LOS ANGELES, California - The chairman and CEO of UPS today urged free trade advocates to step up and make their voices heard in the growing debate over globalization.
"No development in the history of mankind has brought greater opportunity... greater prosperity... greater understanding... and greater hope for peace in the world... than democratic market trade," remarked Eskew.
"So why are some folks so blind to the glow of the global village, and see global pillage instead?" he asked. "Why are people so afraid of it? Well, for one thing, the debate has been far from kind. One side preaches promise and the other side, peril, sometimes to the point of ridiculous hostility."
Eskew explained globalization is about everybody - the individual, small and large businesses, big nations and tiny communities it's even about that artisan in the Congo who bypasses the profit pyramid and sells direct to the world on Web sites like Viatru.
Eskew went on to explain that those who champion trade must aggressively counter some of the major misconceptions that taint globalization such as:
-globalization works at warp speed and roams at will.
-globalization totally disregards the individual, the environment and local cultures.
Eskew continued, saying that "globalization is not a renegade force that roams at will and is not above the control of all. Globalization is inevitable. Technology... and the democracy of information... deregulation... economics... and education are seeing to that."
However, Eskew feels the pace and scope of globalization will be shaped by business, political, educational and individual choices.
Eskew explained, "At its core, globalization is about the universal need to be connected, to have opportunities and to be individually empowered." Eskew pointed out as one example a farmer in Costa Rica who gets an Internet connection, finds out what his crop is really worth and sells to the best bidder around the world.
On the environmental front, Eskew noted there are instances where multinationals have polluted local environments. "That should not be tolerated," declared Eskew, "so it's good to see accountability standards are rising around the world." Remember the air quality in Los Angeles thirty years ago? "Today, it's cleaner than the air in the vast majority of the developing world. You can show how you did it."
Finally, as for the fear that globalization will Americanize the world, "The death of distance doesn't mean the death of geography... or the death of local culture," Eskew said. Globalization actually creates more diversity.
Businesses need to take two steps, Eskew concluded. First, they must be clear about what globalization means and promote the individual voices of those who have much to gain from free trade. Second, businesses must help those hurt by the disruption of the old economic order. Fear of change will lessen once individuals see the benefits globalization can bring to their lives. Encouraging local governments around the world to promote trade policies will lead to individual liberty.
UPS, founded in 1907, is the world's largest express carrier and largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics. UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories and posted 2001 revenues of $30.6 billion. Michael L. Eskew, 52, began his UPS career in the Indiana District Industrial Engineering Department in 1972 and has led the company as its chairman and CEO since Jan. 1, 2002.
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