If the Politicians Say It, It Must Be True

Dean Baker illustrates the hazard of taking pronouncements about the effects of trade agreements at face value. Oppose a giveaway to ADM, and you must be against free trade and apple pie.

If the Politicians Say It, It Must Be True:

Look, the people structuring the Doha round are politicians. It should not be news that politicians are not always entirely truthful in their public comments. In other words, just because they say that the purpose of the Doha round is to help developing countries, this does not mean that the real purpose of the round is to help developing countries.

The evidence actually shows that the Doha round is likely to do very little for developing countries and will actually hurt some who are net importers of agricultural products. (The removal of rich country subsidies causes agricultural prices to rise, which means that these countries will have to pay more for their imports.) Based on projections of gains, a reasonable person might be led to believe that the main purpose of the Doha round is to assist politically connected grain traders like Archer Daniels Midland.

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