The events in Seattle and other cities around the world demonstrate that globalisation and trade liberalisation are currently under severe pressure. There are also reasons to believe that these pressures are being translated into measures to increase the protection of domestic markets. This book addresses what are arguably the four most important origins of these pressures: macroeconomic conditions, labour policy, trade and the environment, and market imperfections.
The authors first address the role of macroeconomic conditions and policies, and demonstrate how these can have a crucial role in explaining ‘slippages’ of trade policy. The second origin of instability is labour policy, in particular the pressures to introduce universal labour standards. The third economic origin the book considers is the relationship between trade and the environment and the attempts to link trade policies to environmental standards. The fourth origin of protectionist pressure comes from the presence of various market imperfections and the extent to which they affect competition. The authors conclude that multilateral agreements can be extremely helpful in creating the right environment for equitable trade policies, but warn that complete success can only be achieved once major hurdles are overcome in the highly controversial and politically sensitive areas of labour, environment and competition.
Offering a unique perspective on the threat to globalisation, this book should be widely read by students, practitioners and policymakers in the spheres of international trade, transition and development studies, and competition, labour and environmental economics.