Trade and Justice; Marc A. Miles Reviews Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development

By Miles, Marc A. | Harvard International Review, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Trade and Justice; Marc A. Miles Reviews Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development


Miles, Marc A., Harvard International Review


For more than 50 years, the world's countries have attempted to undo the terrible harm inflicted by inter-war and post-World War II protectionism. Starting with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which has evolved into today's World Trade Organization (WTO), countries have slowly made strides to dismantle tariffs and non-tariff barriers on manufactured goods, services and agricultural products.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As with most processes of this type, it was relatively easy to develop consensus among the original member nations on the first steps toward freeing trade. But now, decades later, consensus is elusive. As the former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz is intimately familiar with the issue of free trade, the ins and outs of the WTO, the problems being debated in the current Doha Round of trade negotiations, and the obstacles faced in earlier negotiating rounds. In Fair Trade For All: How Trade Can Promote Development, he and Andrew Charlton have presented an accessible description of the hurdles still faced, as well as a personal perspective on the source of the problems and potential solutions.

Much of their description is spot on. As they repeatedly state, many of the current trading rules are biased against the smaller countries of the world. Market access is not symmetrical. Countries like Bangladesh are free to export airplanes and a lot of other things they don't produce, but not the textiles and apparel they do. Opening trade, for its part, does not affect everyone in a country equally. Some win, some lose.

Stiglitz and Charlton do agree with most economists that "free trade is, in the long run, the preferred regime," but they fear developing countries have markets that are incomplete, imperfect, and missing vital components. They point out, for instance, that eliminating agricultural subsidies in the "developed" countries is likely to have the net effect of promoting development.

Moreover, tax policies advocated (or imposed) by international institutions on poor countries have created incentives that enlarged the informal economy at the expense of the formal market. Insightfully, the authors point out that developing countries stand to gain more if only they would eliminate tariffs and other barriers aimed at each other, rather than solely blaming developed countries. Finally, bilateral agreements such as NAFTA are not truly "free trade agreements" in that they fail to eliminate agricultural subsidies that pit the agribusinesses of one country against the farmers of another.

The authors' views on these issues are fairly standard among economists. It is in other aspects, contained in the title of the book, that differences begin to flare. How does one define "fair" trade? What factors are key to development? And why do we even divide countries into "developed" and "developing" in the first place?

Indeed, a couple of years ago I shared the podium with a president of a steelworkers local in Cleveland. At the time the United States had imposed tariffs on steel imports. As we debated the pros and cons of free trade, the president of the local repeatedly used the term "fair trade." Finally I turned to him and asked, "Fair to whom? Fair to the consumers paying higher prices? Fair to the manufacturers who use steel in production, who are becoming less competitive in the global market, and who are laying off workers? Fair to those workers who now are out of a job?" He, of course, was thinking only of his union members.

Stiglitz and Charlton indicate in their book that "fairness" of this type is not what they have in mind. They, too, are critical of the steel tariffs. So what is the fairness paradigm they are advocating?

Fairness is always in the eyes of the beholder. Stiglitz and Charlton see "fairness" in agreements that arc based on "principles," not economic power. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Trade and Justice; Marc A. Miles Reviews Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.