[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 54 (Thursday, May 4, 2000)]
[House]
[Pages H2601-H2603]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION, THE END OF GEOGRAPHY?

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 6, 1999, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Metcalf) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. METCALF. Madam Speaker, during 1969, C.P. Kindleberger wrote that 
the ``nation-state is just about through as an economic unit.'' He 
added that the U.S. Congress and right-wing-know-nothings in all 
countries were unaware of this. He added, ``The world is too small. 
Two-hundred-thousand ton tank and ore carriers and airbuses and the 
like will not permit sovereign independence of the nation-state in 
economic affairs.''
  Before that, Emile Durkheim stated, ``The corporations are to become 
the elementary division of the state, the fundamental political unit. 
They will efface the distinction between public and private, dissect 
the democratic

[[Page H2602]]

citizenry into discrete functional groupings, which are no longer 
capable of joint political action.''
  Durkheim went so far as to proclaim that through corporations' 
scientific rationality it ``will achieve its rightful standing as the 
creator of collective reality.''
  There is little question that part of these statements are accurate. 
America has seen its national sovereignty slowly diffused over a 
growing number of International Governing Organizations. The WTO, the 
World Trade Organization, is just the latest in a long line of such 
developments that began right after World War II. I am old enough to 
remember that time.
  But as the protest in Seattle against the WTO Ministerial Meeting 
made clear, the democratic citizenry seemed well prepared for joint 
political action. Though it has been pointed out that many, if not the 
majority, of protesters did not know what the WTO was and much of the 
protest itself entirely missed the mark regarding WTO culpability in 
many areas proclaimed, this remains but a question of education. It is 
the responsibility of the citizens' representatives to begin that 
process.
  We may not entirely agree with the former head of the Antitrust 
Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Thurman Arnold when he 
stated that the United States had ``developed two coordinate governing 
classes: the one, called `business', building cities, manufacturing and 
distributing goods, and holding complete and autocratic power over the 
livelihood of millions; the other, called `government', concerned with 
preaching and exemplification of spiritual ideals, so caught in a mass 
of theory that when it wished to move in a practical world, it had to 
do so by means of a sub rosa political machine.''

                              {time}  1730

  But surely the advocate of corporate governments today, housed 
quietly inefficiency within the corridors of power at WTO, OECD, IMF 
and the World Bank, clearly believe.
  Corporatism as ideology, and it is an ideology; as John Ralston Saul 
recently referred to it as a highjacking of first our terms, such as 
individualism, and then a highjacking of Western civilization, the 
result being ``the portrait of a society addicted to ideologies, a 
civilization tightly held at this moment in the embrace of a dominant 
ideology: Corporatism.''
  As we find our citizenry affected by this ideology and its 
consequences, consumerism, ``the overall effects on the individual are 
passivity and conformity in those areas that matter, and nonconformity 
in those which do don't.'' We do know more than ever before just how we 
got here. The WTO is the red-haired stepchild of the General Agreement 
on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, which began, in 1948, its quest for a 
global regime of economic interdependence.
  But by 1972, some Members of Congress saw the handwriting on the 
wall, and it was a forgery. Senator Long, while chairman of the Senate 
Committee on Finance, made these comments to Dr. Henry Kissinger 
regarding the completion and prepared signing of the Kennedy round of 
the GATT accords. Here is what he said: ``If we trade away American 
jobs and farmers' incomes for some vague concept of a new international 
order, the American people will demand from their elected 
representatives a new order of their own, which puts their jobs, their 
security and their incomes above the priorities of those who have dealt 
them a bad deal.''
  But we know that few listened, and 20 years later the former chairman 
of the International Trade Commission argued that it was the Kennedy 
round that began the slow decline in American's living standards. 
Citing statistics in his point regarding the loss of manufacturing jobs 
and the like, he concluded with what must be seen as a warning:
  ``The Uruguay Round and the promise of the North American Trade 
Agreement all may mesmerize and motivate Washington policymakers, but 
in the American heartland those initiatives translate as further 
efforts to promote international order at the expense of existing 
American jobs.''
  We are still not listening. Certainly the ideologists of corporatism 
cannot hear us. They are, in fact, pressing the same ideological 
stratagem in the journals that matter, like ``Foreign Affairs'' and the 
books coming out of the elite think tanks and nongovernmental 
organizations. One such author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, proclaimed her 
rather self-important opinion that State sovereignty was little more 
than a status symbol and something to be attained now through 
``transgovernmental'' participation. That would presumably be achieved 
through the WTO for instance?
  Stephan Krasner in the volume ``International Rules'' goes into more 
detail by explaining global regimes as functional attributes of world 
order environmental regimes, financial regimes and, of course, trade 
regimes. I quote: ``In a world of sovereign states, the basic function 
of regimes is to coordinate state behavior to achieve desired outcomes 
in particular issue areas. If, as many have argued, there is a general 
movement toward a world of complex interdependence, then the number of 
areas in which regimes can matter is growing.''
  But we are not here speaking of changes within an existing regime 
whereby elected representatives of free people make adjustments to new 
technologies, new ideas, and further betterment for their people. The 
first duty of elected representatives is to look out for their 
constituency. The WTO is not changes within the existing regime, but an 
entirely new regime. It has assumed an unprecedented degree of American 
sovereignty over the economic regime of the Nation and the world.
  Then who are the sovereigns? Is it the people, the ``nation'' in 
nation-state? I do not believe so. I would argue that who governs, 
rules; and who rules is sovereign. And the people of America and their 
elected representatives do not rule nor govern at the WTO but corporate 
diplomats, a word decidedly oxymoronic.
  Who are these new sovereigns? Maybe we can get a clearer picture by 
looking at what the WTO is in place to accomplish. I took interest in 
an article in ``Foreign Affairs,'' the name of which is ``A New Trader 
Order,'' volume 72, number 1, by Cowhey and Aronson. Quoting their 
article: ``Foreign investment flows are only about 10 percent the size 
of the world trade flows each year, but intra-firm trade, for example, 
sales by Ford Europe to Ford USA, now accounts for up to an astonishing 
40 percent of all U.S. trade.''
  This complex interdependence we hear of every day inside the beltway 
is nothing short of miraculous according to the policymakers who are 
mesmerized by all of this. But, clearly, the interdependence is less 
between the people of the ``nation'' states than between the 
``corporations'' of the corporate-states.

  Richard O'Brien, in his book entitled ``Global Financial Integration: 
The End of Geography,'' states the case this way: ``The firm is far 
less whetted to the idea of geography. Ownership is more and more 
international and global, divorced from national definitions. If one 
marketplace can no longer provide a service or an attractive location 
to carry out transactions, then the firm will actively seek another 
home. At the level of the firm, therefore, there are plenty of choices 
of geography.''
  O'Brien seems unduly excited when he adds, ``The glorious end of 
geography prospect for the close of this century is the emergence of a 
seamless global financial market. Barriers will be gone, service will 
be global, the world economy will benefit and so too, presumably, the 
consumer.'' Presumably?
  Counter to this ideological slant, and it is ideological, O'Brien 
notes the ``fact that governments are the very embodiment of geography, 
representing the nation-state. The end of geography is, in many 
respects, about the end or diminution of sovereignty.''
  In a rare find, a French author published a book titled ``The End of 
Democracy.'' John-Marie Guehenno has served in a number of posts for 
the French government, including their ambassador to the European 
Union. He suggests this period we live in is an imperial age. Let me 
quote him: ``The imperial age is an age of diffuse and continuous 
violence. There will no longer be any territory to defend, but only 
order, operating methods, to protect. And this abstract security is 
infinitely more difficult to ensure than that of a world in which 
geography commanded history. Neither rivers nor oceans protect the 
delicate mechanisms of the

[[Page H2603]]

imperial age from a menace as multiform as the empire itself.''
  The empire itself? Whose empire? In whose interests? Political 
analyst Craig B. Hulet, in his book titled ``Global Triage: Imperium in 
Imperio'' refers to this new global regime as Imperium in Imperio, or 
power within a power: a state within a state. His theory proposes that 
these new sovereigns are nothing short of this, and I quote him: ``They 
represent the power not of the natural persons which make up the 
nations' peoples, nor of their elected representatives, but the power 
of the legal paper-person recognized in law. The corporations 
themselves are, then, the new sovereigns.
  And in their efforts to be treated in law as equals to the citizens 
of each separate state, they call this ``National Treatment,'' they 
would travel the sea; and wherever they land ashore, they would be 
citizens here and there. Not even the privateers of old would have 
dared to impose this will upon nation-states.
  Can we claim to know today what this rapid progress of global 
transformation will portend for democracy here at home? We understand 
the great benefits of past progress. We are not Luddites here. We know 
what refrigeration can do for a child in a poor country; what clean 
water means to everyone everywhere; what free communications has 
already achieved. But are we going to unwittingly sacrifice our 
sovereignty on the altar of this new god, ``Progress''? Is it progress 
if a cannibal uses a knife and fork?
  Can we claim to know today what this rapid progress of global 
transformation will portend for national sovereignty here at home? We 
protect our way of life, our children's future, our workers' jobs, our 
security at home by measures often not unlike our airports are 
protected from pistols on planes. But self-interested ideologies, 
private greed, and private powers' bad ideas escape our mental 
detectors.
  We seem to be radically short of leadership where this active 
participation in the process of diffusing America's power over to and 
into the private global monopoly capitalist regime is today pursued 
without questioning its basis at all. An empire represented by not just 
the WTO, but clearly this new regime is the core ideological success 
for corporatism.

                              {time}  1745

  The only remaining step, according to Harvard Professor Paul Krugman, 
is the finalization of a completed Multilateral Agreement on 
Investments, which failed at OECD.
  According to OECD, the agreement's actual success may come through, 
not a treaty this time, but arrangements within corporate governance 
itself, quietly being hashed out at the IMF and World Bank as well as 
OECD. We are not yet the United Corporations of America. Or are we?
  The WTO needs to be scrutinized carefully, debated, hearings, and 
public participation where possible. I would say absolutely 
indispensable, full hearings.
  We can, of course, as author Christopher Lasch notes, peer inward at 
ourselves as well when he argued, ``The history of the twentieth 
century suggests that totalitarian regimes are highly unstable, 
evolving toward some type of bureaucracy that fits near the classic 
fascist nor the socialist model.
  None of this means that the future will be safe for democracy, only 
that the threat to democracy comes less from totalitarian or collective 
movements abroad than from the erosion of psychological, cultural, and 
spiritual foundations from within.''
  Are we not witness to, though, the growth of a global bureaucracy 
being created not out of totalitarian or collectivist movements, but 
from the autocratic corporations which hold so many lives in their 
balance? And where shall we redress our grievances when the regime 
completes its global transformation? When the people of each Nation and 
their State find they can no longer identify their rulers, their true 
rulers? When it is no longer their State which rules?
  The most recent U.N. Development Report documents how globalization 
has increased inequality between and within nations while bringing them 
together as never before.
  Some are referring to this, Globalization's Dark Side, like Jay Mazur 
recently in Foreign Affairs. He said, ``A world in which the assets of 
the 200 richest people are greater than the combined income of the more 
than 2 billion people at the other end of the economic ladder should 
give everyone pause. Such islands of concentrated wealth in the sea of 
misery have historically been a prelude to upheaval. The vast majority 
of trade and investment takes place between industrial nations, 
dominated by global corporations that control a third of the world 
exports. Of the 100 largest economies of the world, 51 are 
corporations,'' just over half.
  With further mergers and acquisitions in the future, with no end in 
sight, those of us that are awake must speak up now.
  Or is it that we just cannot see at all, believing in our current 
speculative bubble, which nobody credible believes can be sustained for 
much longer, we missed the growing anger, fear and frustration of our 
people; believing in the myths our policy priests pass on, we missed 
the dissatisfaction of our workers; believing in the god ``progress,'' 
we have lost our vision.
  Another warning, this time from Ethan Kapstein in his article 
``Workers and the World Economy'' in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 75, No. 3:
  ``While the world stands at a critical time in post war history, it 
has a group of leaders who appear unwilling, like their predecessors in 
the 1930's, to provide the international leadership to meet economic 
dislocations. Worse, many of them and their economic advisors do not 
seem to recognize the profound troubles affecting their societies.
  ``Like the German elite in Weimar, they dismiss mounting worker 
dissatisfaction, fringe political movements, and the plight of the 
unemployed and working poor as marginal concerns compared with the 
unquestioned importance of a sound currency and a balanced budget. 
Leaders need to recognize their policy failures of the last 20 years 
and respond accordingly. If they do not, there are others waiting in 
the wings who will, perhaps on less pleasant terms.''
  We ought to be looking very closely at where the new sovereigns 
intend to take us. We need to discuss the end they have in sight. It is 
our responsibility and our duty.
  Most everyone today agrees that socialism is not a threat. Many feel 
communism, even in China, is not a threat, indeed, that there are few 
real security threats to America that could compare to even our recent 
past.
  Be that as it may, when we speak of the global market economy, free 
enterprise, massage the terms to merge with managed competition and 
planning authorities, all the while suggesting that we have met the 
hidden hand and it is good, we need to also recall what Adam Smith said 
but is rarely quoted upon.
  He said, ``Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but 
constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labor 
above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a 
most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his 
neighbors and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, 
because it is usual, and, one may say, the natural state of affairs. 
Masters too sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink wages 
of labor even below this rate. These are always conducted with the 
utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution.''
  And now precisely, whose responsibility is it to keep an eye on the 
masters?
  I urge my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, left and right on 
the political spectrum, to boldly restore the oversight role of the 
Congress with one stroke and join my colleagues in supporting H.J. Res. 
90 in restoring the constitutional sovereignty of these United States.

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