2005 何謂全球化?

What is Globalization?
何謂全球化?

We hear the word ‘globalization’ everywhere these days.
總是聽到別人提起 全球化,這一個詞語像是無處不在。

So what does it actually mean?
那麼,何謂全球化?

Well, according to one dictionary definition, to globalize is to “make global or worldwide in scope or application.”
字典的其中一個解釋,全球化是指將一樣事物的範圍或應用衝破地域界限,擴展至全球或全世界。

But the above definition is a verb, and to evaluate a verb on its own is logically impossible.
然而這個定義是一個動詞,將一個動詞動態化來解譯該詞的意思在邏輯上是不能成立的。

To state the obvious, how can I make a statement like ‘to eat is bad’ or ‘to write is good’? Surely eating some things may be good, eating others might be bad. There is crucial information missing which we would need to know in order to make our analysis: in this case, what is being eaten.
一個明顯的例子,一個人又怎可以說‘吃東西是不好的’或’寫東西是好的‘?吃某一些東西當然是一件好事,但吃另一些東西可能是一件不好的事。當中,我們遺漏了一個極其重要的資料以幫助我們分析事情的好壞,以吃東西的例子而言,所遺漏的是究竟我們吃的是什麼東西。

Similarly, to evaluate what the media calls ‘globalization’, we would also need to know some missing information: we would need to know what is being globalized in this process.
同樣地,要評論媒體所謂的全球化,我們必先明白在全球化的過程中甚麼被全球化。

So, we can ask ourselves what is being made “worldwide in scope or application” when the WTO, the media, governments, and other actors refer to ‘globalization’?
故此,當世貿組織、傳媒、政府、及其他團體組織說到全球化時,我們應該問自己究竟是什麼東西的應用被擴展至全世界?

Well, it turns out they are referring to a very specific concept.
原來,他們所指的一個非常陝隘的概念。

When an organization like the WTO uses the word ‘globalization’, the thing that is being ‘globalized’ in the process is the main priority of corporations: meaning, essentially, their short term profits. In effect, their ‘globalization’ means to spread worldwide the logic of making short term profit, regardless of the social and environmental consequences and the effects on future generations.
當世貿等機構使用全球化這個詞語,在全球化的過程中被全球化的東西只是能為企業帶來短期利潤的部份。實際上,它們所指的全球化是在全球擴展賺取短期利潤的主張,無論它會為環境及下一代帶來什麼後果和影響。

In practical terms, this means taking action to ensure that corporations can operate in more and more countries and more and more continents, with less and less restrictions on their activities by such things as laws, standards, or even government spending.
實際上,這些行動是要保證它們的企業可以在更多國家運作,但卻被更少的東西限制它們的活動。例如法律、標準、或甚至乎政府支出。

So ‘globalization’ is not a phenomenon, it is not some new era of history, or even a very complicated concept, as much of the propaganda around it would suggest.
因此,全球化不是一個現象,亦不是歷史上的一個新時代,更不是如廣泛宣傳所說的什麼複雜的概念。

The term actually refers to just one, very specific variety of international economic integration, based on the virtually unrestricted maximizing of short term profits for multinational corporations.
他們的全球化實際上只是指一個非常多重的國際經濟一體化,而這一體化建基於各跨國企業可不被限制地極大化他們的短期利潤。

For opponents of the ‘corporate globalization’ heralded by groups like the WTO, the core of the argument is that this sort of international integration would end up creating a world based on corporate greed rather than human needs, and a world where such concepts as democracy, sustainability, culture, or anyone’s human rights are not considered priorities.
對於反對如世貿等擁戴企業全球化的組織的人而言,他們所持的理據是這類國際一體化將會令世界變成一個只為滿足企業貪婪服務,而將人們的需要放在次位,例如民主、持續性、文化、及任何人的人權都顯得不重要了。

And what exactly is the WTO?
究竟世貿組織是什麼?

The World Trade Organization, or WTO, is one of the main engines driving this corporate globalization. It is an international organization of 146 member countries. It acts as a forum for negotiating international trade agreements and the monitoring and regulating body for enforcing agreements.
世界貿易組織(或世貿)是推動企業全球化的主力。這個國際組織有146成員國。它同時亦為國際貿易協議談判、監察、遵守及落實這些貿易協議提供一個討論平台。

According to Greenpeace it is “one of the most powerful institutions in the world.” Yet few of us would be able to say what it is and what it actually does.
綠色和平認為世貿是世界上其中一個最具權力的國際機構。然而,很少人能說出世貿是什麼的一個機構或它真正的工作是什麼。

The WTO was created in 1995. Prior its creation, it was the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) that focused on “promoting world trade” by pressuring governments around the world to reduce tariffs.
世貿在1995年成立。它的前身是關貿總協議,其宗旨是透過向政府施壓減低關稅,推動國際貿易發展。

But with the creation of the WTO, the corporate agenda was significantly strengthened. Aside from removing tariffs, the WTO could also pressure countries to remove so-called “non-tariff barriers to trade”— governments could effectively be pressured to change almost any national or local legislation that might be seen as ‘impacting trade’.
世貿組織的成立卻強化了更傾向於各企業的議程。除了主張消除關稅,世貿組織亦會向國家施壓,要求消除非關稅貿易限制  ﹣能更有效地向政府施壓,要求修改被認為會影響貿易的國家或地方法律。

The basic idea is simple:
基本概念十分簡單:

Instead of only forcing vulnerable third world countries to have low wages and high pollution (because their governments cannot stand up to, or have been bought off by, richer and more powerful corporate interests), why not weaken all governments and agencies that might defend workers, consumers, or the environment. Not only in the third world, but everywhere?
與其只迫使處於弱勢的第三世界國家接受低工資和面對更嚴重的污染(這是因為這些國家的政府並沒有為以國民的利益為先,或早巳被財雄勢大的企業收買,事事以企業利益為先),何不同時進一步削弱所有可以保護工人、消費者、或環境的政府和機構等對抗勢力?何不以此推向不單只第三世界的全世界呢?

Why not remove any efforts to limit profits because of their negative effects on labor, health, ecology, society or culture, or even development?
既然這些限制對工人、健康、生態、社會、或甚至是文化有反面的影響,為何不消除所有會限制利潤的政策?

Why don’t we only consider as our sole criteria for making decisions, the fact whether there are immediate, short term profits to be made or not?
我們何不只以某東西會否立即或在短時間內帶來利益來作為制定政策的唯一考慮?

This in a nutshell is the logic practiced by the WTO.
簡單來說,這就是世貿組織一直沿用的邏輯思維。

If national or local laws of one WTO member are seen as a “barrier to trade” by others—for example, because they take into account environmental considerations, health considerations, or minimum labor standards—the WTO acts as a judge. Its verdicts are not only entirely predictable and pro-corporate, the verdict is also binding. Countries can face sanctions and punishments if they do not follow the rulings.
如果世貿組織成員國中的其中一個國家或地方法律被指控對國際貿易造成限制 ﹣例如,該被指控的國家因考慮環境、健康或基本勞工標準而訂立的法例 ﹣世貿組織會擔當法官對爭端作出裁判。它的判決不單完全可以預計和傾向偏向於企業利益,同時亦具約束力。若成員國不服從判決,將會受到世貿的貿易制裁和懲罰。

The WTO, then, overrules governments and populations on behalf of corporate profits. We can see just from this short explanation why it is seen by many as so powerful and dangerous.
故此,代表企業利益的世貿組織可以說是淩架於政府和人民之上。單以這些簡單的說明,就可知世貿組織有多大的權力和危險性。

Why do we see the WTO as a vehicle to advance corporate profit-seeking logic?
為什麼我們視世貿組織為爭取企業利益的工具?

When we address a question like this, the logical thing would be to consider the WTO’s history to date.
當我們提出這類問題時,必要考慮世貿組織的歷史。

On doing this, we can see that In every case that has been brought to the WTO challenging environmental or public safety legislation on behalf of corporations, the corporations have won.
我們知道,差不多所有代表企業向世貿提出有關環璄或公眾安全法例的爭議事件,企業都是大贏家。

When foreign commercial shrimp fishing interests challenged the protection of giant sea turtles in our endangered species act, the turtles didn’t stand a chance.
當外國商業採蝦業的利益挑戰保護頻臨絕種的大海龜的措施時,海龜就被犧牲了。

When it was Venezuelan oil interests versus the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality standards for imported gasoline, the oil interests won.
當委內瑞拉石油業利益與美國環保局入口燃油的空氣質素標準抗衡時,石油利益成為勝利者。

When it was U.S. cattle producers against the European Union’s ban on hormone-treated beef, European consumers lost.
當美國養牛業反對歐盟禁制歐盟限制進口以注射激素繁殖的牛肉時,損失的是歐洲的消費者。

When it was Thai citizens against the global tobacco giants, the cigarette companies won.
當泰國人民反對全球最大的煙草商時,香煙公司勝利了。

The list goes on.
更多的例子不能盡錄。

But shouldn’t we favor the regulation of international trade?
但是,我們不應該支持國際貿易的規則嗎?

Sure, but not the type of regulation proposed by the WTO. The WTO is about protecting corporate ownership and monopoly over the patenting of plants, processes, seed varieties, drugs, software, and all capital, fostering its exchanges of goods despite any ill effects, and breaking down any protections of labor, the environment, health and safety, that might limit corporate profit making.
我們當然支持,但並非那些世貿組織提議的規則。世貿組織是保護企業對植物、製作過程、種子品種、藥物、電腦軟件、及所有資本的所有權和壟斷,藉以強化貨品交易,漠視所帶來的不良影響,破壞所有對工人、環境、健康安全等可能影響企業利益的保護。

Why are people ‘anti-globalization’? This sort of attitude is narrow-minded, old-fashioned, and dangerous!
為什麼人們要反全球化?這種態度是陝隘、守舊及危險的!

Many times, the media has used the term “anti-globalization” to refer to those opposed to the WTO. This makes it easier for WTO supporters to claim that those who oppose the WTO are just nationalists, or protectionists, or racists because they oppose the ‘phenomena’ of ‘globalization’ and the so-called ‘global village’.
傳媒時常用反全球化這個詞語去指那些反對世貿組織的人。這亦方便世貿組織的支持者聲稱反對世貿組織的人為民族主義者、保護主義者、或種族主義者,概因他們反對全球化現象及所謂的全球村。

This is an example of just how dangerous it is to evaluate something without correctly defining it.
這個例子正好說明未有正確定義某些事情而盲目作出評論是多麼的危險。

Once again, how can we be opposed to the act of ‘globalizing’ in itself? We would need to know what is being globalized in order to assess properly.
再一次,我們怎樣才可以反對全球化本身呢?我們應要知道什麼被全球化才可以作出適當的評估。

And since we have clarified above what the WTO means by ‘globalization’, it should be easy to refute the above argument. We may not be opposed to globalizing many positive things: people, ideas, cultures, music, art, even economies can come together across borders in many desirable and inspiring ways. But we are definitely opposed to corporate globalization and the very specific agenda of institutions like the WTO.
由於我們巳經清楚說明世貿組織是如何解釋全球化,這應該很容易反駁上述的論點。我們並不反對一些正面東西的全球化,這包括人民、意念、文化、音樂、藝術、甚至經濟可以透過很多正面和令人鼓舞的方法去打破地域界限,連合在一起。但是,我們肯定反對企業全球化及那些如世貿組織等巳訂下其議程的機構。

That said, there is no denying that it may be possible for some people to oppose the WTO out of narrow self-interest—to say, in essence, my country should be able to do as it prefers, I don’t care about what happens in other countries.
不能否認一些人可能是因為個人的利益而各對世貿組織,例如,我的國家應該以最適合它的利益而決定怎樣做,我並不會因其他的國家的做法而影響我的判斷。

But the view of the movements against the WTO should be more comprehensive: that social, labor, ecology, cultural, and other concerns should have priority over profit-making everywhere, not solely in one’s own neighborhood or country.
但我們對反世貿組織運動的看法應該更全面:對於社會、工人、生態環境、文化、及其它的關注都應該高於賺取利益,再者,不應只在我們的國家或鄰近國家,而是在全世界。

The real debate between WTO supporters and their critics is not about protectionism or nationalism, therefore, but about who will be protected from the ravages of unrestrained competition. The WTO does not care about guarding those who labor or protecting the environment, or long-term development, or fostering cultural sustainability or diversity.
世貿組織的支持者及反對者的爭論並非在於保護主義或民族主義,而是誰從沒有限制的競爭中得到保護。世貿組織並不熱衷於保障工人、保護環境、長遠發展、或促進文化持續性或各元化。

By globalizing corporate logic, the majority of people everywhere will actually lose from expanding trade.
根據企業全球化的邏輯,無論在任何地方,大部份人都會在貿易擴張的過程中受害。

But surely it would be more productive to join the WTO and work together to change their attitude and amend some of the rules?
但是,似乎參加世貿組織及透過合作共同改變這些態度及修改某些規則才是正積進取的做法?

Practically speaking, this would seem to be impossible. Aside from being extremely powerful, the WTO is also an undemocratic institution. Therefore its decision making power is unaccountable to working people, communities, and even most governments in the world.
實際上,這是極不可能發生的事情。除了擁有極高的權力,世貿組織是一個不民主的機構。因此,它制訂的權力不向人們、社會、甚至世界上大部份政府負責。

Having said this, there are different levels of criticism. Some groups, including much of the mainstream labor movement, essentially argue for a better form of WTO-led globalization. Their view is that using large protests and strategic involvement with the WTO is a good way to pressure the organization and could serve to hold it accountable, thereby positively influencing the decisions it makes. They believe that by inserting core labor rights, environmental protections, and “social responsibility” standards into the WTO’s mandate and practice, it could be reformed.
儘管如此,坊間存著不同程度的批評。一些團體,包括大部份主流工人運動,主要要求世貿領導的全球化可以做得好一點。他們認為,大規模的遊行及策略性地參與世貿活動是向機構施壓的好方法及可以要求他們負責,繼而正面地影響世貿組織做的政策決定。他們相信透過加入基本工人權利、環保及社會責任標準在世貿組織的主張及工作中,這會促使它改革。

Many other critics, however, do not agree with simply putting pressuring an institution that is illegitimate and unaccountable to ordinary people. These critics also argue that such tactics may perhaps result in a few short term concessions, they are illogical in the long term- institutions such as the WTO, they say, have a very specific and destructive agenda that will end up hurting us all. And they have no reason to voluntarily give up or dilute this agenda in any effective sense.
相反,很多其它批評認為向一個不合法及不向人民負責的機構單單施壓是不夠的。他們認為這些手段可能只會帶來短時間的讓步,這些如世貿的沒有長遠目的機構有自巳的一套特別及具破壞力的目的,最後只會為我們帶來傷害。同時,他們沒有理由積極地自願放棄或減低達到這些目的的意圖。

Criticism of the latter sort instead questions the WTO’s very existence, and critics do not see the sense in having so much power concentrated in this type of an institution. They say, in essence, that the institution and the economic system it represents as being fundamentally flawed. Though there are many strands of this latter sort of criticism, the general attitude is that people should oppose the power and resist the project of the WTO and work together to create more representative organizations and institutions, in the hope of working for a fairer, more sustainable, more democratic set of economic relations in the world, for the benefit of all people.
後者的批評質疑世貿組織的存在價值,批評者認為這類機構集中這麼多的權力是不合理的。他們認為,這機構及它所代表的經濟結構是絕對錯誤的。縱使他們有著不同的批評,總括的態度是人們應反對權力、反抗世貿組織的項目、及合作創造更具代表性的機構,期望讓世界的經濟關係變得更公平、更持續、更民主,讓人們都享受到成果。

Overall, different points of view and strategies certainly exist. But the danger of a world that values only short-term profits for a few elites is an analysis shared by most people.
總括而言,不同的觀點及策略肯定同時存在。但是,大部份人都同意為一小撮特權人仕爭取短期利益的價值觀念的危險。

OK, I agree that addressing these issues is important.
But how can I challenge powerful and unaccountable institutions like the WTO? How can I change the global economy?
好的,我同意提出這些問題的重要性。但我怎能與世貿組織等權力及沒有問責性的機構抗衡?我怎可以改變全球經濟?

The same way people and communities can change anything. The same we can win a pay raise, or fight an eviction, or even stop dangerous legislation like Article 23—by getting together with our neighbours and working as a group.
人跟社會同樣有能力改變任何事。只要集合力量,我們可以成功爭取加薪、對抗拆遷、或阻此通過如第23條等危險條例。

We could begin by remembering the following, important point, explained well by the US writer Noam Chomsky:
我們以回憶美國作家 Noam Chomsky曾提到的一個重點,作為開始:

“Nobody should be misled by the idea that there is a thing, ‘globalization’, which somehow is inevitable. There are various different kinds of international integration. They have taken various different forms over the years, they can take new forms tomorrow. They are be good, maybe bad: we can measure that in terms of their outcomes. But in principle there’s no reason whatsoever why populations can’t make these decisions.”
我們不應被誤導而認為全球化是無可避免的。世界上有著各種不同的國際間連合的情況,他們過去到以不同的方式達到連合的目的,今天亦可以另一種形式進行連合。一些可能是好的,一些可能是壞的:我們可以它們的結果來衡量其好壞。就原則而言,實在沒有理由人民不能參與制訂這些政策決定。

Logically put, in order to be effective, people’s groups and associations should work to raise the costs in areas that policy makers care about, so that they feel they must listen or the costs will climb even higher.
邏輯上,為使其更有效力,人民團體及組織應加強在那些政策制訂者關注的項目上工作,這會令他們覺得要聽取那些意見。

What do elites care about even more than they care about these international agencies? Not much, it’s true, but one thing is the overall stability of their money and their power.
什麼是特權階級最關注的,甚至超越它們對這些國際機構的關心?真的很少,它們只關心它們的錢及權力的整體穩定性。

So, pursuing WTO agendas is something corporate and political elites want to do, there is no denying that. On the other hand, if doing so polarizes populations into forming movements that threaten not only these policies but even threaten the underlying logic of profit-making and governing, that is too high a price to pay. They do not want to awaken the “sleeping giant” of the populations that they govern and exploit.
故此,推動世貿組織的議題是企業和政治特權者所想做的,並沒有反駁的地方。另外,如果真的這樣,只會鼓勵民眾組織運動,不單反對這些政策,亦反對這些政策背後賺錢和管理的邏輯,它們會為此賠上很高的代價。他們不想吵醒一直被管治和剝削的“沉睡中的巨人”。

How can people like you and me raise costs in such a way? Well, we can begin by educating our friends and neighbours and anyone else about the WTO and other global financial institutions, and by channeling the resulting anger and aspirations into social movements that challenge corporate globalization and local governments’ idea that everything is fine, that it is ‘business as usual’.
你跟我可以做些什麼?我們可以開始教育身邊的朋友、鄰居及其它人,讓他們認識世貿組織及其它國際機構,亦透過參與反對企業全球化及反對政府那些「什麼都會變好」「一切如常」等說法的社會運動去展示你的憤怒或理想。

What will make these movements most effective is if they make it clear to elites that they:
若要令這些運動更有效達到目的,他們應該向那些特權人仕表明:

will grow continuously
become steadily more active
diversify in focus from the WTO to international trade more broadly, to international relations, and finally to domestic economic policies and arrangements as well
﹣他們會繼續壯大
﹣他們會逐漸變得更主動
﹣他們會將注意力分散,由世貿組織轉移到廣泛的國際貿易範疇、到國際關係,最後到國內的經濟政策及安排等

 

關於「自治八樓」