David Vogel is a professor at the Haas School of Business and in the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Political Science. He is the author of Trading Up: Consumer and Environmental Regulation in a Global Economy.
Critics of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have painted a distorted picture of its role and power. The liberal trade regime the WTO seeks to promote neither encourages nor inhibits the efforts of nations to balance market objectives with social ones. Trade liberalization has not undermined the mixed economy or led to a regulatory race toward the bottom. It has not forced nations to reduce social welfare expenditures, and in recent decades, the world's rich and middle-income countries have steadily strengthened rather than weakened their health, safety, and environmental regulations.