The Bretton Woods Organizations Prior to the WTO

Global trends around the world have shown that the more stringent and effective labour legislation, the more likely MNC's will relocate to another jurisdiction. As a result, globalization endangers the jobs and employment benefits that labour law was intended to protect. As in any enterprise, big and small, the maximization of profits and resources must be of paramount importance.

By enlarging the scope of the World Trade Organization to the equalization of labour standards, the prospects of more efficient international trade relations become further possible, but not without triggering intense protests from the most affected stake-holder – the labor of the world. The Bretton Woods Organizations Prior to the WTO – An Overview

Prior the emergence of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were established by different states after World War II to firstly help in reconstruction efforts to countries devastated by the war. More so, these two institutions lent billions of dollars in aid to underdeveloped countries to fast-track their economic growth especially in the wake of complex issues such as government corruption, civil war, recession, among others.

Their primary task has been to assist and provide economic assistance to hundreds of developing countries in various fields such as education, agriculture, land reform, healthcare, energy production, and even governance, notwithstanding at the forefront of monitoring exchange rates and balance of payments of different countries. The two institutions also embark of comprehensive economic researches on the plight of different countries to determine the best recourse of aid, depending on the local needs of the beneficiary state, such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare, among others.

However, the IMF and the WB have been better known in the underdeveloped world as loaning billions of dollars in aid that are laden with various conditionalities which sometimes leave the beneficiary countries at a disadvantage, notwithstanding allegations that these institutions were complicit in the funding of military dictatorship that terrorized much of Latin America and parts of Asia in the second half of the 20th century.

One particular example of this has been the relentless allegations that the two institutions continuously sent aid to the Philippine government under the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos even if both institutions knew that much of the aid shall not trickle down to Philippine constituents but rechanneled to Marcos and his cronies Swiss bank accounts. Nonetheless, for as long as the WB and the IMF continues to enjoy a legal and political presumption of good faith and service in its dealings with its member countries, no amount of international propaganda should preclude the two institutions from pursuing its goals and objectives.

World Trade Organization There is only one international organisation responsible for the rules of trade among different countries – the World Trade Organization. It solves trade controversies among its 150 member states. It was established in 1995 under the Marrakech agreement which consist of a general agreement on tariffs and trade, agreements on sanitary and plant health measures, trade related perspective of intellectual property and technical barriers to trade.

Unfortunately, the WTO’s performance is considerably more harmful than predicted by the WTO critics before its approval. In considering long term strong WTO and regional trade agreements, such as NAFTA, the US government and other develop countries, has conceded much of its flexibility to independently advance health and safety standards that protect citizens. Strengths of the WTO and Including Labour Standards in its Ambit The WTO   is the key organisation operating the trade agreement around its member countries.

It is very powerful because it can control the trade agreement across many countries. Agreements are decided unanimously by all member countries, which are also supported by their respective parliaments. On the other hand, the best argument to liberalizing labour standards in a multi-lateral scale has been to afford better opportunities for labourers of developing countries in terms of competitiveness, productivity and efficiency.

If trade ministers the world over can agree on a middle ground as to how labours standards should apply to all member states, it would be for the general benefit of all workers, and even the balance of the international economic system. It is important to strike a balance between the labour standards between developing countries, which are general lax and anti-worker, and developed countries, which have markedly provided much of their workers adequate benefits to secure a true Living wage.