Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Overall the collapse of WTO benefits the Irish economy

The collapse of the WTO talks is on the whole beneficial for the Irish economy. Certainly some Irish manufacturing and service sectors stood to gain from a WTO deal. However its likely benefits were strongly oversold not alone by some big business interests, but also by certain academics and elements in the media.

Irish proponents of the WTO proposals arrogantly dismissed their overall potential negative influences on the Irish economy. Opponents of the WTO proposals were painted as unpatriotic and representative of selfish agricultural interests.
Some big business interests in Ireland claimed to have concern for the poor of the Third World. Of course they were prepared to wrap themselves in a cloak of concern for the poor in an effort to convince a cynical Irish public of the merits of the WTO proposals.

Concessions made by Peter Mandelson at the WTO talks would have put 50,000 farmers out of business and wiped out at least another 50,000 jobs in food processing and services to the agricultural sector in Ireland alone. Agricultural proposals at the WTO would have benefited large ranchers in Australia, Brazil and the US. There were few if any benefits for the poor farmers of the Third World.

The loss in jobs to the Irish economy and devastation of rural Ireland would have far outweighed any potential gains in some industrial and service sectors. Indeed some Irish service jobs are now moving to India-such as Hibernian Insurance. So much for the security of service jobs in the financial sector.

The 100,000 jobs that Ireland stood to lose are based on indigenous natural resources.
We have had too much of the live horse and you will get grass approach-too many half-baked promises. To sacrifice 100,000 jobs would be economic lunacy.
Thankfully Nicolas Sarkozy galvanised opposition to the proposals. Ireland now owes him a huge debt of gratitude.

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