A global problem for all or just big business?
More evidence that the anti-globalisation backlash is gathering pace comes with the news that the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are meeting in Washington DC to agree to a new push to convince the public that globalisation is good for growth. While the idea of free trade should be considered as a major benefit for shipping, it is become ever clearer that so far the globalisation agenda has been driven by multinational business searching for cheap labour production facilities rather than the desire to lift living standards globally. If globalisation was achieving the aims some have said it should, then there would not now be the recession for shipping that is taking such a toll. It is true that some of the current problem has been due to the over eagerness of owners to order ships without regards for those already in service although at least some of the overcapacity has come about because of speculative investment and some due to owners wanting to pre-empt the increasingly stringent EEDI rules. However, in many cases they were also responding to forecasts from economic experts including those employed by the three organisations mentioned. Yet to most people around the globe the rosy picture that was being painted was patently not reflecting reality. Even those with no political affiliations or even interest in world affairs could see that in the west, living standards were falling fast and the roots of the backlash can be traced back over decades and not just the last few years. Shipping has survived through centuries of global instability and social change and it will do so again but to do so it needs people who can see for themselves the changes that are happening and not rely on so-called experts who have their own interests at heart.