Fearing that the latest round of World Trade Organization negotiations are on the verge of collapse, the New York Times looks at what failure could mean for the world:

Locking in lower farm subsidies would encourage direly needed agricultural investment in Africa and in poor nations that are struggling with soaring food prices. Curbing food export barriers would also push down prices.

A breakdown of the Doha talks would also weaken the W.T.O. at a moment when the world needs a credible international body to mediate trade disputes.

If the world’s richest nations give in to the temptations of protectionism, the world’s poorest countries will suffer the most. But no one, including the rich nations, will escape the damage to the global economy.