Developed nations strive to create the impression that their hearts and pockets bleed for the developing world. Yet, the global North continues to offer unfavorable trade terms to the global South. Truly fair trade would make reciprocal concessions to developing countries while allowing them to better their own positions. However, five hundred years of colonial racism and post-colonial paternalism have undermined trade negotiations.
While urging developing countries to participate in trade, the North offers empty deals to "partners" that it regards as unequal. Using a mixed-methods approach, J. P. Singh exposes the actual position beneath the North's image of benevolence and empathy: either join in the type of trade that developed countries offer, or be cast aside as obstreperous and unwilling. Through case studies, Singh reveals how the global North ultimately bars developing nations from flourishing. His findings chart a path forward, showing that developing nations can garner favorable concessions by drawing on unique strengths and through collective advocacy. Sweet Talk offers a provocative rethinking of how far our international relations have come and how far we still have to go.
J.P. Singh is Professor of Global Affairs and Cultural Studies at George Mason University, where he is also Distinguished Senior Fellow in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.