Tales, thoughts and policy reflections from wannabe economists (that met) at the Graduate Institute in Geneva
I was there... I was studying in New York, Columbia University. I flew there to mingle with the Chilean delegation (all former collaborators). I was given a delegate card, in anticipation of potential troubles. So I found myself in a very special position: a student in NY with special access to meetings and the curfew zone. I saw the destruction, I crossed to the "outside" world of antoglobalization protesters with a journalist colleague. They had a feast outthere, everybody chanting, fully mobilized. I even have pictures with soldiers. At dinner we would be briefed on all major events: the Clinton gaffe, among others, when he said that "the WTO should develop these core labor standards, and then they ought to be a part of every trade agreement". I attended meetings as well. I was at the plenary when Charlene Barshefsky admitted defeat. My point is: it was a sad moment. "Insiders" to the WTO system, consensus-based, rules-based multiteral trading system, do find it useful, pretty fair, and moving in the right direction, for the better good. We could see the fundamental antagonism in positions taken by antiglobalization friends: José Bové is indeed the worst ennemy of African farmers as we were recently recalled by Prof. Arcand. And then, back in Columbia, there were several seminars on the WTO debacle (just like now on the financial crisis). And I was pretty much the only student on campus to defend the WTO!
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