Thursday, January 29, 2004

Is Anti-Globalization Dead?
Tom Friedman's column in the New York Times is always interesting and frequently insightful. Today Mr. Friedman summarizes this year's Davos Conference. As one of the major outcomes, he observes that the forces opposing globalization have faded, as India and China remodel it into a version that suits them. However, if you include within the body of "Anti-Globalizationists" the proliferating non-governmental groups seeking to restrain capitalism in general and the perceived misdeeds of corporations in particular, then I suggest that energy companies and their investors would be wise not to take Mr. Friedman too literally, this time.

The recent lawsuit brought againt Unocal under the Alien Tort Claims Act for their association with the junta in Burma/Myanmar, along with the Belize dam construction appeal petition before Britain's Privy Council, are only two example of the kind of scrutiny that energy projects around the world will face. Even if the crowds of protesters that have beset the G-8 Summits and World Bank meetings dissipate, the world order has changed and "business as usual" isn't, any more.

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