Profit not parity

September 5, 2003

Terence Kealey rewrites history in his review of Making Globalization Good (Books, THES, August 29). He implies that so-called free trade helps poorer countries catch up with richer countries in terms of gross domestic product.

This flies in the face of all we know about the impact of structural adjustment programmes. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation require poor countries to open their markets to goods and services while wrapping protective mechanisms around the rich. The price of commodities in poor countries is undermined by the manipulations of richer countries that process them and cream off superprofits.

The consequences can be seen in countries such as Uganda, where the government tells producers to shift from tea and bananas to coffee growing "to fight poverty". Hasn't anyone there seen what has happened to the price of coffee on world markets?

Gary Craig
Professor of social justice
University of Hull

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