Understanding Global Finance, Building International Resistance

A
Conference on International Finance, Corporate Globalisation and
Alternatives

July
15-17, 2007

Organised by: Bretton
Woods Project, Eurodad, Fifty Years is Enough, Focus on the Global
South, Gender Action, IDEAS, Jubilee South APMDD, Solidarity Africa

CONFERENCE VENUE: Maha
Chulalongkorn Hall, Faculty of Arts Building,

Chulalongkorn
University, Phyathai Rd., Bangkok, Thailand [
pdf Map to the Venue]

 
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Introduction

 

Ten years ago in July, a financial
crisis that erupted in Thailand spread rapidly across the region and
collapsed most of the "miracle economies" of the region.
Practically bankrupting several countries in the short term, the
crisis expanded and deepened poverty in these countries in the long
term. The cause of the crisis was fluid finance which, unfettered by
national regulation, flew in and out of East Asia's economies
rendering them vulnerable to speculative attacks and manipulation.
Ten years later, the scars of the financial crisis are still visible
in Asia in terms of impacts on human/social and economic development,
national policies and financial vulnerability. Following the Asian
experience, similar crises erupted in other countries as well (for
example, Turkey and Argentina), revealing the extreme fragility of
countries exposed to the vagaries of unregulated finance and
subjected to policy regimes that demand indiscriminate financial and
economic liberalisation, financial deregulation and over-dependence
on external markets to meet national development priorities.

Finance is at the heart
of the global capitalist economic system.  
The dominant characteristics of the present phase of global capitalism
-- corporate globalisation -- are the unrestrained power of finance and capital
flows, the expansion and explosion of financial markets, the increasing
sophistication and complexity of financial instruments, and the growing
disconnect between the real economy and financial markets.  Financial transactions -- especially equity
investment and currency speculation -- have direct impacts on national economic
policies and development strategies. Privatisation, trade liberalisation
(especially in services as well as commodities), debt, development financing,
interest rates, corporate take-overs and exchange rates, are all driven by the
interests of financial markets. Financial markets and investors define the
limits of national autonomy in economic policy and a country's economic
"health" is judged by stock market indices, private capital flows and
the extent to which the country is a favoured destination for private
investment.

 

Understanding how finance works is key to
understanding how corporate globalisation works.  It is also key to understanding the changing
nature of development finance, political alignments within international/global
development and financial institutions, and the motivations that shape
bilateral and multilateral economic development approaches and agreements.  For activists, civil society organisations
and peoples' movements committed to resisting and halting corporate
globalisation, understanding finance is a crucial precondition to developing
effective campaign strategies that go to the heart of the current system of
global capitalism and to imagining alternatives to corporate globalisation.

This concept paper presents a proposal for
a conference to bring campaigners, activists and policy researchers from
diverse regions and sectors, to build a collective understanding about global
finance, and to share ideas and plans for common campaigns on finance and
financial institutions.   The co-organisers of
the conference are members of a broad coalition to dis-empower the IMF, and
view the conference a key step in deepening and expanding campaigns to
dis-empower the Bretton Woods system.

 

The conference discussed in this paper
follows from an earlier conference titled A
Decade After: Recovery and Adjustment since the East Asian Crisis
from
July 12-14, organised by IDEAS, Good
Governance for Social Development and the Environment Institute (GSEI), Action
Aid and Focus. IDEAS is an international network of
heterodox economists committed to grounded policy analysis on global finance
and the economy. 

 

This conference--from July 12-14--will be
organised by IDEAS, GSEI, Action Aid and Focus,  and focus on recovery and adjustment since the
Asian Financial Crisis, policy responses to the crisis, impacts of the crisis
and the evolution of the financial markets in the past ten years. In
particular:

(a)   
How the
particular choices made after the crisis influenced the differential dependence
on and impact of new forms of finance in different countries and the
transformation of the nature and role of the financial sector;

(b)  
How this affected
the development trajectories and outcomes of the countries concerned, with some
attention to the substantial dilution of the developmental role of the State,
the growing presence of foreign firms and the increase in consolidation in the
real sectors, a possible neglect of agriculture, and the impact all this has
had on employment, social indicators and the environment;

 

It is envisaged that many participants will
attend both conferences-A Decade After...  as well as Understanding Global
Finance.... 
It is also expected
that the first conference will be more theoretical and the second conference
will be more oriented towards advocacy, campaign building and strategising
towards alternatives.  Some of the
speakers at the A Decade After... conference will stay on as
resource persons for the Understanding Global Finance... conference.
The last session of this conference will be a crossover or linking session to
the second conference and integrate campaign building, advocacy and analytical
understanding built through the two conferences. 

 

Conference Objectives

The conference Understanding global
finance--Building International Resistance
is proposed to better equip
campaigners from peoples' movements and civil society organisations with
analytical tools to tackle the above 
issues, and also to bring campaigners and activist-minded academics and
policy analysts to strategise together. 
The conference specifically aims to:

 

  1. Equip campaigners in key sectors and networks with the
    information and analysis on how the global financial system is developing,
    the manner in which it shapes development finance, and the role of key
    international institutions (especially the International Monetary Fund and
    the World Bank) in the current regional and global financial architecture;

2.     
Take stock of, deepen understanding about
and build consensus on analysis of the current crises and recent developments
in the IMF and the World Bank (shrinking income and contributions, early pay
backs, reduction of clients, recent challenges to roles and policies, the
Wolfowitz crisis and resignation, etc.);

3.     
Draw links between specific campaigns on,
for example, water, gender, corporate power, global warming, trade, labour,
debt and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and the actions and
interests of financial markets and financial institutions;

  1. Investigate whether there are common campaign strategies
    directed at financial markets and International Financial Institutions
    (IFIs) that could be taken up in different sectors by different peoples'
    movements and coalitions;
  2. Share visions and practical examples of, and strategise on
    alternatives to the current system of development finance and financial
    architecture;

 

 

View the List of Participants Here 

DAY 1 Papers and Presentations

Forest Policies in the Age of Globalization and
Impacts on the Marginalized
Souparna Lahiri
National Forum for Forest Peoples and
Forest Workers (NFFPFW)

MAI > WTO > FTAs?
Plan C for Services and Investment Liberalisation
Benny Kuruvilla
Focus on the Global South
– India

Global Current Account and International
Reserves Imbalances
Analysis and Policy Implications
Joseph Lim
Ateneo de Manila University

Key
Players in the Financial Sector: Issues and Challenges

Michiel van Dijk
Centre for Research
on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

IMF Operations

Migration
and Remittances
An Initial Scan of Issues
Jenina Joy Chavez
Focus on the Global South - Philippines

Download Papers and Presentations of Day 1 Here

DAY 2 Papers and Presentations 

Russia Redux?
Vladimir Popov
New Economic School, Moscow

Alternatives
Being Developed by Campaigns and Movements
Lidy Nacpil
Jubilee South – APMDD

Alternative
Bolivariana para Los Pueblos de Nuestra America (ALBA)
Gladys Cecilia
Hernández Pedraza
Centro de Investigaciones de la
Economía Mundial (CIEM)

Monetary and Financial Cooperation in Asia
Jenina Joy Chavez
Focus on the Global South - Philippines

Download Papers and Presentations of Day 2 Here

DAY 3 Papers and Presentations

 

International
Financial Institutions (IFIs) in North East India
Basic Information on Arunachal
Anthony
Bamang
North East Peoples Alliance on Trade, Finance and Development

IMF: Shrinking and
Sinking
Sameer
Dossani
50 Years is Enough Network

Building a New
World without the World Bank and IMF
Achmad
Yakub
Federation of Indonesia Peasant Union (FSPI)

Movements and
Campaigns

Download Papers and Presentations of Day 3 

 

Conference
Programme

 

PROGRAMME: 
July
15-17, 2007

 

Day 1: July 15

UNDERSTANDING the WORKINGS and INSTITUTIONS
OF FINANCE & CAPITAL

8:00 - 9:00     

REGISTRATION

 

 

9:00 - 9:30

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION TO CONFERENCE

 

 
Opening Remarks by Shalmali Guttal

 

9:30 - 11:00

WHO CONTROLS GLOBAL FINANCE TODAY? 

  • What/who
    are the main driving forces of global finance today?
  • What
    trends and forms of capital flows dominate the global finance
    arena?  Who has the power?
  • What is
    currently different-if anything-in aid flows to developing countries?
  • How
    effective are more traditional forms of generating national revenues for
    development-for example taxation-in the face of private capital flows,
    investment and trade?

 

 Chair: Soren Ambrose

 

Short presentations followed by open discussion

 

Walden Bello

C.P. Chandrasekhar

Michiel Van-Dijk

Nancy Dubosse

Brian Kagoro or Eric Gutierres

11:00  - 11:30

Coffee Break

 

:30 - 1:00

THE CRISIS OF MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS OF GLOBAL FINANCIAL GOVERNANCE

  • How effective are the actors and
    institutions charged with governing global finance?
  • How are multilateral financial institutions
    financed and what is their relationship to developing countries?
  • To what extent are institutions of global
    and regional financial governance serving public and private interests
    (including procurement, tied aid, tax havens etc.)?
  • What challenges do institutions such as the
    International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank face?
  • How are multilateral financial institutions
    and other financial governance institutions positioning themselves in
    relation to current trends in capital/financial flows?

 

Chair: Nuria Molina

 

Short presentations followed by open discussion

Jan Kregel

Elaine Zuckerman

Jayati Ghosh

Benny Kuruvilla

Rick Rowden

 

 

1:00 - 2:00     

Lunch

 

2:00 - 3:15

SOME NEW ISSUES AND ACTORS IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL TRENDS

  • China: the new economic powerhouse
  • The movement of people:
    migration, remittances and service providers
  • Carbon trade: creating a market from crisis

 

Chair: Njoki
Njoroge Njehu

 

Short presentations followed by open discussion

 

 

 

Andong Zhu

Dic Lo

Souparna Lahiri

Joseph Lim

3:15 - 3:45

Coffee Break

 

3.45 - 4.45

DISCUSSION IN BREAK OUT GROUPS

  • What are the implications of all the above on justice, equity and
    democracy:
  • What are the implications of the above on building resistance to the
    domination of global finance and promoting alternatives to the current system
    of global financial governance??

.

Faciliators for break out groups to be
appointed

 

 

4.45-5.30

PRESENTATIONS FROM BREAK OUT GROUPS

 

Chair:  Lidy Nacpil

 

Rapparteurs of break out groups

Day 2: July 16 

ALTERNATIVES TO THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF
FINANCE

AND FINANCIAL GOVERNANCE

 

9.00 - 11.00

 

 

IMAGING AND BUILDING ALTERNATIVE SYTEMS OF FINANCE AND FINANCIAL
GOVERNANCE

  • What are presented as key alternatives?
  • What are the main motivations and who are the main actors behind these
    alternatives?
  • What makes these initiatives alternatives?

 

Chair:  Jeff Powell

 

 

Joy Chavez-Malaluan

Vladimir Popov

Pietro Masina

Oscar Ugarteche

Gladys Hernandez

11.00-11.30

Coffee Break

 

11.30-1.00

OPEN DEBATE ON ALTERNATIVES

 

Introduction to the debate and Chair: 
Walden Bello

 

 

1:00 - 2:00 

Lunch

 

2:00 - 3:45

SIMULTANEOUS SELF ORGANISED WORKSHOPS

 

Spaces will be provided to participants to run short, simultaneous,
self-organised workshops on issues related to finance that they identify as
important and what alternatives are being proposed in these issue areas. The
main objective of these workshops are to provide spaces for discussions of
ideas not mentioned in the plenaries and to take stock of various debates and
positions.

 

 

3.45 - 4:15

Coffee break

 

4:15 - 5.30

REPORT BACKS FROM WORKSHOPS AND FURTHER DISCUSSION IN PLENARY ON
ALTERNATIVES

 

Chair:  Sameer Dossani

 

 

 

Day 3: July 17

BUILDING RESISTANCE AND OPERATIONALISING
ALTERNATIVES

CAMPAIGNS AND STRATEGIES

 

 

9:00  - 10.30

 

 

BUILDING POPULAR MOVEMENTS AND CAMPAIGNS: LESSONS AND STRATEGIES

 

In this session, strategies used to build resistance and alternatives
in various sectors and on various issues will be presented.  The presentations will focus on broader
"state of the movement" issues, rather than on individual campaigns.  Issues will include:

International debt

Development aid and finance

Privatisation

Tax justice

Capital controls

Private equity and finance

Multilateral Financial Institutions

Feminist and gender based movements

Workers' rights

Peasants' rightsFeminist and gender based movements

Assessment of where we stand now

 

Chair:  Shalmali Guttal

 

Presentations followed by discussion

 

 

 

 

 

Lidy Nacpil

Korean Federation of Finance Workers

Demba Dembele

Emily Sikazwe

Bonnie Setiawan

Federation of Indonesian Peasants

Wilfred D'Souza

Michiel Van Dijk

Jeff Powell

Brid Brennan

 

10.30 - 11.00

Coffee Break

 

 

11.00 - 1.00

Morning session continues

 

 

 

1.00-2.00

Lunch

 

 

2.00  - 3.30

BREAK OUT GROUPS ON SPECIFIC
CAMPAIGNS: 

Multilateral Financial Institutions;

Financial Transnational Corporations;

??

 

This session will provide spaces for participants to discuss specific
campaigns (existing and new), bearing in mind the following questions:

  • What opportunities and challenges does this
    campaign face in addressing global finance issues and contributing
    towards alternatives?
  • How can we more effectively  integrate the "finance dimension" in
    our respective campaigns and advocacy agendas?

 

  • What kind of Campaigns on Global Finance can
    we work on together to take advantage of the opportunities and
    challenges of the current conjuncture

 

 

 

3:30 - 4.00 

Coffee break

 

 

 

4.00 - 5.15

 

REPORT BACK FROM BREAK OUT GROUPS
IN PLENARY AND DISCUSSION ON NEXT STEPS

 

Chair: Chanida Chanyapate Bamford

 

 

 

5.15 - 5.30

CLOSING REMARKS

 

 

 

             

 

 

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