2. World Trade

Some well informed people believe we are doing the world a lot of harm by our trading arrangements. We try to rung rings around the poorer countries who can’t afford to send so many clever lawyers to big world trade meetings.

The terms of trade reputedly do far more damage to the poor countries than the good we do with aid. So it is a shambles. In our virtuous mode we want to do a lot of good but somehow the tendency is for that good to be frustrated by the trade rules by which we have tried to shape the world to our advantage.

There is still a lot of debt that we are asking the poor countries to pay us that keep them in poverty and are pretty nearly un-repayable.

The big mischief as I understand it is that we have forced poor countries to open up to us so that our rich country multi-national companies can come into the country and buy up the best bits of the country and walk off with the profits. The emerging nations (not actually the poorest, I believe) stood up to this move to prise open developing economies to make them vulnerable to rich country companies and refused to let the aggreement pass. So World Trade rules are in limbo or stalemate. We are a big country still and we chould stand up for what is right and fair even if it disadvantages our own companies in the short term. I think our integrity will be rewarded later by us earning a reputation for fairness and decency.