Basic Globalization Glossary
huge farms that
are run as corporations and the products and services that
serve them. In agribusiness profit is more important than
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation - promotes trade
and economic cooperation between 21 countries that border
the Pacific Ocean.
Conference held in 1944 that led to the creation
of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
refers to the average citizen as opposed to government. Civil
society is represented by unions, churches, and other non-governmental
a product or service that is worth money. Commodities are
usually items that can be sold or traded such as grain, coal,
or wine or mass-produced items like radios, teddy bears, and
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade - a
branch of Canada's federal government.
occurs when a country sells goods internationally at prices
lower than prices on the country's national market. In this
way exporters get a hold of the market by undercutting their
competitors. See also .
taxes on imports that are put in place to protect local economies
and to encourage citizens to buy locally. Free trade agreements
recommend getting rid of duties and other trade restrictions.
Export Processing Zone - tax free zones that appear as 'factory
cities' typically found across Asia, in which products for
export are made, especially clothing, shoes, and electronics.
EPZs are characterized by poor working conditions such as
low pay, long hours, and few opportunities for workers to
goods and services produced within one country and traded
to other countries. Canada exports grain around the world.
China exports clothing and electronics.
a movement advocating for trade that contributes to environmental
protection, fair wages, and good working conditions. Fair
trade coffee is widely available across Canada and other fairly-traded
products are becoming more available.
trade of goods and services across national borders without
duties or other restrictions like tariffs and quotas. Free
trade gives corporations freedom to pursue their corporate
profits with little attention paid to the way that is done.
Free trade has resulted in the destruction of local economies
across the world.
Free Trade Agreement - signed in 1988 by Canada and the United
Free Trade Area of the Americas - trade agreement currently
being negotiated to include all 34 countries of the Americas
except Cuba. Canada hosted a meeting of all the leaders in
Quebec City in April 2001.
originally an elite and closed group of 6 countries that first
met in 1975 as the G6 and continue to meet annually to discuss
political and economic issues. Members include France, United
States, Britain, Italy, Japan, and Germany, and later Canada.
In 1998 Russia also joined creating the G8.
The President of the European Commission has also attended since 1977.
General Agreement on Trade in Services - a set of multilateral
rules and commitments covering government measures which affect
trade in services.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - established in 1945
after the Second World War to manage world trade with a mandate
of "raising standards of living, ensuring full employment
and a large and steadily growing volume of real income" for
the residents of the countries that lower their trade barriers
and open their economies; replaced with the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in 1995.
a scientific process that involves inserting genes from one
species into another in an attempt to transfer a desired trait
or character. Many of our foods such as soybeans and canola
are genetically-engineered. Many people worry that we do not
know enough about gene sciences to know what the results of
genetic engineering will be. Genetic engineering reduces the
natural diversity of nature creating a kind of monoculture
in the gene world.
the name given to a process in which trade, money, people,
and information travel across international borders with increasing
frequency and ease. The word is used most often in reference
to economic globalization, the process of the merging of world
a country that racked up a huge debt-load during the 1980s.
Soaring interest rates caused these debts to skyrocket out
of control. Many groups call these debts 'unjust' and 'illegitimate'
arguing that they have been paid many times over. Many countries
in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia
International Labour Organization - a UN agency which promotes
internationally-recognized labour rights.
International Monetary Fund - established after World War
II and made up of 182 member countries. The IMF makes loans
to very poor countries and often demands structural adjustment
programs (SAPs) be implemented before the loan is given. See
refers to making knowledge and ideas private. It includes
rights to inventions and discoveries like patents for new
drugs, trademarks, and seeds, as well as the ownership of
ideas and indigenous traditions.
Multilateral Agreement on Investment - a package of trade
rights giving power to investors. It has been proposed and
rejected at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) but is still
being promoted by big business.
short form of the Spanish word maquiladora. Originally
associated with the process of milling, in Mexico it has become
the word for another kind of processing -- the assembly of
imported component parts for re-export. Companies like working
in maquilas because of low wages, lack of environmental or
labour regulations, low taxes, and few if any duties.
an economic recovery plan put forward by US Secretary of State
George Catlett Marshall on June 5, 1947 to rebuild Europe
after the end of World War II. Some people suggest we need
another Marshall Plan today to help rebuild other devastated
economies such as the economics of developing countries.
Mercado Comun del Cono Sur (Common Market of the Southern
Cone), a free trade block and customs union, comprising Brazil,
Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
North American Free Trade Agreement - signed in 1995 by Canada,
the United States, and Mexico.
Organization of American States - a body with representation
from all countries in the Americas. It is now charged with
27 non-trade issues in the Free Trade Area of the Americas
(FTAA) such as poverty, drug control, and democracy.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - an
elite group of highly industrialized nations.
occurs when services that are owned and operated by the government
are sold to private corporations. While governments provide
services like education, healthcare, and social assistance
as a service to citizens, when corporations own these services
their main goal is profit.
Structural Adjustment Program. See also structural adjustment.
a set of social rights for citizens agreed to between governments
of different countries. The aim is to ensure that standards
rise rather than fall when countries with different levels
of labour and environmental protection form a trading area.
similar to 'dumping' except that it refers to lowering production
costs through low wages and sub-standard social conditions.
a process imposed on poor countries in which they must privatize
services, export more, and reduce the government's role in
the economy in order to access International Monetary Fund/World
Bank loans. Structural adjustment programs have brought devastation
to vulnerable citizens of poor countries as they lose more
of their few protections and services. The term has received such widespread criticism that IMF/WB launched a new program in 1999 called Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs.) Though the name changed, the policies remain the same.
a 19th century word that describes a system of employment
where factory owners profited by forcing their employees to
work long hours under unsafe conditions, for subsistence wages.
Transnational Corporation - huge multinational businesses
whose annual sales are greater than the yearly gross domestic
product (GDP) of most countries. A rough estimate suggests
that the 300 largest TNCs own or control at least one-quarter
of the entire world's productive assets.
the transfer of goods and services across borders.
the withdrawal of a preferential market access to punish members
of a free trade area for violating parts of the trading agreement.
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - agreement
which came into effect at the same time as the WTO (January
a series of trade negotiations between 1986-1994 that led
to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The World Bank Group is comprised of five agencies that make
loans or guarantee credit to 177 member countries. Its stated
aim is to help countries reduce poverty by making long-term
loans to governments for large-scale projects such as dams
or pipelines, or to back economic reform programmes. However,
World Bank loans have often had very negative effects on countries
putting them in situations of precarious debt and setting
conditions on which countries can receive loans, conditions
which often have a devastating impact on the lives of citizens.
World Trade Organization - an institution to govern international
trade and a body of law which administers legal agreements
on how countries should conduct international trade. It was
established in 1995 to replace General Agreement on Trade
and Tariffs (GATT). The WTO mandate is a similar but expanded
version of GATT and includes services, investment, and intellectual
property as well as sustainable development.
This glossary has borrowed heavily from a number of sources
including: Show us the Money: The Politics and Process
of Alternative Budgets, Common
Frontiers Free Trade Action Kit, BRIDGE
Glossary on Macroeconomics from a Gender Perspective,
No Sweat Campaigner, Maquila
Solidarity Network, Corporate
Watch, the World
Trade Organization, and United
for a Fair Economy.
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on terms relating to the economy, see A
Basic Glossary on Economics.
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