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Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

12. Global Growth, Inequality, and Poverty:  

Power and Evidence in Global ‘Best Practice’ Economic Policy

Robert Hunter Wade

This chapter argues that economists have oversold the virtues of globalization, displaying confidence in derived policy prescriptions well beyond the evidence. The most spectacular recent demonstration of hubris is the failure of almost the whole of the mainstream economics profession in the few years before 2007–8 to forecast a major recession. The chapter then outlines the neo-liberal world view and its application in the form of the development recipe known as the Washington Consensus. Since the 1980s, the Western economic policy ‘establishment’ has espoused a doctrine of ‘best economic policy’ for the world which says, put too simply, that ‘more market and less state’ should be the direction of travel for developed and developing countries. This overarching neo-liberal ideology embraces globalization as a major component, relating to the nature of integration into the international economy. The chapter then looks at trends in world income distribution and poverty, bearing in mind the optimistic claims of the globalization argument.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

5. The Evolution of the Global Trade Regime  

Silke Trommer

This chapter details the history, politics, and recent trends and challenges of the multilateral trade system. The twentieth century witnessed a remarkable emergence of international institutions, and nowhere was their impact greater than in international trade. Following decades of depression and war, a global trading regime was initiated with the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, which expanded steadily in both scope and membership through the twentieth century and culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Underpinned by the philosophy that open markets and non-discriminatory trade policies promote the prosperity of all countries, and issued with a powerful dispute settlement mechanism, the WTO has been hailed as the most prominent example of cooperation between countries. At the same time, however, the WTO has been subject to internal and external criticism and now faces a number of difficulties.