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Have a say on global ethics

IN THE late 1970s Margaret Thatcher responded to criticisms of her approach to economic and social policy by claiming “There is no alternative”.

This has become a catch-cry to discourage true debate about the types of economic systems that we desire at the global, national and local levels.

This sense of inevitability is pervasive. Many of the people I speak to, including networks of middle class professionals, are concerned about the direction of the global economy, its effects on the environment and our holistic quality of life.

The exchange of values, information and ideas in a globalised world may well be a natural consequence of people’s desire to connect with each other - but the centralising economics underlying it is more open to question.

The Perth Convention on Globalisation on November 25 will open up debate on a range of issues related to economics.

Contributions from groups across the political spectrum will ensure the convention is broad-based and accessible rather than representing a single ideology.

The morning session will be an intensive public debate, involving local and interstate keynote speakers such as Dr Patricia Ranald of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

Participants will be able to choose two of 14 workshops after the keynote speakers and panel sessions.

Workshop titles include: Agriculture, Genetically Modified Organisms and Consumer Choice; Developing countries - Global Wealth, Global Poverty; the Global Corporate Assault on Women, their Work and Environment; and Participatory Democracy.

Afternoon workshop titles include Liability of Multinational Corporations for Human Rights Abuses; and Sustainable Economics.

For more information see www.ecwa.asn.au/n25 or email Brian on jenks@iinet.net.au

* Rodney Vlais is a social analyst involved with several non-profit organisations.

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