Category Archives: Ideas

Evaluation of a “Critical Mass” agreement on agriculture

The stalemate in Geneva on the December 2013 Bali Agreement concerning both Trade Faciliation and agriculture subsidies has revived some interest in the potential for a plurilateral agreement on Agriculture among WTO members. I attach to this brief post a pre-print of the summary that Andy Stoler and I wrote for the journal Global Governance […]

They never talk about trade

The trade and investment policies of the two main political parties in Australia have flip-flopped in chorus over the years so they hardly ever figure in election debates. As if they didn’t matter enough to fight about. Yet there’s little that matters more to the future prosperity of a small, open, still-somewhat-remote economy than building […]

Governed by the gutless?

Alan Beattie’s new booklet “Who’s in Charge Here” (Amazon) is an amusing, accurate, accessible account of the current mess in global financial and trade “governance.” Well worth the $3 price. But he draws a “lesson” from his little history of the crises of 2008-2011 that I find un-satisfying. Who’s in Charge Here is a valuable […]

A bearish view of global governance

If there were a ratings agency for the credibility of “global governance” institutions, the WTO’s would have been downgraded to a “B” at best[1] after the collapse of the Doha Round negotiations. The triple crown of benign global governance — a prosperous, well-regulated global “commons,” the sovereignty of nation-states and the assent of the governed […]

The unanswered question about 9-11

Robert Fisk is such a rewarding historian of international policy because his contacts are so broad and his experience is so long and because he writes so clearly, passionately and thoughtfully about the persistent failures of Western policy—and humanity—in the Middle East. There, the UK, France and the United States directly or through their occasional […]

Larkin ascending

Nearly missed it; an intelligent, allusive, gossipy memorial of Philip Larkin by Martin Amis in the FT. A teaser for Amis’s forthcoming collection of Larkin poems. Amis aptly quotes lots of them in his article; which is, in part, what makes it such fun to read. This is the key to Larkin: his frictionless memorability. […]

The Vignelli Canon

A wonderful, short book of the rules (κανών: kanón, meaning a rule) of design chosen and illustrated by Massimo Vignelli and his wife Lella. Download it here. I have always said that there are three aspects in Design that are important to me: Semantic, Syntactic and Pragmatic. That is: the meaning of the design, the […]