Word Up on the WTO

Just what exactly went on in Seattle this week? <I>TSC</I> looks at the concepts behind the calamity.
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Although there's no mistaking that things turned

grave this week in Seattle, some are less sure about certain facts.

TheStreet.com

heard one puzzled observer remark: "Why are activists from all over the world gathering in Seattle to protest the

WTO

, one of the great rock bands of the 1970s? I grew up listening to WTO and 'Taking Care of Business' rocks."

Of course, we aren't thick enough to confuse

Bachman-Turner Overdrive

with the

World Trade Organization

, but we also were surprised by this week's events in Seattle. The protests have redefined about how we all think about trade and about economics in general. Indeed, the world appears to be changing daily as we sit at our computers and, later, eat at expensive restaurants in Manhattan.

So many words are flying about the media, like so many gleams of light off U.S. Commerce Secretary

Bill Daley's

head, but what do they all mean? What is

Charlene Barshefsky

talking about? Why are those young women dressing up as turtles? To explain, we present a mini-glossary of important words from the week that just was. Read, learn and take care of business.

Anarchistic

. Adjective. Rejecting all forms of coercive control and authority. Practiced in recent decades by various Beat poets, various

Sex Pistols

and by

Edgar Bronfman

, CEO of

Seagram

(VO) - Get Report

.

Bioengineering

. Noun. The manipulation of biological resources into commodities for human consumption. Not to be confused with bionics, an equally important science involving the development of superhearing, superspeed, sideburns and bright red track suits with silver stripes down the side.

Globalization

. Noun. The process of breaking down national economic barriers by removing trade restrictions between countries. The term originally was derived from

Golan-Globus

, an international company that produced such movies as

Masters of the Universe

,

King Solomon's Mines

and

Alien from L.A.

, a

Kathy Ireland

vehicle. A revolt against the firm began, for purely aesthetic reasons, with the 1985 release of

Hot Resort

, starring

Bronson Pinchot

.

Protectionism

. Noun. The advocacy system, or theory of protecting domestic producers by impeding or limiting, as by tariffs or quotas, the importation of foreign goods and services. Also:

Overprotectionism

. Noun. When fathers won't let their daughters go out with perfectly nice guys with

Camaros

.

Sweatshop

. Noun. A shop or factory in which employees work long hours at low wages under poor conditions. Examples include

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

manufacturing plants in Indonesia, automotive factories along the Mexican border and the offices of

The Wall Street Journal

.

Shrimp

. Noun. An incredibly delicious crustacean that must be conserved for the sake of oceanic biodiversity and for inclusion on bar mitzvah buffet tables.

Third World

. Proper noun. Anywhere but here.

Union

. Noun. An organization that exists to protect the rights of workers. No longer necessary in today's economic climate, because increased competition will raise the standard of living for everyone. Now, please vacate the perimeter or we will fire rubber bullets.

Neal Pollack lives in Chicago, where he works as a staff writer for the Chicago Reader. He has also written for Salon.com and The New York Times Magazine, and is a regular contributor to McSweeneys, both the online and print editions.