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 trials and tribulations of 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 this Sussex Development Lecture 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 speaker
Rorden Wilkinson is an international political economist specialising in global governance, trade, development and structural change with particular reference to ’emerging’ powers, least developed countries and small island states. He is Professor of Global Political Economy and Chair of the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex and an Honorary Professorial Fellow with the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester.