MAI forces debt structure

Multilateral Agreement on Investment - Part I

Corporate Empowerment Stonewalled with Media Silence

    A treaty that has been dubbed "NAFTA on Crack" and "The Corporate Bill of Rights" is also one of the establishment's best kept secrets. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) is a treaty that is still being negotiated in Paris and is scheduled to be signed by twenty-nine of the world's wealthiest countries next April. In September President Clinton presented his request for "fast track" treaty negotiating authority to Congress, where a vote is expected on Friday, November 7. It is thought by some that the president will use his new "fast track" authority to ram the MAI through Congress next spring. The great importance of this historic treaty may be defined by its cloak of secrecy and the very fact that discussion of it is almost wholly absent from the corporate news media.

What is the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)?

    "The MAI is a new international economic agreement being negotiated at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The MAI is designed to make it easier for individual and corporate investors to move assets - whether money or production facilities - across international borders. The MAI would take the investment provisions of the NAFTA, amplify these provisions, and apply them world-wide."[1]

    Countries that sign the MAI next April will agree to open all economic sectors, including real estate, broadcasting and natural resources to foreign ownership. Foreign investors will be entitled to the same treatment domestic firms receive. Performance requirements restricting a foreign investor's activities in exchange for market access will be removed. If foreign investors' assets are expropriated through seizure or "unreasonable" regulation, the government of the host country must compensate the investor in full. Foreign investors may sue the host country directly before an international tribunal when they believe that country's laws to be in violation of MAI rules. Restrictions on the movement of capital, into or out of the host country, are to be removed. Each signatory government will be required to ensure that MAI regulations are obeyed by state and local governments.[2]

    Proponents of the MAI reside mainly within the realm of the transnational corporations [TNCs]. The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) has a membership of 300 multinational corporations and is a key player in the formulation of the MAI. Organizations such as the USCIB and its global counterpart, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) represent large corporate interests at the OECD's secretive trade negotiations in Paris. Those at the top of the economic food chain, as well as their representatives and hirelings in government, say that removing impediments to foreign investment will improve the efficiency of the global economy and, thereby, benefit businesses, consumers and workers in the long run. This "trickle down" prosperity has been the promise of twenty years of trade "liberalization", which has only resulted in widening disparity between the rich and the ever-increasing number of poor.

What Does the MAI Mean for the U.S. and the World?

    The majority of U.S. workers have seen their real wages decline 19% [in inflation adjusted dollars] since 1972. This resulted in the mother and other family members leaving the house to go to work, with all working longer hours and taking second and third jobs. Even as families work harder, it has not been enough to reverse the decline in income. From 1989 to 1995 median family income dropped 6% -- in the midst of the most extensive trade agreements ever enacted.[3]

    From 1979 to 1987 the incomes of the richest 10% of U.S. population rose 21%, while the income of the poorest 10% dropped by 12%. Between 1983 and 1992, 99% of the increase in American wealth went to 20% of the population. In 1949, the wealthiest 1% of the population owned 21% of all assets. Today that 1% of the population own more than 40% of all assets. Between 1980 and 1995 corporate revenues rose 129.5%, with profits rising 205% and executive pay rising 500%.[4] In 1950, corporations paid 26.4% of federal tax income. In 1995, that figure had fallen to 11.6%, with the remainder falling on wage earners. [5]

    One would think that trade liberalization would at least help undeveloped countries that benefit from the influx of foreign investment. Not so. Since NAFTA went into effect, real wages in Mexico dropped 27% and more than two million workers in agriculture, small businesses, and small industry lost their jobs [6] Since the MAI is a more expansive and global form of NAFTA, the effects on the third world could be comparable.

    These figures stand in striking contrast to the Utopian prognosticators at the OECD who predict a rising tide of wealth that will float all ships. As the "liberalization" of trade practices over the past twenty years have unfettered global corporations to work their will, the decimation of societies, the break-up of families and the enslavement of the masses the world over with a corresponding increase in corporate profits has been the result. As the MAI joins NAFTA and GATT in consolidating corporate conquest of the world's wealth, resources and human capital, working Americans and the majority of those living in developed countries may expect a Third World standard of living in the near future, and those living in the Third World may expect more of the same.

A Global Era of Prosperity or a "Race to the Bottom"?

    Some say that the global economy will be a central pillar in the emerging global civilization. Their theory is that material wealth, concentrated for so long in the developed nations, will be redistributed among the world's inhabitants in a more equitable manner, creating a renaissance from the squalor of the Third World. As the world's living standards adjust to a point of equilibrium, people will become more tolerant and accepting of Western democratic values. More people, especially women, will receive an education and encouragement to "produce, not reproduce". As all classes are economically empowered, civil unrest and regional conflicts will find resolution. The basic necessities of life - food, shelter, healthcare, education, fulfilling work, a clean and safe environment - will be within the reach of all. Living standards will decrease for some, but the interdependent whole will benefit in the long run. This is the propaganda line put forth by the globalist bankers and corporate elite, picked up and carried forward by many deceived but well meaning individuals who are doing the groundwork in facilitating this great plan.

    Instead of producing "Utopia", this globalization effort will result in what is called the "race to the bottom." Instead of a "rising tide" of material prosperity, global living standards will be reduced to the lowest common denominator. As national governments lose their ability to control the flows of capital, as they most certainly will under the MAI, they will find themselves groveling before the TNCs for their economic survival.

What is the Likely Scenario for the FUTURE Under the MAI?

    The global work force will always have to remain competitive with the lowest bidder in Bangladesh or Guatemala. The real influence of organized labor is finished. The argument that only low skilled labor in the developed countries will feel the pinch is patently false. For example, India and the Philippines now produce computer systems analysts and software designers that are very good and work for wages that are a fraction of that received by their American counterparts.

    National governments will have to relax enforcement of labor and environmental standards or lose foreign investment. If "unreasonable" regulation affects the foreign investors' profits, the host government (read "taxpayers") will be bound under the MAI to fully compensate the investor. Government's offending against the TNCs may find themselves sued before an international corporate tribunal somewhere in Europe. An offended TNC could suddenly pick up and leave town, removing all its capital and triggering a collapse of that country's economy. "Market forces" as manipulated by the TNCs and international finance are, in reality, the world's dictator and democracy nothing more than a sham.

Natural Resources, Real Estate and the Broadcast Media Under MAI

    Economic turmoil causes governments around the world to appeal for help from the global bankers such as the World Bank and the IMF who deliver bailouts that weaken or eliminate that government's stewardship role over the national resources. Vast deposits of natural resources, now safely locked up in national parks, monuments and wilderness areas could conceivably be turned over to the TNCs in exchange for debt maintenance and other economic favors. Large and small tracts of private land throughout the world will fall into the hands of roving, corporate capital as property taxes become universal and economic dislocation deprives land owners of a way to pay their taxes and meet the demands of environmental regulations. Broadcast and media outlets in all countries will be bought up by the TNCs, consolidating control over the flow of ideas and information and reshaping societal mores and values through the introduction of globalist, Orwellian ideas. These developments and more are portended in the current draft of the MAI, the treaty the news media won't talk about.

    Out of 100 of the world's largest economies, 51 of them are corporations and the preponderance of the world's power has fallen to them. Contrary to the image they portray, "corporations cannot care about particular places. They cannot even care about human health. Nor can they care about democracy -- corporations are among the most authoritarian and undemocratic organizations ever created. Corporate managers can only care about short-term financial gain."[7]

    In recent months there has been an evident overlap in the concerns of individuals on both ends of the political spectrum. Like the proverbial blind men trying to describe the elephant, they have each described this many-headed beast that now rules over the world. Many conservatives and constitutionalists see an emerging world government that wants to destroy our national identity and constitutional freedoms. Some of the so-called "left" see a world ravaged by a polluting, despotic corporate elite, destroying the quality of life and the environment by their rapine of labor and natural resources and their unquenchable greed for more money. Both sides are correct in their assessment and stand side by side in their underestimation of the emerging order and yet remain divided by ideology and semantics.

    Like socialism, radical environmentalism was conceived and promoted by globalist financiers. Their aim is to destroy property rights and tread down individual liberties and initiative. They will express concern for the environment when it serves their political ends and when they achieved their objective, they will use the environment to enrich themselves. Their motives are the same in the cause of human rights. They will use human rights as a wedge to force open a country's political system to their influence and control, but events near Waco, in Panama and the Gulf region as well as support for China all reveal their true concern for "human rights". These insiders are possessed by an uncontrollable lust for more wealth and power, and they cannot help themselves.

We are ruled by Big Business and Big Government as its paid hireling, and we know it. Corporate money is wrecking popular government in the United States. The big corporations and the centimillionaires and billionaires have taken daily control of our work, our pay, our housing, our health, our pension funds, our bank and savings deposits, our public lands, our airwaves, our elections and our very government. It's as if American democracy has been bombed. Will we be able to recover ourselves and overcome the bombers? Or will they continue to divide us and will we continue to divide ourselves, according to our wounds and our alarms, until they have taken the country away from us for good? [8]

    Over one-hundred years ago U.S. President Rutherford Hayes may have seen the same elements at work when he declared, "This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations."

MAI: Trade Agreement from Hell part II - The status of Fast Track and the MAI.

NOTES:

  1. Multilateral Agreement on Investment: BASIC FACTS published by the Preamble Center for Public Policy in Washington, D.C.
  2. Summarized from BASIC FACTS cited above.
  3. Statistics obtained from an article by Peter Montague entitled THE NATURE OF WORLD WAR III part I published by Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly 10-9-97.
  4. Profits and executive pay statistic obtained from a speech by AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeny before the Industrial Relations Committee dinner 10-21-96.
  5. Statistics obtained from THE NATURE OF WWIII as cited above.
  6. Statistics on Mexican labor obtained from an alert bulletin published by the LABOR NEWS on 9-5-97.
  7. THE NATURE OF WWIII as cited above.
  8. Ronnie Dugger and Ruth Caplan, "Toward a Global Populist Movement: Accepting the Challenge of Worldwide Corporate Domination".

Written 11/03/97

 

The WINDS Main Page

Disclaimer: APFN is not responsible for the accuracy of material on 'The Winds'
and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within their web pages.

This page is in the public domain.

Go to Top