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Clare Short on Globalization

What are Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short’s views on globalization?

March 20, 2002

What are Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short's views on globalization?

Clare Short, the United Kingdom’s Secretary for International Development, is as colorful as she is controversial. A former senior Home Office civil servant, Ms. Short twice stepped down from shadow cabinet posts over matters of principle. Her fulminant determination has also marked her as an outspoken advocate for the plight of developing countries. The Globalist’s Read My Lips presents a “Shortlist” of the minister’s thoughts on the global economy.

What is the overarching positive effect of globalization?

“Throughout human history, exposure to outside influence has tended to enrich, rather than impoverish, individuals and societies. Globalization has accelerated this process.”

(December 2000)

Are you ‘pro’ globalization?

“People have accused me of being in favor of globalization. This is equivalent to accusing me of being in favor of the sun rising in the morning.”

(October 2000)

Does globalization pose any immediate risks?

“Many of the world’s poor people have so far not been much affected by globalization one way or the other. For them, the real risk is that they will be marginalized from the new wealth that globalization is creating.”

(December 2000)

Does international trade increase child labor?

“Child labor is a development problem — not a trade problem. Only 5% of child laborers worldwide work in the export sector.”

(January 2001)

Why is education so important?

“The risk of a global monoculture of values and aspirations is vastly greater if the developing world remains poor and marginalized rather than an equal and respected part of a rich international diversity of culture and language.”

(December 2000)

What responsibility do politicians have in educating the public?

“If democrats and internationalists do not address public concerns about the impact of globalization on people’s culture and environment, then those who advocate narrow nationalism, xenophobia, protectionism and the dismantling of multilateral institutions will gain in strength and influence with disastrous consequences for us all.”

(December 2000)

What is Africa’s particular predicament?

“Africa is a terribly unequal continent. African elites live extremely well and are very powerful. We need the governments (of rich nations) to care, but also more care from the governments of the poorest countries.”

(July 2000)

What dire effects result from politicizing globalization?

“We will not improve the lives of the poor by using them as a political football.”

(October 2000)

So how do you feel about U.S. proposals to extend IMF/World Bank funds as grants instead of loans?

“This is a crazy idea.”

(November 2001)


w did you evaluate U.S. Presdint George W. Bush’s announcement to increase aid?

“I think we got some focus in the White House, and realization that you can’t make the world safe just by military action.”

(March 2002)

What, do you think, is most important in the fight against terrorism?

“As we work together to fight terrorism, we must also work together to address the causes of poverty — not just because to do so is central to peace and security, but because to do so is right.”

(March 2002)

Would you support a possible allied attack on Iraq?

“Blind military action against Iraq doesn’t deal with the problem. The best thing is to get the UN inspectors back in but there isn’t crude military action to deal with Saddam Hussein.”

(March 2002)

Would you step down if your government joined a U.S. led attack?

“I am the same old Clare Short, and I’m proud to be a member of the government, but I’ve got lots of bottom lines — and I don’t expect the government to breach them.”

(March 2002)

March 20,2002