An on-line editorial looking at the issue of economic democracy as the cause of the Seattle and Washington protests agains the IMF and the World Bank.

  In the 20th century some of the great public events revolved around political issues such as struggles for national self-determination or achieving civil rights and political democracy.  However, despite two World Wars, and countless demonstrations and movements around the world, today we have a world which resembles George Orwell's  Animal Farm.  In that satire, the pigs who establish a dictatorship on a  farm explain that "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." In the world of global capitalism, the rich and the super-rich are clearly more equal than others, and they wish to stay that way for a long time to come.

In the so-called developed countries economic power has increasingly been concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Though the general public has been allowed to share some of the benefits of economic development, they do not have much to say about the fundamental issues of their lives.  The workers in an automobile plant in England, for example, cannot be sure if they will have a job tomorrow, because the absentee owners in Germany may decide to close or sell that factory, and these owner-stockholders are not obliged to ask the opinions of the community where the factory  is located. The situation is much the same in other industries throughout the industrialized world.
For the lesser-developed countries the situation is even worse. Many of the former colonies of the European powers received political independence in the post World War II period and were given seats in the United Nations, but they were never allowed to have economic independence. The large multi-national corporations, with headquarters in the developed countries, dictate the terms of economic life throughout the developing world.  "Economic Globalization" only means that these large corporations will have freedom to operate anywhere they wish and on terms that are favorable to them.

The inequity of this state of affairs and the unreasonable imbalance of economic conditions on this planet is the reason for the vehemence of the street protests in Seattle, Washington and elsewhere. These protests will not subside until a new economic order is set up. That order must insure that people everywhere have equal rights in the economic sphere as well as in the political arena.