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Breakfast with Frost
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST
HOSTED BY SUE MACGREGOR
INTERVIEW:
RALPH NADER
SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2002
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

SUE MACGREGOR:
Well the American Greens are in Johannesburg too, Ralph Nader the famous consumer affairs champion is leader of the American Green Party, he was their candidate in the 2000 Presidential election and a bit earlier I asked him about President Bush's absence from that summit and whether things would have been different had Clinton still been in power?

RALPH NADER:
It depends on whether he would have gone to Johannesburg, certainly rhetorically he's superior to President Bush who has trouble even mouthing the words sustainable economy or there is a threat from global warming or there is a very serious land erosion problem or there's a very serious drinking water contamination problem that's killing millions of little children every year. But we're beyond rhetoric now, we have to have action, this is increasingly an inter-dependent world where events in one part of the world are, are felt in the rest of the world.

SUE MACGREGOR:
But the US Administration just added an extra $12 billion worth of aid, this surely is something that you should be celebrating and not criticising President Bush for?

RALPH NADER:
Well once again that's a projection, it hasn't been delivered, it hasn't even been appropriated in Congress yet and the question is is it going to be the kind of foreign aid that mixes military sales and other sales for US companies abroad, in other words basically a, a boomerang situation where it really facilitates sales for US companies as just another export strategy. I'd much prefer this foreign aid to be in training people in the third world to deal with diseases that are very debilitative, not only of human beings but also of economic development. And the same with, trying to grow the kind of crops that can endure drought and store crops because about thirty per cent of all food produced in the third world is lost to fungus and insects and rodents. How to help them build houses from local materials, how to enhance their educational capabilities instead of just giving aid in the form of big US contracts to build dams that are ecologically disastrous and displace all kinds of people.

SUE MACGREGOR:
But looking at the plight of so many of the poor people of the world and the sort of lives that they have to endure on a daily basis, it's going to take a long time before sustainable development can be firmly put in place, isn't it?

RALPH NADER:
Well it depends on what your marker is, in terms of dealing with the critical issues of famine, childhood diseases and dirty drinking water, the UN development firm out of the UN has estimated something like $35, $40 billion a year will do it, just to bring people up from the disastrous level of morbidity and mortality. So let's, let's move on that objective and then we'll see how much everybody's encouraged to take the next step. $40 billion is nothing, I mean the corporations steal that every month in the United States.

SUE MACGREGOR:
Will the world be a better place as a result of Johannesburg at all?

RALPH NADER:
I think yes in a sense that it, it etches the horizon, it establishes the values and publicises them, of care and concern and appropriate technology, environmental health and sustainable or restorable economies. In that sense it can't lose but the expectation levels are much higher than that.

SUE MACGREGOR:
Ralph Nader thanks very much.

RALPH NADER:
You're welcome.

SUE MACGREGOR:
And as you will have observed Ralph Nader was speaking to me earlier from Washington.

END
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