It is desperate news that the world trade talks have floundered on the US refusal to agree to reduce trade barriers. Despite all the hopes that at last the World Trade Organisation was beginning to recognise the impact on the developing world of trade injustices, the Bush administration destroyed any hope of an effective deal by insisting on maintaining its protectionist policies.
There is a savage irony in all this. Here we have the Bush regime, the greatest advocate of free market, neo-liberal economics, demanding that its transnational companies be protected from competition from the developing world but at the same time calling upon developing countries to open up their economies to rabid exploitation and product dumping by the US.
The present WTO talks round is the best object lesson one could have in how the WTO and Gatt system was designed to promote the neo liberal agenda of forcing trade deals on the developing world to make it easier for US transnationals to dominate the economies of developing countries. When the developing world and its allies demand a mild redressing of this balance, the US refuses to play ball. Whilst in the eyes of the supporters of the "Washington Consensus" the unhindered operation of the free market is good enough for the developing world it is not acceptable if US profits are at risk and the protectionism is called for. These recent talks expose this hypocracy. Noam Chomsky's book "Profit over People-Neoliberalism and Global Order" provides a hard hitting expose of the role of the WTO and other global institutions in the promotion of free market philosophy.