Ralph Nader Introduces Monitor
The response to the pilot edition of Multinational Monitor during the past year from all over the world was most encouraging. Readers enthusiastically recognized that mammoth multinational corporations operating globally require a monitor to report and analyze their activities from citizen-consumer-worker perspectives. With this issue,
Multinational Monitor begins monthly publication.
The imbalance of both power and information in favor of domestic corporations over consumers and workers is widely acknowledged. A far greater imbalance prevails in favor of international companies able to escape national laws, to juggle transfer prices, to concentrate wealth, to corrupt politicians, to export jobs and pollution, and to manage dozens of other types of manipulations or evasions that diminish or destroy accountability to the people they adversely affect. The democratic response to these pressures requires an exchange of information among citizens throughout the world who are committed to reducing present injustice and forestalling future abuses that flow from the intensifying concentration of capital, technology and labor in fewer and fewer corporate hands.
The wide-ranging impact of multinational corporations can be gauged by the articles in this first monthly issue of the Monitor. These private governments, operating beyond, above or in spite of any rule of law or tradition of restraint, result in occupational diseases, the political use of corporate power at the United Nations, damage to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, bribery as a way of selling, as well as iron grips on specific developing countries by international corporations.
Similar private governments, of course, exist within countries, from company towns to monopolies. But large corporations operating in the international arena bring different contexts to the historic questions of control, secrecy and immunity from deterrence or sanction. The last-paced dynamic of these everexpanding global corporations, with their expedient exploitation of political tides and their vast deployment of chemical, nuclear, drug and other technologies over people and nature, are leaving public awareness further and further behind.
It is time to catch up. Westinghouse, General Motors, Exxon, Unilever, ITT, Nestle, Mitsubishi are each larger in gross revenues than the gross national product of dozens of nations. They are shaping the world and deciding national options without adequate competitive or regulatory restraints. The forces they unleash daily can be openly deliberate or they can be subtly secretive or they can be unintentional. Whatever they are, they invite understanding, evaluation and, where necessary, correction. Their aggregate effect on world distribution and use of resources and on world conflicts merits continual assessment if the anticipatory quality of human beings is to be part of their trust for the welfare of future generations.
The editors of the Monitor welcome your letters, suggestions for articles and useful data and documentation. Readers interested in becoming correspondents or occasional contributors from their country or region. should contact the editor at P.O. Box 19312, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Information is the currency of democracy and the beacon for enlightenment. It illuminates the pathways to economic, political and social justice. The Monitor is dedicated to serving those principles for the people of the world.
- Ralph NaderC O N T E N T S
Kaiser Shortcircuits Ghanaian Development
ISC: Corporate Bribe Factory
Multinationals and the Third World
Lonrho's Strong-Arm Strategy
Puerto Rico: The Multinational Presence
Mining Projects Endanger Amazon's Yanomamo Tribe
The U.N.'s Corporate Cronies
Quebec's Asbestos Gamble