An open letter to the WTO

2000. An effort to get a world-wide organization to recognize the malfunction of a world-wide economic competition.

Although I am an ordinary man without political power, I hope that you at the WTO will listen to me. It is especially my objective to help trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably.

There are many things I feel sad about. I have seen too many people discharged from their jobs and too many mills deserted, good men and functioning machines. I have seen governments cut expenses and leave people sick and hungry, in times more prosperous than ever. I have seen lakes polluted and forests devastated only to make paper to persuade people to buy things they do not need. Is all that necessary?

I have also noticed that men discharging workers, cutting social care and polluting the environment are, on average, not worse nor better than myself. It is not their fault. They have to do what they do because of economic competition. If they do not beat others they shall be beaten by others, and what does that change. Am I wrong if I think that the core problem here is THE HIGH PRESSURE THE COMPETITION affects on people? Isn’t it also a reason why some nations want to protect their economy?

According to my own experience, the greater the difference between winning and losing the more compelled I am to win. The competition pressure is not constant but depends on the size of the award or the deepness of the defeat. That is why I am even more anxious about the future of the world. When the gap between the rich and the poor deepens, as it now does, the pressure to win grows; and when the pressure to win grows, the less anyone can afford to look after the poor or the nature; and the deeper the gap grows. Where does this vicious circle end? Wouldn’t it be logical if it ended in the hardest competition with the largest loss, the global war.

Is there anything you can do to make the tragedy less likely?

I have lived close to a socialist country and I understand that nothing toward socialism is the answer. When trying to get rid of market competition, taking the control to the government, people raise political competition, and that means even higher pressure on everyone and on environment. The pressure is higher because the award is bigger, a larger dominance over the whole collective economy. Isn’t that what makes a Mafia economy so hard, too, an attempt upon the total control?

The answer must be a market economy. Fair competition urges us to produce the best we can at the lowest expenses, concerning people as well as environment. But does the competition pressure have to be so high? Are all market economies alike in this respect?

I remember reading that the basic idea of the market economy is to give every individual the same free opportunity to trade and prosper. The individual, a man, a woman, is the functional and moral unit in the market economy. There are no collective ethics nor organized wants in an ideal market. There are no states nor labor unions but there are no corporations nor exclusive groups either. It is easy to see that this is the theoretically free and fair market. Besides that, in the ideal market the competition pressure is obviously the lowest because the award is the smallest, only individual success. Any organized success is bigger, isn’t it. You have certainly noticed in your own organization that the governors are much better rewarded than the ones governed.

This is probably an uneasy topic, but isn’t the present model of market economy, capitalism, quite different from the ideal market economy? As a matter of fact, capitalism seems to have properties which are more typical of the Mafia economy. You can conceal your prices, trades and possessions. You can establish a gang by selling exclusive rights. You can pressure a client by threatening not to sell to him or her like you sell to the ones who obey you. And you can enlarge your privileged territory and curtail your personal responsibility in the shelter of corporations, and so on. Nothing like that is allowed in the ideal market economy.

To make my point clear, I characterize capitalism as a market economy where one can use a certain C-power, C referring to the above mentioned Capitalist properties which enable the use of persuasive power on the market. Capitalism is an ideal market economy plus a C-power economy. Since there are no extra awards in the ideal market, it is the C-power which causes the high competition pressure and the high barriers built to keep the pressure away. Shouldn’t we focus to diminish it? Just to help trade flow more smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably.

As far as I know, the WTO has done nothing to promote that objective. It looks as if people at the WTO haven’t even recognized that the competition pressure and the C-power are problems. There is, of course, a natural explanation for that. As it is emphasized, the WTO is driven by nations and it shares their view on the economy. It is the view of competing nations when trying to win others by using the C-power of their governments and corporations as best as they can. The competitors having more effectively organized C-power usually win. How could it be a problem if it helps best nations to succeed?

However, on the global level the view is quite different. We know that in war best armies usually win and tear down the walls and barriers of rivals, but that doesn’t mean that the world is the better place the more freely and effectively armies operate. Accordingly, the victory of capitalist nations and corporations doesn’t mean that the world is the better place the more widely and effectively people are pressed by the C-power.

The aim of the world economy cannot be to increase its competitiveness because the world does not compete with any other world. The aim of the world economy must be to achieve an economic disarmament, to lower the competition pressure, to restrict the use of the C-power and to free the pure market economy; so that there is no need for high barriers to be built and torn down. That should be also the WTO’s main objective. WHY IT IS NOT?

You probably have some system evaluating the letters you get. There are letters from powerful organizations and important men which have to be read and answered carefully. Then there are letters from nobodies which you treat with less care. Please, do not use that system this time. Indeed, I am a nobody, but that is just why I can give you the information you cannot get from any organization man. It is a knowledge about what an individual feels, thinks and hopes. And that knowledge is just as precious as every individual is. How you treat this knowledge, you treat every living person.

Yours sincerely,

Matti Hyryläinen

Finland

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