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Misleading Web Page Cons Conference Organizers 64

An unnamed correspondent writes: "The New York Times has a story about how an anti-trade group conned a trade conference into inviting a talk from a member using a page at www.gatt.org that looks like a legitimate WTO/GATT page with a bogus e-mail link to the WTO's director-general. It seems like domain hijacking to me, but the real WTO 'respects the nature of the Internet' and is playing it cool. Funny for those amused by pranks and hoaxes." (Yes, it's the New York Times, so no-login URLs will doubtless soon appear.) I must admit, this made me think about from which misleading domain names it would be coolest to receive such misdirected mail.
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Misleading Web Page Cons Conference Organizers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why, in a democratic society, should anti-trade groups feel they have to con a trade conference? Should they not be able to present their views in the open? Seems to me that there might more progress if the WTO listened to speakers who opposed their viewpoint and the anti-trade groups tried talking instead of providing a venue for looters.
  • by SFPCC ( 302433 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:03AM (#524251)
    Congratulations! You got the First Post.

    In an effort to help the Open Source trolling community, the Slashdot First Post Compensation Commission is prepared to offer you one US dollar.

    All you have to do to claim your payment is e-mail us at sfpcc@hotmail.com [mailto] with the address to which you would like your compensation sent.

    This offer only valid for US mailing addresses. Please allow 2 - 3 weeks for delivery. Please include in your e-mail a link to your first post.
  • by crayz ( 1056 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:21AM (#524252) Homepage
    If you really read the page, a lot of it is satirical and someone should've realized something was up. e.g.:

    "These electorates, always reluctant to adopt the rational thinking of the free trade extremists (who have, after all, proved their worth by being the world's wealthiest people, or hired by same), are the only real obstacle to the kind of progress and development that is considered most likely to benefit all."

    "Does free trade mean a high growth rate?

    There is no evidence at all that it does. There is evidence it does not..."

    "Does free trade mean a better standard of living?

    During the last thirty years, the U.S. market has been "opened" and deregulated more, and more quickly, than that of any other developed country. But the average hours worked per year in the U.S. increased greatly between 1980 and 1997, while in every other developed country but one, they declined. Compared with 1973, Americans must now work six weeks more per year to achieve the same standard of living--and not surprisingly, Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with their lives...."

    "The WTO's purpose is to broaden and enforce global free trade. Global free trade already gives multinational corporations vast powers to enforce their will against democratic governments. Expanding these corporate powers--as the WTO intends to do in Seattle and beyond--will further cripple governments and make them even less able to protect their citizens from the ravages of those entities whose only aim is to grow richer and richer and richer."


    etc.

    BTW, if you haven't already, read the story at the NYT, it's really hilarious.
  • Around 1990, as I recall, a Los Angeles TV station called the embassy of a Latin American country (I forget) to ask for an interview with the ambassador. Unluckily for them, they actually reached the phone number of a local actor, who enterprisingly showed up for the interview in a suit, mustache, and thick glasses. He did it straight, with a nice accent, and then revealed the stunt a few days later.

    Congrats to the WTO on having a sense of humor. Is there anyone that doesn't love this stuff?

    P.S. "bunny burgers" [devilbunnies.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Congrats to the WTO on having a sense of humor. Is there anyone that doesn't love this stuff?

    They don't really have a sense of humor. They complained bitterly about it not so long ago. Here [wto.org] is an earlier statement by the WTO... to which gatt.org responds on their website.

  • by don.g ( 6394 ) <<don> <at> <dis.org.nz>> on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:37AM (#524255) Homepage
    That was excellent. Really. I'm surprised they managed to carry it that far, but in terms of practical jokes, sending a bogus WTO representitve to a conference UNDETECTED who raises a few eyebrows (unsurprisingly) but still gets away with it has to rank up there with the best.

    --
  • by Cody Hatch ( 136430 ) <codyNO@SPAMchaos.net.nz> on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:40AM (#524256) Homepage
    I've got mixed feelings, to tell the truth. On the one hand, I deeply dislike organizations that try and bully all and sundry (remember eToys?) about domain names. And as an added bonus, the message of their victims (if any) is usually cool. Nobody LIKES to see someone making jokes about corporate stupidity get shut down by the corporation in question--you lose access to the jokes.

    In this case, it seems the WTO is being cool about this website--which they can be congratulated on. This is, after all, the way it's supposed to work. On the other hand that website is getting close to crossing the very fine line between satire (one of the highest forms of humour) and libel, which is just lying about people.

    I looked through the site, and these people aren't saying anything informed or intelligent...or even funny. There are legitament criticizism of many of the things the WTO has done...but these people don't seem to know what they are. There are funny jokes that could be made...but these people aren't making them. The WTO has done stupid things...but these people don't know what they are. There are flaws in some bits of the economic reasoning you could drive a truck through...but these people have no clue. The entire point of the site seems to be to confuse and mislead--NOT to entertain or convince.

    As it happens, I agree with much (not all) of WTO policy. But I ALSO agree with the right for people to disagree. These people may or may not have the right message--that doesn't matter. But they aren't using the right method. I have a right to tell you what I think of Bush--I don't have the right to tell you I *AM* Bush.

    How come it's always the cool sites that get slapped down?
  • by cyberdonny ( 46462 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:43AM (#524257)
    > Yes, it's the New York times, so no-login URLs will doubtless soon appear.

    Actually, the URL given (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/07/weekinreview/07 WORD.html) is already a no-login URL, if your /etc/hosts or DNS nameserver is set up "correctly". Just be sure you have the following line somewhere in your /etc/hosts:
    208.48.26.217 www.nytimes.com

  • Warning: Really nasty javascript will pop up new windows. (Still didn't make me close the browser though! Nana!)

    --

  • The benefit of reconfiguring your DNS is that thenext time an NYT story comes up, you just click on the damn link, rather than having to manually rewrite the URL each time.
  • by sanemind ( 155251 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @01:07AM (#524261) Homepage
    ...molotov cocktails, or destroying the obligatory local McDonalds resteraunt franchiser's property. This was at least only intellectual violence and vandalism, somewhat of a step up compared to the average vitriolic thuggishness embraced by the modern anti-capitalists, anarchists, and the like.

    Still, the later continuation of the prank with the, ahem, joke about the 'pieing' of the man turning out to have been a method for the delivery of botulism toxin... Biological warfare; of course, they are only joking, right? Still, as real-world pies in the face have become a popular mechanism for delivery of some subversive shaming dissent [or, to be more honest, of symbolic violence. Of demonstrating to someone that you can get to them physically, and that your ilk might not always be only packing a meringue to assult them with].


    ---
    man sig

    ---
  • Nope, goatse is 209.242.124.241. But goatse won't work anyways, if you access it by IP: It is on a multi-homed site, and the default site is an innocuous looking picture of a cow.
  • Since everyone seems to think the WTO has such a great sense of humor about this, check out their earlier statement [wto.org] on related matters.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    Troll stories at troll times; what will they think of next?

    Man, I'm only reading slashdot at night if I can help it now; the WTO will never restrict my pancakes, right, ninjas???
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Definitely in the running for the best practical joke of the year. It just nudges out my previous favorite, the Monolith in Seattle [nwsource.com].....Judging from the number of /. readers, this stunt might actually cause more registered voters to mull over what it is the WTO is actually up to. Moreso than the "protestors in Nike tennis shoes." ever did.
  • You might dislike Gatt people's economic/social positions but others groups would have prosecuted the jokers for much less.
    At least they were fair enough to take it as what it was : a joke.
    --
  • ... at least not if the ICANN UDRP is applied. One of the requirements for tranfer of a domain name is that it is being used "in bad faith". No problem there, they are deliberately misleading people. Right?

    Wrong.

    The four criteria which can construe "bad faith" are:

    (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

    (ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

    (iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

    (iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

    For the first one, they have shown no sign of wanting to sell the domain name, so that doesn't apply. For the second, AFAIK they haven't "engaged in a pattern of such conduct", so that doesn't apply.

    For the third, the WTO isn't a competitor of theirs, so that doesn't apply. And the last doesn't apply because they aren't trying to attrack users for commercial gain.

    So even though the domain was obviously registered in bad faith, none of the "bad faith" requirements are met, and the domain shouldn't be transferred according to the UDRP.

    Of course, that hasn't stopped WIPO in the past...
  • I believe that WIPO should change its name to something more descriptive and fitting. For those that missed this:

    WIPO PRESS RELEASE - September 11, 2000

    The World Intellectual Property Organisation, to improve commercial profitability, are to have a name and Internet site change. Formally WIPO, is now to be known as SWIPO. We can be found at our new site SWIPO.ORG [swipo.org].

    We have the full backing of United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO.GOV [uspto.gov]) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN.ORG [icann.org]).

    We are the first and most excellent of the arbitration services for ICANNs big business friendly process - the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Do not think just because we are part of the United Nations (UN.ORG [un.org]) that we are even-handed, therefore may rule against you. Being financed by big business - we know where our loyalties lie.

    We are to shortly start an advertising campaign to inform of this name change, aimed at the corporate and celebrity world. We will guarantee to them with absolute certainty, that they we will get any domain name they covet - whoever already owns it. Unless owners have more money and power, of course. We can do this because of rationalisation, ridding ourselves of honest panellists in readiness for our Initial Public Offering in January 2001.

    Do not use any of the other arbitration services - eResolution etc, even in the past we were the most successful in getting the name you want. We made the rules - we know all the tricks. We are the most powerful, growing daily, and can take whatever you want. Tell us the name; we will do the rest. Example: Paramount approached us a short while back, saying they would quite like CREW.com for their camera crews to use. We thought about it and came up with a winning excuse - Star Trek has the most famous crews of any ship on the planet (or off). We told them to hang on until after a smaller case for the name had gone through. It would be silly to turn down jCREW money.

    We will push aside ALL competition, using the quote from Francis Gurry, Advertising and Publicity Executive, "Domain Name Hijacking - Forget the Rest - We Swipe Best".

    We deny all of the libellous slurs being put by our critics. WIPO.org.uk [wipo.org.uk] say we do not look after the interests of all trademark holders. It is a malicious lie; we follow a strict set procedure to make sure we do so:

    1. We give domain to UDRP appellant, after their cheque clears.
    2. We contact each trademark in turn, no matter how obscure or tenuous the link.
    3. We offer them arbitration to take domain away from the new owner.

    Case in point: After winning them JethroTull.com, told Tull about JT.com, which we just usurped for Japan Tobacco. Tull decided it was wanted; their money is as good as anyone's. We came up a winning argument; they are 'JT' to friends, all families and fans.

    Seen a domain name you would like to hijack? Order it now from our site at SWIPO.ORG [swipo.org].

    "Domain Name Hijacking - Forget the Rest - We Swipe Best"

    Semblance of any the above to reality is purely a joke, as is the true state of affairs. All TM acknowledged. This has been written in the spirit of 'free speech' (you may have heard the expression). SWIPO is pointed to WIPO. If you want more of the truth (you be the judge), visit my site wipo.org.uk [wipo.org.uk]. You can see the answer to trademark problems there.

    Wipo.org.uk and swipo.org have no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization. The above is considered and informed opinion.
  • Considering what the Yes Men could have done and didn't do, I'd say both sides are showing signs of great restraint here. Not that I like the W.T.O. or anything, but can't anyone else see the inherent humour value of this whole thing?

    BTW, I wonder if anyone has ever "crashed" a computer conference pretending to from Microsoft and gotten away with it? (Or for that matter, crashed a computer conference as a /. representative...)

    Kierthos
  • *scratch head*

    Sounds fair enough to me. What he said was, in essence: "These people are complaining that the WTO is not transparent (true). Not only is the WTO transparent (also true), the form of these complaints harms transparency (very definetly true)."

    On the other hand, it wouldn't even be an abuse of the law (although the law probably should be changed--but that's a seperate issue) to do the "standard" thing, and sic a bunch of lawyers, writs, restraining orders, court orders, and so forth on those responsible. Other organizations have done it with less grounds--and sone so succesfully, over a more important issue, and with less public outcry than I judge they would get here.

    All in all, I'd say the fact that the WTO disagrees with their critics is hardly surprising, or proof of anything. If they didn't disagree with them, they wouldn't be critics would they? But note that instead of sending in the heavies, they're talking about it. No, they don't like it (who would?), but I'm at a loss to think of anything BETTER they could do.
  • On the subject of misleading domain names, a friend of mine used to have 'ilm.com' ... ostensibly 'ImageLine Multimedia'

    He had a barrage of CVs/happy birthdays to lucas@ilm.com before eventually ilm bought the domain back off of him.

  • I wonder if anyone has ever "crashed" a computer conference pretending to from Microsoft

    I read this as

    I wonder if anyone has ever "crashed" a computer (while) pretending to be Microsoft.
  • by Cody Hatch ( 136430 ) <codyNO@SPAMchaos.net.nz> on Monday January 08, 2001 @03:19AM (#524273) Homepage
    By the way, I still don't know what the supposed benefits of a nation joining the W.T.O. are, or what the drawbacks to not joining are supposed to be.

    That's simple. The point of the WTO is a mechanism for "bargaining" down trade barriers--and enforcing the bargains, once struck. The US says that it will drop tarrifs on wine, if the EU drops tarrifs on beef, let's say. The US could unilterally drop tarrifs on wine and be done with it--but the WTO exists to allow the US to trade that drop for another one.

    That's the main reason why countries want to be in--particularly developing countries, which are desperate for lower tarrifs on agricultural products and textiles. They know that the EU would never let their hugely pampered farmers suffer without good cause--the WTO is therefore their best best: If they're lucky, they can trade something unimportant to them (removal of restrictions on foreign ownership of telecoms, let's say) for something vastly beneficial--lowered tarrifs on those goods they export. It's not easy, even with the WTO--witness the current breakdowns (which have little to do with protests--rather, the developing countries are sore that the 1st world hasn't done what it promised last round yet). That's the choice a lot of countries are having to make--stay out in the cold, with no chance of ever having enough clout to get any important barriers lowered...or enter, and have a much better chance.

    Finally, the WTO is there to enforce agreements, once struck (but don't forget it was YOUR politicians that first have to agree). Once the US has agreed not to ban tuna imports, it can't then turn around and ban them, however popular or worthy the cause now is. The fault is that of shortsighted politicians, not the WTO.

    As an example, China has been working very hard to get into the WTO--despite the fact that it entails a massive shake up of their entire economy, and a real chance of political instability. Why are they so keen? Easy--it's the best, maybe even the only way, they can manage to remove the massive barriers that have been set in front of them--and China needs them removed very badly. China has a massivly growing population--either the economy at least matches it, or a nuclear power with the worlds largest standing army, several territorial disputes with other nuclear powers, and several rebellious provinces (one of which is ALSO nuclear armed, probably)...goes BOOM! No, I think we need to keep those peasents in poverty myself--fatter subsidies for the steel workers! What's that you say? Let them eat cake? I couldn't agree more!

    Yeah right... You'll notice that the protestors wearn't Chinese. For that matter, the current head of the WTO is from NZ, population 3.5 million, heavily dependent on agricultural products, mostly wool, cheese, butter, and so forth. Not a particularly important country--which is why NZ is such a strong proponent of free trade. We don't ask for an advantage, we just want a fair go...which is why all my friends are as puzzled as I am about the protesters in Seattle. Fair trade? That's what the WTO is DOING.



  • check out http://www.gatt.org/fundintel.html [gatt.org]

    C'mon... when you see the words "Intellectual Property Fund" and Negativland together, how can you take it seriously?
  • I think I have done the most spoofs for one site to date with everything ranging from Microsoft [antioffline.com], FreeBSD [antioffline.com], SourceForge [antioffline.com], ABCNews [antioffline.com], Redhat [antioffline.com], Firestone [antioffline.com], Napster [antioffline.com], Slashdot [antioffline.com], and a few more, I think people should exercise a bit of common sense before following the information contained on spoofed pages.

    Now anyone can surely see any of the pages are made in good or bad taste depending on judgement, and many can say "They should have known better", should anyone have been technologically challenged to take anything serious, but people have to take into consideration that not everyone is a tech savvy /.'er and will often fall for these jokes and misguided info filled pages (Lord knows agencies like the FBI play off some judges who are non technically adept in an effort to get warrant issued.) I've had people who thought these were hacks I had done, I had those complain to me about their (spoofed sites) judgement to use offensive things, so its clear that some people are dolts.

    Should someone have intent to make money, misguide (for financial gain), or other ill motive outside of just typical fun poking of a site using a spoof then there should be some form restitution they should have the pay and the content be removed.

    Coming soon, NSA Spoof

    Home sweet home [antioffline.com]

  • Comes down to your definition of "fair". There are a number of historically compounding events

    1) special interests find it a lot easier to band together and lobby for privileges or corporate handouts/franchises (cough*Bono Act*cough) where the benefits are privatised but the costs are socialised

    2) many states don't have a open/free capital market and bureacratic misallocation of resources can often lead to perceived dumping and lost opportunities

    3) you are hitting many social gaps in beliefs and what is considered "property". For example, some people would consider that AT&T "stole" their logo from a Budhhist motif and claims of biopiracy have created resentment of pharmaceutical companies. You also enter some very subtle issues here (e.g.fencing of the intellectual commons in the genome map, appropriation of tribal marks e.g. tattoos for commercial PR gain)

    4) a perception that the biggest sets the rules to suit themselves (you can guess who the instigators of the intellectual rights portion of WTO was) which causes a lot of resentment and ill-will (not to mention being prey on by more sophisticated financial manipulations). You try explaining pump and dump tactics on societies which don't really understand what a stock exchange is really for (hint ... not a gambling mecca).

    5) socio-economic discontinuities as the lossening of bonds betweeo corporates and workers lead to social stress ... there is a hidden cost in overworking your people so much that they quit and change careers, not to mention disruption of family life when relocating. People who are fearful and resentful cannot reason as well as politicians in cushy jobs.

    In short, the benefits are nebulous (although historically proven) and the downside is up-front, especially to marginalised unskilled labor who are suddenly faced with a couple of billion competitors. Traditionally governments have attempted to address this with the taxes of any increased economic activity to help disadvantaged groups but with globalisation, you can shift production base to exploit tax policy differentials (cough*transfer pricing + vertical integration*cough). In short, the traditional tools for balancing / redistributing social costs are inadequate in a multi-juristictional environment.

    "Fairness" requires a common framework of values and ethics and the Western-centric notions of rational economism and property exclusion/rivalry don't always go down well.

    LL
  • Finally, the WTO is there to enforce agreements, once struck (but don't forget it was YOUR politicians that first have to agree).
    That being the root of the problem - they ain't our politicans. They're the megacorp's politicans, bought and paid for. Which is why the agreements struck are generally good for megacorps and bad for people.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well.. Everybody seems heartily conserted that the WTO is only a buch of good guys because they didn't open their can of lawyers against all jokers in their path.. (what apparently is mere good conduct these days or so it seems)

    Let me be the first to post it then:the WTO is not sueing these people because they could not possibly face any more bad publicity

    The WTO is simply a cartel beyond the biggest of cartels that you can think of; they unite the biggest corporations (countries) to come to terms about resources and prices. Simple as that. Nothing free market about it. (As is most of capitalism is most western countries; they all start resembling communism in an eerie way by now).

    Be afraid.
  • One of my friends, matt, was the guy who originally registered internic.com. (not the aussie guy; matt sold the domain to the aussie guy) Matt had up a fake internic web page. It was very obviously a fake page; lots of questions like "what is your quest?" and "spoon?"

    People would send him mail all of the time saying stuff like "I have to get my domain registered or I will lose my job!!!"

    The best part of it all was that internic.net employees started referring trouble cases to matt at internic.com (obviously knowing that was not the correct site).

    If you can scrounge up some old usenet archives, alt.pud had a lot of misplaced mail forwarded there.

    hymie

  • The problem is that the anti-trade folks come off as a bunch of freakin assholes and lunatics. Any person that is not in the grip of complete and total insanity will take them seriously.
  • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @05:50AM (#524281)
    Which is why the agreements struck are generally good for megacorps and bad for people.

    Those would be the same organizations who employ millions of people, fund the machinery of state through corporate/employment/windfall taxes, and that your pension fund is invested in?

    Things are not as black and white as the "anti capitalist" movement would have you believe. What do you suppose the world was like prior to globalization? The garden of Eden?!

  • The word globalization is a misnomer. AS if the world was not already "globalized". This is part of the clever rhetoric employed by the WTO. I must add that this group and the other protestors are not anti trade per say but against trade deciions being made by a small group of men that aren't elected, behind closed doors.
  • In depth information about the WTO [zmag.org]

    As for your generalization concerning the looting. Can you imagine 50,000 pissed off linux users protesting copy protection on Har drives on the streets of Seattle? Can you imagine an army of cops in battle gear who think that you are the epitomy of evil? Can you imagine 20 to 30 people out of the 50,000 misbehaving? That's what happened in Seattle. The media mischaracerized practically everything about the protests in Seattle in order to make the WTO look good. The thoughts and opinions protesting in the streeets where effectively marginalized by the focus on the few incidents of property damage. What if the seeds your family has grown for centuriesm were being patented by Monsanto and Backed by the WTO?

    NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION

  • NYT's online group just laid off 17 people. I wonder if it's because they aren't getting the revenues generated by selling the marketing info from those annoying registrations?

    I doubt they'll change anytime soon, though now they're the only "registration required" login that c|net, Wired and Slashdot regularly link.

  • Hey, your not the standard foaming demagogue! I'm impressed. Now:

    Point 1: Your right.

    Point 2: Perceived, yes. In actual fact, it's kind of cool if an inept bureacrat decides to subsidize the production of my new stick of RAM...or the steel that goes into my new car. Of course, those resources probably would have gone somewhere more important (education, maybe), but I can't help that. *IF* we want to treat this as a "race between countries", then subsidizing exports is an own goal. If we want to look at total human suffering, it's pretty bad, but not buying it isn't the way to fix it.

    Point 3: Not strictly speaking relavent. We are discussing ways and organizations to enforce and defend intellectual property rights. Perhaps it's more important to discuss what those rights are (or should be), but that's a very seperate issue.

    Point 4: Yes, but... Yeah it does cause a lot of ill-will that the big and powerful set the rules to help themselves. The developing countries are not happy that the big countries try and force reforms on them, while refusing to swallow that medicine themselves. The protests in Seattle suited a lot of powerful people in suits. It didn't suit the WTO...or the developing countries, although they were fed up before then. No matter how you look at it, it's not good. If the protesters had the best interests of the powerless at heart (and knew what they were doing) they'd be arguing for complete and unilateral removal of all tarrifs, quotas, and subsidies. The US corporations would never agree of course--which tells you all you need to know about both the effects and the possability of it happening.

    Point 5: Change hurts, yeah.

    As for the benefits being nebulous, and the costs concrete... Agreed. But that's not REALLY the question. The question is, are the benefits bigger than the costs? And the answer is yes, by a great deal. A lot of economists have spent a lot of time answering this question (and others like it), and you can take it or not, as your opinion of economists and economics dictate. The fact is, lowering barriers to imports helps a country (and by more than it helps the trading partners, regardless of balance of trade). Similarly, export subsidies are bad for a country, although they do help the trading partners. Of course, in a democracy, more than a few politicians have found the political risks to be the inverse of the economic benefits...but that's a seperate issue.

    You lose it when you come to taxation though. Don't forget where the benefits are--not with the corporation. The megacorps, by and large, LOSE from globalization. Subsidies in whatever form (and tariffs are a common form) act as a redistribution of wealth from the consumers (that is, the Average Joe) to the corporations (why do you think it's always the industrialists that lobby for protection? The steel mills that ask for protection from "dumping"?). Remove those barriers, and it's the consumers that benefit--and they can't dodge taxes by moving offshore without losing the benefits. Yeah, it's DAMN tough to see it--especially when those 100 factory workers are picketing and the 100,000 benefitting from the slightly cheaper goods (and the 100 million benefitting from the slightly springier economy) aren't... The corporations are a sideshow--not least because while they can indeed move, the shareholders can't. :-) Indeed, why have corporation tax at all? A corporation is nothing more than shareholders and employees, and you can tax them however you choose.
  • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @06:51AM (#524286)
    AS if the world was not already "globalized".

    "Globalization" in this context usually means the removal of barriers to trade, such as tarriffs. These barriers are artificial anyway, and were not usually erected for economic reasons. For example, a politician might impose a tax in imported steel in order to safeguard steelworkers in his/her own country. Sometimes this might be because the country wants to have steel production capability because it needs to be able to manufacture its own weapons, sometimes it's because the politician wants to votes of the steelworkers and their communities.

    Doing so, however, screws the consumer by making them pay higher prices, since without competition the monopolies and unions can dictate their own terms, it screws the taxpayer, who need to pay for the subsidies, it screws trading partners (other countries) who can't sell their products (which may be cheaper or better) and ultimately it screws the beneficiaries, who find that as soon as the barriers are no longer effective, they've become too inefficient to survive.

    I must add that this group and the other protestors are not anti trade per say but against trade deciions being made by a small group of men that aren't elected, behind closed doors.

    I've seen the posters and the demonstrators. They're against capitalism, industry, trade, the monetary system, the whole works. They seem to think that if they just do away with the economy altogether, they'll be free to party their whole lives. Where on earth do they suppose their dole comes from?

    Now, personally, I'm happy for anyone to live any lifestyle they want to. I'm just not happy about paying for it.

  • Check out their page for The Frontier Fund [gatt.org], managed by DJ Spooky, the Subliminal Kid [djspooky.com].

    From the description of one of the holdings (VRWR):

    "Develop a 'virtual worker' system that allows populations normally engaged in migrant labor to work over the web instead. For example, develop a telepresent robot that picks oranges or strawberries while being controlled through the internet. Then, unionize both the robots and the telepresent workers."
    Not hijacking. Clever prank.
  • Why, in a democratic society, should anti-trade groups feel they have to con a trade conference?

    Because the WTO is not under any obligation to let dissenters speak to their members.

    Should they not be able to present their views in the open?

    The WTO is not "the open." The WTO has no obligation to give the floor to every non-elected, non-appointed citizen who wishes to air their views. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if organizations like the WTO, U.N., and NATO let each and every person/group that opposes them speak?

    Seems to me that there might more progress if the WTO listened to speakers who opposed their viewpoint and the anti-trade groups tried talking instead of providing a venue for looters.

    I am certain that the WTO is aware of the views of its opponents. They are well-publicized and unlikely to be overlooked.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your statements against the looting and rioting by anti-WTO groups. If they think that their behavior is going to get them invited to address the WTO, they are sadly mistaken.

  • Property Desctruction is not violence. The only violence at the wto was from the police.
  • The problem is that there is plenty of 'common sense' in lawmaking, if you look at it from the perspective of those in power. The laws do what they were designed to do: keep the governing elites in power.
    ---
  • It's one thing if someone puts up a banner ad on a site that is a misspelling of a company's site, it's quite another to build a page that has "World Trade Organization" at the top of the page and "World Trade Organization / GATT" in the header for the title. This could be interpreted as a group claiming false identity. If I were to somehow get a domain name that was the name of a company or organization and I put information on a site claiming to be that organization, I'd probably be convicted of fraud . I think that they can use the domain name IF the are willing to upfront claim who they are versus intentionally trying to convince people that this is the official site of the WTO. I don't know about anyone else, but if someone wants me to take their side in a cause they'd better be damn honest about everything upfront, else they will lose my support, and I will also try to convince others that they are a con. This is a perfect example.


    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • http://www.theyesmen.org/wto/ Where they successfully sent an individual as someone impersonating a speaker from the WTO, staged a pie in the face incident and when his horrible speech didn't raise enough of a reaction from the audience they staged his death.
  • Why are you assuming they are on the dole?
  • "Globalization" in this context usually means the removal of barriers to trade, such as tarriffs. These barriers are artificial anyway, and were not usually erected for economic reasons. For example, a politician might impose a tax in imported steel in order to safeguard steelworkers in his/her own country. Sometimes this might be because the country wants to have steel production capability because it needs to be able to manufacture its own weapons, sometimes it's because the politician wants to votes of the steelworkers and their communities.

    There are always barriers to trade, whether or not they are placed by polititians. There are natural ones like oceans and mountains, and there are normal variations in local economies. Plus there are differences in social policies that lead to differences costs of production. What the current wave of globalization aims to do is essentially negate past social policy aimed at improving workers rights, environmental protection, etc. Big (and some not so big) corporations don't like these policies because they are expensive and cut into corporate profits. But there are other consituencies that need to be taken into account. We need to look at what benefits society as a whole -- and that includes working people, students, unemployed people, etc. etc. whose interests don't coincide with those of the corporations.

    I've seen the posters and the demonstrators. They're against capitalism, industry, trade, the monetary system, the whole works. They seem to think that if they just do away with the economy altogether, they'll be free to party their whole lives. Where on earth do they suppose their dole comes from?

    You may have seen them, but you clearly don't understand them.
  • On the one hand, I deeply dislike organizations that try and bully all and sundry (remember eToys?) about domain names. [...] I have a right to tell you what I think of Bush--I don't have the right to tell you I *AM* Bush.

    Whether you agreed with it or not, the eToys lawsuit had many similarities to this. The etoy site had pictures of toys on the front page, and kids were going there by accident, getting tricked by the toy pictures, and clicking around on the etoy site which contained various S & M pictures, etc. They refused to say something on their site about not being eToys (unless they were paid a hefty sum), so eToys took them to court to stop the complaints they were getting from parents.

    Now these anti-GATT people are deliberately trying to dupe visitors into thinking they are officially represent an organization they have no affiliation with. I don't think they should be allowed to do that. They can parody or insult GATT, but this was no parody.

  • Why do people get their panties in such a knot about not wanting to do a simple site registration. Fer pete's sake, I've been registered at nytimes.com for as long as it's existed (1994 maybe?). It's not like they're getting any more personal information out of me than if I actually subscribed to their PAPER newspaper. Actually, they're getting far less info than a non-web subscription.

    So, do all these anti-registration cookie people also feel that I shouldn't ever subscribe to a magazine (paper, not electron), since that involves giving my name and address out? (Far more information than I gave away to register for nytimes.com)

  • Check the right side of the article:
    Headlines updated 1/8/101 7:48 P.M.
    :-)
  • No matter what your politics are, ya gotta admit that's a pretty cool Hack. They carried it pretty far. I wonder what the guy was thinking when he gave the speech? That must have been fun :-)
  • Those would be the same organizations who employ millions of people, fund the machinery of state through corporate/employment/windfall taxes, and that your pension fund is invested in?

    Large corporations pay little, if any tax. For example, Cisco and Microsoft pay no federal income taxes [sfgate.com]. Cities and states fall all over themselves to give tax breaks to megacorps in the name of attracting jobs - instead of more sensibly and justly helping smaller locally-owned businesses to grow.

    (And I try to make my own investing socially responsible, as best I can.)

    And your point does not justify the way megacorps buy legislators like baseball cards.

    It's not just about globalization - the removal of environmental, health, and justice considerations from international trade policy is a symptom of too much corporate power, not a cause.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • Where they successfully sent an individual as someone impersonating a speaker from the WTO, staged a pie in the face incident and when his horrible speech didn't raise enough of a reaction from the audience they staged his death.

    That's odd, the prank you describe seems somewhat familiar. I think I read about it in a NYT article Slashdot linked to recently.

    ;)
  • I don't know about anyone else, but if someone wants me to take their side in a cause they'd better be damn honest about everything upfront, else they will lose my support, and I will also try to convince others that they are a con. This is a perfect example.

    This is a deliberate attempt by the "Yesmen" to incite you to think of the WTO itself as the ultimate con.

    Incidentally, the reason Negativland, who have probably inspired 37.4% of the WTO protestors, got sued by their label SST was for putting out an album with the title "U2" and a picture of a U-2 spy plane on it, which used a sample from "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Island Records sued SST for, supposedly, conning U2 fans into buying a Negativland record, and SST turned around and sued Negativland for getting them in trouble (I believe that's the legal term).

    The idea behind this form of art/activism is that, every single day, people accept the Word of the corporations (and the multinational governmental organizations that support them), delivered through mass media. If you read gatt.org with suspicion, you should read wto.org with the same amount of suspicion.

    Or so the theory goes.
  • Why should I subscribe? If I were paying for the nytimes paper edition, they would *need* to know certain information in order to deliver the paper and charge me for it. Even if the paper were free, I'd still *need* to give them sufficient info to allow delivery. Similarly, if I was receiving an electronic version of the nytimes (whether free or not), they would *need* my email address in order to deliver the email. But: they don't *need* any information at all in order to provide the website version to me (aside from the stuff that goes on in the background, which I think they are perfectly welcome to, as long as they cannot link that aggregate data to individuals) I resent having to provide them with extra information that they don't need, for major inconvenience to me, and for limited benefit to them (which they ARE entitled to, as content providers who are trying to make some money off their labors). Inconveniences: why should I have to remember some other password, and why should I have to spend the time registering? Worse, the use of registration forces the user to give up privacy. If you get the paper version, the marketing department of the paper can't target your junk mail based on the fact that you spent slightly longer reading article A vs Article B, and thus must be passionately interested in reading more articles like article A, or worse yet, wish to purchase the latest related products. But I digress. Mainly, I don't wish to subscribe to nytimes, because the only context in which I read it is the occasional time where it is a) quoted in Slashdot, and b) also looks interesting. I've never read anything so compelling that I've said "Gee, I should get an account and go to the site every day.."
  • Well, fellow Kiwi (if you are really in NZ and not ISPofConvenience), some minor adjustments ...

    3) Not strictly speaking relavent ... this is to state the point that the concept of "fairness" is dependent on your ethical framework, what some people consider "fair" can be in fact shown to be arbitrary and ego-based. Offending the beliefs of sub-groups (e.g. using the Islamic Koran as advertising is a boo-boo found out by one fast-food chain which replicated the flag of one Arabic country) may not make economic sense but when you're dealing in a non mono-cultural environment can be a cause of long-term resentment (e.g. witness the Waitangi Treaty where the concept of sovereignty has slightly different meanings in the Maori and English version).

    Taxation ... the problem is that once business activities become offshore, then it is possible to continually shift resources out of the grasp of tax scrutiny. Even if you consider taxes a necessary business cost and any investment should be considered in terms of net after tax, given compound interest and taxes as a dissipating force, for some corporations it makes sense (especially if activities are easily relocatable) to have a rolling investment in the latest country to offer tax-holidays. Now you may consider this to be a net transfer of wealth from developing countries citizens to gain the dubious prestrige or bragging rights of hosting "hi-tech" MNCs but given today's sophisticated financial/legal complex designed specifically to shift the burden onto ordinary citizens who can't escape PAYE or GST, you can see that the tax base is shifted disproportinately onto individuals that can't benefit from trusts or options. Take a look at News Corp. Analysis have noted that because it uses accounting discrepencies in Australia (as vs US peers) it gains some marginal advantages which is reflected in a somewhat stronger stock price which is then used as over-inflated script for Mergers and Acqusitions. There are a number of tricks that global corporations can use to minimise tax burdens that are not available to the average person (foreign controlled entities, bermuda IP havans, singaporean cap-gains free holdings, Tongean trusts, cascading losses crystalised at high-tax juristictions, etc). In summary, becauses taxes are tied to a geographical location (despite the ferverant enactments of US tax-citizenship and European tax borders) there will always be countries that can see benefits in providing off-shore "financial" services (cough*BVI*cough). Of course first-world governments are not immune as they find out with sophsicated financial engineering, any subsidy can be trasmitted offshore In summary economic "efficiecy" may come at a social cost (export of pollution/wastes/risks) to third world countries that may rebound in the future when those countries respond by emigrating. Certain not-so-hidden objectives in the US and Europe in promoting globalism is the hope that by improving the financial state of unstable developing countries, they avoid the political necessity (cough CNN effect*cough) of sending their troops on unnecessary pacification exercises, not to mention keeping the wogs out of their middle-class comfort zone (cough*Australia*cough).

    So in summary, though the theory is nice, the details need serious attention to ensure that social responsibility is also globalsed as well as economic benefits.

    LL
  • Transparency? That's gatt.org's point. WTO are not transparent. They try to prove they are transparent by boasting about hundreds of thousands of documents online at their website? Where do they talk about how they pressure countries to change laws aimed at protecting public health, working standards, etc., because they interfere with "free trade?" Somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of documents?

    Yeah, great, WTO can sic lawyers on their critics and abuse the legal system just like all the other big corporations. What swell guys they are for not doing that; lets give a medal of honor to any corporation or group that doesn't resort to SLAPP suits as a means of silencing individuals without the financial means to fight them.

    Anyway, the point of my post was to point out the obvious, which has also been stated elsewhere - the WTO are not "cool;" they do not "have a sense of humor." They simply don't want the bad PR for suing their critics.

  • a) I think you are mixed up about the eToys suit. Etoy had been running their art website years before Etoys came along - Etoy weren't trying to confuse Etoys customers - they weren't even interested in Etoys until Etoys started messing with them.

    b) The GATT site is a parody. A work does not have to do pratfalls to be a parody. If you read it, you'll see it's a parody. The conference organizers obviously didn't read it - they just clicked the mailto link.

  • In this case, it seems the WTO is being cool about this website--which they can be congratulated on.

    Only to avoid bad PR. Here's more about how they feel on the matter. [wto.org] Remember, it's a press release, with Fluff Value Added.

    What have things come to when we congratulate corporations or mega-corp-organizations for not abusing the legal system with SLAPP suits against their critics? Shows you where the status quo has fallen to, and probably why groups like the yesmen feel the need to shake up the corporate hegemony somewhat creatively.

    I looked through the site, and these people aren't saying anything informed or intelligent...or even funny.

    Try reading it again. If you feel you have to read it too carefully to get it, then think how much more carefully people need to read the WTO's site.

  • I think you are mixed up about the eToys suit. Etoy had been running their art website years before Etoys came along - Etoy weren't trying to confuse Etoys customers - they weren't even interested in Etoys until Etoys started messing with them.

    Sounds like you never actually saw their site before the lawsuit. Yes, they were around before eToys, but at the time of the suit they were clearly aware of the confusion they were causing and loving it. They did their fake IPO thing as a joke about the eToys IPO, and had pictures of little plastic toys on their front page. Remember, the major achievement these guys are famous for is putting the word "playboy" in their META tags to lead people who searched for Playboy astray.

  • Yes, I've been looking at the Etoy site since about 1997.... it's been around since aroun 94/95. When you say "at the time of the suit" you are talking about a time when they had been already in a tussle with Etoys for months. Sure, Etoy being Etoy, if someone messes with them, they don't miss the opportunity to speak their mind. If you've been in a similar situation (I have), you understand the gut reaction to mock the "tyrants." It's important to be able to do that, not just roll over.

    What do you mean by the fake toys? Sure, they've used those little lego-esque characters, but I wouldn't think those characters would make anyone think "Etoys!" except for the lawsuit situation. Toywar, obviously, uses all sorts of Toy references, but of course, it was all about the war with Etoys.

    I think you're trivializing the work of etoy and even the Digital Hijack project itself by your reference to "playboy" in meta tags; there's a lot more to it than that; it's like saying the WTO is best known for putting unflattering pictures of Mike Moore on its website. :-) ... But even that isn't really important; I may not be a fan of all of the work of eToy, but they should certainly have a right to the website they were operating for years... the Etoys tussle had been going on for months before the actual suit hit, and Etoy did respond to it, but it was Etoys who threw the first legal punches.

  • Free trade increases wealth. Here is a simplified example of how it works:

    Alice has produced 100 cups, which to her are worth only $1 each.
    Total wealth of Alice = $100

    Meanwhile, Bob has produced 100 plates, which to him are worth only $1 each.
    Total wealth of Bob = $100

    Alice has lots of cups, but no plates. She will pay $4 for a plate from Bob, because plates are not available where she lives.
    Bob has lots of plates, but no cups. He will pay $4 for a cup from Alice, because cups not available where he lives.

    Alice and Bob meet, and agree to trade. Alice gives 10 of her cups to Bob, and Bob gives 10 of his plates to Alice.

    Alice now has 90 cups at $1 each and 10 plates at $4 each. Total wealth of Alice has increased to $130 (because $90 worth of cups + $40 worth of plates = $130)

    Bob now has 90 plates at $1 each and 10 cups at $4 each. Total wealth of Bob has increased to $130 (because $90 worth of plates + $40 worth of cups = $130)

    Both Alice and Bob had their wealth increased.
    That's why Free Trade is so important.
  • "If you read gatt.org with suspicion, you should read wto.org with the same amount of suspicion."

    But on first glance, one would not be reading gatt.org with suspicion. I don't like mass market companies that bend information or deceive in order to achieve profits. In response to the group Negativland, well, if you take something that is associated with another successful entity and take pieces of it without permission, don't be surprised when someone gets mad. It would have been more honest if the band U2 had been the group taking exception to Negativland's publication instead of a record label *cough*cartel*cough* doing it, but little guys do get stepped on by big guys when they get the attention of big guys, so if you don't call attention to yourself, you probably won't get burned at the stake.

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • that's an insightful point, but we don't really live in a democracy. we live in a capitalist technocracy, or at least you crazy americans do.
  • this isn't offtopic, it's NYT login. If you can't moderate nicely, don't moderate at all.
    ---
    "You just stranded one of the world's greatest leaders in San Dimas!"
  • As a related note to: "8. The WTO limits governments? ability to use their purchasing dollars for human rights, environmental, worker rights, and other non-commercial purposes....": The European Union is about to punish the swedish gouvernment because they are puchasing computers only from companies that produce them ecologically, e.g. without toxic fire-repellants. but because only few companies can meet these requirements it's considered an unfair exclusion of all the others from the bidding-process and thus illegal. Again: The EU sais it's illegal to buy equipment only if it's not endangering your employees health! All for the sake of free trade and competition, of course.

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