Monday, July 28, 2008

Before you form an opinion about global trade

An excersise for pundits: I want you to make a prioritized list of the parties that are affected by the current WTO negotiations, including (but not limited to) a) Consumers in rich countries, b) farmers in rich countries, and c) developing countries (feel free to split this group into several). You may believe that some of these groups have common interests, (free trade / trade barriers are good for everyone, yay! and there'll be free ponies too!), but assuming that they don't, who comes first, second, last? Make the list (or distribute percentages), publish, and discuss. As an advanced followup excersise, (warning: very difficult), keep your priorities in mind whenever you write about global trade. Don't be a hypocrite. And please don't take the easy way out by rationalizing a "perfect for everyone" solution that does not exist. World's usually not like that, why should this be any different?



At 29 July, 2008 16:28 , Blogger Esquil said...

Do you have to rank them? what's wrong with 'all men are created equal?'

You shouldn't have to support one group or the other, it should be possible to search for the equillibrium where farmers in one land has the advantage in that marked, to minimize long distance freight. It seems unhealthy to me that dutch onion pushes out west-african farmers from their local markeds. The same goes for botswanian meat being half the price of norwegian here in Trondheim.

At 29 July, 2008 17:45 , Blogger Bjørn Stærk said...

Even putting the whole world on equal basis involves making things more difficult for someone. For instance, if you want more free trade, (I do), you'll have to be willing to sacrifice some of the industries we're currently protecting, such as farmers. So our farmers are behind everyone else, (even though they're included in the consumers group). And then a developing nation asks for protection to shelter their own industries until they're ready to compete with ours. Then what?


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