Globalisation : Who's Who in Globalization

Keith Porter has been involved in broadcast journalism and world affairs for over 20 years. He was a finalist for the 1995, 1996, and 1997 Livingston Award for Young Journalists in international reporting. His work has also been honored by the New York Festivals and the National Headliner Awards. He has reported from Congo, Germany, Austria, Cuba, South Africa, Eritrea, Uganda, Tanzania, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Iran, Russia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Cambodia.
 
He serves as Director of Communication and Outreach and Executive Radio Producer for the Stanley Foundation, Director of Media Initiatives at the Center for International Development and Reconciliation, and Guide to Globalization Issues for About.com (
globalization.about.com ).
 
Porter holds a graduate degree from Illinois State University where he served as a graduate teaching assistant in broadcasting and speech. Keith has served as an adjunct faculty member in advertising, broadcasting, and speech at various colleges.


Determining who is who in globalization ( and in the debate over globalization ) isn't easy. There are famous names who write books but command no specific authority, little-known captains of industry and international trade who set mighty flows of capital and production into motion, bureacrats who lead well-known organizations, and anti-globalization speakers who can mobilize hundred of thousands of protesters.

I started my "who's who" list with seven names which jumped quickly to mind as the most influential people or heads of the most influential actors in globalization, and today I am adding two new names : Jose Bove and Antonio Negri. Of course there are many more people who could be listed here, and I hope you will send me your suggestions. The names here are presented in alphabetical order.

Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan heads the only organization with official membership from every government on the planet. In the United States, we only hear about the United Nations when the Security Council acts ( or chooses not to act ). But in the rest of the world, the United Nations is seen as the place which delivers food, medicine, tents, etc. to the most needy people in the world. When no one else wants to clean up a mess, the UN is a handy place to call. Among other things, UN agencies make sure mail travels smoothly across borders and planes can navigate around the world. It hard to imagine globalization without those services. Plus the UN issues two annual reports which are vital to measuring globalization and its impact :
The Human Development Report and the World Investment Report. Read Annan's bio from the United Nations' Web site.

Jose Bove
Bove is a highly controversial figure even among those who fight against corporate globalization. He describes himself as a French farmer, but even that distinction is in dispute. What is clear is that he is the world's most outspoken critic of genetically modified food, he has done time in jail for his protests, and he generates a lot of headlines wherever he goes. The BBC has this profile of Bove.

Kevin Danaher
Danaher is co-founder of Global Exchange and a prominent critic of the World Bank. His books include Globalize This!, Democratizing the Global Economy, and Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Momma : Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream. Read Danaher's bio from the Global Exchange site.

Thomas Friedman
Tom Friedman is the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, and he has won three Pulitzer prizes. He writes frequently about globalization, and he wrote one of the best know books on the subject,
The Lexus and the Olive Tree. You may love or hate what Friedman writes, but no one can deny that his perch on the Times op-ed page gives him a regular audience with the most influential people in the world. Read Friedman's bio from the New York Times.

Antonio Negri
Negri is a philosopher and author who served time in jail when an Italian court determined that his writings had encouraged armed insurrection in the 1960's and 70's. He and Michael Hardt released the book Empire in 2000. The dense, academic book has had a growing influence on the ant-globalization movement. And their 2004 book Multitude will, no doubt, stir the pot even more. You can see Negri's Wikipedia biography here.

Supachai Panitchpakdi
The most important place for advancing corporate globalization ( and the biggest lightening rod for the anti-globalization movement ) is the World Trade Organization. And Supachai Panitchpakdi is the Director-General. We often don't hear much about this economist from Thailand, but his influence at the helm of WTO cannot be doubted.
Read his official bio here.

Joseph Stiglitz
Joseph Stiglitz is an American economist and Nobel prize winner who wrote Globalization and Its Discontents, another very influential book. Stiglitz is frequently quoted in news stories, and his writings appear regularly in the op-ed pages of papers around the world. Read his
bio from Wikipedia.

S. Robson Walton
Rob Walton is son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, and he serves as Chairman of the Board. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world and the largest private employer in the world. Wal-Mart's constant pressure for lower prices from product makers is often linked directly to the movement of American jobs overseas. But those low prices also keep American consumers happy. Read his bio.

James D. Wolfensohn
The World Bank exists to provide loans for economic development and poverty reduction, mostly in the poorest countries of the world. The organization is often criticized for forcing poor countries to reduce services to citizens while going further into debt. And the World Bank has a history of giving loans to some of the worse despots in the world. As bank president since 1995, Wolfensohn has tried to shake up some of the bank's operations and return the focus to fighting poverty.
Read his bio from the World Bank.


© Copyright Keith Porter 2004

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