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WTO and free/fair trade

by rdf Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 04:37:18 PM EST

I've not seen much discussion about the trade meetings going on right now. But, from the reports I've heard on the BBC they don't seem to be accomplishing much.

My guess is that poor countries know that any agreements will be unfavorable to them since they don't have equal economic power in any negotiation. The argument that agricultural subsidies in the rich countries makes it hard for the poor to compete seems unconvincing as well. Poor countries won't be able to compete in any case because agriculture is now a large-scale industrial enterprise which uses very little labor. Poor countries use lots of labor and inferior equipment. Removing subsidies won't change this.

So, it seems to me, the real purpose it to open up third world countries to foreign sales and investment. The pattern that was used in the 1980's in Latin America and elsewhere. Loans from Citibank and the like were promoted and enforced when they turned sour by the IMF.

That sounds like a good summary of the conventional wisdom around here.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 04:57:03 PM EST
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't been paying attention to it.  It's been a busy week, but keep us posted.  All I want to hear is that the US is going to work with China to gradually put an end to the pegged yuan.  The trade deficit hit another record last month, and a lack of floating rates is going to put us all in economic danger if it continues far into the future.

I'm okay with China gaining jobs from us, because I don't see it as a big threat in the long run if we keep pace with history (maybe a big "if"), provided we all play by the rules necessary to work against too great an imbalance, like the one we're experiencing now.

The one good point is that, with the dollar rising against the euro and sterling (and, therefore, a rising yuan again the two), Europe should be able to grab some export stimulus, which, combined with gas prices stabilizing a bit after Katrina, should help the recovery that I think will begin in the not-too-distant future.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 07:53:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, I'd be willing to overlook the problem for a while if American officials would force China to get serious about human rights.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 07:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and who's going to police America's human rights record?
by ------- on Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 11:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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