- Pro WTO
- Highly Critical
- ATTAC - Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the benefit of Citizens (Action pour une Taxe Tobin d’Aide aux Citoyens).
‘ATTAC was founded in France in 1998, and now  has about 40,000 members. It is an international network of independent national and local groups in 26 countries. It promotes the idea of an international tax on currency
speculation (the Tobin Tax) and campaigns to outlaw tax havens, replace pension funds with state pensions, cancel Third World debt, reform or abolish the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, more generally, recapture the democratic space that has been lost to the financial world.
ATTAC combines activism with intellectual creativity. It promotes practical economic reforms meant to tame the devastating power of the financial markets, and to favour democratic, transparent economic structures that serve the needs of ordinary people. It looks for alternatives to the dogmatic ideology of neoliberalism.
. . . ATTAC took part in the demonstrations at Seattle in 1999 against the WTO, and at Genoa in July 2001 against the G8. It is part of a diverse global movement that promotes democratic self-determination for local and regional economies.’ [Source] ‘Financial globalisation increases economic insecurity and social inequality. It bypasses and devalues people’s choices, democratic institutions, and sovereign nations responsible for the common good. In their place it puts a logic that is purely speculative and only expresses the interests of multinational corporations and financial markets. [. . . ] The free movement of capital, fiscal paradises and the explosion in the volume of speculative transactions have forced nations to compete fiercely in attracting big investors. In the name of modernity, 1,500 billion dollars come and go each day on the exchange market in search of instantaneous profit, without any relation to the state of production and trade of goods and services. Such an evolution results in a constant increase in capital revenue to the detriment of revenue from labour, and increasing precariousness and poverty. [. . . ]With this goal in mind, the signatories have proposed to create the association ATTAC (Action pour une taxe Tobin d’aide aux citoyens), which would allow them to produce and spread information to act together, in their respective countries as well as at the European and international levels. With a view to preventing international speculation, taxing capital revenue, punishing fiscal paradises, stopping the extension of pension funds and, more generally, recapturing the spaces of democracy lost to the financial sphere and to oppose any new abandonment of the sovereignty of states on the pretext of ensuring the “right” of investors and merchants. It is simply a question of taking back, together, the future of our world.’ [Taken from ATTAC’s platform Source]
- Jubilee South - This group’s main concern is with third world and particularly southern debt: ‘The External Debt of countries of the South is illegitimate and immoral. It has been paid many times over. A careful examination of the origins, development, effects, and consequences of this debt can lead us to no other conclusion. We thus reject the continued plunder of the South by way of debt payment’. They also state: ‘As Jubilee South, we put forth as our mission to confront its [debt’s and indebtment’s] historical roots and structural causes, and to promote lasting alternatives of economic, social, and ecological justice. In so doing, we were inspired by the myriad forms of resistance through which the majority of the world’s population now seek to achieve and defend their fundamental human and collective rights to a dignified life.’ [Source: South-South Summit Declaration 21/11/1999]
- TNI: The Transnational Institute (WTO Section) – ‘The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the instruments of globalization and globalization is clearly led by corporations. Transnational corporations are gaining enormous power in the world today, but they can’t make the rules by themselves: they need to have instruments to make those rules for them. One of the instruments they use is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). . . .
Now the biggest rule-writer the corporations have is the WTO. The WTO is really writing a constitution to facilitate the affairs of transnational corporations and allow them to globalize as they see fit, in a world that will be organized of, by, and for corporations. It’s the corporations’ utopian dream. . .
Globalization itself does three things. One, it pushes money from the bottom to the top. Wealth moves upwards, towards those who already have wealth. All over the place inequalities are growing and wealth is moving towards the top. Two, globalization moves power from the bottom to the top, and concentrates it in the hands of very few people. In particular, it concentrates it at the international level where there’s no democracy and no way for citizens to get a handle on what is happening. Three, globalization is creating a myriad of losers.’ [Susan George: ‘The WTO and the Global War System’ on TNI Website – look in her WTO section] Unusually detailed critique including proposed alternatives.
- World Social Forum
- CAFOD – Catholic Fund for Overseas Development - This is an old and respected NGO. Their articles are informative and measured. An excellent source.
- Friends of the Earth - Friends of the Earth’s ‘Citizen’s Guide to Trade, Enviroment and Sustainability’ This guide is quite good. Critical and reasonably detailed it provides a very good introduction to trade issues, not just the WTO.
- www.wtowatch.org now at IATP’s trade observatory pages
- Centre for International Development at Harvard and in particular Global Trade Negotiations Pages. See also Dani Rodrik’s home page
- Institute for International Economics: Globalization and the WTO - Collection of papers by members of the institue on this topic. The Institute is self-described as private non-profit and non-partisan
- Trade and Enviroment Database
- ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes - part of the World Bank
- globalissues.org - this site is large compendium of essays and links on all kinds of global issues from arms control to consumerism. It does have a sizable section on trade related issues. Its views are of the critical variety and at times of doubtful quality (for example the section on free trade or on the WTO).
Last Updated: 2003-03-24