Editor's letter.


Protesters gathered outside a recent convention held by the Institute of Directors to call for justice. Their target was Henry Kissinger, one of the speakers, but many of their placards attacked a larger foe: globalisation. Soon afterwards, globalisation was again named as the cause of all society's ills by protesters at the annual May Day demonstrations. To an extent they have a point. The idea of multinationals pursuing their own goals, regardless of the effect on local communities, smaller industries and even countries, is repugnant to most people.

But globalisation is not an evil in itself. It can deliver economic wealth to countries that would otherwise have very little and it can raise living standards and improve education. Globalisation is also not the preserve of business. Travel, the internet and television all have an effect, and it is as much to do with information as it is with products. Companies play their part, however, by bringing us the goods and services we want--but damage is inevitable without strong governments and clear guidelines. Yet the desire for global reach increasingly comes with a focus on corporate responsibility. Shell International, for instance, has had its fair share of criticism, but it has learnt that working with communities is the best long-term strategy for success. The company has a major operation in Nigeria and it now provides scholarships to 2,500 secondary school students and nearly 900 undergraduates. It has also helped to create a $30 million loan fund for local businesses. The...

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