Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

New Poll Confirms that Congress Doesn't Listen to Voters When Lavishing Subsidies on Farmers

When I was writing my book, Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor, I came across a 2004 poll showing that Americans, including in farm states, support subsidies only for small farmers and only in bad years. Last week, another poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland was released showing that attitudes haven’t changed. The reality, as I discussed in my book, is that the top 20 percent of recipients receive 80 percent of all payments.

Missed Opportunities in Port of Spain, But a Step Forward on Cuba

As President Obama was making his way to the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago last week, many hoped for something more concrete than just a fresh start with our neighbors in Latin America, who felt neglected and ignored for the past eight years. Those of us hoping that the president might take the opportunity to announce plans to seek congressional approval for two trade agreements that have been pending for two years or more--with Panama and Colombia--were disappointed.

Do We Need a "Crisis Round" of Trade Talks? (Or Just Faster Dispute Settlement?)

Would a “Crisis Round” of trade talks launched at the London Summit next week be a useful mechanism for averting a further beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism? My colleague Arvind Subramanian and his frequent co-author, World Bank economist Aaditya Mattoo, think so. They argued for such a move in an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal Asia earlier this week (A Crisis Calls for a Crisis Round):

Protectionist Snares Along the Road to Copenhagen

Countries importing Chinese goods should be responsible for the heat-trapping gases released during manufacturing, a top Chinese official said yesterday…. "As one of the developing countries, we are at the low end of the production line for the global economy. We produce products, and these products are consumed by other countries.... This share of emissions should be taken by the consumers, but not the producers."

-Associated Press, March 17, 2009

Wal-Mart and the AFL-CIO Agree: The U.S. Can (and Must) Do a Better Job Fighting Poverty, Disease, and Lack of Opportunity in the Developing World

This is a joint posting with David Beckmann, originally appearing on the Huffington Post Web site on March 17, 2009.

In the face of big global challenges, President Obama has rightly called for a new, smarter U.S. foreign policy that focuses on bolstering our long-term security, building our alliances, and expanding global prosperity. A central element of his new approach is elevating U.S. support for global development and balancing it with defense and diplomacy, which in practice means strengthening U.S. foreign assistance and other programs that fight poverty, disease, and lack of opportunity in developing nations.

Re-thinking Trade, Re-creating Consensus

Based on the testimony of USTR-designate Ron Kirk this week before the Senate Finance Committee - brief though it was - the Obama Administration is moving in an entirely different direction than we have seen over the last eight years. The concept of a "progressive trade agenda for America," though as yet undefined, certainly suggests that the administration will be looking at the global economy from a very different perspective.

Kirk Confirmation Hearing is Opportunity for Obama Administration to Link Trade and Development

The confirmation hearing for Ron Kirk, President Obama's choice for U.S. Trade Representative, is now scheduled for March 5th. When Kirk goes before the Senate Finance Committee, we hope that the senators will probe him on trade policy and development policy -- specifically, how they intersect and how they could be better coordinated. Currently, trade and development policy are often dealt with as separate issues by the U.S. government.

How Will We Cope with Downside of Global Hyper-Connectivity?

By providing fiscal stimulus and strengthening financial sector regulation, of course. But that may not be enough. Will the U.S. and the Europeans also revisit the idea of a global social contract -- to protect millions of people losing their jobs in developing countries? In a speech I delivered to the Dutch Scientific Council in December, I argued that

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