Monday, June 26, 2006

Philanthropy vs Free Trade

Compare the numbers from two articles in today's NY Times:

Warren E. Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and one of the world's wealthiest men, plans to donate the bulk of his $44 billion fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four other philanthropies starting in July.

According to the study [by the International Food Policy Research Institute], a deal similar to what is now on the table — modest cuts in real tariffs, limited cuts in domestic support payments, full elimination of export subsidies and 97 percent duty- and quota-free access for exports from the poorest countries — would create global gains of $54 billion per year.
In other words, success in the Doha round of international trade talks would give the world more every year than what Buffett can give once after a lifetime of being the world's most successful investor.