A World Without Walls:
By James Wolf Roberts
So, here I am. Nervous as all hell! Waiting for something, still don’t know what I was waiting for, a glimpse of hope in the future? Maybe motivation, maybe a shot of hope that the world of tomorrow won’t be the cease pool of commercialism or corruption that Sci-fi novels and movies I enjoyed as a kid had always predicted. In he comes, walking with Australi-Kiwi saunter/swagger that only we can do so well. He is about average height, broad shouldered and looks tough”
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, the Rt. Hon. Mike Moore, presented this year’s Sir John Quick Lecture at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus last Tuesday 30th May, 2006.
The free La Trobe University community lecture – ‘Globalisation, the World Trade Organisation, a World without Walls’ – was held in conjunction with the Sir John Quick Committee and the Bendigo Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
It stated at 5:45 pm in the McKay Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus.
This is the first time I have ever felt since I have been doing this job, that maybe I was a little, no, really a lot out of my depth, jumping into the Lion’s den, diving into Shark infested waters; time to sink or swim?
You know what I mean I am sure. Sitting in the back row, allowing one of my colleagues from a rival Weekly paper here in town to ask all the questions, or was I being allowed to listen? Listening to all the responses, the trick of asking the right question, is what I am still trying to develop…
Talking with Mister Moore, Mike, you soon learn that he is a true man of the people, so I soon let my guard down, and not be as nervous as I was. He is an extremely intelligence, charismatic, eloquent, a real man of the people; a person who is inspiring, now how many politicians these days can anyone say that about, especially a cynical, socialist/anarchist like myself?
There is something of the laconic humour in Mike, I think he is proud by the fact that he is the shortest serving Prime Minister in New Zealand history as well one of the most, if not the most protested against man on the planet.
Mike, is one of the leading advocates of a globalised world community that will spread prosperity and lift millions out of poverty.
Mike discussed the new Doha Trade round which he said “offers the opportunity for the most profound shift of wealth in history – an agriculture deal which alone would give Africa four times more per annum than all the overseas aid put together.”
Adjunct Professor in La Trobe University’s Faculty of Law and Management, Mike reflected on the last 50 years and the significant rise in living standards in an historical sense.
He looked at economies which produce the best results – those that embrace democracy, clean governance, open trade, independent courts, property rights, an active civil society and a free media. He says, “these successes have been underpinned by a global rules-based trading system, the World Trade Organisation”.
Mike’s view is that all sides win when trade is open and fairly contracted. Modern globalisation spreads wealth, information and liberty, and enhances social and environmental outcomes.
He also addressed the question of why some countries in the West are losing their nerve at a time of considerable achievement, and he asks whether this reflects poorly on global political leadership.
He seems more genuine than I thought an Ex-Prime Minister would be, almost humble in some regards. And, if you look at his resume, you soon learn you are not talking to a fool.
“Is globalization a new thing? Of course not, look at the major world religions they are a major globalised network”.
“Globalisation is not new, it cannot be stopped nor should it. The real question is how we manage it, how we can insist that more share in the opportunities it offers, how can it be more meaningful to people”.
Mike advises governments and businesses on how to embrace the opportunities offered by a globablised economy. A sought-after speaker and writer, Mike is widely regarded as one of the most powerful voices in the debate about the future of globalisation.
This is of course a very controversial issue, and he seems to be quite comfortable with the controversy and vilification that he has had to suffer, or maybe prosper from in the past.
“It seems to be a world of insurmountable opportunities. Yet, there is, in this debate, in my view, a sort of moral mob rule and propaganda that seems, to me, to be upside down”. He tells us of the charges leveled against our modern, technological age.
“Some people seem to think that globalization has menat the end to democracy. Yet, within 20 years, we’ve seen the majority of Central and Eastern Europe break free from the bondage of Marxism, and 30 years ago, Spain and Portugal were under fascist control.
His vision is of a World Without Walls, where democracy, good governance, open economies and free trade lead to an interdependent world where prosperity is shared, opportunities expand, and peaceful co-existence trumps conflict and war.