, Commission of the European Union - Bruxelles 

What is not acceptable 

For the latest twenty years the social inequalities have been increasing 
very rapidly all over the world. Poverty, marginalization and exclusion 
are trasforming the United States, the European Countries and also Japan 
into societies which are no longer simply unequal but also structurally 
segregationist, divided and broken into fragments. In France 13 million 
people (out of 58 million) live only thanks to governamental benefits 
(according to a recent report of 1995 from "Credoc" on the "State of 
France"). The report pubblished in October, 1994 by the "British 
Commission for Social Justice" showed that the difference between the 
highest and the lowest ones wages, in 1993, was broader than the 
difference in 1886 (more than a century ago!) 

The triumph of the short term, of the financial markets to 
and of the struggle for the survival 

In front of such "social destruction", the magnitude of which seems to 
neutralize people reaction at any level, a state of both resignation and 
aggressiveness is prevailing together with the belief that only the 
strongest ones will survive the conflicts that are going to shake our 
towns and countries violently. But there is somesing worse: people are 
delighted in worshipping capitalist market economy in its extreme 
free-trade, wild and privatised form, people admire the power of the mega 
global networks of financial and industrial enterprises; people devoie 
themselves to the cult of competitiveness; people let themselves be 
dazzied by the "performances" of the plunderes the wealth of the world 
and of the numerous new mercenary captains who have sprouted out like 
mushrooms in the context of a world economy completely abandoned to the 
"free" market forces. Everywhere the tendency is towards the dismantlement 
of the welfare state. A new "neoliberal ideologic brainwashing", coming 
from U.S.A., is not only recycling the black money of the whole globe, but 
is also aiming at bringing discredit on the role of the State. The new 
belief is: let the market and the private sector govern the society and 
the world. Let them guide us towards the promised land of the fascinating 
"information society". The State is finished, they say. Within the context 
of emerging world-wide networks of information and communication the 
future – we are told – belongs to new forms of political governance where 
the mega global financial and industrial groups will play a principal 
role. The real heart of the world will be the free, open, competitive 
market. Yet all shows that the economic growth in accordance with the 
latest twenty-year model, cannot secure a form of development socially 
fair, economically effective, sustainable for the environment, respectful 
of the cultural differences, open to political participation. Such growth, 
on the contrary, especially since 1970, has only multiplied the economic 
problems (structural unemployment, monetary instability, casino economy, 
increase of commercial and technological wars…) and the social problems 
(in addition to the return of poverty there is the increase of xenophoby 
and racism, the increase of criminality, the crisis of the towns and the 
explosion of urban violence). The economy of the free-trade market has 
not maintained its promices of welfare. It only destroys the wealth of the 
majority of citizens to augment the riches of few of them. 

The priority: to satisfy the basic needs and aspiration 
of the 8 billion people that will inhabit the planet in 2020 

In 25 years the world population will be of 8 billion human beings, 5 
billion of which will live in Asia. On the whole 3 billion people more 
than in 1995. If there will be no rapid change in the mechanism of the 
world economy and in the policy imposed on the rest of the world by the 
richest and most powerful socio-economical groups, about half of the world 
population (4 billion people), in 2020, will live in a state of poverty, 
exclusion, vulnerability and violence, as has never happened before in the 
story of humanity. We must rebel against this unacceptable future. We 
suggest a non-violent revolt based on the following three aims: 

a) to give the world economy a clear social visibility 

- on one hand by intervening at the heart of its working: it is necessary 
to re-establish a public control on the international movements of 
capital. The Central Banks of the richest countries will have to agree 
upon such controls. Besides, it is urgent, as President Francois 
Mitterrand suggested at Copenhagen summit, to fix a taxation on the 
international movements of capital (the Tobin taxation from the name of 
the Nobel Prize for economy who proposed it). To refuse to carry out these 
two measures means to accept that the evolution and the conduct of the 
world economy must be subordinated only to financial interests. 

- on the other hand by launching the set-up a world plan for the house 
(project "Inhabiting the Earth") for the 2 billion people who will be 
homeless by the year 2000. This plan could be financed thanks to a pooling 
together resources from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, 
FAO, UNIDO, UNDP. The project "Inhabiting the earth" should be the core of 
the final engagement of the World Conference Habitat II that will be held 
at Istambul in June 1996. To say that this plan is utopian and 
impracticable means to undervaluate the financial, economical, 
technological and most ideal power of our world community. Anyway it means 
to accept to keep 2 billion human beings in a condition of exclusion. 

b) to make the World Summit on the Social Development at Copenhagen the 
first step of a process that, in the next twentry years, should bring to 
the realization of "A contract for the world" 

At Copenhagen the Danish government has suggested the creation of a World 
Commission with the task of ri-analising the world poverty and proposing 
the most suitable measures to eradicate it. It is time to go beyond the 
Committees of study and the creation of groups of experts. The 
mother-causes of poverty, of social exclusion, of urban violence, of wars, 
of racism are now well-known. So it is important to intervene on them: 

* first of all in the field of education. The European societies, the 
U.S.A. and Japan have succeded in becoming highly developed societies, 
thanks to the introduction of free compulsory education, it is now the 
moment to give new vitality to UNESCO and UNICEF laying the foundation for 
a plan of free and compulsory schooling for all the children of the world 
up to the age of 16. In particular the urgency is to starting with a 
strong action in favour of 30-200 million "street children". Why should we 
continue investing hundreds of million dollars in the uncertain project of 
nuclear fusion instead of setting aside a big sum to the liberation of 30 
to 200 million children (according different estimates) who live in an 
umbearable reality? 

* secoundly in favour of young people from 16 to 25-30 years of age. 
Unemployed young people in the world are already 200-300 millions. In the 
next twenty-five years this crowd of excluded, of young people who have 
never had, in their life, a job to be proud of, may increase. At present, 
the measures which have been adopted in favour of juvenile occupation in 
Africa, in Latin America and in Asia have proved to be palliatives because 
of the bonds imposed by the competitive, liberist, haphazard and 
privatistic economy of the market (according to the rules imposed also by 
the policy of structural adjustment of MB and IMF). We propose the 
creation of a World Task Force composed of a reduced number of national 
and international organizations with the task of promoting juvenile 
occupation trying to convince the 5000 most important firms of the world 
to to subscribe a world agreement for the enployment of young people. If 
each of them undertook to engage 100 young people a year... 

c) to do one's best for the creation of new permanent and effective forms 
of world "political" governance 

With regard to this we propose: 

- a deep reform of Bretton Woods Institutions (MB, IMF) in the sense of 
the implementation of a World Fund for the Social Development. These 
institutions have shown their structural inefficacy to reduce within and 
across countries inequalities and, hence, to promote in the world a 
socially fair and sustainable development. It is not good to be cured by 
phisicians who do not know their job or, still worse, who consider 
themselves to be at disposal mainly ofthe powerful and rich "clients". 

- a deep reform of OIT, FAO and UNDP in order to create, by 2010, a real 
World Organization of Social Development with the task to ensure a world 
work policy. The globalization of economy not only exacts a world policy 
addressed to the capital, the firms and the market, but also requires the 
mobility of people and a world labor policy. The recent cases of 
authorization granted to West firms (like Lufthansa) to recruite workers 
from all over the world with contracts not controlled by the country of 
origin (therefore at lowest cost and at scant social protection) shows how 
urgent a world labor market policy is. 

- the creation of a Forum for a World Fiscal System with the task of 
analysing the conditions, the obstacles to surmount, the measures to adopt 
in order to reach, in a reasonable time, a stable monetary system on world 
scale and a world taxation for the social development to struggle 
effectively against poverty and social exclusion. 


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