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Don\'t get me wrong: I am tired of discussing once more the issue of globalisation
Thread poster: Steffen Pollex
Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Jul 3, 2002

...since there\'s nothing you can do about it. What do you want, protectionism of the \"rich\" against the \"poor\" as it is being tried by numerous Western countries (say, German trade unions in construction business are trying to hamper the influx of cheaper workforce from Poland, Czechia or elsewhere, laughable...)?! Enjoying the benefits of globalization (worldwide communication and exchange at an affordable price, i.e.) without being affected and being enforced to adapt to the new conditions?! Close down ProZ?! If not for ProZ, globalization would find other ways to penetrate our lives, a bit slower than through the www, maybe. But wasn\'t it that the telgraph in 1837, the telephone in the 1890\'s or the faxmachine also triggered a revolution in communication at the time? And die people get used to it? Obviously, once we are still there! And, did these inventions shatter the very basics of human civilization by giving certain groups of people a small advantage over others in terms of saving time in their business? Obviously not, once we are still there! Nothing else is going on nowadays through the www, just on a broader scale and faster than in the past. This is natural and a general rule in human development that the society should work and, thus, develop faster over the years and centuries, saving more and more time on basic functions and processes. And, being a member of the human society, whether you like it or not, every single one of us is enforced to do so or to fail. If you don\'t believe me, maybe, you would believe Marx (\"Capital\", vol. I or II, can\'t recall exactly, too long ago)?!



So what?! I personally welcome that our fellows from the \"poorer\", say, Eastern European, Asian or African countries benefit more and more nowadays from the achievements of Western, say, European or American, civilization, at the same time recognizing very well that this will enforce me to work harder for, most likely, a peace of cake getting smaller and smaller over the time due to increasing competition. But wouldn\'t there be many more benefits from the opportunities we have today than harm?



Never forget that the very foundations of highly developed civilizations were created in China, Arabia, Latin America, wherever, long before Europe did reach a certain stage of development, and the influence of these cultures mainly has had and will have a positive impact on Europe, IMO, as well as it can be the other way around. At least, it is absolutely unimportant where you live, where you come from, as long as you recognize that all of us are human beings.



Isn\'t this the the reason that keeps us sticking together at ProZ, too? The great opportunity of exchanging views with thousands of fellows, colleagues all over the world and, thus, getting a better mutual understanding, of making new friends who, of course, may become competitors to a certain extent, but does it really matter this much? and isn\'t it more than compensed by the pluses?! For me, definitely!!! No point in complaining on the situation and blaming ProZ of being responsible for a process that has been going on and will go on through the whole history of mankind.



Salem and thanks for attention

Steffen


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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 21:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Free markets are a very big problem, read on. Aug 3, 2002

The is much to be concerned about when it comes to globalisation. It more than the internet and a fax machine in every pot. The benefits are not, I repeat, NOT going to the poorer nations and peoples of the earth. Not by a long stretch. So whern you say: \"I personally welcome that our fellows from the \"poorer\", say, Eastern European, Asian or African countries benefit more and more nowadays from the achievements of Western, say, European or American, civilization...\" you might want to call them up and check on that first. Try this:

(news article)



A recent U.N. report flies in the face of the mantra that free markets are the only path to economic growth and democracy.



The Human Development Report 2002 warns that many countries that took steps toward democracy following the Cold War are either stalling or \'\'slipping back to authoritarian rule.\'\' The application of free-market nostrums in the developing world in fact has aggravated poverty. It has led to declining standards of living and widening income disparities. By the end of the 1990s, 52 countries wound up poorer than at the beginning of the decade, according to the report.



Despite this, Washington has long proposed that countries should first focus on economic growth and trust that lagging social indicators will follow. In a speech delivered last year to Latin American leaders alarmed at the Argentine implosion, President Bush insisted that ``nationals throughout our hemisphere need to strengthen our commitment to market-based reform, not weaken it.\'\'



Today 211 million out of Latin America\'s population of 510 million live in poverty, with 86 million too poor to purchase even the most basic necessities. Seventy percent of those polled for the report in the region complain of increasing levels of poverty, crime, corruption, drug trafficking and addiction.



Given that Bush has tied democracy with free markets, many Latin Americans\' disillusionment with free markets is spilling over into their disillusionment with democracy.



Argentina\'s economic implosion several months ago is a perfect example of what happens when countries yield to Washington\'s demand that economic growth be prioritized over poverty alleviation. Having defaulted on its $141 billion in public debt late last year, the country faces political and social mayhem. President Eduardo Duharte is calling for early elections, and one in five Argentines is unemployed.



The economic malaise in Argentina has proved contagious, with the economies of Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, among others, suffering painful contractions. In Peru, massive public protests have forced the government of President Alejandro Toledo to cancel the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Similar anti-privatization protests in Paraguay have led that country to declare a state of emergency.



In Brazil, stock markets continue to tumble as polls note the commanding lead of leftist labor leader Luis Inacio da Silva in the October presidential race. Da Silva has hinted that he may default on Brazil\'s $333 billion in public debt.



Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez faces the possibility of another coup as the gap between political divisions in that country widens. And in Colombia, a 38-year-old civil war pitting Marxist guerrillas against right-wing paramilitaries has begun to creep to the urban centers. Alvaro Uribe, who will take over as Colombia\'s president in August, has promised to form a one-million-man civilian militia to combat the guerrillas.



As the U.N. report demonstrates, millions of Latin Americans have found out the hard way that Washington\'s strategy has been too narrowly focused on free markets.



Growing discontent threatens the spread of democracy and thus, in the long run, U.S. security. Washington must work with countries to first tackle their social needs through aid programs before insisting on market structures.



Unfortunately, the U.N. report offers little hope that Washington is learning from its mistakes. Comparing levels of aid in relation to the size of national economies, the U.S. ranks below any other developed nation.



The author is Eduardo Moncada a doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies at the University of Miami.



Best regards,

F.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Free markets may be a problem... Aug 3, 2002

...but what is your solution? State controls for trade, prices, flows of capital, what next?



I fully recognise that not everything is rosy in the globalised world, but if you really believe more controls (state or otherwise) are the solution, check out what happened to the old Eastern bloc.



The answer to more competition and falling prices is to improve one\'s own services, and to find new ways of marketing them.


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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 21:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
The has to be a better way... Aug 3, 2002

This is hardly an area of expertise of mine and I doubt it\'s an \"either -- or\" situation.



I don\'t have a solution Ralf, what I have is a concern for the huge damage done to incipient democracies (at least in Latin America) and what we can expect when some of these governments begin to fall to the hands of the recently departed military dictatorships. They have a penchant for murder, torture, forced disappearances, rape,

sale of children born to incarcerated mothers... well you know... what military organisations usually do. What trans national corporations support so long as thei profits remain steady and on the rise. Nothing else matters.



The World Summit on Sustainable Development mentions:

(quote from the WSSD)

The directives and enforcement mechanisms of the WTO, and other trade and investment bodies, are invariably biased toward market principles.



They favor free trade and a deregulation process that promotes maximum freedom for global corporations to exploit the planet\'s last remaining resources without regard to environmental consequences to water, soil, air, other natural resources, the atmosphere or human communities.



Wherever there have been efforts by nation-states or regional governments to exercise some control on corporations they have been routinely overpowered by the rulings of the WTO and other bodies. As a result, governments that have joined both the globalization process, and the UN Rio processes, are finding it impossible to serve both masters. Instead, they choose globalization with all that it brings.

(end quote)



I doubt that our brothers and sisters in Argentina will be greatly mollyfied to hear that there are only two alternatives. Globalisation or Over-regulation.



Not only is the planet in serious danger as the agreeements signed world-wide crumble in the face of rapacious trans national corporations, the people who inhabit the world are very much in the way of the locomotive that seems to have no brakes, engineer, or even the slightest intention of slowing down.



There a bit more to it than just the problem of regulations. Anyway, if regulations will save the planet, improve conditions in poorer nations, allow governments to invest in education, health, infrastructures and the basic needs of their peoples at the expense of:



General Motors 168.8

Ford 137.1

Toyota 111.1

Exxon 110.0

Shell 109.8



(numbers expressed in thousands of millions or US bullions)



Tough choice, huh?



F.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Sure, but just pointing the finger isn't good enough, I'm afraid Aug 4, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-08-03 19:57, astrolabio wrote:

This is hardly an area of expertise of mine and I doubt it\'s an \"either -- or\" situation.



Very true. It isn\'t.



Quote:


I don\'t have a solution Ralf, what I have is a concern for the huge damage done to incipient democracies (at least in Latin America) and what we can expect when some of these governments begin to fall to the hands of the recently departed military dictatorships. They have a penchant for murder, torture, forced disappearances, rape,

sale of children born to incarcerated mothers... well you know... what military organisations usually do. What trans national corporations support so long as thei profits remain steady and on the rise. Nothing else matters.



I\'m far from denying that these things happen under military rule (sadly, not just then), but linking multinationals to these atrocities is way out of line. Any proof (except from quoting various sources or \"experts\")?



Quote:


I doubt that our brothers and sisters in Argentina will be greatly mollyfied to hear that there are only two alternatives. Globalisation or Over-regulation.



Once again, it\'s not \"either-or\", but blocking free trade certainly isn\'t the answer.



Quote:
There a bit more to it than just the problem of regulations. Anyway, if regulations will save the planet, improve conditions in poorer nations, allow governments to invest in education, health, infrastructures and the basic needs of their peoples at the expense of:





I must say this sounds like a press release of \"Attac\" or a similar body. Sure, have a go at isolating economies, at overall regulation etc. - I suggest you talk to someone in the former Soviet Union on how that experiment worked over about 40-50 years. If I want to see the impact on the environment, for instance, all I need to do is look at East Germany where some places were ecologically dead when reunification took place. Today, after massive investment by a free economy (remember that someone needs to pay the bill), you can see vast improvements. Certainly no perfection here either, given the unemployment statistics, but there simply is no perfect solution.



Coming back to where this discussion emanated from (price controls for outsourcers of translations), I suggest to get back to reality - setting an arbitrary minimum rate will neither stop outsourcers from trying to get jobs done at USD 0.02 (those jobs would simply sidestep the site, but still happen), nor is it going to help translators. What should be done is to establish networks of translators who can counter agencies.

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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 21:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
For some reason, I get the impression you're serious Aug 4, 2002


Ralf, than you for your response. You write:



Quote:


setting an arbitrary minimum rate will neither stop outsourcers from trying to get jobs done at USD 0.02 (those jobs would simply sidestep the site, but still happen), nor is it going to help translators.





I don\'t get it Ralf, why do you think prevention of job postings at 0.02 won\'t help translators?



And, isn\'t it entirely preferable for those jobs at those prices to \"side-step the site\" altogether?



Making efforts to prevent such activity at this site would be a step in the right direction. One more time:



If you prevent these vultures from posting jobs at 0.0025 p/wd, what you are doing is making a statement.



\"We who labour here will not stand silently by while bastards try to choke our colleagues and feed off their misfortune.\" That\'s it.



It is not intended as a means to change the world, it\'s not a magic wand nor is it intended as a remedy for all that ails the world of linguists. It\'s just as a statement of fact as to our position when it comes to our community of professionals.



Henry has explained his position that a minimum cannot be posted unless quality enters the equation. He states he is working on that matter and we shall see the results here sometime in the future.



Hey, it\'s his site and he can impose whatever criteria he likes. No opposition from me. It\'s a business just like any other and if the protection of translators is the result, he can count on my full support.



In the meantime, no one has explained why we can\'t and haven\'t made a clear statement that we will not tolerate reverse price gouging by these parasites. What is so hard about that?



Kind regards,



Francis

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
I certainly am... Aug 5, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-08-04 14:46, astrolabio wrote:

I don\'t get it Ralf, why do you think prevention of job postings at 0.02 won\'t help translators?



And, isn\'t it entirely preferable for those jobs at those prices to \"side-step the site\" altogether?



You\'re certainly not going to ban such activities by forcing them off this site -after all, outsourcers are free to post jobs with \"offline\" bidding, i.e. with bids submitted to an e-mail address provided.

And then, who is to say that 0.02 is a bad rate? Why should 0.08 be acceptable - I certainly wouldn\'t go for that, whilst there are quite a number of colleagues who\'d find it a reasonable rate.



Quote:


Making efforts to prevent such activity at this site would be a step in the right direction. One more time:

If you prevent these vultures from posting jobs at 0.0025 p/wd, what you are doing is making a statement.



\"We who labour here will not stand silently by while bastards try to choke our colleagues and feed off their misfortune.\" That\'s it.



I believe the statement expressed by the rates statistics is more powerful: \"This is the average selling price *on this market* - if you\'re trying to undercut it, you will hardly find anyone willing to accept it.\"



Quote:
Hey, it\'s his site and he can impose whatever criteria he likes. No opposition from me. It\'s a business just like any other and if the protection of translators is the result, he can count on my full support.



Same here - what\'s more, it\'s in ProZ\'s best interest to work on this, because their main business flow is from translators.



Quote:


In the meantime, no one has explained why we can\'t and haven\'t made a clear statement that we will not tolerate reverse price gouging by these parasites. What is so hard about that?



It\'s not hard at all - except that it isn\'t going to work. Trying to *control* cross-border business flows that take place over the web is a waste of efforts and resources: it\'s better to work on quality, marketing and processes. This isn\'t mere theory - my business runs on the principle of a network of specialised freelancers.

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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 21:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
I was afraid of that... Aug 5, 2002

Quickly and for the record:



I have not once exposed the position of trying to control cross-border business flows. My position, which has been conveniently avoided throughout, is that:



1. I believe that Proz should have a policy towards parasites who feed of the misfortunes of translators.



2. That said policy should be formulated and communicated without reservations or loopholes.



It may come as a surprise, but this position has nothing to do with controling cross-border business flows.



This is the heart of the response I believe a community of translators should consider while formulating the official position of the community while facing parasites as described above:



\"We who labour here will not stand silently by while bastards try to choke our colleagues and feed off their misfortune.\" That\'s it.



Your response was:

I believe the statement expressed by the rates statistics is more powerful: \"This is the average selling price *on this market* - if you\'re trying to undercut it, you will hardly find anyone willing to accept it.\"



Please explain what is more powerful about this soft, caveat-filled, dependent misstatement. In my opinion, it does not communicate a clear position at all. It is soft, gooey and amorphous. An amoeba to be sure. (You meant \"*in this market,\" cierto?)



Lastly you wrote:



\"And then, who is to say that 0.02 is a bad rate? Why should 0.08 be acceptable - I certainly wouldn\'t go for that, whilst there are quite a number of colleagues who\'d find it a reasonable rate\".



Quite a number of colleagues? Well Ralf, I\'m here to tell you that $0.02 is unacceptable regardless of ANY and ALL considerations, and in the unlikely event that a translator were to find $0.02 acceptable, I could not bring myself to pay such a rate. It is usury.



It makes no difference what the cost of living in a particular country or region is. The work invested in a 30000-word document in translating, editing and proofing is the same in London as it is in Timbuktu. In fact the work is probably easier in London. The cost of living has nothing to do with this discussion. It\'s about respect for translators.



Respect.



Best regards,



Francis


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
English to German
+ ...
Period. Aug 5, 2002

My sincere apologies for the error, and thanks for pointing it out.



I guess it\'s time to wake up to reality: whatever statement you, this site, this community or whoever wishes to make - trying to control a market price isn\'t going to work, however laudable the motivation. I share your opinion that 0.02 is not acceptable - but what is? Who\'s going to set that rate, if not the market?



This site is a meeting place for professionals - if we consider ourselves as such, we shouldn\'t need such \"protection\". I strongly reject it as far as I\'m concerned.



That closes the discussion for me - sorry, but I guess arguments were exchanged to a sufficient depth, and I have work to do.


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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 21:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ralf, thank you for your time... Aug 5, 2002

Quote:


I guess it\'s time to wake up to reality: whatever statement you, this site, this community or whoever wishes to make - trying to control a market price isn\'t going to work, however laudable the motivation. I share your opinion that 0.02 is not acceptable - but what is? Who\'s going to set that rate, if not the market?



This site is a meeting place for professionals - if we consider ourselves as such, we shouldn\'t need such \"protection\". I strongly reject it as far as I\'m concerned.





Ralf



I appreciate your time and the efforts you have expended in this conversation. I do not propose we try to control market prices, my posts leave it crystal clear that I do not and that I know it is impossibility. That is not the purpose of my opinion. I also understand that, as a company, it is in your best interests to allow the market to dictate who gets paid what.



If being professionals were sufficient, if it were such a formidable shield against injustice and usury, we wouldn’t even be having this debate. No sir, a statement of solidarity is not, in and of itself, protection. It is civilised behaviour, love for our profession and respect for our fellow human beings.



Once again, thank you for your responses.



Regards,



Francis Icaza



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