The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has already repeatedly posed as an arbitrator as well as a dedicated lobbyist for a deregulated economic order, fully to the taste of the mighty. In doing this, these self-proclaimed wiseacres do not like to comply with the rules of democracy. Also this organisation lacks the necessary respect for the sovereignty of free national states. Without a mandate or political legitimacy, the OECD urges independent states to introduce reforms that should be decided at national level alone, under national law and only in accordance with the applicable national democratic processes for decision making.
Switzerland has already been pilloried or even suffered injury several times by the intervention in its internal affairs on the part of the OECD, so for example in connection with the so-called tax dispute, with the reforms of the educational and health systems and recently by a commentary about the Swiss agricultural policy.
Readers of Current Concerns know that domestic agricultural policy is under scrutiny. The ongoing reforms of Swiss agriculture have led to significant losses with respect to security of supply and food sovereignty in our country. The Swiss Farmers’ Union initiative to improve food security has already been deposited with an overwhelming number of signatures at the “Bundeshaus” (federal parliament building). Other popular initiatives with a similar focus are in circulation. In Switzerland this will result in a broad-based discussion of the future agricultural policy.
Curiously, just at this time an OECD study of Swiss agricultural policy has appeared (OECD Review of Agricultural Policies: Switzerland 2015). Although this study confirmed that Switzerland had already taken important steps to reform its agricultural policy, these reform efforts should not be downscaled, the study maintained. Further reform was needed.
Switzerland is requested to dismantle remaining trade barriers and to reduce direct payment support schemes for farmers.
Specifically, the OECD proposes to adopt a two-pronged approach concerning future payments to farmers. Thus farmers would on the one hand receive payments for the preservation of cultivated landscape and biodiversity, and on the other hand they are to be subsidised in order to make their farms “more competitive”. Here the OECD is thinking of supporting either investment or the development of exit strategies.
It is clear that the Swiss neo-liberal think tank recommends that Switzerland should abandon border protection for agricultural products, further reduce prices for the producers and further advance the initiated structural change in direction of an “industrial agriculture”.
By what right does the OECD interfere with Switzerland’s agricultural policy? That remains a mystery. Nor can the suspicion be refuted that interested parties, some also in Switzerland have called for the above mentioned study. But the fact remains that the called-for need for reform is on the table, just at the right time as opposition against the erosion of our autarchical provision of local, high quality food is growing throughout the population.
What is happening in the field of agriculture is (only) one example of what can befall a sector of a sovereign state’s economy in the context of globalisation and deregulation. There is a guiding principle for this interference in internal affairs (by international organisations, the EU, etc.) and there is only one objective: the weakening of national states and the implementation of a neo-liberal economic order. This also implies that politics has to toe the economic line.
Flourishing and well-working infrastructures are being dismantled and put at the so-called free market’s disposal. Instead of looking at agriculture we can turn to the sectors of education or health, to public transport or the supply of energy and water. Even security (military and police) and law (international treaties) run the risk of being withdrawn from state sovereignty. The discussions about tax policy reveal another minefield dangerous to national sovereignty. The scope of these reflections could be extended even further. To do so, I will only include one summary of an article in the “Dolomitenzeitung” in South Tyrol. “In South Tyrol, mountain rescue is organised by volunteers at community level. The rescuers give up their time (for exercises and missions) and put their lives selflessly on the line when it comes to the rescue of accident victims in the mountains. Its mountain rescue team is the pride of every village and works just fine. Now it was leaked that the EU aimed at a revision of the mountain rescue, and that namely on the grounds that ‘the voluntary work of the mountain rescuers was moonlighting.’” (Dolomitenzeitung, April 2015)
There could be no more absurd reason for the change from the militia system to a neo-liberal market system.
The intentions are clear. Market and profit are to control our lives in the future. What is not marketable will be eliminated. In other words: the time is ripe to close the door on all the centralist shenanigans, the interference in our internal affairs and the undermining of our self-determination. •
mw. Although the OECD is being controlled from abroad (the US, the UK and the EU), our federal government employees are responsible for the seamless transfer of OECD decisions into the Swiss legal system, as we can read on the Seco (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) homepage.
After all, the OECD (which was established in 1961 as a coalition of 34 Western states and is based in Paris) has no decision-making power, but is a pure discussion forum theoretically – albeit a well-stocked one with an annual budget of 354 million, 2,500 Secretariat staff and 250 publications per year!
“The OECD brings together 34 member states in an environment that offers them the opportunity to discuss, revise and improve their economic, financial, educational, environmental, scientific, social, and development policies. In the context of globalisation, the OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek joint solutions to common problems. Great weight will be given to a better coordination and coherence of national and international economic policy.” www.seco.admin.ch/themen
To put it plainly: The governments of the dominant Western countries and their backers amongst the global players force their “joint solutions” on the smaller countries such as Switzerland. Because although in theory the unanimity rule applies in the OECD and therefore no country can be forced to do anything without its consent, the infiltration of the “decisions” into the individual countries functions by way of these countries’ own – of course hand-picked – delegates to the OECD.
Along these lines, the permanent Swiss delegation to the OECD, with 7 delegates headed by Ulrich Lehner, represents “the concerns and interests of our country” in the governing bodies of the OECD – whereby it is generally known to be a matter of opinion where those concerns and interests lie and notably they also introduce the OECD “solutions” into federal administration and from there on into politics: “Our delegation is actively involved in the meetings and work of the OECD and thus supports the approximately 500 Swiss delegates who come to Paris every year to participate in this organisation’s committees and task groups.” [Emphasis by Current Concerns]
Conclusion: The Swiss Federal Administration provides the OECD with the accomplices who travel to Paris at the taxpayers’ expense to arrange the implementation of the globalised corporations’ orders.
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