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Robin Hoods or thieves? A Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies regarding software piracy
Unformatted Document Text:  Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies 7 It is also important to understand what GATT and its various incarnations are not purported to do. “It is not a body which can set standards, direct government policy, make rules about investment flows or supervise the business activities of private companies” (Dunkley, p. 30). “GATT gradually became rather organization-like, with a Geneva-based staff (currently 420 people) to fulfill its many research, monitoring and negotiation roles. When the GATT Secretariat became the World Trade Organization (WTO) January 1, 1995, it had 128 members. Currently the WTO has fewer members than the UN, but includes almost three-quarters of the world’s nations, and virtually all significant trading countries (Dunkley, 2000, p. 31). GATT, thereby, became the world’s system for the resolution of trade disputes. That does not mean everyone agrees with the system, of course. “Free Trade may not be what its champions claim—a universally good idea” (Dunkley, 2000, p. 33). Polanyi (1944), for example, suggested that “the ‘free’ market in general, and free trade in particular, did not evolve naturally but had to be forcibly introduced by government, often against the wishes of the people” (as quoted in Dunkley, 2000, p. 20). Polanyi suggested the most natural human order as “a small-scale local economy based on community networks and reciprocity, a state which he would like to see restored eventually,” (Dunkley, 2000, p. 20). Foucault (1972) might suggest that “free” markets are no more likely to be truly free as they are to be an illusion created by discourse. Further, Foucault’s (1972) explanations would support the idea that depending upon which history one believes, a free market and free trade are natural and/or desirable, or not.

Authors: Malyshev, Yuri. and Hamilton, Ann.
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Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies 7
It is also important to understand what GATT and its various incarnations are not
purported to do. “It is not a body which can set standards, direct government policy, make
rules about investment flows or supervise the business activities of private companies”
(Dunkley, p. 30). “GATT gradually became rather organization-like, with a Geneva-based
staff (currently 420 people) to fulfill its many research, monitoring and negotiation roles.
When the GATT Secretariat became the World Trade Organization (WTO) January 1,
1995, it had 128 members. Currently the WTO has fewer members than the UN, but
includes almost three-quarters of the world’s nations, and virtually all significant trading
countries (Dunkley, 2000, p. 31).
GATT, thereby, became the world’s system for the resolution of trade disputes.
That does not mean everyone agrees with the system, of course. “Free Trade may not be
what its champions claim—a universally good idea” (Dunkley, 2000, p. 33). Polanyi
(1944), for example, suggested that “the ‘free’ market in general, and free trade in
particular, did not evolve naturally but had to be forcibly introduced by government, often
against the wishes of the people” (as quoted in Dunkley, 2000, p. 20). Polanyi suggested
the most natural human order as “a small-scale local economy based on community
networks and reciprocity, a state which he would like to see restored eventually,”
(Dunkley, 2000, p. 20). Foucault (1972) might suggest that “free” markets are no more
likely to be truly free as they are to be an illusion created by discourse. Further, Foucault’s
(1972) explanations would support the idea that depending upon which history one
believes, a free market and free trade are natural and/or desirable, or not.


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