Monday, March 07, 2005

WTO ruling: U.S. subsidies to cotton industry illegal

The World Trade Organization recently ruled that the U.S. government-subsidized cotton industry is illegal. Critics say that subsidies unfairly boost U.S. agricultural production, flooding the world market with cheaper goods and driving down prices in the international market.

The ruling will put to the test President Bush's commitment to abide by the rules of the global trade arbiter. Click here: Brazil Triumphs Over U.S. in WTO Subsidies Dispute

Let's examine this closely. Perhaps the Bush administration believes that one of government's responsibility is to help sustain U.S. farmers who are experiencing economic hardship. This is simply the empathetic sense of helping another fellow human, one who contributes to the stability and success of the nation-state.

The motive behind the action can be predicated on Scottish common sense philosophy, "active powers".
Distinguised from intellectual powers which involve the capacities of reasoning, judging and conceiving, "active powers" refers to the capacities of impulse and desire which lead to or determine human action. It would seem that the WTO ruling is adverse to the principle of "active powers". This premise can be attributed to a nation's motive of rational principles such as duty and rectitude.

Thomas Reid proposed a dual division between homo sapiens and other species in the animal kingdom. Sapiens having acquired the essence of the ability to create, interpret, dream, and make choices. Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785) and Essays on the Active Powers of Man(1788). Under the heading of "active powers" Reid further distinguished the will from principles of action, the latter of which included (1) mechanical principles of instinct and habit, (2) animal principles such as appetite and desire, (3) and rational principles such as duty and rectitude. A corollary is distinguised among all three principles of action.

Will the U.S. ignore this ruling, or will it comply? The Bush Administration has until July 1, 2005, to comply or face possible trade sanctions by Brazil. Will intrinsic behavior of "active powers" determine compliance or non-compliance?

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