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The World Trade Organization Is Dying. What Should Replace It?

Two decades after the protests in Seattle, the Two has failed to deliver on its promises. And more than the rules we have a hyperglobalization. Dal New York Times.

Twenty years ago this weekend, 50,000 people converged on Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization, which was holding a ministerial-level meeting in the city, and a plan championed by the world’s largest corporations to increase the organization’s authority over even more facets of people’s lives.

The epic protests, televised worldwide, revealed that Americans were united with millions of people protesting the organization in other countries, who demanded new rules for the global economy to make it benefit more people.

Those protests, and subsequent protests and activism around the world, bolstered developing-country negotiators who derailed the W.T.O.’s plans for expansion. But the W.T.O.’s underlying principles still shape the global economy. And the stubborn refusal to alter that model of globalization has fostered a global backlash against “trade” and, in recent years, brought the organization to near collapse.

The dirty little secret is that the World Trade Organization is not mainly about trade. Rather the organization has the primary task of carrying out what the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik calls hyperglobalization — the worldwide imposition of one-size-fits-all rules, favored by global financial markets, which constrain democratic governments’ ability to address their societies’ needs.


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