I've remarked a number of times on the obstacles facing the global agreements on so-called "free trade." Today, there are two very related articles in the elite press. The first is a front-page article in the Financial Times entitled "U.S. Warns Over Trade Summit." The U.S. is warning that "Failure to reach an ambitious agreement in the Doha round of trade talks could sqaunder a once-in-a-generation opportunity to carry out deep cuts in U.S. farm subsidy programmes, Mike Johanns, the US agriculture secretary, said yesterday.
Then, if you happened to be reading The New York Times, you could catch this piece: "Elections Could Tilt Latin American Further to the Left." (registration required). The article focuses on the coming elections in Bolivia where Evo Morales, The Times seems to warn, "offers what may be the most radical vision in Latin America, much to the dismay of the Bush administration."
The radical vision: opposition to privatization, so-called "free trade" (the Times calls it "liberalized trade") and "other economic prescriptions backed by the United States."
The FT and Times articles are connected. Quite simply, Latin America is rising up and rejecting the kind of world view that has impoverished so many millions of people and enhanced the divide between rich and poor. While the Times likes to portray this trend as a turn to "the left," I think it can be explained without the hot-button phrases that the media repeats, and even we fall into: people simply want their fair share when they work hard, they want to be able to feed, house and clothe their children and they want to have basic rights at work.
You can label that left if you chose. I call that fairness and equity--pretty much an idea that most people would buy into.