Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WTO and ... sorry... globalization

I was invited by Jogjakarta-based USC-SATUNAMA to give a talk on globalization before a group of NGO representatives. That's not an easy job, especially after yet another WTO fiasco in Hongkong.

It was a good crowd, though. They might hate globalization but at least they were willing to listen what actually globalization means. Some of them came to realize afterward that what they initially thought of globalization was actually globalism. That what they thought they hated was WTO, not the globalization itself. That liberalization, deregulation, and privatization are just some actions or process taken by institutions to cope with globalization. That globalization has both effects: positive and negative depending on how you react or respond.

Of course there were some who refused that globalization has positive effects. This included one participant who approached me at lunch time. He asked me lots of question as if I were Pascal Lamy. He was surprised that I didn't believe the WTO talks would work out well. In fact, I told him, I'm skeptical with all the WTO rounds. The fact that the US' and EU's governments are not willing to wipe out the huge subsidy to their farmers is enough not to believe that the WTO agenda will work for both developed and developing countries. I won't be surprised if both groups will have not reached agreement by March 2006, as they claimed they will. But I have hope that subsidy and other form of protections will diminish -- not thanks to WTO rounds, but to the time where everybody sees the merit of free trade. And globalization makes that possible. Globalization is inevitable, with or without Doha.

I was tired. In my flight back I grabbed a newspaper. There was this article reporting the premiere of the movie "Memoirs of Geisha" in Tokyo. According to the article, some people make fuss about it, because the movie is about Japanese women, but it is produced by Hollywood, directed by an American, and it features a Chinese as the geisha ("wrong nationality"). That reminded me of a play I attended two weeks ago. It was about the epic journey of Sawerigading as told by I La Galigo, a Bugis counterpart of Homer, the teller of Odysseus' journey. The play was directed by an American. It used spectacular lighting from Germany. The dialogues were delivered in Bugis and Makassar. The music were mixed: traditional Bugis, Java, and even Chinese tone. How can I not like globalization?


  1. Mr. Aco is always be a frontliner of globalization. It's just a comment based on my simple view... =)

  2. Hahaha. I'll take that as a compliment, Jay. I'm scheduled to articulate more of this issue from Radio 68H next Sunday.