In a December 1998 Wall Street Journal/ NBC News survey, 58 percent of Americans polled indicated that “foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy.1” Similar U.S. public opinion surveys in recent years register growing public apprehension over the current course of corporate-led economic globalization. Yet, expanding trade and overseas investment has been the Clinton administration’s central strategy both for job growth and for addressing a rapidly changing global economy. This fundamental divide between U.S. government policy and U.S. public opinion represents a monumental challenge for the crafters of U.S. foreign policy at the onset of a new century.
Components of the package outlined below have been circulating as separate reform proposals—some on the IMF and/or G-7 reform agendas, others struggling against Washington and IMF resistance. Combined they are an updating of the Bretton Woods architecture commensurate with today’s changed economic and political environment. They would help restore some of the stable, equitable, economic growth of yesteryear, while supplying institutional building blocks for erecting a genuinely integrated global economy in the future. The components are: