Citizens can and should play an active role in shaping the future of our global
economy. Here are some of the ways in which we can work together to reform global trade rules, demand that corporations are
accountable to people's needs, build strong and free labor and promote fair and environmentally sustainable alternatives.
1. No Globalization without RepresentationMultilateral institutions
such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund create global policy with input
mainly from multinational corporations and very little input from grassroots citizens groups. We need to ensure that all global
citizens must be democratically represented in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of all global social and economic
policies of the WTO, the IMF, and the WB. The WTO must immediately halt all meetings and negotiations in order for a full,
fair, and public assessment to be conducted of the impacts of the WTO's policies to date. The WTO must be replaced by a body
that is fully democratic, transparent, and accountable to citizens of the entire world instead of to corporations. We must
build support for trade policies that protect workers, human rights, and the environment.
2. Mandate Corporate ResponsibilityCorporations have so heavily
influenced global trade negotiations that they now have rights and representation greater than individual citizens and even
governments. Under the guise of 'free trade' they advocate weakening of labor and environmental laws -- a global economy of
sweatshops and environmental devastation. Corporations must be subject to the people's will; they should have to prove their
worth to society or be dismantled. Corporations must be accountable to public needs, be open to public scrutiny, provide living
wage jobs, abide by all environmental and labor regulations, and be subject to all laws governing them. Shareholder activism
is an excellent tool for challenging corporate behavior.
3. Restructure the Global Financial ArchitectureCurrency speculation
and the derivatives market move over $1.5 trillion daily (compared to world trade of $6 trillion annually), earning short-term
profits for wealthy investors at the expense of long-term development. Many countries are beginning to implement 'capital
controls' in order to regulate the influence foreign capital, and grassroots groups are advocating the restructuring and regulation
of the global financial architecture. Citizens can pass local city resolutions for the Tobin Tax - a tax of .1% to .25% on
currency transactions which would provide a disincentive for speculation but not affect real capital investment, and create
a huge fund for building schools & clinics throughout the world.
4. Cancel all Debt, End Structural Adjustment and Defend Economic SovereigntyDebt is crushing most poor countries' ability to develop as they spend huge amounts of their resources servicing
odious debt rather than serving the needs of their populations. Structural adjustment is the tool promoted by the IMF and
World Bank to keep countries on schedule with debt payments, with programs promoting export-led development at the expense
of social needs. There is an international movement demanding that all debt be cancelled in the year 2000 in order for countries
to prioritize health care, education, and real development. Countries must have the autonomy to pursue their own economic
plans, including prioritizing social needs over the needs of multinational corporations.
5. Prioritize Human Rights - Including Economic Rights - in Trade AgreementsThe United Nations must be the strongest multilateral body - not the WTO. The US must ratify all international
conventions on social and political rights. Trade rules must comply with higher laws on human rights as well as economic and
labor rights included in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. We should promote alternative trade agreements that
include fair trade, debt cancellation, micro-credit, and local control over development policies.
6. Promote Sustainable Development - Not Consumption - as the Key to ProgressGlobal trade and investment should not be ends in themselves, but rather the instruments for achieving equitable
and sustainable development, including protection for workers and the environment. Global trade agreements should not undermine
the ability of each nation, state or local community to meet its citizens' social, environmental, cultural or economic needs.
International development should not be export-driven, but rather should prioritize food security, sustainability, and democratic
7. Integrate Womens' Needs in All Economic RestructuringWomen
make up half the world but hold less than 5% of positions of power in determining global economic policy, and own an estimated
1% of global property. Family survival around the world depends on the economic independence of women. Economic policies need
to take into account women's important role in nutrition, education, and development. This includes access to family planning
as well as education, credit, job training, policy decision-making, and other needs.
8. Build Free and Strong Labor Unions Internationally and DomesticallyAs
trade becomes more 'free,' labor unions are still restricted from organizing in most countries. The International Labor Organization
should have the same enforcement power as the WTO. The US should ratify ILO conventions and set an example in terms of enforcing
workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively. As corporations increase their multinational strength, unions are working
to build bridges across borders and organize globally. Activists can support their efforts and ensure that free labor is an
essential component of any 'free trade' agreements.
9. Develop Community Control Over Capital; Promote Socially Responsible InvestmentLocal communities should not be beholden to the IMF, international capital, multinational corporations, or any
other non-local body for policy. Communities should be able to develop investment and development programs that suit local
needs including passing anti-sweatshop purchasing restrictions, promoting local credit unions and local barter currency, and
implementing investment policies for their city, church, and union that reflect social responsibility criteria.
10. Promote Fair Trade Not Free TradeWhile we work to reform
'free trade' institutions and keep corporate chain stores out of our neighborhoods, we should also promote our own vision
of Fair Trade. We need to build networks of support and education for grassroots trade and trade in environmentally sustainable
goods. We can promote labeling of goods such as Fair Trade Certified, organic, and sustainably harvested. We can purchase
locally made goods and locally grown foods that support local economies and cooperative forms of production and trade.