July 24, 2005

7/24/05 Special JVNA Newsletter - DR-CAFTA

Shalom everyone,

This special Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter is devoted to efforts to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), based on a vote of the JVNA Advisory Committee to support a letter (below) being sent by many animal rights and vegetarian groups (list below) to Congress members. Congress may vote on CAFTA as early as Tuesday, so quick action is essential.

This newsletter contains the following items:

1. What You Can Do

2. Script for a Call to Your Congressperson

3. Sample letter

4. In Their Own Words: What Animal Exploiters Are Saying About DR-CAFTA

5. Talking Points for DR-CAFTA Lobbying

6. Script For Calling Members and Supporters

7. Sign on Letter for Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and Vegetarian Organizations Opposed to DR-CAFTA

8. List of Groups That Signed the Letter:

9. Congresspeople to Contact


[Part of a Chapter from "Judaism and Global Survival" by Richard H. Schwartz]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. What You Can Do

[At a time when animal-based diets and agriculture are already contributing to an epidemic of chronic, degenerative diseases, massive abuses of animals, global warming, deforestation, rapid species losses, and many more environmental threats, water shortages, and widespread hunger, CAFTA would increase the production and consumption of animal products.]

OF “FREE TRADE”!! [And there are many additional negative factors, as indicated below.]

DR-CAFTA, the Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement is a major threat to wildlife, marine animals, and farmed animals. The US Senate PASSED DR-CAFTA by a vote of 54-45. The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill by the end of July. The House will be a much tougher battle for DR-CAFTA supporters, so we may still be able to kill this thing!

1)Call your Congressperson in the US House of Representatives and tell him or her to vote NO on DR-CAFTA! To contact your rep's Capitol office call the Capitol switchboard at 866-340-9281 (toll free, thanks to the United Steelworkers).Also call your rep's district office (you can find your Rep's contact info at community.hsus.org/humane/leg-lookup/search.html)

While the DC offices are prepared to take calls on legislative issues, the district offices often don't expect these calls, so they can draw more attention. Please call BOTH offices to maximize your impact. When you call, ask to speak to the trade staffer, chief of staff or legislative director. Give your name and address and tell her you are a constituent and want your Rep to vote against DR-CAFTA. (you can base your call on the script below)

2) Send a fax. Again, fax both the district and DC offices. A sample letter to fax can be found below. You can get your Representative's fax number at community.hsus.org/humane/leg-lookup/search.html In addition to letters, articles on DR-CAFTA from newspapers, magazines and the internet are great to fax. Keep sending stuff so the legislators' fax machine is always abuzz with anti-DR-CAFTA information. You can also fax your rep from the internet using www.unionvoice.org/campaign/No_CAFTA. While this form is designed to focus on the labor impacts of DR-CAFTA, it is customizable, so you can change the focus to address animal issues (a sample letter to fax is at the end of this message) . Letters from both individuals and organizations (on letterhead) are critical.

3) Link up with local groups in your area to put pressure on House members—time still remains to stop DR-CAFTA in the House of Representatives! You can find local anti-CAFTA groups at http://stopcafta.org/groups.php, and you can learn more about DR-CAFTA in general at http://stopcafta.org.

4) Join the animal rights working group on DR-CAFTA, which is researching the effects of DR-CAFTA on animal issues and mobilizing animal activists against the agreement. To become involved, email Adam Weissman at adam@wetlands-preserve.org or call (201) 968-0595.

5) Hold a rally, press conference, picket or other action (office sit-ins are expected in some cities) at a swing legislators' district office on Tuesday, the day before the scheduled vote on DR-CAFTA.

6) Set up a lobby meeting with a swing legislator (see attached Talking Points for CAFTA.doc) in his or her DC office.

7) Collaborate with environmental and human rights activists on anti-CAFTA actions. You can find potential collaborators at http://stopcafta.org/groups.php

If you have any questions, call Adam at (201) 968-0595 or email adam@wetlands-preserve.org

Thanks for taking action against DR-CAFTA!!

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2. Script for a Call to Your Congressperson

"Hello, my name is _______ and I am a constituent living in _______. I'm calling to ask Representative _______ to vote against the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA); I am deeply concerned about DR-CAFTA and believe that the agreement will have terrible consequences for animal welfare [the environment and human health] in Central America, the Dominican Republic and our own country.

Does Rep.___________________have a position on DR-CAFTA?" (If you already know you don't need to ask.

If the Representative is opposed to the agreement and will vote against it, thank him/her. Ask him/her to make that opposition public, and for a letter stating his/her position. If the Representative is undecided, say that you oppose CAFTA and tell her why (see below) and urge him or her to vote "no". If the Representative is for DR-CAFTA urge her to reconsider. Inform the office that you intend to spread the word that the Rep is voting against the public interest. If you represent an organization, let your Representative know that your group opposes DR-CAFTA and let them know how many members and supporters you have in their district.

You can tell your Rep. the following to convince him or her to vote against DR-CAFTA: "If passed, DR-CAFTA will lead to the expansion of cruel, environmentally destructive, labor exploitative "factory farm" agriculture methods as US industrial agribusiness producers attempt to increase market share and overall meat consumption in Central America and the DR-CAFTA will also open areas previously off-limits areas to industrial commercial fishing, endangering fish and sea turtles, and will endanger critical wildlife habitat in Central America. CAFTA's strong protections for corporate investors and weak environmental protections will allow corporations to use the threat of multi-billion dollar lawsuits at international tribunals to strong-arm countries into ignoring their own environmental laws protecting sensitive wildlife habitat areas.CAFTA will pave the way for more trade agreements such as the Andean Free Trade Agreement and the Free Trade Area of the Americas which would extend this flawed model to the whole Western Hemisphere."

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3. Sample letter

Dear Representative _____________:

As a constituent concerned about the welfare and rights of animals, I am writing to express my strong opposition the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

If passed, DR-CAFTA will lead to the expansion of cruel, environmentally destructive, labor exploitative "factory farm" agriculture methods as US industrial agribusiness producers attempt to increase market share and overall meat consumption in Central America, replacing small farmers using more traditional methods.

DR-CAFTA will also open areas previously off-limits coastal areas to industrial commercial fishing, endangering fish and sea turtles, areas previously only open to small, local fishermen who catch more selectively.

Oxfam International believes that DR-CAFTA will threaten the livelihood of thousands of small rice producing farmers, most of who already live in poverty. The rice sector provides for approximately 1.5 million jobs in the Central American countries, yet the small farmers of Central America might find themselves in a similar situation as small Mexican farmers found themselves 10 years ago under NAFTA. Peasant farmers who were driven off their lands were forced to clear trees for farming and for fuel. Since the implementation of NAFTA, the annual rate of deforestation in Mexico rose to 1.1 million hectares. The previous rate of 600 thousand hectares per year was practically doubled, and Mexico has one of the highest deforestation rates in the Western Hemisphere

CAFTA's strong protections for corporate investors and weak environmental protections will allow corporations to use the threat of multi-billion dollar lawsuits at international tribunals to strong-arm countries into ignoring their own environmental laws protecting sensitive wildlife habitat areas. DR-CAFTA will also pave the way for more trade agreements such as the Andean Free Trade Agreement and the Free Trade Area of the Americas which would extend this flawed model to the whole Western Hemisphere.

DR-CAFTA is a bad deal for animals and I urge you to vote against it. Please respond to this fax with a letter clarifying your position on this issue. If you do intend to vote against DR-CAFTA, please speak out and encourage other members of Congress to do the same.

(Your Name)
(Your Organization, if applicable)

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4. In Their Own Words:
What Animal Exploiters Are Saying About DR-CAFTA

"The Free Trade Agreement negotiated between the United States and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, if implemented, will create important new opportunities for U.S. pork producers" –
Source: National Pork Producers' Council, http://www.nppc.org/hot_topics/drcafta.html

"Pork producers nationwide have been writing letters, calling, and visiting their Members of Congress for months now to emphasize the fact that the CAFTA-DR is a big win for U.S. pork producers and ask for their support,"
Source: National Pork Producer's Council President Don Buhl, as quoted in Thepigsite.com Newsletter, Tuesday 31st May 2005

"The National Chicken Council, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and the National Turkey Federation have expressed support publicly for the CAFTA-DR FTA."
Source: United States-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, State Fact Sheets, February 2005

" The National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, and the National Food Processors Association have expressed support publicly for the CAFTA-DR FTA. "
Source: United States-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, State Fact Sheets, February 2005

"For cattle producers, losing CAFTA-DR would mean losing money-making opportunities, says Jim McAdams, an Adkins, Texas, cattleman and [National Cattleman's Beef Association]president. This agreement would open new export markets for our high-quality U.S. beef. We simply have nothing to lose. The only way I can figure cattlemen could oppose CAFTA would be if they didn’t read the agreement.
Source: National Cattleman's Beef Association Press Release: Calling All Cattlemen: Rally for CAFTA Over Memorial Day Recess, NCBA joins U.S. business and agriculture groups in nationwide fight for trade, May 25, 2005

"DR-CAFTA will increase U.S. textile, apparel and leather exports by 15% or $803 million. "

"Other industry-supported farm groups like the National Cattlemen's Beef Assoc. and the National Pork Producers Council hailed the trade pact as "commercially-viable" whatever that means because it opens the central American markets to US meat exports."

"If DR-CAFTA is passed, trade with those countries at the Port of Tampa is calculated to double over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce study. Exports are dominated by fertilizers. Companies in the Tampa Bay area also conduct trade through other ports in a wide variety of goods, from automobiles to frozen poultry and fishing nets."

"More than half of U.S. agricultural products will become eligible for duty-free treatment in these countries immediately upon implementation of the agreements, with most remaining duties on U.S. products phased out over 15 years. Examples of U.S. exports to the Central American region that can be expected to gain significantly from CAFTA include ... poultry ($47 million), dairy products ($25 million), pork ($18 million), and beef ($7 million). Some key export commodities to the Dominican Republic include ...dairy products ($9 million)...and poultry ($5 million)."
Source: 38 Agricultural Groups Urge U.S. Congress to Support DR-CAFTA Friday, September 03, 2004, Business Coalition for US-Central America Trade

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5. Talking Points for DR-CAFTA Lobbying

Urge Congressmember in the US House of Representatives to vote AGAINST DR-CAFTA, the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement. (H.R.3045).
DR-CAFTA: a bad deal for animals, human health, and the environment!

Here’s why:

* Expanded cruelty to farmed animals: - DR-CAFTA will over time eliminate import tariffs that keep prices high on US meat, dairy, and egg products in Central America and the Dominican Republic. This will allow industrial style, factory farmed animal products, which can produced more cheaply, to flood the market in these countries, driving local producers using traditional agriculture methods our of business—or forcing them to switch to factory farming in order to stay competitive. Factory farms, which intensively confine animals in filth and squalor, are widely viewed as inhumane.

* Public health in Latin America at risk US agribusiness interests view DR-CAFTA as an opportunity to dramatically increase consumption of animal products in Latin America by making cheap meat products more available. While this may be profitable, it will be a public health disaster for Latin America. Increased consumption of meat and dairy products in the Caribbean and Latin America have led to dramatic increases in diabetes and heart disease rates, with experts predicting that 62% of global diabetes will be in these regions by 2025. DR-CAFTA will hasten this trend.

* More factory farms mean degraded water quality in US and DR-CAFTA countries. Environmentalists consider hog and poultry factory farms to be one of the most significant sources of water contamination. As the US seeks to supply more of the market for animal products in DR-CAFTA countries, factory farming will expand domestically, putting more communities at risk of being sites for polluting factory farms. As producers in DR-CAFTA countries shift towards factory farming to stay competitive, the impact will be more dire, as many regions in these countries lack adequate facilities for water filtration.

* Expanded damage to rangelands Increased beef production will lead to the further degradation of rangelands, including taxpayer subsidized public lands.

* Marine life threatened by expanded fishing As commercial zones are increased and regulatory controls are undermined under DR-CAFTA, allowing for larger enterprises to move into areas previously zoned solely for small fisherman and their use of larger nets,. This destructive practice not only catches more of the fish, it also sweeps up other species that have been left alone by small fisherman, like sea turtles.

* Weak environmental protections endanger wildlife DR-CAFTA countries are critical habitat for 1000 bird species, over 600 species of reptiles and several hundred types of mammals. Three out of four migratory bird routes in the Western Hemisphere pass through the CAFTA countries. Of the 836 migratory bird species that are listed in the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, some 350 neo-tropical migratory species (mainly songbirds) migrate through or are winter residents of the CAFTA countries. Loss of habitat means starvation and death for their resident animals, making environmental preservation an animal rights issue as well as a conservation issue.

* Corporate investors protected over environment DR-CAFTA’s weak environmental protections, contrasted with its strong protections for corporate investors, provisions for corporations to sue countries over natural resource agreements, and ability for corporations to sue nations for unlimited sums in international tribunals severely imperils protection of critical wildlife habitat areas. The Costa Rican courts recently threw out a suit from Harken Energy where the company sued the country for $58 billion (Costa Rica’s entire annual GDP is only $38 billion). If they had threatened to bring this suit to an international tribunal under CAFTA, the threat alone would have forced Costa Rica to concede and settle, regardless of whether Harken would have been able to substantiate their case in the end. If the project had proceeded as intended, sea turtle nesting beaches, rare manatees, and over 100 species of fish would have suffered.

* Deforestation danger Forest ecosystems in Central America represent critical and irreplaceable wildlife habitat. Already experiencing an unprecedented rate of destruction, DR-CAFTA will hasten the logging of these forests. Oxfam International has warned that DR-CAFTA may replicate the increased deforestation that came as a result of US corn dumping on Mexico. 1.5 million small farmers were driven off their land. This led to an upsurge in tree clearing for farming and fuel. Subsequent to NAFTA’ implementation, the annual rate of deforestation in Mexico rose to 1.1 million hectares, practically doubling the pre-NAFTA rate of 600 thousand hectares per year was practically doubled. Under DR-CAFTA this phenomenon is likely to be repeated with Central America’s rice farmers. This will also hasten a trend already seen in El Salvador—as farmers are forced out of business by cheap agriculture imports, they move to the cities for work. Forested rural areas are cleared to open to roads and logged for development. Even the U.S. trade negotiators admit that DR-CAFTA could contribute to the ‘loss of migratory bird habitat’ through investments in the agricultural sector.”

* Mangrove habitat threatened DR-CAFTA will allow large-scale dumping of imported shrimp on the US, resulting in increased logging of Central American mangrove forests to create shrimp farms, destroying refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile fish, crabs, shrimps, and mollusks, and shelter for birds.

Additional Info:
The Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve, PO Box 344, NY, NY 10108
(201) 968-0595 Email: activism@wetlands-preserve.org
Web: http://wetlands-preserve.org

New York City People's Referedum on Free Trade, 130 West 29th Street #9F, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (646) 245-9931 Email: newyorkcispes@mindspring.com
Web: http://ftaareferendum.org

Websites on DR-CAFTA:

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6. Script For Calling Members and Supporters

Here is a script for calling members and supporters to ask them to call their legislators against DR-CAFTA

Outreach Call Script

Hi, my name is ______________ and I’m calling from _____________________ to ask you to call and fax Rep. __________ in opposition to the Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement, DR-CAFTA. DR-CAFTA will mean increased factory farming, more meat consumption in Central America and the Dominican Republic and destruction of habitat for wildlife. You can call Rep. ____________ at _____________ and fax (him/her) at ____________. Urge her to vote NO! on DR-CAFTA, an inhumane trade deal. Be sure to give your name and address when you call. Do you have any questions? Thanks for speaking out for animals!

(Note: When finding out which people in your database are in a swing voters’ district, you will find some zip codes split over 2 or more districts. To find out which district one of the people in these zip codes resides in, you can run their address here.)

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7. Sign on Letter for Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and Vegetarian Organizations Opposed to DR-CAFTA
[JVNA is now on the list of signers.]

Dear Member of Congress:

We, the undersigned animal rights, animal welfare, and vegetarian
organizations, are writing to express our opposition to the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

This agreement poses a serious threat to the welfare of billions of nonhuman animals, including farmed animals, marine animals, and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to human health and the environment.

Expansion of Factory Farming

Under DR-CAFTA, animal agribusiness interests view the elimination of import tariffs as an opportunity to dramatically increase exports of beef, pork, dairy, and poultry products and to undercut small farmers in Latin America using traditional agriculture methods. US agribusiness will flood Latin American markets with cheaply produced meat and dairy products created with cruel, industrial scale methods, including “factory farm” agriculture.

Latin American producers using traditional methods fear that these cheap imports will force them to shift to a US-style intensive confinement factory farm systems to remain competitive. The high volumes of water used to clean these factory farms will be a serious concern for the environment and public health in areas lacking adequate water treatment facilities.Beyond absorbing market share from Dominican and Central American producers, agribusiness interests also view DR-CAFTA as an opportunity to dramatically increase consumption of animal products in Latin America by making cheap meat products more available. While this may be profitable, it will be a public health disaster for Latin America.

Already, increased consumption of meat and dairy products in the Caribbean and Latin America have led to dramatic increases in diabetes and heart disease rates, with experts predicting that 62% of global diabetes will be in these regions by 2025.

This increase in consumption will also mean increased production. This will guarantee more animal suffering and environmental degradation. Factory farm poultry and pork production are two of the most severe causes of water pollution in the US. Increased beef production will
lead to the further degradation of rangelands, including taxpayer subsidized public lands.

Marine Life Threatened by Expanded Fishing

As commercial zones are increasing and regulatory controls are undermined, larger enterprises will move into areas previously zoned solely for small fisherman and their use of larger nets. This destructive practice not only catches more of the fish, it also sweeps up other species that have been left alone by small fisherman, like sea turtles. This is just one example of the ways in which plant and marine biodiversity is gravely threatened by CAFTA-DR.


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8. List of Groups That Signed the Letter:

National Organizations:
Animal Protection Institute
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
EarthSave International
Friends of Animals
Humane Farming Association
In Defense of Animals
League of Humane Voters USA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
United Poultry Concerns
Vegan Research Institute
Voice for A Viable Future
Wildlife Watch

No Compromise
Veg News Magazine

Local Organizations
Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve
AESOP-Project [Allied Effort to Save Other Primates]
Alliance for Animals
Animal Acres
Animal Defense League-Los Angeles
Animal Protection and Rescue League
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Animal Rights and Rescue Coalition
Cape Cod Coalition for Animal Rights
Delaware Action for Animals
Division of Animal Welfare
Eastern Shore Sanctuary and Education Center
Feral Cat Caretakers Coalition
League for Earth and Animal Protection
League of Humane Voters of Ohio
Mercy for Animals
Michigan Animal Rights Society
Orlando Animal Rights Alliance
Rattle the Cage Productions www.RattletheCage.org
Showing Animal Respect And Kindness
Sonoma People for Animal Rights
Southern California Vegetarians
The Coalition for New York City Animals, Inc.
The Empathy Project
Uconn Animal Rights Club
Unitarian Universalists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - Los Angeles
Voices for Animals

Woodstock Animal Rights Movement

Animal-Friendly Businesses
Oh Sweet Mamas

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9. Members of Congress to Contact

* Bonner (AL1)
* Everett (AL2)
* Aderholt (AL4)
* Cramer (AL5)

* Pombo (CA11)
* Eshoo (CA14)
* Lofgren (CA16)
* Gallegly (CA24)
* Davis (CA53)

* Brown-Waite (FL5)
* Stearns (FL6)
* Davis (FL11)
* Meek (FL17)
* Foley (FL16)
* Wasserman-Schultz (FL20)

* Bishop (GA2)
* Deal (GA10)
* Gingrey (GA11)
* Scott (GA13)

* Souder (IN3)
* Hostettler (IN8)
* Sodrel (IN9)

* Clay (MO1)
* Skelton (MO4)
* Emerson (MO8)

New York
* McCarthy (NY4)
* Meeks (NY6)
* Towns (NY10)
* McHugh (NY23)
* Boehlert (NY24)
* Walsh (NY25)
* Kuhl (NY29)

North Carolina
* Etheridge (NC2)
* Price (NC4)
* Coble (NC6)
* Fox[x] (NC5)
* McHenry (NC10)
* Hayes (NC8)
* Miller (NC13)
* Watt (NC12)

* Turner (OH3)
* Regula (OH16)
* Ney (OH18)
* LaTourette (OH14)

* Weldon (PA7)
* Gerlach (PA6)
* Fitzpatrick (PA8)
* Murphy (PA18)
* Platt[s] (PA19)

* Jenkins (TN1)
* Duncan (TN2)
* Cooper (TN5)
* Blackburn (TN7)
* Ford (TN9)

* Hinojosa (TX15)
* Reyes (TX16)
* Edwards (TX17)
* Gonzalez (TX20)
* Ortiz (TX27)
* Johnson (TX30)

Other Republicans
* Bishop (UT1)
* Capito (WV2)
* Davis (VA1)
* Ehlers (MI3)
* Gibbons (Ct) ?not listed
* Gutknecht (MN1)
* Hefley (CO5)
* Moran (KS1)
* Petri (WI5)
* Walden (OR2)

Other Democrats
* Bean (Il8)
* Boren (Ok2)
* Matheson (UT2)
* Moore (KS3)
* Snyder (AR2)
* Ross (AR4)

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[Part of a Chapter from “Judaism and Global Survival” by Richard H. Schwartz]

I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Behold, the tears of the oppressed, they had no one to comfort them! On the side of the oppressors there was power.
Ecclesiastes 4:1

To survey conditions for most of the world's people today is to see the extent to which Jewish teachings about justice, compassion and sharing have been neglected. The tremendous injustice and inequality that prevail in the world today are well described by Lester Brown, former Director of the WorldWatch Institute:

In effect, our world today is in reality two worlds, one rich, one poor; one literate, one largely illiterate; one industrial and urban, and one agrarian and rural, one overfed and overweight, one hungry and malnourished; one affluent and consumption-oriented, one poverty stricken and survival-oriented. North of this line [separating the wealthy from the poor], life expectancy closely approaches the Biblical ‘threescore and ten;’ south of it, many do not survive infancy. In the North, economic opportunities are plentiful and social mobility is high. In the South, economic opportunities are scarce and societies are rigidly stratified.

The vast social and economic gaps between countries can be demonstrated through many significant statistics comparing the developed countries (U.S., Canada, Japan, England, France, etc.) and the "developing" countries (Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Pakistan, etc.). The per capita GNP of the United States is over 70 times that of Sierra Leone, even with an adjustment for “purchasing power parity.” A child born in Sweden can expect to live an average of forty-three years longer than a child born in Zambia. Almost 20 percent of the babies born in Angola don't live until their first birthday, compared to less than one percent for France, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and many other European countries. Only three percent of the population in all sixteen countries of Western Africa can expect to live to 65, compared to eighteen percent of the population in Italy. A person’s place of birth certainly makes a difference!

It is difficult for people in wealthy countries to realize the extent of the
abject, chronic poverty experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters
in the world.

* Poverty means malnutrition. A third to a half of the world's people are undernourished (not enough calories) or malnourished (not enough of certain nutrients). Over 450 million people are severely and chronically malnourished.

* Poverty means illiteracy and lack of proper education. Over 46 percent of women in Africa were literate in 1995. In the less developed countries, only about half the children of secondary school age are in secondary schools, compared to almost 100 percent enrollment in such schools in the more developed countries.

* Poverty means sickness and inadequate health care. One-third to one-half of the world's people have no access to health care. Few people infected with AIDS in poorer countries can afford the life-extending drugs used in wealthier countries.

* Poverty means high infant and child mortality. Almost nine percent of the children born in Africa in 2000 died before their first birthday. Hunger and related preventable diseases kill about 34,000 children under the age of five daily -- over 12 million per year.

* Poverty means doing without basic necessities. Economist Robert Heilbroner has outlined what the life-style of a typical family living in an underdeveloped country is like: a minimum of furniture, a minimum of clothes, very crowded conditions, a paucity of food, no running water, no electricity, no newspapers, magazines, or books, perhaps a radio, very few government services, no postal service or firefighters, perhaps a school three miles away consisting of two classrooms, perhaps a clinic ten miles away, tended by a midwife, and barely any money.

* Poverty means stunted brain development in children. Because of hunger and malnutrition, infant in developing countries will never be able to properly concentrate, learn, or achieve the intellectual levels of which they are inherently capable. Thus the legacy of impoverishment and unemployment continues through the generations.

* Poverty means the anguish of impossible choices, the grief of watching the people you love die, the humiliation of not being able to provide for your family, the painful challenge of surviving day by day, and the powerlessness to change one’s fortunes.


Poverty and other global issues cannot be fully discussed without considering economic globalization, a process that is causing a fundamental redesign of the planet's economic, social, and political systems. It is producing a gigantic power shift, moving real economic and political power away from local, state, and national, governments and communities toward global banks, corporations, and the global bureaucracies these have created.

Some of the aspects of globalization are:

* The expansion of trade with much easier movement of goods and services across the world; between 1950 and 1998, export of goods between countries surged seventeen-fold – from $311 billion to $5.4 trillion – while the world economy only expanded six-fold.

* the opening up of capital markets, which increases the movement of money across the world; capital flows to developing countries soared from $21 billion in 1970 to $227 billion in 1998, an eleven-fold increase.

* increased foreign investment, with companies investing more overseas by building plants, buying stock in foreign countries, and contracting subsidiaries; global foreign direct investment increased from $44 billion to $644 billion from 1970 to 1998.

* improved access to communication, including the development of new technology like the Internet and greater availability of wireless and other telephones; the internet grew by about fifty percent per year from 1995 to 1998, after more than doubling in size annually, on average, during the previous fifteen years ; the number of lines linking non-cellular phones to the global network jumped eight-fold between 1960 and 1998, from 89 million to 839 million.

* a very rapid growth in transnational corporations; The number of TNCs worldwide soared from 7,000 in 1970 to 53,600 in 1998.

To achieve such rapid growth, globalization requires unrestricted free trade, privatization of enterprise, and deregulation of corporate activity, which together remove the impediments that might stand in the way of expanded corporate activity. These impediments include environmental, public health, and food safety laws, laws that guarantee workers’ rights and opportunities, laws that permit nations to control investment in their countries, and laws that seek to retain national controls over local culture. These laws are viewed as obstacles to corporate free trade and are quickly being eliminated or scaled back by major new trade agreements. And while corporations are being deregulated and freed from constraints, nation-states and states and local governments are being harshly regulated and constrained, thus making it increasingly difficult to protect local tradition, identity, and jobs, as well as the environment and national sovereignty.

Economic globalization could be providing many more benefits than have so far been shown. However, it has resulted in many negative effects because of its values and objectives. These include:

* giving primacy to economic—primarily corporate—values above all others. Through such institutions as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and treaties such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), corporations have gained extraordinary new powers. Corporate interests and profits are furthered by these unaccountable, undemocratic global bureaucracies, often at the expense of human needs and the web of life on earth. They are the true governing bodies in the global economy, usurping the powers that nations formerly had.

* unifying and integrating all economic activity within a centralized “supersystem.” Countries with very different cultures and economic traditions must all merge their economic activities within a single conceptual framework. The net result is what some economists call "global monoculture" — the global homogenization of culture, lifestyle, economic practice, and ideology with the corresponding sacrifice of local traditions, arts, values, and traditional small-scale economic practices. The result is that every place is starting to look very much like every other place, with the same malls and superstores, restaurant franchises, and chain hotels, the same clothes, the same cars, the same high-rise buildings, and increasingly the same music, art, and television programs.

* undermining all considerations except economic ones. Economic globalization glorifies the free market and its principle actors — global corporations — as the engines and benefactors of the process. It places supreme importance on achieving increasingly rapid economic growth and thus constantly seeks new markets, new resources, and new and cheaper labor sources.

The power of the largest corporations and of the wealthiest people is increasing. The collective worth of the world's 475 billionaires equals the combined incomes of the bottom fifty percent of humanity. Fifty of the largest one hundred economies in the world are corporations. Mitsubishi is the twenty-second largest economy in the world, General Motors the twenty-sixth, and Ford the thirty-first. Each is larger than those of many countries, including Norway, Chile, Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

It is questionable whether globalization can work even on its own terms. Can the limits of a finite planet be ignored? Are there sufficient resources — water, minerals, wood, fuel — to continue the desired rapid economic growth? Where will the effluents from this ambitious undertaking—the solids, the toxic wastes—be dumped? Can the ever-increasing consumption of commodities be ecologically sustained?

There is certainly great potential value to a closer, better-connected world. Today we can know much more quickly and fully about problems in every part of the globe, and therefore potentially respond faster and more effectively. Trade and communication can bring information and jobs to previously isolated groups of poor people. Activists and movements across the earth can more easily connect and work together. Oppressive governments and terrorist organizations can be more closely scrutinized and exposed. Universal values such as human rights, the equality of women, vigilant protection of the environment; freedom of speech and religion, the rights of children, fighting disease and hunger, reducing or eliminating land mines, nuclear missiles, and chemical and biological weapons, and stopping torture and oppression can be widely advocated, publicized, and organized around. Everyone gains the opportunity to learn about, and can come to appreciate, cultures and sites and natural phenomena which are worlds away. When limited by stringent guarantees of fair conditions, hours, and compensation for workers and care for ecosystems, international trade can reach and empower impoverished and suppressed individuals and groups.

But many negative effects of globalization are already apparent:

* Working people in developed countries are losing jobs to corporate flight and to high-tech machines and have been placed in a downward wage competition with workers in poorer countries. Many people believe that big employ more of the world’s labor force than do smaller businesses. However, according to the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, while the two hundred largest corporations in the world account for approximately thirty per cent of global economic activity, they employ less than 1/2 of one per cent of the global work force. The reason is economies of scale: as companies get larger, it becomes more efficient for them to replace thousands of workers with robots and other machines. And as large companies begin to dominate their industries, they drive out smaller competitors and reduce the workforce. Such economies of scale are intrinsic to globalization. Hence, consolidations and mergers result in fewer jobs, not more in developed countries.

* In spite of the tremendous growth and spread of technology, with increasing numbers of people using computers, cellular phones, and other instruments of modern technology, poverty is still very widespread and is growing. In 2000, 1.3 billion of the world’s six billion people lived on less than one dollar per day, and three billion people lived on less than two dollars a day. From 1960 to 2000, the world’s richest twenty percent increased their fraction of the world’s wealth from seventy percent to 86 percent, while the poorest twenty percent of the world’s population experienced a decrease from 2.3 percent to about one percent. While some corporate profits were at record levels, with many top executives’ annual salaries in the millions of dollars, the real wages of most ordinary workers in developed countries were decreasing in real terms and good jobs were being replaced by temporary or part-time jobs.

* Diverse local farm production and local trades in poorer nations that encourage self-reliance are being replaced by huge corporate farms – monocultures -- that no longer grow food for local people, but instead grow flowers, beef, or coffee for export to the global economy. The result of this process is that millions of the world's formerly self-sufficient small farmers are becoming homeless, landless refugees.

* In India, Africa, and Latin America, millions of indigenous people and small farmers are displaced to make way for gigantic dams and other development projects. The result is that more people join the landless, jobless urban masses. Cities are now attempting to absorb millions of the newly landless refugees roaming the globe searching for a home and the rare, poorly paid job.

* The gap between the wealthy and the poor within countries and among countries is rapidly increasing, and globalization accelerates the problem by separating people from their traditional livelihoods and by creating a terrible downward pressure on wages everywhere—including Third World countries, where low wages represemt the only so-called comparative advantage, meaning that if wages are not kept down, there might be no jobs at all.

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies in 1999 showed that American CEOs were paid, on average, 419 times more than assembly-line workers, the highest ratio in the world. The report showed worker’s median hourly wages (adjusted for inflation) down by 10 per cent in the past twenty-five years. The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that the top 20 per cent of the U.S. population owns 84.6 per cent of the country’s wealth. That makes local self-reliance very difficult to achieve.

* For most Third World countries, free trade has had negative effects. For example, in 1986, Haiti grew most of its rice, the main staple food of the country, and imported only 7,000 tons of rice. In the late 1980s, as Haiti lifted tariffs on rice imports in compliance with free trade policies insisted upon by international lending agencies, cheaper rice flowed in from the U.S., where the rice industry receives government subsidies. Haiti’s peasant farmers could not compete, By 1996 Haiti’s rice production became negligible and the country was importing 196,000 tons of foreign rice at a cost of $100 million per year. After the dependence on foreign rice was complete, and the Haitian people were dependent on grain imports, prices increased substantially, and a hungry nation became even hungrier.

Because of such conditions, poor countries are on a treadmill and have to work harder and harder just to maintain their (inadequate) standard of living. These unfavorable trade relations produce what is known as the "spiral of debt." It happens because the developing countries are locked in by the economic, political, and military power of wealthy countries. They must export cheap items and import more expensive ones.

* The imperatives of global economic expansion, accelerated by free trade, the overuse of resources, and the consumer lifestyle being promoted worldwide by advertising, are a major factor behind environmental problems such as global climate change, habitat destruction, ozone depletion, ocean pollution, and shortages of water and other resources. As environmental leader Paul Hawken says:

Given current corporate practices, not one wildlife reserve, wilderness, or indigenous culture will survive the global economy. We know that every natural system on the planet is disintegrating. The land, water, air, and sea have been functionally transformed from life-supporting systems into repositories for waste. There is no polite way to say that business is destroying the world.

* Using the technologies of global computer networks, currency speculators can move vast amounts of money, invisibly and instantaneously, from one part of the world to another, destabilizing currencies and countries, and forcing nations to seek the harsh solutions of an International Monetary Fund bailout. This has already destabilized many countries’ economies and was a significant factor in the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.

* The central control of much of the world food supply and seed supply by giant corporations which effectively determine where food will be grown, by whom, and what price consumers will ultimately pay, contributes to widespread hunger. Food formerly eaten by the people who grew it is now exported—transported thousands of miles at major environmental cost—to be eaten by affluent people who are already well-fed, or fed in large amounts to farmed animals who are destined for slaughter. As indicated in Chapter six, global agribusiness and international monetary organizations are trying to double the number of farmed animals by 2020, through encouraging the consumption of animal products in developing countries, despite the many negative effects of animal-based diets and agriculture.

* There have been recent outbreaks of deadly new diseases such as Ebola, mad cow disease, e-coli, and the West Nile virus. While generally not reported in the press, there is a connection between those outbreaks and the new mobility provided to disease vectors global transport. Microbes and species that were once contained within geographic boundaries are now let loose by travel and trade. The industrialization of agriculture for mass export production to serve global economies plays a role in the outbreaks of e-coli, mad cow, and foot and mouth diseases.

* There have been assaults on the last indigenous tribes in the Amazon, Borneo, and the Philippines because of the need of the globalization process for more water, forests, or genetic resources in areas where the Indians have lived for millennia, and because of the desire to convert self-sufficient people into consumers. This is rapidly leading to the monoculturalization of peoples and lands, and the homogenization of cultural frameworks.

* The growing emphasis on export and import as part of the new global system requires vast new road-building and road-widening schemes and an expanded transport infrastructure with more high-speed traffic. As a result, the quality of rural life is rapidly worsening.

* Ed Ayres, editor of WorldWatch, summarizes the effects of globalization on local communities “where growing numbers of people find their sense of security being eroded by a phalanx of larger forces”:

There is the “Wal-Mart” phenomenon, for example, in which a large chain store uses its marketing muscle to drive local stores out of business, while taking what used to be the local owners’ revenues and sending them off to distant corporate coffers. There is the related “empty storefront” phenomenon, in which the increasing concentration of an industry into larger, more “efficient” outlets means fewer outlets remain in small communities (the numbers of independent car dealers, food stores. drug stores, book stores, and farms in the wealthy countries have all declined sharply in the past several decades). In the developing countries, there is the “structural adjustment” phenomenon, wherein international lending agencies have pushed governments to adopt policies favoring production for export at the expense of local self-sufficiency. And wherever urban areas are expanding around the world, whether into exploding suburbs or imploding shantytowns, there is the “don’t know my neighbors” problem. Even as we humans become more numerous, we become more socially isolated and uneasy.

In summary, many problems — overcrowded cities, unusual new weather patterns, the growth of global poverty, the spread of new diseases, the lowering of wages, the elimination of social services, the reduction of national soverignty and local democracy, the destruction of the environment, decaying communities, and the loss of indigenous culture — are all strongly linked to the same global processes. They are tied to the world's new economic arrangement, in the cause of an economic ideology that cannot serve social or ecological sustainability.

In the end it comes down to this: Who should make the rules we live by? Should it be democratic governments, influenced by local communities concerned about what is good for people and the environment? Or should it be the global community of transnational bankers, corporations, and speculators? The new rules of globalization are actively undermining people’s ability to control their own fate.

Because of the many negative effects of economic globalization, there have been many recent protests against it. In November, 1999, tens of thousands of people from all over the world took to the streets of Seattle in a massive protest against the policies of the WTO. The angry protesters comprised a very varied group, including farmers, immigration-rights activists, labor unions, environmentalists, small-business people, animal rights activists, religious practitioners, and even some conservatives.

The “battle of Seattle” marked a critical turning point. While only six or seven years ago the term “globalization” was virtually unknown, there is suddenly an outburst of pain and anger against many aspects of it. Since Seattle, there have been major protests at meetings of international trade and monetary groups in Washington, D.C, in April 2000, in Chiang Mai, Thailand in May 2000, in Melbourne, Australia in early September 2000 , in Prague in late September 2000 and in Genoa, Italy in July, 2001. Resistance is growing, and the media are beginning to pay attention.
Many of these demonstrations have been marred by senseless violence, much of it initiated by relatively small groups of nihilistic conflict-seekers and faux 'anarchists'. The vast majority of protesters have been sincere and peaceful, and in fact the movement critical of the way globalization has developed in actual practice has created closeness and communication between such diverse groups as ecological campaigners, sweatshop opponents, trade unionists, advocates for the Third World, and critics of the bioengineering of foods.
A striking governmental confirmation of the extremely harmful impacts of international monetary organizations came from a 1998 report of the International Financial Institution Advisory Committee. This committee was created by the U.S. Congress and its report is commonly known as the Meltzer Report, after its chairman Alan Meltzer, a conservative academic. Among its devastating conclusions are:

* rather than promoting economic growth, the IMF institutionalizes economic stagnation.

* The World Bank is irrelevant, not central, to the goal of eliminating global poverty.

* Both the World Bank and the IMF are driven primarily by the political and economic interests of the wealthy nations, rather than the needs of the poor.

* The IMF’s mandate of ensuring a stable global financial order was often undermined by its encouragement of irresponsible investments, and by its prescribing of tight fiscal policies that worsened the situation rather than improving it in countries facing crises.

In September 2001, about 300 religious leaders signed a Statement & Call, "Global Arrogance or Planetary Community? -- A Call to Communities of Faith" that was developed and distributed by the Shalom Center and several other organizations involved with global issues, including the Religious Working Group on the World Bank and IMF. The introductory section of the Statement and Call indicated that the signers were covenanting together to oppose “unaccountable corporate globalization’” and “to seek instead a planetary community of the earth and its peoples, workers and congregants, families and neighborhoods.”

The Statement called on signers to bring the Statement and Call and the teachings of their religious traditions about "globalization" to their home congregations and communities through a fast of contrition and commitment, of some duration in late September or early October, 2001, and a gathering in Washington, D.C. on the night of Saturday, September 29, 2001 for a religious service and a candle-light vigil.

The Statement and Call asserted:

The global corporations have invented unaccountable, undemocratic institutions [including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund] to shield them from the will of the people….[These institutions advance corporate interests by] insisting that loans and grants be conditioned on [cutbacks in desperately needed] social programs, public schools, public health, and water supplies… [by imposing] privatization of the basic needs of life,…[by encouraging] sweatshops and the smashing of labor unions…,by destroying the lives and hopes of children [and supporting child labor]…, by doing all this first to the poor in the poorest societies… and then, through the threat of capital export and cut-throat competition, putting workers, consumers, and the earth itself in danger in even the more prosperous societies.” The call and statement ended by demanding that “The World Bank and IMF cancel the crushing debt of the nations that [those same international organizations] themselves have impoverished and forced into debt,…[condition all grants and loans on] workers’ freedom to organize unions and everyone’s freedom to [advocate protection of the environment] and…that they open their own meetings and deliberation to public scrutiny and democratic control.

As a follow up to the Statement and Call, the Shalom Center is preparing study guides for synagogues and churches that will facilitate local congregational work on five major aspects of globalization -- top-down control; damage to the earth; the oppression of workers; the pressure for overwhelming overwork that distorts families, neighborhoods, and spiritual life; and the destruction of public health and other public services -- and to bring sacred texts and teachings to bear on those problems.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to current economic globalization practices, an approach far better for the world’s people as well as for global sustainability. This is the way of genuinely applying Jewish values: bal tashchit (reducing waste), so that we are not dependent on repressive regimes for resources; treating every person as created in God's image, so that we will work to end violations of human rights wherever they occur; the pursuit of justice, to end the conditions whereby a minority of the world's people prosper while the majority lack food and other basic human needs; and the pursuit of peace, so that arms races that drain the world's labor, ingenuity, and resources can be reduced. Only these alternatives can result in global harmony and humane conditions for the world's people.


Judaism encompasses universal as well as particular concerns. Particularistic aspects include observances of the Sabbath and holy days, rules of kashrut (kosher eating), and prayer obligations. Jews are taught to be especially concerned about their co-religionists: "All Israel is responsible, one for each other." However, the message of Judaism is also universal, expressing concern for each person and every nation. We have already discussed many Jewish teachings related to humanity: Every person is created in God's image; every life is sacred and is to be treated with dignity and respect; we should be kind to the stranger, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt; we should show compassion even to enemies.

Additional Jewish universal teachings include:

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