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#3248: Aristide on free trade (fwd)
From: radman <email@example.com>
Excerpted from: PROTESTS IN WASHINGTON CLASH WITH MEDIA SPIN
By Norman Solomon / Creators Syndicate
"We are not against trade," says former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, "we are not against free trade, but our fear is that the global
market intends to annihilate our markets. We will be pushed to the cities,
to eat food grown on factory farms in distant countries, food whose price
depends on the daily numbers game" of the global marketplace.
In a book being published next week, "Eyes of the Heart," Aristide
explains that the austerity programs championed by the IMF and World Bank
offer "a choice between death and death" in poor countries. For instance:
"Haiti, under intense pressure from the international lending institutions,
stopped protecting its domestic agriculture while subsidies to the U.S.
rice industry increased. A hungry nation became hungrier."
On a planet with half of the population -- 3 billion people -- living on
less than two dollars a day, Aristide writes, "the statistics that describe
the accumulation of wealth in the world are mind-boggling. ... Behind this
crisis of dollars there is a human crisis: among the poor, immeasurable
human suffering; among the others, the powerful, the policy makers, a
poverty of spirit which has made a religion of the market and its invisible
hand. A crisis of imagination so profound that the only measure of value is
profit, the only measure of human progress is economic growth."