Labor, Trade, & Finance

U.S. Leadership in the Global Economy

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.

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Repairing the Global Financial Architecture: Painting over Cracks vs. Strengthening the Foundations

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:

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Environment and Security Policy

U.S. foreign policy and national security policies have significant domestic and international environmental impacts, and the increasingly precarious state of the global environment presents important new challenges to U.S. national interests. Day-to-day military operations, together with arms production, testing, deployment, and trade, are resource intensive and ecologically damaging. Although such activities are subject to growing environment-related legal and political constraints, most peacetime military activities and foreign operations are still not subjected to rigorous periodic environmental assessment.

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