October 30, 2011

Hopes and prospects by Noam Chomsky

Hopes and prospects by Noam Chomsky.

At the time of European conquests, China and India were the world's major commercial and industrial centers, well ahead of Europe. England was trying to catch up in textiles and other manufactures, borrowing from India and other countries in ways that are now called 'piracy' and are banned in the international trade agreements imposed by the rich states under a cynical pretense of 'free trade'.

England adopted a form of 'free trade' in 1946 after centuries of protectionism and state intervention in the economy had given it an enormous advantage over competitors while it destroyed Indian manufacture by high protective tariffs and other means as it had done before in Ireland. The US adopted free trade a century later for similar reasons.

Consider the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti which may not be habitable in a few generations; it was probably the richest colony in the world, the source of much of Franc's wealth. By 1789, it was producing 75% of the world's sugar and was the world leader in production of cotton - the oil of the early industrial revolution - as well as other valued commodities. French ships returning from the delivery of slaves brought back Haitian timber. The destruction of the forests by the French rulers, later poverty-driven, caused erosion and further destruction.

Turning to the opposite side of the world, British conquerors were astonished at the wealth, culture and sophisticated civilization of Bengal which they regarded as one of the richest prizes in the world. The conqueror Robert Clove described the great textile center of Dacca now the capital of Bangladesh as 'extensive populous and as rich as the city of London'. After a century of British rule its population had fallen from 150K to 30K and it was reverting to jungle and malaria. Adam smith wrote that hundreds of thousands die in Bengal every year as a result of British regulations that even forced farmers to 'plough up rich fields of rice or other grain for plantations of poppies' for opium production, turning 'dearth into a famine'. Bengal's own fine cotton became extinct and its advanced textile production was transplanted to England.

Haiti and Bangladesh, once the sparkling jewels in the crown of empire are now the very symbols of misery and despair facts that must escape view of 'the man in the ruffled shirt and gold-laced waistcoat'.

[The book covers in detail on different 'free' trade agreement and its actual goal underneath those agreements. He is too much critics about US foreign policy and he is generally concerned about global people as a global citizen's view point.

Following are the main chapters.

Part 1 - Latin America
Year 514: Globalization for whom?]
Latin America and US Foreign Policy
Democracy and Development:Their enemies , their hopes
Latin America and Caribbean Unity

Part II - North America
Good news, Iraq and beyond
Free elections, good news and bad
Century's challenges
Turning Point?
Elections 2008: Hope confronts the real world
Obama on Israel-Palestine
The torture memos
1989 and beyond]

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