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What's Wrong with the WTO and How to Fix It



What's Wrong with the WTO and How to Fix It

Rorden Wilkinson

ISBN: 978-0-745-69666-9 October 2014 Polity 240 Pages


We need a world trade organization. We just don't need the one that we have. By pitching unequally matched states together in chaotic bouts of negotiating the global trade governance of today offers - and has consistently offered - developed countries more of the economic opportunities they already have and developing countries very little of what they desperately need. This is an unsustainable state of affairs to which the blockages in the Doha round provide ample testimony.

So far only piecemeal solutions have been offered to refine this flawed system. Radical proposals that seek to fundamentally alter trade governance or reorient its purposes around more socially progressive and egalitarian goals are thin on the ground. Yet we eschew deeper reform at our peril. In What's Wrong with the World Trade Organization and How to Fix It Rorden Wilkinson argues that without global institutions fit for purpose, we cannot hope for the kind of fine global economic management that can put an end to major crises or promote development-for-all. Charting a different path he shows how the WTO can be transformed into an institution and a form of trade governance that fulfils its real potential and serves the needs of all.

About the Author viii

Acknowledgments ix

Tables xiii

Abbreviations xiv

Introduction: Starting from here 1

Part I Problems

1 Why we govern trade in the way that we do 19

2 Bargaining among unequals 45

3 Talking trade 79

Part II Solutions

4 Thinking differently? 107

5 Trade for all 132

6 Getting from here to there 160

Conclusion: Moving beyond the state we are in 181

Notes 188

References 191

Index 211

Text This thought-provoking, well-written book makes a passionate case for reforming global trade governance to do more to realise global social goods. The author asks an important question that needs more public debate: what do we need the WTO for? I hope the book will help stimulate such debate.
Bernard Hoekman, European University Institute

Wilkinson’s book compels us to think differently about the World Trade Organization. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to academic observers, NGOs and trade diplomats in search of new ideas and approaches to reform the WTO.
Faizel Ismail, Ambassador Permanent Representative of South Africa to the WTO