The Cotton Wars   3 comments


A cotton farmer in the field

Summary: Presentation of the trade war in the cotton market between Brazil and the U.S.  Part of a series of podcasts inspired by Pietra Rivoli’s “Travels of the T-Shirt”

Original air date: October 29, 2010

Length: 31:28

Main story content begins: 1:45

Discussion Prompt: The US is the largest exporter of cotton—thanks to government subsidies—and is in direct competition with Brazil. Discuss how subsidies and protectionist acts by the government impact industries and consumers in the United States and in Brazil, and whether you agree with these policies by the U.S.

Written Assignment Prompt: In the podcast, Pedro describes the US as breaking the ‘rules’—which refers to a WTO agreement that Brazil, the US, and many other countries signed. Brazil fights back and wins! Sort of. Imagine you are a member of the WTO ruling on decisions such as these. Considering the outcome and impacts of this case in particular: how much power do you have over making rulings and forcing countries to follow them? Is there a way to make the US and others in violation of WTO rules comply?

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