Talk of the dangers of trade protectionism is used by European politicians to obscure the need for protection from transnational corporations whose control of European trade policy continues to cause negative social and environment impacts. Susan George and Myriam Vander Stichele debate MEP Ignasi Guardans and Chief Economist DG Trade, Gaspar Frontini, in TNI's Debating Europe series.
Today, just as faith in deregulated markets has evaporated in the nightmare on Wall Street, so too is the long reign of market fundamentalism (or neoliberalism) ending in the development arena. And, a debate over the best route to development has returned.
The global rise in food prices is not only a consequence of using food crops to produce biofuels, but of the "free trade" policies promoted by international financial institutions. Now peasant organisations are leading the opposition to a capitalist industrial agriculture.
The only feasible way out of the ecological crisis is a new, environmental Keynesianism, bringing together government, corporations and citizens. The problem is to convince politicians that ecological transformation and environmental practices can pay off politically, argues Susan George.