« Future of the WTO (Richard Steinberg) | Main | Future of the WTO- Liberal Ideas and Domestic Politics (Gregory Shaffer) »

February 24, 2009


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Future of the WTO: End of multilateralism? :


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Joel Trachtman

I find Richard's application of hegemonic stability theory to the WTO a bit jarring. With 150+ members, lots of give and take, and lots of evidence of U.S. non-dominance, isn't the WTO evidence against HST? Moreover, it takes a special kind of modernism--a faith in a kind of infinite progression of international economic integration--to pronounce the WTO dead, or to declare that it is finished as a forum for multilateral negotiations. I would favor deploying a theory from a different part of Chicago: the international law Coase theorem (ILCT). The ILCT would suggest that states enter into treaties, including new rounds of WTO negotiations, in order to overcome transaction costs, including strategic costs, in connection with valuable transactions. ILCT is founded on cost-benefit analysis. Where the benefits of the transaction are small, therefore, the costs might not be justified. I think this explains where we are in the DDA far better than HST. The ILCT also leaves room for technological, social, economic, and ideational change that might make it worthwhile later to use the WTO. In fact, the WTO institutional structure is now a distinct and valuable institution, which in turn will enable transactions and contracting that would not have been possible in its absence. I was going to use a Mark Twain reference regarding premature reports of death, but I like this one better:

"theories don't prove nothing, they only give you a place to rest on a spell, when you are tuckered out butting around and around trying to find out something there ain't no way to find out..."- Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.