Further to my question about whether a failure of the WTO Doha Round talks in Hong Kong would be a good or bad thing for the poor…
Dani Rodrik, Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, weighs in at MK’s webdiary, and argues that it basically wouldn’t matter at all, except that,
The only serious risk from the Doha round’s “failure” is that rich countries would take their own rhetoric seriously and react in unproductive ways that prove self-fulfilling. The US, in particular, could intensify its pursuit of bilateral deals, by which it is able to impose increasingly inappropriate policy priorities on smaller nations.
He argues that the two issues of most relevance to poor countries are
- the reduction of barriers against the movement of temporary workers from poor countries to rich ones
- the creation of ‘policy space’ for poor countries in WTO negotiation.
and that a failure might well make it possible for these issues to get the attention they deserve.