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The Labeling Society

Globalization is a myth: we create artificial labels and stick them on each other to protect our interests

The World Community, the International Community, the Community of Nations, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, Free Trading Practices and the like sound nice but mean absolutely nothing in today's wholly unfair world.

Walking into the new dentist's office yesterday, I was greeted by a secretary with a form. "Are you married?" was one of the questions. "What do you understand by married? Do you mean married in the church, if so which church and if not, does a common law marriage count for dental treatment or not? Or does it make an iota of difference anyway?"

Maybe the answer was a little harsh but nevertheless, it was deserving of a question which tried to label me. If I had said a plain "no", would I have been labelled a homosexual? We live in a society in which the label means everything.

How old is she? 45? Has she got any children? No? Why not? What's wrong with her? Is she married? No? Oh well, she must be a lesbian. These are the unsaid phrases behind every form you are expected to fill in.

One such form is the passport, which basically labels you for the rest of your life from day one. The accident called the birthplace virtually dictates your from the moment you were born until the day you die. It dictates whether you have, at bith, the right to study, to eat, to enjoy a supply of fresh drinking water or whether you have to walk 20 km. to get it.

It dictates whether you are free to travel, it dictates whether you are free to work or to get married or to have children, to receive social security benefits, whether you have the right to live in a certain area, or whether you are barred at the frontier and not allowed in because you don't have the right documents.

If you are lucky enough to be born one side of the frontier, you have the right to all of these benefits. If you are born ten metres the other side of the frontier, you are treated like a leper from a pariah state. Just because you have the wrong piece of paper.

If you are born in Africa or South America, you have to compete against unfair subsidies granted by western governments to their farmers. If you are born in Africa or South America, you have to compete against tariffs levied against your goods by countries which purport to being members of the WTO, which practices free trade.

Free Trade? With subsidies and tariffs? What is free about that?

So how can we speak about globalization, how can we speak about free trade and principles of equality when the world we live in places labels on people at birth, based upon the accident called the birthplace and then controls everything from production to supply line to end consumer, protecting the haves and holding down the have nots?

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