Friday, September 19, 2003

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A contrarian article on the WTO

My latest Tech Central Station piece is up, and is probably my most cantankerous to date. It's a warning shot about the future of the World Trade Organization. I'm not optimistic.

For further WTO news, it doesn't get more succinct than the latest Economist cover:


(link via Megan McArdle)

posted by Dan on 09.19.03 at 01:04 AM


Your most cantankerous article? Dan, you're such a nice guy. Read Christopher Hitchens for an example of cantankerous.

posted by: Michael J. Totten on 09.19.03 at 01:04 AM [permalink]


I've been at small conference with Hitchens -- the man manages to generate his own personal cantankerous ecosystem wherever her goes.

I'm nice, huh? F@$k you, Totten, you m$%&@r-f%&*?ing piece of s#?t.

OK, I take it back. Damn, I am nice!!

posted by: Dan on 09.19.03 at 01:04 AM [permalink]

Beyond simply mucking up the once-clear mandate of the WTO, TRIPS also falls into the same trap that proponents of adding labor and environmental regulations to trade agreements do: they neglect the historical role of lax rules in allowing the developed world to, well, develop.

Selective (and sometimes virtually non-existent) copyright enforcement allowed the young US publishing industry to flourish by copying British titles and translating French ones. Sure, the Europeans didn't like it, but that didn't stop us. In a world where intellectual property extends far beyond the original maps, charts, and book, this effect is even more profound.

It's componded by the fact that (unlike the early US) the countries that TRIPS applies to often don't even have a good handle on real and personal property laws, much less the tools to battle illegal copying.

It's an unrealistic (and chauvinistic) viewpoint that demands modern Western respect for IP, the environment, and worker's rights when we originally solidified our own prosperity by our flauntin of those rules.

posted by: richard on 09.19.03 at 01:04 AM [permalink]

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