A curious case of the Hessy Taft prank? Restating the case against the wto two decades after Marrakech - Sección 2. Derecho Internacional Económico y de la Inversión Extranjera - Derecho internacional público, derecho internacional de la inversión extranjera. Reflexiones y diálogos - Libros y Revistas - VLEX 829680237

A curious case of the Hessy Taft prank? Restating the case against the wto two decades after Marrakech

AutorDaniel Figueredo-de-Pérez
Cargo del AutorEsquire, Specialist in Medical and Healthcare Law by Universidad Del Rosario
A curious case of the Hessy Taft prank?
Restating the case against the  two
decades after Marrakech
Daniel Figueredo-de-Pérez*
Introduction: e Hessy Taft Prank and the 
In 1935 Germany, Pauline Levinson, a Jewish woman, went to the shop
of Hans Ballin – a well-known Berlin photographer – to take a picture
of her daughter Hessy. A few months later, in horror, she found that the
picture was in the front cover of Sonne ins Hause, a Nazi propaganda fam-
ily magazine in which her daughter was portrayed as the pennant of what
Aryan children should look like. She learnt that Herr Ballin had decided
to submit the photo of a Jewish baby, because he wanted to make the Nazis
look ridiculous, making this the ultimate act of subversion.1
From the standpoint of economic liberalism, the case with the World
Trade Organization might be just this. Normally portrayed as the champion
* Esquire, Specialist in Medical and Healthcare Law by Universidad Del Rosario. Master of
Arts in International Law and Settlement of Disputes of the -Mandated University for Peace.
He has been a professor at the universities del Rosario, Javeriana de Cali and La Gran Colombia.
President of the Colombian Association of Blood Banks and Active Member of the Colombian
Academy of International Law-Accoldi. General Manager and founding partner at Tártano. Contact:
gueredodeperez@gmail.com; Orcid: 0000-0003-3159-3155.
1 A Withnall ‘Hessy Taft: “Perfect Aryan baby’ of Nazi propaganda was actually Jewish”, 2
July, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hessy-taft-perfect-aryan-baby-of-
nazi-propaganda-was-actually-jewish-9578268.html (accessed 22 April, 2015).
Derecho internacional público, derecho internacional de la inversión extranjera
of free trade, authors such as Ludwig Von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton
Friedman, Jacob Viner, Murray N. Rothbard and their pupils have strong
arguments which may be directed against an organization that would be
more accurately characterized as a type of managed trade that allows little
access to actual free market and entrepreneurship by regular people.
e question, after two decades of its inception is then if the  is
really an organization which even since its creation has been really de-
signed to achieve a free market – a set of arrays where the participants gain
from the exchange, in which anyone is able to participate regardless of his
personal characteristics, circumstances or background2 – or if au contraire,
it has been devised in a way in which groups of interest within States,
being able to capture the political power for their benet, can use their
privilege under the disguise of free market for clear crony purposes. is
text is an attempt to answer the question in favour of the latter hypothesis
by means of a historic analysis of political economy and the examination
of the arguments of some liberal scholars.
Why? ere is a need, particularly after two decades of the incep-
tion of the  as a vehicle for the free trade agenda, to look back and
understand what its establishment entails both from an ideological and
pragmatic point of view.
In the times of Brexit, the tea party and the rise of American lib-
ertarianism, it’s a necessity to have better discussions about laissez-faire
economics outside of what are often right-wing intellectual circles, to
understand what it seeks and what it stands for. For example, there is the
distinction between trade and free trade that is often seen suspiciously and
generates a certain outcry, but it is quite helpful to explain the conception
of deregulated free trade where no intervention of the State is needed to
contain the ‘evils’ of the market and thus, the reservations that free trade
proponents may have against the .
If one is set to comprehend what the actual economic liberalization
agenda stands for, one also has to understand the internal struggles of
2 Rothbard, Murray N., “Free market”. In Henderson, David R. (ed.), e Concise Encyclopedia
of Economics. Liberty Fund, 2012. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/FreeMarket.html (accessed
18 May, 2016).
A curious case of the Hessy Taft prank?
economic liberalism which has, as I have argued elsewhere,3 adversaries
not only outside but also inside its philosophical realm; like the turn liberal
economics had in the 1930’s during the intellectual hijacking of liberalism
by the Keynesian vindication of mercantilism.
Living in such Zeitgeist it often comes as a surprise that a defender of
free trade, may stand against institutions like the . e idea that the
Most Favoured Nation or National Treatment clauses are devices to advance
international free trade, tends to overshadow the fact that institutions such
as the Dispute Settlement System combined with the permission to adopt
anti-dumping measures, subsidies or the list of special and dierential
treatments resemble a letter of marque for States to circumvent an actual
agenda of liberalization of the global market.
ere’s also a need for nuance. For those who distrust laissez-faire
economics, ‘the market’ has come to signify a zero-sum game, an immense
singularity that just as the astrophysical phenomenon4 is absorbing everyday
activity by commodifying every aspect of our lives from sex,5 to thirst,6 to
education7 or even nationality and citizenship.8
3 Salamanca-Pérez, D. A., “Los enemigos internos de la libertad”, http://libreiniciativa.
co/2015/03/30/los-enemigos-internos-de-la-libertad-2/ (accessed 22 April, 2015).
4 “A spacetime singularity is a breakdown in the geometrical structure of space and time. It is
a topic of ongoing physical and philosophical research to clarify both the nature and signicance
of such pathologies. Because it is the fundamental geometry that is breaking down, spacetime sin-
gularities are often viewed as an end, or ‘edge’, of spacetime itself. However, numerous diculties
arise when one tries to make this notion more precise. Our current theory of spacetime, general
relativity, not only allows for singularities, but tells us that they are unavoidable in some real-life
circumstances.” Cf. Curiel, E. and Bokulich, P., “Singularities and Black Holes”. In Zalta, Edward
N. (ed), e Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/
entries/spacetime-singularities/ (accessed 20 May, 2015).
5 Cf. MacKinnon, Catharine A., Derecho y pornografía. Posner, R., co-author. Santafé de
Bogotá, Siglo del Hombre, Universidad de los Andes, 1997.
6 Finnegan, W. “Leasing the rain”, e New Yorker, 8 April, 2002, http://www.newyorker.com/
magazine/2002/04/08/leasing-the-rain (accessed 20 May, 2015).
7 Traykov, B. and Timcke, S., “e Student Commodity: Labour and Neoliberal Ideology in
Public Education”, (2013), 6 New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry, http://
ssrn.com/abstract=2359017 (accessed 25 March, 2016).
8 Cleneld, J. “is Swiss Lawyer Is Helping Governments Get Rich o Selling Passports”,
Bloomberg, 11 March, 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-11/passport-king-
christian-kalin-helps-nations-sell-citizenship (accessed 20 April, 2015).

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