GATS in context: development, an evolving lex mercatoria and the Doha Agenda
UNSPECIFIED. (2005) GATS in context: development, an evolving lex mercatoria and the Doha Agenda. REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY, 12 (3). pp. 434-455. ISSN 0969-2290Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0962290500170809
As the hub of the organization for world trade, the WTO has been subject to critical scrutiny from various political and theoretical persuasions. Beyond merely the exchange of goods across borders, the complex and expansive WTO framework is one that encompasses juridical and political capacity to oversee and facilitate the regulation of `property rights' on a global scale. Therefore, it is not surprising that the social and political organization of world trade law is increasingly subject to controversies over its nature and implications for world politics. One field where these play out prominently is the one marked by competing social and political visions of development, with advocates of the world trade agenda considering development to be premised upon the consolidation and entrenchment of lex mercatoria ( or commercial law). The key institution to oversee global development, in this view, is the WTO. However, important evaluations of the trajectories of development are taking place outside the framework of this particular and recent trade-development discourse. Through a critical appraisal of this mainstream trade-development discourse we draw attention to its a historical nature and ask, what is the relationship of the normative and substantive underpinnings of the WTO Doha `Development' agenda with world historical development? We advance two politically significant points. The first pertains to the relationship between trade, the political economy of development, and poverty. The second, and related point is essentially a methodological comment on the framing of development. The state-centric groundings of the trade and development agenda, as well as its rationalist assumptions, obscure substantive analysis of the social and political implications of global development in relational terms. If viewed from the perspective of social experience, the Doha Development Round fails as a `development' agenda. Against this backdrop, we draw on the example of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) - a key component of the Doha Round - and suggest that the theory of poverty that underpins orthodox development theory serves to legitimize, stabilize and advance a particular politically steered world order: this theory is constituted through an abstraction from social realities, and thus seeks to stabilise and `naturalize' social power relations conducive to `development through inequality'.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
|Journal or Publication Title:||REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY|
|Publisher:||ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD|
|Number of Pages:||22|
|Page Range:||pp. 434-455|
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