E       d       i       t       o       r       i       a       l


justice, peace and creation news
Echoes is an occasional publication of the World Council of Churches' cluster on "Issues and Themes", Justice, Peace and Creation team.

The executive director of the cluster on "Issues and Themes"

Publication Staff Team
Susie Harrison, Bob Scott, Martin Robra

Layout and Design:
Marie Arnaud Snakkers

Printed on environmentally friendly paper

Cover photo: Photomontage from Peter Williams.

Cover layout: Marie Arnaud Snakkers

Articles for future publication are welcome.

Articles publishedin ECHOES are WCC copyright. However permission will be granted to reproduce most material on application.

All correspondence and inquiries should be directed to:

Justice, Peace & Creation Team Publications
World Council of Churches
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland

Telephone: 022 - 791 61 11
Telefax: 022 - 791 64 09
E-Mail: WCC Contact

Shaping global capitalism

Making Planet Earth a safe environment for the investments of transnational corporations and financial capital is the ultimate goal of the accelerated process of economic globalization. Globalization transformed and changed the economic and political landscape of the old international paradigm put into place after World War II. In retrospect, the debt issue was one of the most important tools to gain control over national governments and their economic and financial policies through structural adjustment and stabilization programmes (SAPs), which were designed and imposed by the IMF according to the principles of the neo-liberal ideology. Nature in various ways and communities of the poor and marginalized had to pay the price for that and continue to suffer. Even entire nations were pushed into a downward spiral of impoverishment, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Individual national governments and societies have lost out against corporations and banking systems, which became "footloose" actors on "spaceship earth". They created a casino economy that has very little to do with the real economy and the exchange of goods for the survival and life of the people. It is a gigantic machine to make a few already very rich people, corporations and banks, even richer day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. But still linked to the real economy via the role of money for production and trade, any crisis in the casino of financial speculations has immediate and disastrous consequences for the real economy and the people.

The Asia crisis has shown the volatility of this system. Instead of landing the spaceship and re-building a basis for a moral economy, and life in just and sustainable communities, the major actors like the World Trade Organisation, the IMF and the World Bank further refine their approach, expand their area of influence and increase their power.

Delegates at the WCC's 1998 Assembly called upon the WCC to intensify and deepen its work on globalization and debt a call that came at the right time.

Martin Robra

ECHOES from elsewhere // Watch out! WTO - facts and info. Martin Robra // From the MAI to the Millenium round. Susan George // TRIPS, Traps or Dice? RAFI // TRIPS and its potential impacts on Indigenous Peoples. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz // Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Pharmaceuticals. Eva Ombaka // Neoliberal Financial Globalization: capitalism's grave illness. Marcos Arruda // WCC Statement on Debt Crisis - G8 proposals are insufficient. // A new beginning - new challenges, new hopes! Aruna Gnanadason // Publications