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Many developed countries started to liberalise in the 1980's following the imposition of World Bank and IMF structural adjustment policies. Advocates would argue that this liberalisation would help economic growth, which will reduce poverty and that countries with more open markets will have experienced higher growth rates that those with protectionist policies [Ades &Glaeser 1999]. However Manenji (1998) argues that unregulated free trade, driven solely by market forces, in that while it has raised standards of living for many people, especially in developed countries, it has not done so for the poorest. After 20 years of trade liberalisation, poverty in many countries has not fallen. For example in agriculture where the poorest make most of their living, food imports are partly responsible for destruction of small farmers, for example Malawi which produces rice which it sold in most South African countries now has to contend with rice which is sold at much cheaper rates, which is imported from Asia.
International trade in foodstuffs is increasing much faster than food production; it took off as a result of trade liberalisation under the IMF, WTO and World Bank. As a consequence more land in developing countries is being used by large multinational companies to grow food for the export market, which has implications for food production for local people. The price of many agricultural commodities, such as coffee and tea are at near all-time lows. This has a large detrimental impact on poor farmers, for the reason that buying imported food prices are so low that there is no point to grow them.
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Ades, A and Glaeser, E (1999) Evidence on Growth, Increasing Returns and the extent of the Market, Quarterly Journal of Economics: 114(3), pp.1025-1046
De George, R (1978) Ethics, free enterprise and Public policy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Palast, G (2002) The best democracy money can buy, London: Pluto Press.
Manenji, F (1998) the effects of globalization on culture in Africa in the eyes of an African woman, www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/jpc/effglob.html
Mohamad, M (2002) Globalization and Developing Countries, www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/define/1009malaysiamp.htm