Fighting the Wrong Enemy: Antiglobal Activities and Multinational Enterprises

Fighting the Wrong Enemy: Antiglobal Activities and Multinational Enterprises

Fighting the Wrong Enemy: Antiglobal Activities and Multinational Enterprises

Fighting the Wrong Enemy: Antiglobal Activities and Multinational Enterprises

Synopsis

Antiglobalist forces have been gaining greater momentum in recent years in their efforts to reverse what they view as the negative effects of an integrating global economy. Their influence was felt earlier when efforts to create a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) ended in failure in 1998 after France left the bargaining table at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, effectively killing the initiative. In this book, through an evaluation of the MAI itself and the issues raised by its opponents, Edward M. Graham takes a fresh look at the growing backlash against globalization.

Excerpt

This book has had an unusual history. It was originally intended to evaluate the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) that was to be negotiated at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The book would then have been similar to other Institute publications such as NAFTA: An Assessment by Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott and The Uruguay Round: An Assessment by Jeffrey Schott.

The MAI negotiations of course ended in failure. Thus the focus of Edward M. Graham's book shifted from an evaluation of the agreement itself (although remnants of such an evaluation remain) to an analysis of why it failed and the broader implication of that failure for global governance. A particular focus is whether the organized opposition of antiglobalists, to whom the MAI became the focal point for opposition to increased economic integration, was the main reason for the failure. Graham concludes that it was not but, rather, that the MAI negotiations were in deep trouble much earlier because of fundamental policy disagreements over foreign direct investment itself among some of the key OECD governments. However, while concluding that specific aspects of the publicly available draft of the MAI that created some potential for harmful effects (e.g., on the environment) could have easily been rewritten, he also concedes that the opposition created something like a coup de grace to the MAI.

The main purpose of the book, however, is to draw lessons from the MAI episode for international approaches to foreign direct investment and globalization more generally. Graham thus examines whether foreign direct investment is contrary to the interests of workers and the environment, as claimed by the antiglobalists. He reviews a considerable number . . .

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