The nation-state system, democratic politics, and full economic integration are mutually incompatible. Of the three, at most two can be had together. The Bretton Woods/GATT regime was successful because its architects subjugated international economic integration to the needs and demands of national economic management and democratic politics. A renewed ‘Bretton-Woods compromise’ would preserve some limits on integration, while crafting better global rules to handle the integration that can be achieved. Among ‘feasible globalizations,’ the most promising is a multilaterally negotiated visa scheme that allows expanded (but temporary) entry into the advanced nations of a mix of skilled and unskilled workers from developing nations. Such a scheme would likely create income gains that are larger than all of the items on the WTO negotiating agenda taken together, even if it resulted in a relatively small increase in cross-border labor flows.
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