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格蕾斯专栏之三:本土商业与全球经济一体化竞争
发布时间:2007-03-13 11:44:36  点击次数:879次    [ 进入论坛]

SMALL-MART, NOT WAL-MART
By Grace Lee Boggs
February 11-17, 2007

Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are beating the Global Competition by Michael Shuman (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) is a godsend in these worst and best of times when big corporations like Ford, GM, Pfizer are laying off employees by the tens of thousands and abandoning countless communities and cities, leaving behind massive unemployment, shrinking property values, lower tax collections, deep cuts in schools, police and other services -- and a widespread unease and anxiety about the future.

Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s are so many Americans losing faith in the dynamics of traditional capitalism.

The 30s was a decade of great despair. But the Great Depression also inspired workers and their allies to create the labor movement which established the dignity of labor, seniority, health insurance, and other benefits now under assault by corporations who have gone global.  

In the same spirit, we now urgently need to begin creating new economic institutions that will give our communities and cities more control over the ways in which we make our livings.

Michael Shuman is an attorney, economist and co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

In his 1998 book Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age, he described three strategies by which communities are regaining control over their economies:

*Investing not in outsiders but in locally-owned businesses like credit unions, coops, community land trusts, municipally-owned utilities, small worker-owned farms, community development corporations, and local shareholder-owned firms like the Green Bay Packers,

*Focusing on Import-substitution rather than Export-led development and reducing dependence on distant sources of energy, water, food and basic materials.

*Asking the federal government for more power, not more pork, by eliminating many subsidies and changing tax and trade laws that disempower communities.

The benefits to cities and communities of Locally-Owned, Import-Substituting (LOIS) enterprises are many.

* LOIS communities are less likely to experience the trauma of sudden, catastrophic and costly departures because LOIS businesses tend to remain put instead of moving to locations where they can make more profit with cheaper labor, Communities can set reasonable labor and environmental standards with confidence that these enterprises will adapt rather than flee.

* Money spent at LOIS enterprises are more likely to remain in the community, city or region to promote local prosperity. Studies show that the multiplier effect of LOIS businesses is 2-4 times that of non-locally owned, businesses, chains and big boxes.

∑Cities and communities with LOIS businesses are more likely to be vibrant and neighborly because they encourage people to walk rather than drive and to make their friends close to home. They also attract “cultural creatives.”

*LOIS communities and cities help slow down global warming because they are less dependent on trucks bringing in goods and produce from distant locations.

Despite these benefits, many of us still shop at Wal-Mart because we believe its claim that its low prices save us money.

To help free us from this illusion, Shuman tells a personal story in which we can recognize ourselves. One day, to replace a pair of $15 gym shoes, he gets in his car and drives 16 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart. After finding the gym shoes, he wends his way to the exit, picking up, as he goes, other items (cereals, toys, books, extension cords etc.) that he had not planned to buy but that he and family members could use. So by the time he reaches the checkout counter his bill is over $200.

Wal-Mart makes its high profits by incorporating this “impulse buying” in its business plan. It couldn’t care less that it maxes out our credit cards and keeps us in debt.

Making the Small-Mart revolution is also a way that we can each play a role in reducing the dangers of terrorism. One of the main reasons why Osama bin laden is able to recruit jihadists is that millions of people in the Global South resent the way that global corporations have destroyed local economies, communities and environments, broken the backs of farmers by importing food, and created sweatshops in which women and children labor to produce the ”bargains” offered by Wal-Mart.

For more on the Smallmart Revolution, see www.smallmart.org/Hodges.pdf
.
THINKING FOR OURSELVES
Unnamed Sources
By Shea Howell
Michigan Citizen, Feb. 11-17, 2007

The Bush administration is slowly but surely shifting the public attention away from Iraq and on to Iran. Despite the general incompetence of this administration, the one thing they have done well is follow the hawkish, neoconservative line aimed at increasing the U.S. military presence throughout the Middle East. We need to confront this new drumbeat to war in Iran before it gets any louder.

The drumbeat is following an all too familiar pattern. More than four years ago, as U. S. troops were fighting in Afghanistan, well-orchestrated bits of unconnected and unproven pieces of information began appearing in the media. This information was intended to shift our attention away from the growing difficulties in Afghanistan and on to Iraq. Over time these carefully-released pieces of evidence were pulled together by the administration to provide a coherent justification for war, exemplified by Colin Powell’s tragic and fraudulent presentation to the United Nations on the eve of the U.S. attack.

We are now facing a situation similar to the one we faced before the invasion of Iraq. To effectively resist this new effort at manipulation, it is important to understand the tactics Bush is using.

The first step is to eradicate from public memory the administration’s reasons for invading Iraq in the first place. The invasion rested on three arguments, all of which have turned out to be groundless. The American people were told (1) that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, (2) that it was likely to use these weapons, and (3) that Iraq was linked to the attacks of 9/11.

The administration’s refusal to acknowledge the falsehood of these claims is not accidental. Rather, it is an essential tool of manipulation. Memory must be erased or the tactic will lose its effectiveness. Every effort to talk about this earlier justification is swept aside by the claim that the world is better off without Saddam.

This eradication of memory is augmented with new arguments against Iran. We are being told by credible news sources that Iran is supporting Shiite militias inside Iraq by giving them guidance and weapons. In January ABC, CBS and the New York Times all began reporting highly un-credible stories, all relying on unnamed sources and “hard evidence” that has yet to be produced. What has been produced is a subtle link in the public mind between Iran and our failures in Iraq.

On January 29, CBS Evening News told listeners “the U.S. military says it has proof positive” that Iran is supporting Iraqi militias. The CBS Pentagon correspondent went on to report that U.S. forces are “already fighting a proxy war inside Iraq.” The evidence for this proxy rests on weapons that “bear Iranian factory markings” and serial numbers. So far, now nearly three weeks since that claim, no real evidence has emerged.

The claim of weapons has been embellished with a report about Iranian training camps inside Iraq. “U.S. officials say the mounting evidence against Iran includes photographs of Iranian training camps on Iraqi soil,” according to a ABC World News correspondent

NCB told a similar story and attributed the ambush of U.S. soldiers to Iranian leadership. The claim was based on “secret U.S. military reports.”

Television news was supported by an astonishing story in the New York Times that relied exclusively on anonymous sources.

These claims are not accidental. They are the direct attempt of the Bush administration to create a clear line of argument. They want us to believe that success in Iraq will depend on an invasion of Iran. So far such arguments are having little effect on a public grown weary of unnamed sources.

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格蕾斯专栏之三:本土商业与全球经济一体化竞争

选择小型商场,而非沃尔玛

格蕾斯·李·博格斯

2007年2月11日至17日

小型超市的改革

迈克尔舒曼编写的《如何使本土企业在全球竞争中取胜》(2006年,贝瑞特·克勒出版社)是这个既最辉煌又最糟糕的时代里的一个天赐之物。福特、通用、辉瑞等大公司大规模的裁员,从不计其数的社区和城市中撤离,造成失业问题严重,货币贬值,税收减少,学校、警察和其他服务大量消减——民众普遍感到不安,对未来忧心忡忡。

自20世纪30年代的经济大萧条以来,从未有如此多的美国人对传统资本主义的活力失去信心。

30年代是一个让人彻底绝望的年代。但经济大萧条也激发了工人和他们的盟友发起工人运动,以争取劳动者的尊严、资格,健康保险及其他福利。现在,这些都在全球性的公司中遭到了践踏。

本着同样的精神,我们现在迫切需要开始建立新的经济机构,以便在我们赖以生存的方面给我们的社区和城市更多的控制。

迈克尔·舒曼是一名律师,经济学家和当地生活经济商业联盟的创建人之一。

在其1998年出版的书《本土化:在全球化的时代建立自力更生的社区》中,他描述了三种策略来使社区从经济中夺回控制:

*从向外投资转向本土企业投资,如信用合作社,合作社,社区土地信托,市政府拥有的公用事业,小型的工人所有农场,社区发展公司,以及地方股东公司如绿湾包装厂;

*侧重于进口替换,而非以出口为导向来谋求发展,减少对于远距离的能源、水、食物和基本材料的依赖。

*通过取消大量补贴、调整税收和分化社区的贸易法来向联邦政府要求更多的权力,而不是更多的猪肉。

本地企业、进口替换企业( LOIS)给城市和社区带来的利益是多方面的:

* LOIS不太可能经受突发的、严重的创伤和昂贵的散伙费,因为LOIFS商业一般不会迁到劳动力更廉价的地方获得更多的利润。社区能制定合理的劳务和环境标准,并且能确信这些企业会遵守而非逃避。

*用于LOIFS企业的资金更有可能会用于社区、城市和其他一些地区的发展上。研究表明,LOIFS企业的乘数效应是非本地企业、连锁店和大企业等的2-4倍 。

*拥有LOIFS企业的城市和社区更具活力,邻里关系也更友好。因为他们鼓励员工步行而非乘车出行,并且使朋友们住得很近。他们也倡导“文化创新”。

*LOIFS企业能帮助缓解温室效应,因为他们更少地依赖卡车从距离较远的地方运进货物和商品。

尽管有这么多好处,大多数人仍然青睐沃尔玛,因为我们相信它所宣传低价格,这样能为我们省钱。

为了使我们摆脱这种错觉,舒曼讲述了一个他切身经历的故事。从中我们也可以了解一下自己。一天,为了调换一双15美元的健身鞋,他驱车16英里到了最近的沃尔玛。找到运动鞋点后,在回到出口的路上,他拿起了一些自己没想过要买的商品(谷类食品,玩具,书籍,延长线等),但他和他的的家人也许能用得上。于是,到结帐时他居然花了200多美元。

沃尔玛就是通过这种“冲动购买”的营销策略实现高额利润,他可不管你是不是刷爆了信用卡,还是负债累累呢!

对小商场进行改革也是我们减少恐怖主义威胁的一种方法。本·拉登能够招募到圣徒的一个主要的原因就是,南方国家中成千上万的人都对全球性的大公司感到不满。他们摧毁地方经济,破坏社区和自然环境,通过进口食物给农民无穷负担,为满足沃尔玛低价格的要求而建立一个个“血汗工厂”来剥削妇女和儿童。

如需了解更多关于小商场革新的信息,请登陆www.smallmart.org / hodges.pdf

独立思考

匿名消息来源

希·豪威尔

美国密歇根州的公民,2007年 2月11日至17日

布什政府正逐渐将公众的注意力从伊拉克转向伊朗。尽管政府不得力,但有一件事他们做得很好,就是延续鹰派新保守主义的路线,将美国军事威慑延伸整个中东。还没得到任何呼声,新的伊朗战争的号角又吹响了。

这次战争又顺着原来的路。四年多前,正当美军在阿富汗奋战时,“精心”策划的一系列不相干而又缺乏证据的信息被媒体上揭露出来。这则消息旨在将我们的注意力从阿富汗困境转移到伊拉克。随着时间的推移,政府当局将这些精心散布的证据汇集起来,为发动战争提供一个明了的辩解。这些可以从国务卿科林·鲍威尔的悲惨和美国在发动攻击前夕向联合国提交的欺诈性陈述中一眼看出。

我们现在面临着与入侵伊拉克前相似的情况。要有效地抵制这一轮新的操纵,重要的是要了解布什所用的战术。

第一步就是要消除公众头脑中入侵伊拉克时最初的三大理由。入侵基于最终都毫无根据3个论点:( 1 )伊拉克拥有大规模杀伤性武器, ( 2 ) 他们有可能会使用这些武器( 3 )伊拉克与9 / 11 事件脱不开干系。

政府当局拒绝承认所声称的这些是谎言绝非偶然。相反,它是进行操控不可或缺的工具。必须要消除这些记忆,否则这一战术就会失去效用。早些时候进行辩护的理由完全遭到了遗弃,取而代之的是这样一个口号——没有萨达姆,世界会更好。

消除记忆变成了反战伊朗的新理由。有可靠消息来源,伊朗通过给于指导和出售武器支持伊拉克境内的什叶派民兵。1月美国广播公司,哥伦比亚广播公司和纽约时报基于所谓的匿名消息来源和莫须有的“铁证”纷纷报道不实事件。于是,公众心中便认为伊朗和我们在伊拉克的失败有某种微妙的联系。

1月29日, 据CBS晚间新闻报道: “美国军方称,它已找到有利的证据”证明伊朗支持伊拉克的民兵。美国哥伦比亚广播公司在五角大楼的通讯员接着就报告说,美国部队“正在伊拉克境内打一场代理仗”。而对于这个代理的证据是有着“伊朗工厂制造”字样及编号的武器。到目前为止,距离那个宣布已有近三个星期,可这种说法都没有可靠的证据。

有消息证实武器确实存在,因为在伊拉克境内发现了伊朗的训练营地。据美国广播公司世界新闻通讯员报道“美国官员说,越来越多的证据在指证伊朗,已有照片表明伊朗在伊拉克的国土上扎营。

国家协调机构也称有类似的事件,而且把美军士兵遭伏击归咎于伊朗高层。这一说法是基于“美国军方机密报告”。

电视新闻是根据只依靠匿名消息的纽约时报上一篇骇人听闻的故事报道的。

这些声称绝非偶然。它们是布什政府的直接企图,为圆自己的说法而找一个明了思路。他们要我们相信,伊拉克战争要取得胜利,就必须入侵伊朗。到目前为止,这种说法收效甚微,因为人们已经厌倦了这种匿名消息。

翻译:丁敏

2008年8月18日

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