Activities 2006 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

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Activities 2006 - European Academy of Sciences and Arts

EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES & ART

II.

After the Agenda has been adopted, J. Straus outlined the aim of the brainstorming meeting

in the context of the broader project on the role of law and ethics in a globalized economy.

As the first step a conference could be envisaged in which the most topical issues

of the process of globalization and its impact on the contemporary society should be

addressed.

In order to lay some common bases for the general discussion of the group, J. Straus offered

an introductory talk in which he addressed a number of topical issues of the ongoing

globalization process as they are reflected, on the one hand, in public debate, and on the

other hand, in the statistical data dealing with such issues as investments in research and

development (R & D), gross domestic product (GDP), foreign direct investment (FDI),

patent applications and patents granted, etc.

To illustrate the public debate reflecting the problems of law and ethics in a globalized economy,

J. Straus at the outset referred to a number of statements and requests of John

Sweeny, President of the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial

Organizations (AFL-CIO), representing some 9 million US and Canadian workers, which

were reproduced in the Financial Times of November 29, 2006. There, Sweeny blamed

President Bush’s pro corporate trade agenda for having delivered a USD 8 billion deficit,

stagnant real wages and the decimation of the US manufacturing sector, while exarbating

human rights abuses and inequality in many of the US trading partners, and at the same

time inflaming anti-Americanism. Sweeny argued in favour of on the one hand the introduction

of enforceable protections for core workers rights into Free-Trade-Agreements,

the end of tax breaks for companies that move jobs offshore and a halt to the intervention

in foreign exchange rates e.g in China, while on the other hand he suggested investments

in cutting-edge education, infrastructure and research to provide tools for successful

competition in the Global Economy.

It was agreed upon the fact that, spoken more generally, globalisation in fact has removed

barriers at the national level by allowing goods, persons and capital to flow more easily but

at the same time has failed to put in place adequate mechanisms for balancing the impact

of the new environment on a global scale. According to Prof. Straus, this is already visible

at the regional level of the European Union and its expansion in the industry driven fast

paced EU 27 formation, which might have been well prepared on a bureaucratic but not

to the same extent on the social and economic level seeing the great benefits for the new

member states, but at the same time calling for awareness of its negative effects.

In the second part of his presentation J. Straus investigated the impact of the new world

economic order in the legal framework of the WTO which means GATT – GATS – TRIMS –

TRIPS on the global economic development. This set of agreements suggests rather a

“marriage of convenience” than an independent consensus of the WTO members on each

of them, although so far it seems to work particularly well for developing countries while

industrialised countries lose ground: while Western Europe’s and Japan‘s shares of global

merchandise exports by value fell sharply, those of the South-East Asia and Latin America

rose and Mexico‘s are growing much faster than those of the US and Canada.

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