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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 August 2004
WTO - The Enemy Of The Poor
LAST WEEK the World Trade Organisation (WTO), one of the pillars of the
world capitalist 'order', met in Geneva. World trade is dominated by a few
hundred greedy multinationals who also control the WTO.
Capitalist politicians were patently relieved that anything was decided.
Failure to agree could have practically wrecked the 'Doha round' of talks on
increasing trade. Serious disagreements at the WTO's Cancún meeting last year
showed up the gap between rich and poor globally and threatened to return the
world to beggar-my-neighbour regionalist economic policies.
WTO spokespeople told us that rich and poor countries had reached an
agreement to 'open the markets'. This, they claimed, would stop rich nations
like the US and European Union (EU) countries spending billions subsidising
agriculture and stop rich countries dumping subsidised crops on global
markets, forcing prices down for unsubsidised third-world farmers.
This is, at best, wishful thinking. The US and EU promised deep cuts in
farm support but Bush in particular had recently increased these subsidies.
Meanwhile, the rich capitalist countries impose free-market 'structural
adjustment policies' - reduced living standards, privatisation and of course
no subsidies - on the neo-colonial world. These policies "opened up" the
poorest countries to the agricultural imports and manufactured goods of the
But the WTO set no timetable for the West's subsidy cuts and there are no
cast-iron commitments. An agreement to stop US farmers flooding the world
market with cheaper cotton and ruining unsubsidised African farmers was not
legally binding. And would Bush want to antagonise US cotton interests -
especially in election year?
The WTO may have avoided imploding at Geneva but its free trade ideology
could easily be threatened as increased economic problems make each country,
each region, each bloc defend their own economic interests even more
It will become clearer that the real enemy of the poor of the world is the
system of capitalism where profit rules and where the greed of bankers and
capitalists wins out over the needs of the world's people.
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In The Socialist 7 August 2004:
Wealth Gap Widens Under Blair
'We Need Workers' Rights'
Civil Servants On Strike
WTO - The Enemy Of The Poor
Building A Party Of World Socialism
Genocidal Horror In Sudan
Socialist Party news and analysis
Throw Out Agenda For Change Now!
Respect Wins First Councillor
New Labour Wrecks Firefighters' Pay Deal
South Yorkshire First Bus Drivers On The Road To Victory
The Socialist 7 August 2004 |
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