[saymaListserv] Re: Re: Monthly ECN Connections

Susan Carlyle scarlyle at main.nc.us
Sun Jul 6 14:35:18 JEST 2003

Hi Janet. This is Susan. Kim's email address is kcarlyle at main.nc.us
I have forwarded your message to him, but you might want to correct your
address book to reflect the difference in our email addresses!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Janet Minshall" <jhminshall at attbi.com>
To: <scarlyle at main.nc.us>
Cc: <sayma at kitenet.net>
Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 1:46 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Monthly ECN Connections

> Hi Kim, Thanks for your response.  I,too, thought this was more than
> just a message from one Friend to another and so I included all SAYMA
> Friends (as best the Kitenet list reflects all SAYMA Friends) in my
> reply and reprinted the whole  epistle that I was responding to.  In
> this message I have included the complete chain of messages so that
> anyone who is interested and who did not see the earlier ones can
> join fully in the discussion.
> I really appreciate your being so straightforward in your message.
> It highlights a concern I've had for awhile about middle class
> Friends assuming that they think like, and can say speak for, people
> living in LDCs (Less Developed Countries) to explain how they feel
> about working in a business developed by Americans or Western
> Europeans, and how that affects their culture and the rest of their
> lives.  In fact, the epistle just transfers the frustrations,
> problems and feelings of people working in the US to others who live
> in very different cultures and have very different concerns and
> values.
>    I have done some work, partly supported by SAYMA funds, twice in
> Africa -- once in 1986 and again later in 1988.  In both instances I
> was hoping to start, with the help and guidance of East African
> Friends, an economic development project which would express the
> concerns of US Friends. This was not a leading "out of the blue" but
> rather the dying wish for continuance of work begun by Marjorie Fox,
> a Philadelphia Friend. Marjorie sojourned with Atlanta Friends while
> in chemo-therapy for cancer at a local hospital. When it was clear
> that she was not winning her cancer battle, she let it be known that
> she fervently hoped the work she had done in East Africa would
> continue after she died.
> What I learned in East Africa was life-changing. It concerned
> cultural differences and how they literally blind us to cultures
> apart from our own. I think what I'm saying can be best expressed by
> the following exchange of letters the initial one written by a SAYMA
> Friend to Jack Powelson, an emeritus professor of Economics at the
> University of Colorado.  I serve on the Editorial Board for his free
> online newsletter "The Quaker Economist", and responded not knowing
> if he had the time to respond himself:
> Jack,
> the problem is that the "unfettered" competition is causing illness
> by pollution, global warming and is depleting sustainable resources.
> At some point the cost of illness and environmental change has to be
> figured in the buying and selling prices.  Also it is unfair to the
> entire globe to make products in places where there is no effective
> lobby to protect the environment - Regulation is probably the least
> way - but someone need so to pay for the dollars in health care and
> environmental degradation.
> In addition, from health statistics, we know that small farmers are
> healthier when then can sell their products.  Large factory farms
> undercut them and cause them to move to cities.  American farmers are
> subsidized by cheap fuel, wonderful roads, and generous benefits.
> You are right, it would be better if there was less regulation, but
> only when subsidies to favor rich countries were also eliminated.
> My response was:
> I don't know if Jack will answer your most recent message or not.
> Since you and I have nearly had this conversation several times at
> yearly meeting, I thought I'd give you my two cents worth.
> You're trying to change the system to what YOU think it should be
> whereas, if the decision were left to the people in developing
> countries the answers would be different.  You have worked in India
> and I in Africa.  We know, because we have seen it first hand, that
> huge wooded areas have been denuded by local people who are desperate
> for firewood to cook with and to burn for heat. The consciousness of
> the people I've spoken with in Africa is completely concentrated on
> immediate survival and they really do not give a hang about the
> environment or the expansion of the desert into previously arable
> land or the depletion of sustainable resources.
> But while they spend much of their time searching for anything that
> will burn, what they really want is the opportunity to work.  They
> don't care if American workers make twice as much for the work that's
> offered.  They realize to some extent that their country is without
> infrastructure and so the companies that relocate there will have to
> build and maintain roads, and a water supply and generators and a
> more functional communications system in order to have what they need
> to begin to produce.  The ordinary people just want the chance to
> begin earning and saving so that after they have repaired their
> houses and have bought clothes for their children, they can then work
> toward things like electrical wiring and indoor plumbing for
> themselves.  And the women, who now walk miles a day carrying water,
> want to save together to install a hand or electrical pump nearby.
> You can talk to them until you lose your voice and while they may say
> they understand and agree with you you will not really have changed
> their priorities until you change their economic situation. What
> economists have learned from studying economic history is that people
> need a higher standard of living and some economic security in order
> to care about larger, less immediate issues.  Once they have more,
> they begin to think about things like pollution, population control
> and even global warming. It happens mostly by itself.  We don't
> really have to convince them of anything.  What our multinational
> corporations can do and are doing is to give them the opportunity to
> work.
> Unless you recognize the change of consciousness which follows
> economic development, you'll never understand how to effectively
> change economic realities.  You cannot start at the end point (the
> environment and global warming).  You have to start closer to the
> beginning (economic development and jobs).
> There is an exceptionally good 18-page insert called A Survey of The
> Global Environment in The Economist magazine of July 6th to 12th
> which supports many of your concerns but enlarges the discussion to
> include comments and related issues from economists.
> Best Regards,  Janet
> From: "Kim Carlyle" <kcarlyle at main.nc.us>
> To: "Janet Minshall" <jhminshall at attbi.com>
> Cc: "Listserve SAYMA" <sayma at kitenet.net>
> Subject: Re: [saymaListserv] Re: Monthly ECN Connections
> Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 18:32:11 -0400
> X-Priority: 3
> Dear Janet (and SAYMA Friends),
> Thank you for your interest in and appreciation of the work of FCUN. I'm a
> bit puzzled about why the response was copied to our yearly meeting
> listserve, perhaps it was a mistake. In any event, it provides the
> opportunity to raise awareness among Friends, as is our intention in the
> closing of the epistle: "We ask monthly meetings and individual Friends to
> inform themselves as fully as possible about the proposed Free Trade Area
> the Americas, and to seek Divine Guidance in considering how to fulfill
> obligations, as citizens of the United States and the world, to promote
> peace, justice, and the restoration of the earth's ecological integrity."
> Your criticisms are justified. Many readers would interpret the statements
> as you did. Your comments will be helpful as we continue to seek truth on
> these issues. Please allow me, however, to explain the intent of these
> statements to which you have raised concerns.
> The FCUN epistle was a collaboration of many Friends in consultation with
> AFSC folks who are working on these issues. Regarding the first objection,
> consulted with the source of this particular phrasing who explained that
> reaction was "as if it said people are generally getting poorer in
> terms and in relation to the things money can buy. It does not say that.
> says 'the conditions of life are worsening.' This is a very much different
> consideration, and I think can be supported on many objective grounds. In
> human and social terms the conditions of life for people working, for
> example, long hours in low wage factory jobs in toxic environments are
> frequently worse than the conditions of subsistence village life they, or
> their parents, have left. The modernization of poverty is a relative
> consideration with respect to the environmental and social conditions in
> which people live. People who live in urban areas are frequently worse off
> even though they have more money than they were when they lived in a rural
> village. They are at a much greater comparative disadvantage with respect
> the economic world around them than are those who have not become
> on transnational capital. These may seem to some folks like rather subtle
> points, but an analysis that does not take them into account is not seeing
> the whole picture.
> "Further to the discussion, I chose the word "impoverished" precisely
> because is does not mean simply a lack of money. It means, as well,
> 'deprived of natural
> richness and strength.' It includes quality of life considerations and how
> people feel about the way things are going for them. Plenty of people,
> in the U.S., have money in their pocket but have a sense that the
> of life are worsening, that their own life, and the environment of life in
> general, is increasingly being 'deprived of natural richness and
> Again, this may seem a little subtle, but it is an important reality."
> Regarding the second objection, perhaps the numbers from some statistical
> analyses do indicate that there are more people employed (and perhaps the
> exact phrasing in the epistle might have been better), but the point is
> while quantity may have increased, quality of employment has declined. Are
> temporary workers included in the statistic? Child laborers? Are the
> properly compensated? The list of questions goes on. The real issues are
> employment security, income security, and adequate income.
> Again, from one of the authors: "The issue is not whether transnationals
> create jobs, but whether those jobs exist in a reasonably sustainable and
> supportive socioeconomic context. If they don't, then the statistics give
> false picture of the situation. The plant moves on, the jobs disappear,
> people left behind are worse off than before. The jobs may reappear
> elsewhere.  More plants get built  in the lowest wage areas and the
> employment figures keep looking positive. But human development and the
> development of human communities in healthy ecosystems is not at the heart
> of the process. Economists will say that's not what business is for."
> But, as Friends, perhaps we have a duty to help change the way business is
> done so that it not only includes the concepts of human betterment and
> ecological integrity, but makes them a priority.
> To explore these issues further, Quaker Eco-Witness will devote the next
> issue of "Quaker Eco-Bulletin" to international trade agreements. Friends
> can subscribe electronically to QEB by sending a message to QEW at FCUN.org.
> QEB is also distributed as an insert to "BeFriending Creation," FCUN's
> bi-monthly newsletter. Subscribe by sending a message to FCUN at FCUN.org.
> if you would like to be included in the distribution of SAYMA's Ecological
> Concerns Network newsletter (the source of this exchange), "ECN
> Connections,"  please let me know.
> Thanks again, Janet (and SAYMA Friends).
> EarthPeace,
> Kim Carlyle
> SAYMA representative to FCUN
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Janet Minshall" <jhminshall at attbi.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 1:45 PM
> Subject: [saymaListserv] Re: Monthly ECN Connections
> >  ...There are two quotes which very much need correction:
> >  "...wealth increases for the already wealthy while conditions of life
> steadily
> >  worsen for many impoverished people worldwide."
> >
> >  "Although the agreements are promoted in terms of creating jobs
> >  and reducing poverty,there are now more unemployed and impoverished
> people."
> >
> >Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 13:45:22 -0400
> >To: "Susan Carlyle" <scarlyle at main.nc.us>
> >From: Janet Minshall <jhminshall at attbi.com>
> >Subject: Re: Monthly ECN Connections
> >Cc: sayma at kitenet.net
> >Bcc:
> >X-Attachments:
> >
> >Dear Susan Carlyle, I really appreciate the work you and Kim do on
> >behalf of the environment both in SAYMA and in FCUN.  I agree with
> >much of what is written by/for FCUN.  In response to the epistle
> >submitted by Kim I too am concerned that the media do not provide
> >full and accurate information.  I am more concerned, however, that
> >Friends are picking up inaccurate information from other sources and
> >passing it on as established fact.
> >
> >There are two quotes which very much need correction:
> >"...wealth increases for the already wealthy while conditions of life
> >worsen for many impoverished people worldwide."
> >
> >"Although the agreements are promoted in terms of creating jobs
> >and reducing poverty,there are now more unemployed and impoverished
> >
> >
> >The two statements quoted above from the June ECN Connections in the
> >epistle from FCUN are not factual. Yes, "wealth increases for the
> >already wealthy", but "conditions of life do not steadily worsen for
> >many impoverished people."  In fact, according to United Nations
> >data, conditions of life and average incomes have steadily risen all
> >over the world for many, many years.
> >
> >Actually, the only places in the world where poverty is still
> >increasing are in remote areas of China and India. These are areas
> >where one aspect of globalization,moving jobs away from affluent
> >workers in the US to impoverished workers in the rest of the world,
> >has not yet reached. Everywhere that globalization has reached both
> >employment and incomes have increased, sometimes dramatically, for
> >the poor.
> >
> >I know this is contrary to the information you have been given, but
> >it is true.  Those who oppose globalization and the actions of
> >multinational corporations most aggressively are the US labor unions
> >which do not want US jobs and union dues, on which they depend
> >financially, to fall. Powerful labor unions, unfortunately, are the
> >source of much of the misinformation repeated as fact among Friends.
> >Similarly, some NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) which serve
> >the poor realize that their mandate is fast disappearing as the poor
> >they serve are brought out of poverty.
> >
> >Please have someone in FCUN do the research from unbiased sources
> >such as the relevant committees of the United Nations and write
> >about it for Friends. It will show that what I am saying here is
> >true.    Sincerely, Janet Minshall
> >
> >
> >
> >>from ECN Connections- June 2003
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>An Epistle from Friends Committee on Unity with Nature on the FTAA
> >>To Friends Everywhere:
> >>
> >>Those of us who are U.S. citizens have witnessed with horror and shame
> >>our government has undermined international treaties and institutions,
> >>an endless "War on Terror" as a pretext for permanently enlarging its
> >>powers, embraced a doctrine of preemptive war, and invaded Iraq. We are
> >>faced with the prospect of another U.S. initiative, the proposed Free
> >>Area of the Americas (FTAA), that we believe will intensify social
> >>and institutional and ecological violence, and lead to more physical
> >>violence.
> >>Human activities damaging to the earth's ecosystems continue to expand,
> >>wealth increases for the already wealthy while conditions of life
> >>worsen for many impoverished people worldwide. U.S. government policies
> >>the international trade agreements they have promoted, instead of
> >>these inequities, seem to be intensifying them.
> >>In truth, these agreements have primarily promoted the productivity and
> >>profitability of large corporations by reducing legal constraints on
> >>activities. Although the agreements are promoted in terms of creating
> >>and reducing poverty, there are now more unemployed and impoverished
> >>In addition, more land and resources have been diverted to the corporate
> >>industrial process, wealth and power are more concentrated, the
biosphere is
> >>more polluted, and the ability of governments to promote general welfare
> >>progressively weakened.
> >>Expanding international trade already taxes the environment by
> >>the use of fossil fuels and the rate at which fragile ecosystems are
> >>exploited. Treaties like the earlier NAFTA and the proposed FTAA
> >>this stress by granting "rights" to corporations which supercede and can
> >>even nullify national and local laws intended to protect people and the
> >>environment. The proposed FTAA would impose in this hemisphere
> >>"rights" for global corporate and financial interests that the community
> >>nations has previously refused to grant through the World Trade
> >>Organization(WTO).
> >>Friends Committee on Unity with Nature is concerned that the U.S. media
> >>not provide full and accurate information about the effects of current
> >>and investment policies on working people, on the impoverished, and on
> >>ecosystems in other nations and in our own. We are further concerned
> >>the secrecy of the FTAA negotiations has severely limited public
> >>of and consultation on its process.
> >>On a finite planet, policies that give priority to assuring high returns
> >>the speculative financial investments of the already wealthy cannot lead
> >>either conservation or right sharing of the Earth's resources. Right
> >>sharing, conservation, and restoring the Earth's ecological integrity
> >>become the priorities of public policy.
> >>We believe this issue is as urgent as the new doctrine of preemptive
> >>and one that Friends cannot in good conscience ignore. We are grateful
> >>the leadership of the American Friends Service Committee in the
> >>Working Group on International Trade and Investment and support the
> >>principles advanced in the statement, "An Interfaith Statement on
> >>International Trade and Investment."
> >>(see<http://www.mcc.org/us/globalization/partners/interfaith.html>)
> >>We ask monthly meetings and individual Friends to inform themselves as
> >>as possible about the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, and to
> >>Divine Guidance in considering how to fulfill our obligations, as
> >>of the United States and the world, to promote peace, justice, and the
> >>restoration of the earth's ecological integrity.
> >>--submitted by Kim Carlyle

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