Saturday, October 06, 2007


I said some time ago that people have more power than they think they have, and that we can affect change just about anywhere in the world if we really wished to. In a world were we are encouraged to feel hopelessly inadequate to changing anything without the support of politicians this may sound far-fetched. However, let's look at China. If it really wanted to, China could, overnight, put an end to the brutality and injustices inflicted on the Burmese people by an unelected military junta. However, it refuses to do so as it suits them to have the junta in power there. So, we can all go jump in a river ... what you gonna do about it anyway?

If those in power will not confront the problems we want them to then us ordinary folk have the power to force the issues. If we really want people to be free to decide their own fates within their own countries, to have real power and self-determination, then we need to offer them our help. You don’t actually need to go on marches, you don’t need to gather outside the gates of embassies, though these always help send the message to brutal dictatorships that their actions are being watched.

All governments, whether elected or dictatorial regimes, need money, lots of it, and much of that money is ours, is in our pockets and bank accounts and we can spend it anyway we want! China is an emerging economy, potentially a great one, but it requires people around the world to purchase their goods and services to drive that emerging economy. If China won’t use its power to return self-determination to those people who suffer under regimes supported by them then we can easily put pressure on China by refusing to buy, even for just one month, goods with “Product of" or "Made in China” on the label.

If enough people agreed to do this then I suggest China will begin to listen to these requests very quickly. I mean, do you really need that new television today, that new fridge now, can the old ones last a month or two more? That’s all it takes, enough people just to put off buying particular goods and services for a relatively short period of time to affect economies of countries and regimes who don’t want to listen to the majority view, who threaten and treat people with contempt. Their power is only that which we give to them, through our fear, our money and our compliance. China is only a point in question now, it could be any country, or even a transnational company. We have the power, if we wish, to dictate to them.

Just so you know, I am not against the idea of a global economy, I am simply against how the present model of a global economy works and is used. It is unfair, the strong abuse the weak, and it is used to create powerful elites.

I want to see a true global economy where the strong cannot dictate to the weak, where the International Monitory Fund is abolished and a true World Bank is brought into existence to allocate funds to struggling economies without them having to be subservient to western interest; a Bank which would isolate cruel dictatorships so they could not survive for long. We actually have the power to make these things happen by spending our money wisely and not supporting dictatorships just so we can have the latest gizmos today.

Ballot boxes aside, how we spend our money, our consumer power, gives us a real say if we choose to stick together on these kind of issues. It all depends, I suppose, in just what kind of world we want to live in.