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Surrogate International Organization and the Case of World Food Security, 1949-1969

Jon McLin
International Organization
Vol. 33, No. 1 (Winter, 1979), pp. 35-55
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2706593
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Surrogate International Organization and the Case of World Food Security, 1949-1969
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Abstract

As many IGOs have proven ineffective in managing the problems generated by interdependent economies and environments, alternative instruments have emerged.These "surrogates" include intensified informal cooperation among the few governments which dominate a given issue area; enlargement of the scope--extraterritorial application--of national decisions; self-regulation by commercial operators; and policy making or managerial roles for nongovernmental actors, commercial or noncommercial. While these means enjoy a flexibility and ease of decision making that is denied the IGOs, they characteristically suffer from a lack of legitimacy. The role of the IGOs in bestowing legitimacy on these surrogates, at the price of a certain droit de regard, has taken on added importance as their policy making and operational capacities have remained weak. The international wheat economy from 1949-1969, which provided an enviable measure of food security, illustrates nicely the first of these forms of surrogacy. It was dominated by an informal North American duopoly, an arrangement implicitly sanctioned by the formal International Wheat Agreements and supervised in its trade effects by the intergovernmental FAO Committee on Surplus Disposal. Difficulties since 1969 in operating and negotiating formal grain arrangements lend topical interest to this informal alternative.

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