Robert Zoellick spoke at CGD a few days ago. Dani Rodrik summarizes:
So challenge number one is that world food prices are too high, but challenge number two is the need to get rid of developed country policies so that food prices can rise even more? …
The truth, I fear, is that Zoellick’s faith in trade agreements has little to do with the underlying economics and like many ideological free traders he is willing to latch on to the economic arguments only when they serve the cause (and to discard them just as easily when they no longer do).
As for the real impact of food prices on poverty, we can avoid much confusion by recognizing the diverse and heterogeneous effects that food prices have on poverty around the world.
Might high food prices make Doha round liberalisation more feasible? Some think so. Zoellick can’t have it both ways.