We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Progress. Ever so slow.

How slow can an object in motion be?

A special interest group returning taxpayers money?

A bureaucrat accounting for his travel expenses?

International trade negotiations?

There has actually been progress in the latest round of WTO talks, as serial offenders the EU and the US have finally agreed to remove export subsidies on agricultural products, and to lower domestic subsidies as well. Not too much can be read into this- the Economist report states:

The agreement leaves much of the detail to further negotiating sessions, and trade wonks are greeting it as only a minor success that takes negotiators perhaps halfway towards a final Doha-round deal. But it is progress.

There is still so much to be done. Japan, for example, maintains a 490% tariff on rice imports.

Nations which have already woken up to the fact that free trade is a good thing have been more proactive. Australia, for example, has signed a free trade agreement with the US, which goes with similar agreements with New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand. There is no doubt that these agreements, while useful, are a poor substitute for genuine international trade liberalisation, but they are still progress, at least for those willing to give Free Trade a chance.

6 comments to Progress. Ever so slow.

  • zmollusc

    Those slug-a-beds should imitate the go-getting attitude of the free market. For instance my (parked) car was reversed into in early March and within ten minutes I was on the phone to my insurers. Because they work in a competitive industry the various companies involved leapt into a whirlwind of productivity and today an engineer came round to inspect the damage on behalf of the other chap’s insurance company. I have no doubt that I will have my car repaired and the matter closed well before the heat death of the universe.

  • Dale Amon

    “There has actually been progress in the latest round of WTO talks, as serial offenders the EU and the US have finally agreed to remove export subsidies on agricultural products, and to lower domestic subsidies as well. Not too much can be read into this- the Economist report states:”

    You did mean ‘cereal offenders’ did you not? ;-)

  • Japan’s ruinous duty on rice leads to the absurd spectacle I’ve seen in duty-free shops in California. Alongside the ornately bottled congnacs and pricey French Parfumes you can buy a kilo of Arkansas rice in a nice package, its content printed in both English and Japanese. Just the treat to bring home from your trip to the US. Of course, the package costs about 10 times what you would pay for the same rice in any local supermarket.

  • R C Dean

    zmollusc, you can’t be serious that you have been waiting for an adjustment since March? I’ve had a few (ahem) opportunities to avail myself of the car insurance claims process, and none of them took more than a week.

  • Even if he has been waiting since March, at least he’s only dealing with insurance companies rather then the WTO negotiotions. They don’t say “March” , they say “March, 2004″ because nothing moves more then once a year.

  • zmollusc

    Yes, indeedy. I am sure that the solicitors charging £155 per hour are doing their best to hurry matters along, though.
    I should point out that i am not claiming from a fully comp insurance, but claiming from the insurance of the twerp who bumped my car. How I laughed when I reported the incident to the police and was told to bring my papers(mot,log book etc) to the police station for inspection. To be fair, they came round to interview the witness a few weeks later.