Howard Wachtel is acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at American University, a fellow at the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, and the author of The Money Mandarins: The Making of a New Supranational Economic Order.
hen seven years of trade negotiations at last gave birth to the World Trade
Organization (WTO) in 1995, the U.S. labor movement was one of its leading
skeptics. A world trade organization, labor supporters argued, would only
accelerate the headlong rush to laissez-faire by dismantling national
regulations. It would overwhelm attempts by nations to defend living standards
and the ability of unions to fight for wages and health and safety lawsand it
would make it harder for nations to defend the rights of workers to join unions.
Labor lobbied hard against the WTO.