Monday, October 29, 2012

Critiques of Globalization

One of the products having a major influence on the health of people all over the world is tobacco. Because of the treaty surrounding the exchange of this product, countries that normally limit access to it, are unable to. This has increased the amount of tobacco used worldwide, but specifically in Asia and most specifically in China (Werner, 2003). In fact, in China, because of the treaty, the biggest source of income for the government is in the tobacco tax. Cutting off access to tobacco completely means losing access to this funding. One of the options is double the tax charged on cigarettes. Studies in other countries show that while this does cut down on public consumption and the growing health problems brought along by smoking, it keeps the revenue, or tax income, the same. Tobacco companies, however, have made sure that entry into the World Trade Organizations depends on China cutting its Tobacco Tax in half. Werner sees this as a way of China becoming one more pawn in the global system currently in place.

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There is no disputing the fact that millions of people have become addicted to smoking in this country as well as others and that this health hazard seems to have grown overnight. The tobacco industry has used its influence in gaining power in organizations such the WTO in order to increase their business overseas. However, while the treaties being written to encourage globalization have basically bullied some countries into conforming to rules that are counter the country's own rules, there are also treaties being written to help keep industries in check so that they will not bully other countries into accepting standards that may endanger the people of any one country. The following will discuss opposing views to Werner's essay and look at counter-measures that are being used to balance out some WTO standards.

The treaty requires adoption and implementation of minimum standards for the regulation of the content of tobacco products; clear and full labeling of tobacco products (dropping misleading descriptions such as "light" and requiring a clear and prominently placed health warning on packaging); promotion and strengthening of education, training, and public awareness programs to spread knowledge of the effects of tobacco consumption; price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco; non-price related measures to reduce the demand for tobacco (including a reduction and an eventual ban on cigarette advertising and sports sponsorships); measures to prevent passive smoking (including smoking bans on public transport systems, in workplaces, and in public areas); demand reduction measures (including the creation of national programs to treat addiction and dependence); measures relating to control of the tobacco supply (including restricting sales to minors); the creation of national programs relating to surveillance, monitoring, and research of the impact of tobacco smoking; moves to control and prevent the illicit tobacco trade (including the enacting or strengthening of legislation that prohibits the illicit trade in tobacco products); elimination of subsidies for tobacco cultivation; and measures to protect the environment.


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