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Archbishop calls for worldwide economic reforms

Archbishop calls for worldwide economic reforms

The Archbishop of Canterbury has weighed in on international economic matters, calling for reforms at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,  


The Most Rev. Justin Welby argued that all too often, the World Bank and the IMF work to serve the market as an end in itself, rather than the common good.  Massive reforms are needed to check this tendency of the global economic structure, including a new set of overhauling guidelines, like those which set up the World Bank and IMF seventy years ago. 

Welby is particularly critical of the IMF: “It tends to look like a police officer when it should look like the fire brigade,” he said.

“Most of us worry about the former, even if, like me, one greatly admires them, on the off-chance one has done something wrong. The latter will do much damage with water, but is welcome because of the alternative.”

Read more here: 

This is the first time in his tenure that the Archbishop has commented publicly on international affairs, and–like Pope Francis–it is about economic matters.

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Dick Gillett

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP) and General Convention

A resolution passed by The Episcopal Church’s General Convention in 2012 has suddenly become very relevant (Yes, once in a while these resolutions have both great relevance and excellent specificity!).

Its title: Advocate for a Just Global Economy for International Trade. (Res. AO12). President Obama made our resolution relevant when he advocated congressional action on a pending trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, (TPP), in his January State of the Union Speech.

The TPP is a proposed trade treaty among 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It bears all the hallmarks of the failed W.T.O. talks (remember the Battle in Seattle in 1999?), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and others.

Here’s what I wrote in a letter published online in the Seattle Times last December: “The secrecy issue is a special slap in the face to several Pacific Rim countries whose economies are still developing, and whose voices in international trade agreements have frequently been overwhelmed by the influence and clout of large global corporations in the rich countries…for many who oppose this treaty, the issue is not only economic but moral.”

So one of TPP’s biggest issues is the secrecy in which these trade discussions —dominated by the proposals of large global corporations, including the big energy companies—have been held. In his State of the Union speech, the president asked Congress to grant him trade promotion authority, also known as Fast Track. Under Fast Track, the congress is permitted only an up-or-down vote, with no amendments permitted to the treaty’s provisions. The vote could come at any time in the next few weeks.

Thanks be to God there is substantial resistance to Fast Track in the congress. A hundred and fifty-one Democrats and 27 Republicans have sent a letter to the Administration opposing Fast Track. And last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will not bring up Fast Track for a vote. So those of us who “think globally/act locally” have at

hand our aforementioned Episcopal resolution, our global social justice conscience, and just maybe a moment of special influence.

The Action: call or email your senators and your congressperson and ask that they oppose HR 3830 (the fast track provision) and that they welcome full and open debate in congress on the treaty’s provisions.

Two great websites for more info are:

The Citizens Trade Campaign, http://www.citizenstrade.org

The Sierra Club, http://www.sierraclub.org/trade

…and our General Convention Resolution AO12: http://www.generalconvention.org/gc/gc2012-legislation

Onward!

Dick Gillett (the rev. canon), Diocese of Olympia, Seattle

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