Bitching Brew

Monday, November 28, 2005

Coming soon.

Some time within the next week, I'll get around to writing about a subject I actually know something about. [Shock Horror!] That would be the wonderful world of international trade, with special reference to the developing countries. Em, and bring your own popcorn.

I read some new economic analyses today which were profoundly disturbing. They were modelling the effects of full trade liberalisation in the world, as well as the effects of less radical steps. (Being realistic!) Free trade is good. I support it - I'm certainly not a protectionist. And yes, the positive gains from full free trade would be huge. But the paltry proportion of the benefits that would accrue to sub-Saharan Africa shocked me.

I've always advocated free and fair trade (implemented in degrees) as being the best solution to the poverty of Africa (in concert with other programmes). It is a necessary step; who still disputes that? Handouts and more bloody charity are not the way forward. Yet the benefits these models predicted were far, far lower than I expected. In the big picture, a vast number of people would be lifted out of poverty thanks to liberalisation; indeed, most developing countries would gain. (Don't forget - it's the individuals that matter - not the states they reside in.) But not so much in Africa. That was profoundly shocking. If even that won't work, what exactly will?! In the long-run, the dynamic benefits of free trade would really start to stack up in Africa. Call me idealistic, but I'd like to see some positive concrete developments this side of 2030.

There's nothing of substance in this post, obviously. But I intend to write something of substance. This is a mere preview.

Update (5 Dec): Well, it hasn't come as soon as I'd hoped! I really do want to write something up on this topic, but I've been bogged down in work recently. This is the last week of term, so I'll get a piece posted within the next ten days. I promise. :)



  • Hmmm -- Looking forward to the more substantive post :)

    By Blogger Siel, at Tue Nov 29, 06:17:00 a.m.  

  • I'll try and make it worthwhile! ;)

    I like your blog. I always buy in Fair Trade cafés - the extra 10 cent is imperceptible, and besides, for some reason the staff are friendlier. Probably because they're not massive chains... hmm.

    Speaking of which, Dublin city centre got its first Starbucks last week. I haven't been inside - I'll dodge the crowds and stick to my usual few haunts. Anyway, Starbucks' coffee is overrated. There are better chains in the US even.

    By Blogger Martin, at Wed Nov 30, 01:27:00 a.m.  

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