Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The anti-globalization culture jamming group The Yes Men recently delivered a presentation at a Wharton Business School conference on trade and investment in Africa.
A performance artist, using the name Hanniford Schmidt, pretending to be a WTO representative, announced a new WTO initiative for “full private stewardry of labor” in some parts of Africa. His talk attempted to make clear that this meant slavery.
“This is what free trade’s all about,” said Schmidt. “It’s about the freedom to buy and sell anything—even people.”
Schmidt reported that “One conference attendee asked what incentive employers had to remain as stewards once their employees are too old to work or reproduce” but that “there were no other questions from the audience that took issue with Schmidt’s proposal.”
Wharton Business School placed a notice on the conference site stating that their invitation of Schmidt had been based upon his misrepresentation of himself as a representative of the WTO, and that they do not endorse his views.