Capitalism in conference or democratic gridlock?

Featured in

  • Published 20030902
  • ISBN: 9780733313318
  • Extent: 160 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

THE WORLD TRADE Organisation (WTO) suddenly gained notoriety in Seattle in 1999 when demonstrations against it appeared on every television screen: in the sitting rooms of the rich, the lobbies of global corporations and the crowded slums of the poor. The WTO was a dangerous political threat, the demonstrators warned: an international body that had caused social and economic ills. It became the symbol of globalisation, capitalism in conference, benefiting the rich and the powerful, exploiting poor nations and entrenching, even widening, the incidence of poverty. The dominant image was of an organisation tinged with menace, a monster to be feared and to be faced.

But that image crumbles in Geneva, the headquarters of the WTO. Instead of a powerful body with the capacity to destroy the world, the WTO is seen as more democratic than all other international organisations. Indeed, its consensus decision-making sometimes suggests it is on the verge of collapse. Gridlock is an ever-present possibility. So what is this institution? Who makes up the WTO and how real are the threats it is said to present?

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

More from author

The good old days

EssayOver the last thirty years I have sought to explore how our top political executives exercised their power, whether they were prime ministers, ministers or departmental secretaries. My books include a study of the ways that the Australian Cabinets have changed over the past hundred and fifteen years, and two books on particular prime ministers, one from each side of the political divide. My interest has always been on how they do the job, how they define their responsibilities, what being prime minister means. Perhaps inevitably, when current circumstances are compared to, and placed in the context of, past leaders, it is the continuities rather than the differences that strike me as the most significant.

More from this edition

Diplomatic compliance

EssayIN SEPTEMBER 2000, the cadaver of Australia's great foreign policy tragedy of the past quarter century was laid out in the Mural Hall, at...

A ride in a taxi

Essay'These incompatible misfits who were smuggled into Australia should all be kicked out ... Thank God for the Howard Government. Better you show some...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.