Document Type

Response or Comment

Citation Information

Please cite to the original publication


David Henderson misreads, misstates, and misunderstands my argument in The World Trade Organization’s Legitimacy Crisis. He pejoratively refers to my suggestions for restoring the WTO’s legitimacy as ‘radical ’ no fewer than three times. Yet it is Henderson who offers the radical view. He palpably longs for the trade regime of a bygone era – the old ‘club system’ where the lines between insiders and outsiders were sharply drawn, secrecy was the order of the day, and hostile NGOs were kept at bay. He derides the critics of the WTO as anti-capitalists and argues that theWTOshould not adjust to today’s political reality but rather continue to focus narrowly on ‘the goal of a more liberal trade system’. He mocks my call for ‘balance’ between trade liberalization and other policy ends such as environmental protection and equity for developing countries. He advises the WTO not to take ‘ explicit account of a wide range of other objectives that governments have endorsed’ such as sustainable development. He denies that globalization has constrained the economic policymaking capacities of national governments. And he calls for deeper economic integration, yet finds no need for institutions to manage the resulting interdependence. Henderson sees no WTO legitimacy crisis. No wonder. It is precisely this sort of doctrinaire attitude, inability to recognize the need to adjust to new circumstances, and condescending tone that has produced a backlash against globalization and hostility toward the WTO.

Date of Authorship for this Version