Magazine article Herizons

Halting the Godzilla of Trade Treaties: Maude the MAI Slayer

Magazine article Herizons

Halting the Godzilla of Trade Treaties: Maude the MAI Slayer

Article excerpt

The one-upmanship at the root of the size matters question is-let's face it-a guy thing.

Obsession with size has become a seminal value of not only economic growth and government deficits but trade agreements that 'free' capital and concentrate the world's resources into fewer pockets.

Fortunately, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, along with other global grassroots activists, saved the world from a terminal case of macho economics known as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The massive investment deal would have consolidated more of the world's profits into fewer multi-national corporations and taken more power out of the reach of elected world governments, a nightmare known as 'economic globalization.'

In an intriguing plot twist, the globe's citizens got together to launch a world-wide protest to the agreement, largely on the Internet, a technology that is becoming a means of democratic globalization.

The MAI began life as a sleeper. The media seemed to think citizens weren't smart enough to comprehend treaty clauses and jurisdictional sovereignty. Opposition swelled as individual citizens, leftish politicians, economists, organizations and some segments of business realized that it would mean giving up control over resources, our environment, and laws affecting investment.

MAI, the Godzilla of investment deals was, like its Hollywood counterpart, a mutant of an earlier cousin, called NAFTA. Barlow called it 'NAFTA on steroids,' an apt genderization of the MAI, which was a bad deal precisely because of its blockbuster proportions. …

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