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>>SPEECHES TO THE CITY COUNCEL OF AMSTERDAM WRITTEN IN ENGLISHI N T R O D U C T I O N . FIRST DRAFT August 8th 2000 HUMAN RIGHTS, GLOBALIZATION AND PRESERVING DEMOCRACY THROUGH INCREASED CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT. THIS TEXT HAS DIFFERENT LANGUAGES TO CHOOSE FROM:
These two issues have become hot topics in recent years. One problem is that globalization seems to be more fragile then was expect (e.g. Davos 1999 General secretary United Nations; Davos 2000 President Clinton U.S.A.).
The other (related) problem is the decreasing interest of citizens in the democratic process. This is evident when considering the minimal attendance of citizens in elections which is observed in many systems (e.g. Municipalities, European countries and Europe as a whole).
There is a strong connection between the issues under consideration. Globalization generally advocates free markets and free markets can boost prices.
This can be in favor of all or at least many, or it can be in favor only of the powers that be and leave many, like straight minded locals with established rights, in a vulnerable position.
For where there is profit there must be loss and citizens are not all masters in Dobu chess played on high profile closed network www computers . . .
Complex webs of marketing strategies are often developed to achieve hidden purpose and citizens finally become baffled and loose interest in the democratic process.
One area where this tendency could develop is the area of urban real estate project development. Under globalization (e.g. real estate) prices often soar. We will elaborate on this a little.
DEMOCRACY AND REBUILDING CITIES
Constructive activity is usually a healthy symptom in individuals and groups.
Real estate development projects can be an example of the health and strength of nations and indeed of an entire species.
The resulting products, like pyramids, remind us of the glory of an era and indeed of all humanity.
The suffering that goes with all great achievement has to be taken into the bargain. Glory has a price and it is a law of nature that the weak, like the slaves in Egypt, must pay and are often forgotten.
Now, after six thousand years, some things have changed.
We have trade unions and other constructions that came onto the path of Farao's architects.
It is sometimes even believed that man has learned that it is the individual that counts.
Because ultimately we are all individuals. He who abuses one man abuses the whole world. This is the essence of empathy. It is also the essence of democracy. At least it should be . . .
We believe that unless democracy is nurtured like a priceless gem, in some locations, which may be continents, countries or communities, a new phenomena could be be emerging : the municipal mandarin with his building barons and foot folk, putting us back in the times of Farao unless collective common sense and conscience, developed over thousands of years, prevails . . .
There are people in Amsterdam, and probably in many other places, that believe the ides of March have come . . .
They believe that Globalization triggered soaring ground prices are leading to an eruption of demolition and building activity polluting the environment with infernal noise, traffic and other chaos.
They believe that this madness significantly contributes to stress induced diseases, aggression, violence and other frustration induced phenomena that are commonly simply described to hooligan behavior that must simply be suppressed with force.
They believe that it is important to look for more basic mechanisms lying at the root of the phenomena just described, which they regard as emergent properties of mega systems for which we are all, individually, in dynamic interaction, responsible in a very small degree, though maybe some more then others . . .
This home page is being developed in an attempt to signal and perhaps influence unwanted effects of demolition and building activity and to bring together those who are interested in similar activities . . .
We have brought together some locations in Amsterdam where citizens are struggling with local government because they believe they are suffering , or may soon be suffering, under the phenomena just described and that as a consequence, some of their basic rights are being threatened . . .
We have listed some related speeches addressed to municipal counsels and their commissions ...
And we have done many other things.
Not because we have a problem with authority.
On the contrary.
If anything, we have (recently) learned to admire the hardworking politicians, civil servants and many others that are struggling to maintain law, order and the flow of reality in every day life, under the complex requirements of democratic decision making in a European capital under rule based free trade . . .
But we have also become suddenly confronted with the extreme vulnerability of the spirit of democracy under globalization . . .
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Copyright J. P. Krol 2000 ©
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