'In an Ideal World' by War on Want

This issue Ruth Tanner, Director of Campaigns from the amazing War on Want (La Bouche contributors) gives us a positive vision to aspire to. War on Want support those worse-affected by Globalization and shed light on issues surrounding sweat shop labor, the conflict in the middle east and corporate social irresponsibility.

Would there be world leaders and who would they be?
I think there would be inspiring people as leaders. At the moment white men from public schools run the world. In an ideal world real people who have come out of social movements and civil society would lead us. At the moment the elite replicates itself and what’s key is that if anyone has a right to lead, it’s because they represent real social movements.

What politics would they adopt?
 In an ideal world I would want them to change the structures around our politics. For example, I would like to end the unquestioning support for the free market, and I’d like leaders not to support corporate power  The World Bank, IMF and WTO should be got rid of and economic decision-making should be led in a more democratic way.

Would there be money?
Yeah, money’s okay. What it represents in its relationship with wealth and power is the problem. I would like to change or question this relationship with society.

How would we ensure wealth is distributed fairly? Would we bring in Robin Hood tax?
I think Robin Hood Tax is a very good idea and War on Want was one of the original organisations supporting the tax. The issue of public good is key and it’s really important in holding companies accountable for their behaviour. It would allow the public to address issues of structure, which keep people poor that need to be dealt with.  

Would there be oil?
Yes. Again, I’ve got no problem with oil. It’s the fact that it’s taken out of the ground, what they do with it and what it does to the environment that’s the problem.

How would we ensure that conflict was avoided in resource-rich countries? How could the resource curse be prevented?
Well, the resource curse is no accident.  It’s derived from colonial policies over hundreds of years and today the extractive industries have huge amount of power. Its important that States and communities have control over the resources and the wealth they create.

What’s the single thing that wouldn’t have happened politically?
That’s a really hard question. Well, things like nuclear weapons spring to mind.  Also going back to what I was saying about the Public good – I would say the Enclosure Act was a bit of a mistake.

Any other preferences for an ideal world?
I think we would learn from our mistakes and that people feel they have power over their lives and their communities.

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