The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

... While Heritage Foundation slams "extremist" consumer organizations

Big business must be worried about the United Nations.

Not only does the American Enterprise Institute sponsor a speech by U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Jeane Kirkpatrick in which she roundly ridicules U.N. efforts to restrain multinationals. But Heritage Foundation, another pro-business Washington group, publishes a report entitled, "Multinationals: First Victim of the U.N. War on Free Enterprise."

The 24-page report, issued in November, claims that "multinational corporations are under attack by the U.N." Specifically, the Heritage Foundation criticizes the U.N.'s attempts at creating a new international economic order and a voluntary code of conduct for multinationals.

But most striking in the Heritage Foundation report is its vilification of the International Organization of Consumers Unions, which includes 111 consumer associations in 47 countries.

There is "an assault from a growing and potentially dangerous, internationally-based, and self-styled `consumerist' movement that already is helping set the agenda at various U.N. agencies," says the report. This consumer movement is "spearheaded" by "the International Organization of Consumers Unions," the report says. The consumer group "is bolstering an anti-capitalist and free enterprise bias, which in the past decade has grown to alarming proportions."

The Heritage Foundation singled out Anwar Fazal, (see MM, October 1980, July 1982 and this issue, page 15), president of the International Organization of Consumers Unions, for special criticism. "He has spawned a `new wave' of extremist, anti-free enterprise consumer organizations," and uses " distortions to undermine the multinational corporations and the private sector approach to development."

But the fears of the Heritage Foundation lie not only with one man, nor even one international organization, but with a style of campaigning.

"Various consumer, union, and church organizations have been banding together and refining and sharing their techniques," the report said. "They are developing international networks that allow them to draw attention to targeted issues."

These groups and their new tactics "pose a growing threat," says the Heritage Foundation. They "are forcing multinational firms to pay closer attention to their corporate activities."

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