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AUDIO FILE: The Underlying Issues of the Free Trade Debate

This is a presentation given by Barbara Dudley, professor of Political Science at Portland State University. The topic was: the underlying issues of the free trade debate.
With the WTO and the FTAA in polical limbo, is the Neoliberal agenda in trouble? What are the broader political and economic implications of the developing countries' revolt against the Washington consensus? Can we find common ground in shaping a new agenda?
Barbara has appeared in various venues around Portland for at least the last three years, sharing her knowledge and perspective about the subject of Global Free Trade. More recently, she has been addressing the failures of the International Global Free Trade meetings to reach agreements, first in Seattle, then in Cancun, and finally last November at the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Miami.
All these various past presentations were distilled down into a cohesive and integrated accessment of the situation facing the world at the present time. As Barbara states towards the end of her talk: "we are living through one of the more interesting, if not most interesting, political moment that we've been in in my lifetime. And what's going to develop over the next three to four years, in terms of the trade agreement and the trade agenda of the developing countries is going to tell us alot about the future of the world."
"When I teach about the W.T.O. here at PSU, I find it very useful to begin by reading the US. Constitution as a trade agreement, because, in many ways, that's what it was. It was an attempt to take something, 13 states, 14 or fifteen by the time it was ratified, and take those states that had been as separate as the European states before the European Union was formed and bring them into a free trade zone. So that this country could grow economically on a continent wide basis. That was the vision of the Founding Fathers." She continues, describing how each state had their own tariffs, did not necessarily recognize each others contracts, and even, in some instances, had their own currency.
From here Barbara moves slowly up to the present day, through the Reagan era, discussing how this trade agreement, known as the U.S. Constituion, gradually became the template for a planetary free trade zone. She goes into a fair amount of detail concerning the failures in Seattle, Cancun and Miami, and finishes her remarks with a few conjectures concerning the possible future of the W.T.O.
An educational, interesting and very well developed presentation, which lasts about 40 minutes. This will give one a fair idea of what Globalization is all about, and why it is in direct opposition to the emergence of Democracy on a planetary scale.
Barbara Dudley at PSU

homepage: homepage: http://www.PhilosopherSeed.org