Multinational Monitor

MAY 2002
VOL 23 No. 5


East Meets West: European Union Expansion and the Troubled Former Communist Countries
by Tony Wesolowsky

Chernobyl Fallout: The Uncertain Future of Ukraine’s K2/R4 Nuclear Project
by Olexi Pasyuk

Pipeline Dreams: The World Bank, Oil Development and Environmental Protection in Georgia
by Manana Kochladze

Bank Accountability Redux: The Campaign for Compliance and Appeal Mechanisms at the European Development Banks
by Petr Hlobil

Fate of the Forests: Will the World Bank Replicate Amazonian Failures in Central and Eastern Europe?
by Jozsef Feiler


Countering the New Masters: Central and Eastern European Workers Struggle to Hold Their Ground in Hard Economic Times
an interview with
Jasna Petrovic


Behind the Lines

Restraints for the World Bank and IMF

The Front
Shredded: Justice for BAT - Enron Associates

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Names In the News


Behind the Lines

Supporting One Standard

By overwhelming margins, people in the United States believe U.S. corporations should be required to abide by U.S. labor and environmental laws in their overseas operations.

Asked whether “American companies that operate in other countries should be expected to abide by U.S. health and safety standards for workers,” 86 percent of respondents in a poll conducted by the independent Program on International Policy Attitudes responded affirmatively. Sixty-nine percent indicated their strong support for the concept.

These results were registered after respondents were presented two arguments in favor and two arguments against the proposition. The arguments against were: “if other countries choose to have lower health and safety standards, it is not the responsibility of American companies to meet the higher U.S. standard” and “if U.S. companies have to abide by higher environmental standards than other companies, this will make it harder for U.S. companies to compete.”

The poll found a similarly overwhelming majority — 88 percent — favoring the proposal that U.S. companies operating overseas abide by U.S. environmental rules. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they strongly agreed with the concept.

Poll respondents heard arguments against the proposition that included “imposing higher standards on American companies will increase production costs, which will sometimes mean higher prices for the American consumer” and “if U.S. companies have to abide by higher standards than other companies, this will make it harder for U.S. companies to compete.”

The Program on International Policy Attitudes is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.

Big Business Day

Against the backdrop of a giant corporate shredder at work in front of the U.S. Capitol, Ralph Nader and representatives from several public interest, consumer and labor organizations on April 6 launched Big Business Day, denouncing corporate rule in the United States.

Demonstrators dressed as anonymous corporate executives fed the hungry shredder cherished values like truth, justice, democracy, family and community, all in relentless pursuit of profits and power.

Big Business Day is a national day of action against corporate rule sponsored by Citizen Works, a new Washington, D.C.-based organization which aims to empower citizens and strengthen democracy.

In more than 100 locations, citizens took to the streets in protest, theater and parades to talk about how big business is hurting them in their communities and to discuss the role big corporations play in their lives.

“After years of exposés of corporate crime, fraud and abuse by the mainstream media that go nowhere,” said Nader, “it is long overdue for the forces of law and order to crack down systemically on fraudulent and criminal behavior by big business against the interests of workers, investors, consumers, taxpayers and the environment.”

Many highlighted the Enron case as exemplary of corporate wrongdoing.

“Last summer, families couldn’t afford to refrigerate milk for their infants, seniors couldn’t afford to turn on a fan to keep cool, all because Ken Lay and others believed that being disgustingly rich wasn’t enough, and because they legally bribed our government officials to enrich themselves even more,” said Mildred Brown, legislative representative of ACORN. “If we truly had a government of the people, energy would be regulated for the good of the people.”

Power Shapes the News

Media owners and advertisers exercise significant and growing influence over major media news judgments, according to the New York City-based Fairness and Accuracy In Media (FAIR).

“Corporate media owners increasingly see using their media outlets to promote their other businesses and the perspectives they favor as simply standard business practice; and advertisers, in a time of recession, appear to feel freer than ever to demand a favorable context for their ads, which are, after all, media’s main revenue source. Further consolidation in the industry, abetted and encouraged by a deregulatory FCC, only promises more to come.” Those are conclusions from a March FAIR report, “Fear and Favor 2001: How Power Shapes the News,” authored by Janine Jackson and Peter Hart.

The report documents nearly two dozen discrete incidents where forces outside the newsroom directly influenced news judgment decisions.

Case in point: On September 5, 2001, CNN carried live footage of the close of the NASDAQ stock exchange. The New York’s Daily News revealed the next day that CNN general manager Sid Bedingfield had sent staffers an e-mail not long before the 4 p.m. closing, instructing them to cover the opening and the close of the NASDAQ every day: “It’s important we do that starting today,” the message said.

Just hours before, Bedingfield had himself received a memo from CNN Networks/USA president Jim Walton explaining just why this was important. The NASDAQ is a major CNN advertiser, and CNN chair Walter Isaacson and head of ad sales Larry Goodman had an upcoming meeting with NASDAQ representatives


Mailing List


Editor's Blog

Archived Issues

Subscribe Online

Donate Online


Send Letter to the Editor

Writers' Guidelines