By Robert Wolfe (auth.)
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Additional info for Farm Wars: The Political Economy of Agriculture and the International Trade Regime
States are not just interested in one thing. Trade as microeconomic policy forces policymakers to consider many interests in the policy framework that shapes the evolution of a modern society. Protection for farmers must be balanced with opportunities for software workers. W'hen trade is seen as foreign policy, policymakers must consider the interests of other states. We do not learn much about the politics of trade if we ask only about 'protection' or 'liberalization' as a single dichotomized variable.
Three linked properties distinguish it from other potential forms in a given domain: indivisibility, generalized principles of conduct, and diffuse reciprocity. The concept of multilateralism refers to the constitutive rules that order relations in given domains of international life. Within this architectural form there are 'regimes,' which are more concrete than an order, and formal international organizations, which are palpable entities with headquarters and letterheads (Ruggie, 1993b). The GATT as an international organization is the physical embodiment of the trade regime.
The logic of the argument is that farm policies are a function of the strong preferences of small numbers of farmers interacting with the weak preferences of large numbers of consumers. Goods, services, labour, land, votes, and policies, all are commodified, and politicians are made endogenous to a self-regulating system of market exchange. Economic conflicts of interest drive the political process, including the organization of economic actors into interest groups. Interest group models are particularly attractive in studying agricultural trade, because the influence of farm interest groups in all OECD countries is still enormous.
Farm Wars: The Political Economy of Agriculture and the International Trade Regime by Robert Wolfe (auth.)