"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"Slavery is not just a crime... It is a business"

"Some 12.3 million people are enslaved worldwide, according to a major report....

The ILO calls for better laws and stronger law enforcement to break "a pattern of impunity" in "privately-imposed forced labour"....

BBC developing world correspondent David Loyn says there are some positive signs of change...

But, he adds, it will take a lot to change the culture of forced labour, as it operates best in informal areas outside the view of the normal economy."


In much the same way, unaccountable corporations operate best in informal areas outside the view of the 'normal economy'.

Burma in the balance
John Pilger, 21 Jul 2000

A military junta and multinational corporations on one side, and Buddhist democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi on the other, are engaged in battle for Burma.

Milan Kundera once wrote that the "struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting". Few outside Burma know about the epic events that took place here between 1988 and 1990. Few have heard of the White Bridge on Inya Lake in the centre of Rangoon, now known to foreign business people as the site of an "inter- national business centre".


"Burma: The Next Tiger?". The Japanese government restored some $50 million in aid. The Australian deputy prime minister, Tim Fischer said that Australia could adopt a "flexible" approach to a country that offered "great economic opportunities".

By far the biggest investment, however, was already well established: a billion-dollar pipeline being built by the French oil company Total, partly owned by the French government, and its US partner Unocal. This will carry Burma's natural gas into Thailand and give the generals an estimated $200 million to $400 million every year for thirty years.