[saymaListserv] Re: Monthly ECN Connections

Janet Minshall jhminshall at attbi.com
Tue Jun 24 13:45:22 JEST 2003

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 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."

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 as
>our government has undermined international treaties and institutions, used
>an endless "War on Terror" as a pretext for permanently enlarging its
>powers, embraced a doctrine of preemptive war, and invaded Iraq. We are now
>faced with the prospect of another U.S. initiative, the proposed Free Trade
>Area of the Americas (FTAA), that we believe will intensify social injustice
>and institutional and ecological violence, and lead to more physical
>Human activities damaging to the earth's ecosystems continue to expand, and
>wealth increases for the already wealthy while conditions of life steadily
>worsen for many impoverished people worldwide. U.S. government policies and
>the international trade agreements they have promoted, instead of remedying
>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 their
>activities. Although the agreements are promoted in terms of creating jobs
>and reducing poverty, there are now more unemployed and impoverished people.
>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 has
>progressively weakened.
>Expanding international trade already taxes the environment by increasing
>the use of fossil fuels and the rate at which fragile ecosystems are
>exploited. Treaties like the earlier NAFTA and the proposed FTAA exacerbate
>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 additional
>"rights" for global corporate and financial interests that the community of
>nations has previously refused to grant through the World Trade
>Friends Committee on Unity with Nature is concerned that the U.S. media do
>not provide full and accurate information about the effects of current trade
>and investment policies on working people, on the impoverished, and on local
>ecosystems in other nations and in our own. We are further concerned that
>the secrecy of the FTAA negotiations has severely limited public knowledge
>of and consultation on its process.
>On a finite planet, policies that give priority to assuring high returns on
>the speculative financial investments of the already wealthy cannot lead to
>either conservation or right sharing of the Earth's resources. Right
>sharing, conservation, and restoring the Earth's ecological integrity must
>become the priorities of public policy.
>We believe this issue is as urgent as the new doctrine of preemptive war,
>and one that Friends cannot in good conscience ignore. We are grateful for
>the leadership of the American Friends Service Committee in the Interfaith
>Working Group on International Trade and Investment and support the
>principles advanced in the statement, "An Interfaith Statement on
>International Trade and Investment."
>We ask monthly meetings and individual Friends to inform themselves as fully
>as possible about the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, and to seek
>Divine Guidance in considering how to fulfill our obligations, as citizens
>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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