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Misadventures of the Most Favored Nations: Clashing Egos, Inflated Ambitions, and the Great Shambles of the World Trade System Hardcover – September 22, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Library Journal
“The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a mess. That's the unavoidable conclusion of Blustein’s latest title…. Blustein does a remarkable job of getting behind the scenes of negotiations at the WTO, a controversial organization best known to the public as the object of violent protests during a WTO ministerial conference in Seattle in 1999. Despite the complexity of the topic, he avoids jargon, makes obscure issues accessible, and does a good job of capturing the essence of the many major players…. With its insiders’ views, Blustein’s account will greatly intrigue those studying or working in international trade and development.”

William Bernstein, Washington Post
“Blustein has thoroughly mastered the craft of breathing life into intrinsically dull material with compelling thematic narrative and delicious character studies…. Unlike many journalists, the author excels not only at the 800-word dash, but also at the long form, skillfully interweaving both his characters and engaging vignettes through the larger loom of world events. The further the author strays from the gilded, stilted venues of the trade negotiations, the more he sparkles. The few pages spent with Honduran textile worker Daunbia Rodriguez alone are worth the price of the book…. A shimmering, essential read for those seeking a deeper and more nuanced perspective on the modern commerce of nations.”

David Lynch, USA Today
“A richly nuanced analysis…. Blustein’s even-handed mastery of his subject does justice to every important perspective, not just those of advanced economies…. His thoroughly reported account will be must reading for those who wonder how and why global trade policy is made.”

The Economist
“Entertaining…. Mr Blustein has mined a wealth of material, some of it from notes and recollections of those present at closed-door meetings. He has an eye for detail which illuminates the personalities and political motivations of the changing cast of characters involved in haggling over trade barriers. All this ensures that this book is lively enough to engage even those with only a passing interest in the intricacies of global trade talks. But he is also an able guide to the details of such negotiations. That he is able to do this without inundating readers with a flood of incomprehensible acronyms is no mean feat.”

About the Author

Paul Blustein is Journalist in Residence at the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution. For twenty years he was a staff writer at the Washington Post, where he covered business and economic issues. His work has won several prizes, including business journalism’s most prestigious, the Gerald Loeb Award. Blustein lives in Bethesda, MD.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586487183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586487188
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephan Langdon on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Most books about WTO are as stale as writing a short story with INCOTERMS. This is one of the few that provide insight into characters of the negotiators, hidden agendas and alliances, the trades of conditions that help craft final agreements, as well as presenting a global -- rather than just a US focus. Great work on the reporting of the Doha Round.
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Format: Hardcover
Veteran journalist Paul Blustein blames half the 2008 economic meltdown - the non-Wall Street half - on dysfunctional global trade policies, and then he explains why. World trade is an arcane topic, complete with mysterious acronyms, complex rules, and negotiators with huge egos and serpentine negotiating positions pushed by antagonistic nations. In an increasingly global economy, trade negotiations are never simple. Even so, Blustein manages to tell this provocative, complex, depressing story as engagingly as possible. At times the book bogs down in negotiating points that only trade technocrats will appreciate, but Blustein fleshes out the story by capturing the quirky, sometimes volatile, personalities involved. Accordingly, getAbstract recommends his book to those who can't get enough about world trade. If you want all the ins and outs, you'll be very happy here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have now read this book for a second time, not only for enjoyment but to get more from it. The reviews of Paul Blustein's previous books printed on the cover from the giants of financial periodicals (Wall Street Journal, Financial Times & The Economist)apply equally to this book. He exposes such apparently arcane subjects as WTO & IMF to frightening (The Economist's word)life to the unsuspecting public. I am currently reading Blustein's book on the IMF, for a second time & I can say the same about it.
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