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Barlow challenges economic globalization on CBC Radio’s The Current

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow was interviewed by CBC Radio The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti this morning.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow as on CBC Radio’s The Current this morning.

Barlow was on a panel along with Saadia Zahidi, who is with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and Gary Wolfram, a professor of economics and public policy at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

The promotion for the discussion asked, “Does the original anti-globalization movement, pioneered by the political left, have to redefine its efforts now that protectionist policies have been co-opted by a xenophobic hard-right?”

Barlow began by explaining, “I make a huge distinction between globalization and economic globalization. To me, economic globalization is the handing over to the market of all the areas around finance, the economy, policies to do with trade and so on, which include deregulation of environmental and health standards, sometimes a war on unions and workers, the privatization of essential services and of course free trade and investment agreements that give corporations enormous power. So I would make a distinction between globalization—which I think much of which is positive—and economic globalization, which I think has created the kind of backlash that we’re seeing from left to right around the world.”

When asked her thoughts on Donald Trump’s campaign against economic globalization, Barlow commented, “Well, I think he spoke to some truths. For instance, people in Detroit, in the Michigan areas that have lost so many jobs. Donald Trump saw that and he spoke to a truth and that is that transnational corporations, transnational capital have the ability and are using that ability to move their manufacturing around the world to places where there are either lower environmental standards or lower wages and you know terrible working conditions for the people.”

She then noted, “The deep differences between him and somebody like Bernie Sanders or myself is that he then turns around and blames Mexicans, blames immigrants, blames refugees, blames the part of globalization that I would argue is good and does not touch deeply on the larger reality of which he is a part. I mean this man is a billionaire. This man has made money from exactly the kind of abuses that he’s charging others with. So I would make a very deep and strong distinction between our visions and our values.”

When asked if there’s common ground between her and the right, Barlow stated, “No, I don’t think there is and I think it’s very important for us to make a distinction between the message that Donald Trump is giving and our position. …When you see what just happened in the United States with the ban basically on Muslims, on a whole group, this is anathema to the kind of globalization that we support.”

Near the end of the discussion, Barlow highlighted, “How can we change the arc of economic globalization to serve people? How can we look at trade agreements and investment agreements that serve people in communities, not the other way around, and remove the power of this one per cent to dictate to the rest of us?”

To listen to the interview, please click here.