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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 01:51 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 01:51 | SYDNEY

Update on our multilateralism debate

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This post is part of the Multilateralism and its critics debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

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1 June 2011 16:07


This post is part of the Multilateralism and its critics debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

Our multilateralism debate has been in abeyance for a few days, but will resume shortly. In the meantime, a couple of housekeeping matters.

The first is to alert you to the debate thread we have running on this issue. To my knowledge, debate threads are unique to The Interpreter. They not only collect all the relevant posts on a dedicated page, but unlike the front page of this blog, in the debate thread posts are presented chronologically, meaning the post that kicked off the discussion (in this case, Michael Wesley's provocative 'Australia's multilateralism fetish') is anchored to the top of the page.

All you need to do is scroll down. There's no confusing back-and-forth page navigation, and you don't have to wade through unrelated posts to follow the discussion.

But we can only include posts published on The Interpreter in these threads, and recently, the Australian policy and trade analyst Peter Gallagher joined the debate on his blog. So in order to keep our debate thread comprehensive, here's a link to Peter's post, and here's an extract:

Australia's net gains from multilateral cooperation over the past century have been very large; maybe unequalled. We've had much more benefit than we've paid for (or could pay for) in trade access guarantees thanks to the GATT/WTO MFN treaty rules. I'm not sure that the same calculus holds in security (possibly bilateral relations with the USA and UK have delivered more than any multilateral arrangement). But I suspect that there is a danger of underestimating the overall gains from multilateral collaboration because, in many domains, it is hard or impossible to evaluate the counterfactual.

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