Walden Bello

Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Walden Bello is senior analyst of the Bangkok-based institute Focus on the Global South and representative of Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives of the Philippines. He can be reached at waldenbello@yahoo.com.

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Asia: The Coming Fury
As goods pile up in wharves from Bangkok to Shanghai, and workers are laid off in record numbers, people in East Asia are beginning to realize they aren't only experiencing an economic downturn but living through the end of an era.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The Coming Capitalist Consensus
Not surprisingly, the swift unraveling of the global economy combined with the ascent to the U.S. presidency of an African-American liberal has left millions anticipating that the world is on the threshold of a new era. Some of President-elect Barack Obama’s new appointees – in particular ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to lead the National Economic Council, New York Federal Reserve Board chief Tim Geithner to head Treasury, and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to serve as trade representative – have certainly elicited some skepticism.
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Sunday, November 09, 2008
Obama's Election: How To Spend The Honeymoon
It came together spontaneously, the rally at Lafayette Park across from the White House, even before the concession speech by John McCain. The crowd was multiracial, but the vast majority was white. And young. Lustily cheering "O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA," they were from a generation aching for a reason to hope. These young Americans were responding to Barack Obama's clarion call to abandon cynicism and the politics of division that Karl Rove and the Republicans had perfected as an art form over the last two decades.
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Friday, September 26, 2008
Wall Street Meltdown Primer
Many on Wall Street and the rest of us are still digesting the momentous events of the last 10 days. Between one and three trillion dollars worth of financial assets have evaporated. Wall Street has been effectively nationalized. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department are making all the major strategic decisions in the financial sector and, with the rescue of the American International Group (AIG), the U.S. government now runs the world's biggest insurance company.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The World Trade Organization's 'Dracula Round'
Like the good Count of Transylvania, the World Trade Organization's Doha Round of negotiations has died more than once. It first collapsed during the WTO ministerial meeting held in Cancun in September 2003. After apparently coming back from the dead, many observers thought it passed away a second time during the so-called Group of Four meeting in Potsdam in June 2007 - only to come back yet again from the dead.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Derail Doha, Save the Climate
There's something surreal about the ongoing World Trade Organization talks in Geneva, which aim at coming up with a new agreement to bring down tariffs in order to expand world trade and resuscitate global growth. In the face of the looming specter of climate change, these negotiations amount to arguing over the arrangement of deck chairs while the Titanic is sinking. Indeed, one of the most important steps in the struggle to come up with a viable strategy to deal with climate change would be the derailment of the so-called "Doha Round."
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Friday, July 18, 2008
The WTO's Raw Deal on Services
Desperate to clinch a new global trade deal, World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy is planning to convene a "mini-ministerial" meeting in the third week of July. The aim of the meeting is to come up with agreements to liberalize trade in agriculture, industry, and services. These sectors have been the focus of the so-called Doha Round of WTO negotiations that have dragged on since 2001.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Anti-Climate Summit
While drafting the so-called Bali Roadmap during the UN Conference on climate change last December, delegates faced a painful choice. They could specifically mention the necessity of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25-40% by 2020 and face the possibility of a U.S. walkout from the negotiations.
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Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Biofuels: Destroying African Agriculture
Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains.
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Friday, May 16, 2008
Manufacturing a Food Crisis
When tens of thousands of people staged demonstrations in Mexico last year to protest a 60 percent increase in the price of tortillas, many analysts pointed to biofuel as the culprit. Because of US government subsidies, American farmers were devoting more and more acreage to corn for ethanol than for food, which sparked a steep rise in corn prices. The diversion of corn from tortillas to biofuel was certainly one cause of skyrocketing prices, though speculation on biofuel demand by transnational middlemen may have played a bigger role.
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