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Secret agreement to privatise all public services

Secret agreement to privatise all public services

Media release: The Community Cauldron Visit their website:

G.A.T.S.. Privatising all Services!
In secret, governments are negotiating the end to all not-for profit
public services. In less than 2 years, 130 plus governments expect to
quietly sign an agreement called GATS, General Agreement on Trade in
Services. This binding and irreversible treaty will lay all government
services open for international tender, and no doubt international
labour, that is, foreign, lower paid nurses, teachers, builders, water
technicians, posties, media, maintenance, childcare and transport workers.

Public services are next in line for the WTO _s corporate battering ram.

Global corporations have been so successful in persuading governments
everywhere that their agendas are the same- that the pursuit of
corporate profit and the good of society are one and the same- that their
access to many areas of public life has already been improved. Quality of service
and democratic access has not necessarily improved. Services is the fastest
growing sector in international trade, and employs 72% of Australians.
Services offer rich pickings for cannycorporations.
And of all public services, health, education and water are shaping up
to be the most lucrative. Global expenditures on water services now exceed
$1 trillion every year; on education, they exceed $2 trillion; and on
health care, they exceed $3.5 trillion. Since multinationals pay little tax,
these services are becoming increasingly hard for governments to provide.
The USA might suggest a model for the dismantling of public services
which GATS will unleash all over the world. In fact, much of the GATS
policies and the World Trade Organization policies are designed to increase
USA mega corporation domination of world markets.
In America, health care has already become a huge business, with giant
healthcare corporations registered on the New York Stock Exchange. Rick
Scott, the president of Columbia, the world _s largest for- profit
hospital corporation, is clear that health care is a business, no different to
any widget manufacturer. He has publicly vowed to destroy every public
hospital in North America- doctors, he says, are not "good corporate
citizens". Americans spend twice as much on Health as a percent of
their bloated GNP as Australia, yet overservice the rich, and cannot really
care for 40 million of their own increasingly large poor segment of society.
Meanwhile, investment houses like Merrill Lynch are already predicting
that public education will be globally privatised over the next decade
the way public health has been. They say there is an untold amount of
profit to be made when this happens. The European Union recently announced that
every publicly- run school in Europe must be twinned with a corporation
by the end of the decade. The conquest of foreign market and support of
big business has now become a key common strategy among universities around
the world. So much for academic freedom! Disturbingly, GATS also includes authority over "environmental
services" and natural resource protection. Our parks, wildlife, river systems,
and forests could all become contested areas as global transnational
"environmental service" corporations demand the competitive model. The
fate of our sacred and essential soil and water is at great risk.
Many parts of the "Third World" have been forced to dismantle their
public infrastructures in recent decades under International Monetary
Fund- imposed structural adjustment programs. In order to be eligible
for debt relief, for example, dozens of "developing" countries have been
forced to abandon public social programs over the last 20 years.
Foreign corporations have come in and sold their health and education
"products" to wealthy elites - "consumers". Billions are now without basic
social services, with a lower standard of living than 20 years ago in 100
countries! Latin American countries are currently experiencing an
invasion of US healthcare corporations. Asian countries allow branch plants of
foreign- based university and health care chains. Recently, the World Bank
has been forcing the same countries to privatise their water services
and are openly working with corporate water giants like Vivendi and Suez
Lyonnaise des Eaux, to establish their _rights _ to profiteer in the
Third World. Bolivian people have been shot protesting water charges
that cost a third of their wages. Water may be bought and internationally
shipped according to WTO rules. When the market rules, the rich get
most of whatever is valuable!

Now, through the GATS negotiations, these corporations want binding and
irreversible rules guaranteeing them access to government service
contracts everywhere in the world. And they are succeeding. Already,
over 40 countries, including all of Europe, have listed education within the
realm of the GATS, opening up their public education sectors of foreign
based corporate competition. Almost 100 countries have done the same
with healthcare. As the new talks progress, it will be very hard for any
country to swim against the tide- even if any are brave enough to try.
Frighteningly, there can be no local restrictions on quality of graduates
and service standards, this would be seen as a "barrier to free trade".
Does the WTO want us all to live and shop like Americans? Or die if we're
too poor to do so? If we all lived like Americans we _d need three
planets!! How will 72% of Australian workers in health, environment,
childcare, transport, tourist, broadcast, social work, dentist, teaching,
office staff feel if cheap foreign labour can come in? How can we
complain when, like Australian refugee/prison workers are controlled by
a USA corporation like Wackenhut, which is brutal to staff and refugees and
prisoners in its "care". And to whom can you complain if governments
have given away all their serious roles; perhaps we will just have a branch
office of the WTO; secret, undemocratic and only interested in money.
We better start spreading the word soon!! While we still have shreds of
democracy and objective media and unions. Ask your cowardly pollies why
they are silent on this issue!! Remember Beasley and Howard wanted us to
sign the MAI Treaty, later shown not to be Australia _s interests!!
Perhaps some of the 700 billion dollars that has come into Australia in the
last three decades to buy our industry and land, the profits of which leave
Australia untaxed, has influenced Canberra. Perhaps its their
superannuation! What do you think? What will your children think?

Dr E. Elliott with Maud Barlow,


© Scoop Media

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