Thursday, April 11, 2002

What's Good for Zimbabwe is Good for General Motors

The Post reported today that Oxfam International, an activist group that agitates for Third World aid and associated causes, has publicly embraced international trade and free market policies as advantageous to the developing world. This a breakthrough for a group like Oxfam, whose associates tend toward the radical anti-globalization left. Hopefully they will be spared calls of "apostate!" from their friends, though I doubt it.

From the Post:

"According to the report, 'History makes a mockery of the claim that trade cannot work for the poor' -- some of the most prominent examples being the nations of East Asia, where, 'since the mid-1970s, rapid growth in exports has contributed to a wider process of economic growth which has lifted more than 400 million people out of poverty.'

"The problem is that many poor countries have been unable to share in the prosperity fostered by trade, according to the report, both because of barriers to their products and subsidies that rich countries give to some of their producers, especially farmers. To illustrate the point, Oxfam created a 'double standards index,' measuring 10 dimensions of rich-country trade policies including average tariffs and restrictions on imports from developing countries."

Finally a group that understands the difference between true free market policies and the frequently unprincipled compromises of U.S. trade policy. Now would be a good time to start driving a wedge between people who are truly interested in Third World economic development and the anti-globalist brick throwers.

Thanks to Megan McLaughlin and Thomas Pearson for drawing my attention to the story. Also posted at

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