Poverty reduction and debt relief programs, fixed by the big powers, have repeated the dogma of globalisation through ‘free trade’ as a means of salvation for poor countries. The Cairns Group, an agricultural export lobby, has reinforced this message in relation to farming. Yet agriculture in developing countries is far too important to be reduced to a function of the latest export opportunity. In poor, rural based communities, there is a huge cost in abandoning subsistence production and domestic markets to the vagaries of global markets. Nevertheless, international trade remains important as a source of income and foreign exchange, and whatever their attitude to global institutions, all countries engage in agreements in pursuit of trade opportunies. The problems lie in the terms of engagement.
In B.N. Ghosh (Ed) (2006) Globalisation and the Third World: a study of its negative consequences, Palgrave MacMillan, London, Chapter 14