Fair Trade for All



Joseph Stiglitz and Andrew Charlton present their vision of a liberalized global trade regime that is carefully geared to the interests of poorer countries. They recap a critique, much of it based on Stiglitz’s academic work, of orthodox trade theories, noting the real-world constraints and complications that undermine the assumption that unregulated free trade is always a boon, and analyze the bias towards developed countries in previous trade agreements. They call for the current round of trade negotiations to refocus on principles of equity and social justice that accord developing countries “special and differential treatment.” The authors present detailed policy prescriptions, including measures to open developed countries to developing countries’ exports of textiles and farm products and to ease the temporary migration of workers between countries; their most far-reaching proposal is a scheme to open every country to goods from any other country whose economy is smaller and poorer than its own. The authors’ treatise is readable, but rather dry and technical and sometimes politically naive, particularly in glossing over the problem of workers in developed economies whose jobs are threatened by trade with developing countries. The book isn’t quite right for a general audience, but it has a sophisticated, wide-ranging discussion of world trade, intriguing new ideas and the Stiglitz byline, so those already interested in trade issues will consider it a must-read.


“Provocative…. Stiglitz and Charlton show that standard economic assumptions are wrong when it comes to many developing economies…. Stiglitz is worth listening to…. The authors argue that the pace at which poorer nations open their markets to trade should coincide with the development of new institutions–roads, schools, banks and the like–that make such transitions easier and generate real opportunities. Since many poor nations can’t afford the investments required to build these institutions, rich nations have a responsibility to help.”–Robert B. Reich, The New York Times Book Review
“We are stuck with a global economic system that doesn’t work for half the world. Stiglitz and Charlton propose a plan to embrace the other half, to move to a future of shared benefits and shared responsibilities.” –President Bill Clinton
“Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Andrew Charlton offer us an insightful and challenging new study on how to make the world trading system truly supportive of international development. Professor Stiglitz’s leadership in the globalization debate reflects his remarkable combination of scholarly excellence, extensive political experience, and deep commitment to social justice. This powerful combination shines through in this accessible and timely new book.”–Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of The End of Poverty, Director of the UN Millennium Project, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
“The best case made yet for trade’s development potential…a must read–and must do–if the Doha Round is going to become developmental.”–José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations
“This is a really important book. We all want to fix the WTO. But different groups of developing countries–and developed countries too–have radically different ideas about what that means. Fair Trade For All shows how to fix the WTO, in these difficult circumstances, in a way which is also fair.” –David Vines, Professor of Economics at Oxford University and the Australian National University, Canberra
“It is almost certain that the Doha Development Round will fail to live up to its name. Trade negotiators should turn to this book for bold new ideas on how to make the global trade regime work for developing countries.” –Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
“The debate on trade and development has often been dominated by simplistic rhetoric, either overselling the benefits of trade liberalisation or demonising it. The authors of Fair Trade for All provide a well-written and balanced account of how to maximise the benefits of trade for development and avoid the pitfalls. For those with keen interest in the debates on the Development Agenda for trade, this should be a required reading.”–Dr. Supachai Pantichpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
“This is an interesting read and I welcome the overall message that liberalisation is beneficial provided it is properly done in the interests of the poor. This is a valuable contribution to the debate.”–The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for International Development

Click here for more about Andrew Charlton

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