President Clinton calls for globalisation with a human face

President Clinton has delivered a robust defence of globalisation in his address to the World Economic Forum summit in the Swiss resort of Davos. But he said he understood the concerns of anti-globalisation activists.

This content was published on January 29, 2000 - 20:11

President Clinton has delivered a robust defence of globalisation in his address to the World Economic Forum summit in the Swiss resort of Davos. He said he understood the concerns of anti-globalisation activists, but that the opening up of world markets offered the best chance of a peaceful and prosperous future.

Echoing the theme at this year’s summit, Clinton said there was a third way between those who attacked globalisation and those who blindly followed it.

But he made clear that the United States would continue to press for unfettered access to world markets.

"Those who wish to roll back the forces of globalisation because they fear its disruptive consequences I believe are plainly wrong. Fifty years of experience shows that greater economic integration and political cooperation are positive forces."

However, his words suggested that Washington had learned some lessons from the fiasco at the World Trade Organisation summit in Seattle last November. "Those who believe globalisation is only about market economics, however, are wrong, too."

He said environmental and labour concerns also had to be addressed as international economic integration proceeds.

Developing his theme before the gathering of around 2,000 of the world’s most eminent political and business leaders, Clinton said globalisation could be used to end old conflicts, and reconcile enemies.

"We have got a chance to build a 21st-century world that walks away from ancient racial, religious and tribal hatreds,” he said. "Growth is at the centre of that chance but the economics must be blended with legitimate human concerns. We can do it not by going back to the past but by going together into the future."

By Michael Hollingdale

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