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.