Fun_People Archive
6 Dec
WTO FABLES: Bill Clinton's love for labor; the magic of free trade

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  6 Dec 99 17:02:50 -0800
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Subject: WTO FABLES: Bill Clinton's love for labor; the magic of free trade

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: FAIR-L <>

                    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
               Media analysis, critiques and news reports

December 6, 1999

In this week's Economic Reporting Review:

WTO FABLES: Bill Clinton's love for labor; the magic of free trade

The protests that shut down the World Trade Organization's ministerial
conference in Seattle last week generated a surge in coverage of WTO issues.
But was it accurate coverage?  According to Dean Baker, many of the stories
in the country's major papers reveal a poor grasp of the economics behind
WTO policies, and of trade in general.

Among the WTO myths ERR debunks:

--President Clinton's assertion that labor standards were at the top of his
administration's agenda at the summit.  Much of the press accepted Clinton's
labor-friendly rhetoric at face value, but as Baker points out, "While the
administration had political reasons for making this claim, that does not
necessarily mean it is true."  Clinton's proposals in fact amount to little
more than suggestions that the WTO study whether labor standards should be
implemented in 2015.

--The commonly expressed belief that WTO policies have benefited developing
nations. Baker looks at the numbers behind the "success stories" of
countries like Brazil--held up by the New York Times as "an example of the
positive economic change" brought about by the WTO--and finds that its
growth was much faster before its economy became export-oriented.

Read Baker's full report on these issues and more online at:

--What is ERR?
Challenging the nation's leading newspapers to live up to their reputations,
Economic Reporting Review provides weekly on-line analysis of the economic
reporting in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Written by
economist Dean Baker, an economist and the co-director of the Center for
Economics and Policy Research (CEPR), ERR calls attention to unsupported
assertions, unreported facts or outright mistakes in economic reporting. ERR
is a joint project of FAIR and CEPR.

The newest ERR can always be read at

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