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Most Americans never heard of the Doha Round, and if they did catch the name they might assume that it’s some sort of donut.
Unfortunately, it’s nothing so sweet. Instead, this was another round of global trade negotiations by corporate and governmental elites, intended to hang more NAFTA and WTO around our necks. But something unexpected happened at these closed door talks, named for the city in Qatar where the negotiations were held. The talks failed.
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The collapse was not due, as most of the media reported, to a squabble over farm subsidies and agricultural markets. The reason was bigger (and simpler): such emerging economic powers as China, India and Brazil are no longer cowed by America’s high-strutting corporate might, no longer willing to succumb to rules rigged to benefit Wall Street and Wal-Mart, no longer willing to sacrifice their people and their values on the alter of voracious predatory capital.
This remarkable balking at the old corporate order is coming not out of anger, but from a position of strength, which the designers of the Western-style trading regimen never anticipated. Latin America, for example, is no longer a patsy – many of its economies are burgeoning and its leaders forward-looking. Then there’s China, a rising giant in every economic segment, no longer relegated to the assembly of low-cost export products.
Leaders of these nations now pointedly reject lectures from U.S. bankers and government officials about how they should organize their economies. After all, from unregulated mortgage speculators to Washington’s massive bailouts of bankers, the corporate model of unfettered greed is now being exposed for what it is.
For America to regain its moral authority abroad, we must re-establish it at home, returning to our historic values of economic fairness, social justice, and equal opportunity for all.
“Beyond the Trade Pact Collapse,” The New York Times, August 3, 2008.