WTO forum

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Fri Nov 19 13:26:31 PST 1999

>I think Bello was referring to protectionism as a development
>strategy - e.g., South Korea's limits on imports and foreign
>investment. Surely lots can go wrong with infant-industry protection,
>but it's near-impossible to industrialize without it, isn't it? And
>doesn't the WTO make that strategy illegal?

I read it differently given the context. But you were there (and picking up all the other cues) so you're probably right...

In that context, touche...

The only justification I can see for the WTO line is that those countries which have the political capability to successfully carry out infant-industry strategies--the developmental states--have already developed. The argument has to be that the WTO is doing other countries a favor by keeping them from following a development strategy that will lead to large-scale corruption and economic stagnation, because they lack the honesty of bureaucracy and the relative autonomy of the state needed to make state-led development a success.

I don't know how to judge such an argument that the WTO no-protection regime is really doing LDC's a favor. I guess I think that in most cases it's probably right, but that in some cases it's very wrong...

Brad DeLong

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