The future of the WTO

At the risk of sounding facetious, one might ask where the trading system will be in 2048. If there is anything to numerology, that is when it is next due to take a new turn. That would continue a progression that began in 1648, when the Treaty of Westphalia inaugurated a new era in international law, was followed by influential declarations on the pacific nature of trade in both 1748 (in Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois) and 1848 (in Mill’s Principles of Political Economy), and seemed to culminate in 1948 with GATT’s entry into force. That most recent of the ’48s was no end-of-history moment, however, as was apparent when the WTO replaced GATT less than half a century later.

Related Topics: The WTO
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