Thursday morning, I sat in on a conversation in which seven or eight Nicaraguans – now all grandparents – shared their experiences during the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution and under the subsequent Sandanista socialist regime. As they talked about the triumph of the revolution, the honeymoon years of socialism in the early 1980s and the following US-inspired civil war, they spoke of the overwhelming solidarity among Nicaraguans and Central Americans.
When one of the gringos asked how we could be in solidarity today with Nicragua, the second poorest Latin American country, the refrain was strong and clear: Nicaraguans, Central and Latin Americans, and their brothers in the developed world must fight the evils of the current economic world order (which I studied this past spring at St. Andrews): globalisation, the WTO, IMF and World Bank, economic imperialism, underdevelopment, CAFTA, and – above all – multinational corporations.
The more I listened, the more I think that MNCs may be “where it’s at” for me. A discussion of multinational corporations covers politics and business. In Latin America, liberation theology means it’s about religion, too. I don’t know where I stand on economics yet; the discussion was a little too leftist and reactionary for me. But the economic underdevelopment of many countries, to me, presents a worthy challenge. I wonder if my role will not be running, fighting, regulating, studying, or being somehow engaged with multinational corporations, which I think are at the heart of the economic challenges facing developing countries, and the locus of economic change, both positive and negative, that will occur in our lifetime.