Thursday, December 22, 2005

Two Things I Don't Know That Much About

The WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong recently concluded, and I've been avoiding writing about it, mainly becuase it's hot and it would involve doing too much research. But I did want to make a point based on something I heard a some NGO saying a while back (it was probably Oxfam) "A good result would be better than no result for poor countries, but a bad result would be worse."

Even if you accept the idea that an end to agricultural subsidies will save the world's poor (and I don't), the WTO is incapable of delivering a good deal for poor countries, let alone poor people. New Zealand may have given up its tarriffs for reasons of ideological purity for very little, but the countries with real power won't.

Bolivia has a new President and he is describing himself as Washington's worst nightmare - which is a good start. I'm not convinced by representative democracy, but it's a good start (of course it could end like it did in Chile on September 11).

Talking of coups in South America, I was out of NZ for the coup in Venezula, and didn't have access to my normal channels of information, but I did get CNN. I was desperately confused, because there was a general strike agains the president, which should mean I was on the side of the coup, but then Washington was praising the coup - so I was obviously against it.

I was so glad when I found the answers to all my questions on the internet, magical thing that it is.

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