Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Horizon Project and Other Signs That Hell Is Freezing Over

Coming on the heels of word that Bush has criticized Wall Street CEOs for unreasonable pay packages, Wal-Mart plans to lead the way to a new, greener future for commerce, and corporate heads are finally calling for near-universal health care, a group of corporate head honchos is even calling for fairer trade policies in light of global realities.

Methinks the powers-that-be are sensing the rising unrest of the population at large, and are making a late effort to tamp down the worst excesses from above, before widespread revolt bubbles up from below. -KW

...The report, released Thursday by the newly organized Horizon Project, called for a healthy economic nationalism, of the sort practiced by every other major trading nation save perhaps Britain. The test, the report argued, should be not what benefits US-based corporations but what is good for America -- its workers, communities, technology base, and ultimately its economy.

The analysis is astute -- read it at www.horizonproject.us -- but more remarkable are the report's signatories. The project was organized and signed by major corporate CEOs led by Leo Hindery, Jr., former CEO of AT&T Broadband and the cable giant TCI; and including Alfred Berkeley III, former president of NASDAQ; Leonard Schaffer, Founding CEO of WellPoint, the health insurance giant; and Bernard Schwartz, CEO of Loral, the high-tech defense and aerospace company. Another key leader, and intellectual inspiration of this effort, is Ralph Gomory, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and former chief scientist of IBM.

Contrary to the usual premise that the current trading system helps both America and its "trading partners," the report declares that globalization under present rules makes it easier for US multinational corporations to use cheap labor overseas and then import the finished goods back to the United States. "In the process they are building up the capabilities of the emerging Asian states and reducing the capabilities of the United States..."


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