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Re: <nettime> Gary Chapman, brilliant on WTO
McKenzie Wark on Sat, 11 Dec 1999 05:31:36 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Gary Chapman, brilliant on WTO


If there is something relentlessly US-centric, it is this
supposedly critical view of WTO. In terms of what actually
happened in Seattle, surely the most significant is the
complete *failure* of the US to get its way. WTO involves
negotiations among member states, and it was the breakdown
of the political process, for which the US must take a
lot of responsibility that, is the legacy of Seattle. The
concessions of agricultural protectionism that finally
found their way into the lanaguage of the agreement will
not now come to pass, and a rule based system of trade
dispute resolution is now further off than ever. The
worst effected are agricultural exporters, which overwhelmingly
means poor countries in the developing world, to whom
many first world markets will now remain closed. Many
people will now not have the option of adopting an "American"
or "consumerist" way of life, not least because of the
intransigence of the Europeans on recognising the call for
agricultural trade justice. In return, there will be no
new initiatives on the protection of intellectual property
rights in the developing world, which certainly doesn't
help the digital economy. All in all a victory for 
inequity and privilege. First world beneficiaries of the
current unjust trading relations can be well pleased,
at least in the short run, that resources will continue to
be misallocated in their favour. The rich of the developing
world miss an opportunity to export into wealthier markets,
but at least escape any tightening of labour standards or
accountability for intellectual property theft. But the poor
of the developing world have very little to cheer about in
a result that shuts the door on new markets, new jobs, new
ways to escape poverty. 

__________________________________________
"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
http://www.mcs.mq.edu.au/~mwark
 -- McKenzie Wark 


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