Expanding Our Shared Prosperity

“We must put a human face on the global economy. An international market that fails to work for ordinary citizens will neither earn, nor deserve, their confidence and support.”

–President Clinton, Remarks at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Annual Meeting, October 6, 1998


President Clinton recognized that globalization, the worldwide integration of finance, trade, communication, and culture, was neither good nor bad but an inevitable fact. The world was becoming more interdependent, and he believed that the United States could not build its own future without helping others to build theirs. Recognizing that an economic crisis anywhere can affect economies everywhere, the administration intervened to prevent financial crises in Mexico, Asia, and elsewhere from spreading around the world.

Seeing trade as an engine of prosperity, the Clinton administration opened new markets to American goods by negotiating nearly 300 trade agreements, including the historic North American Free Trade Agreement, and they integrated labor and environmental protections into international trade policy.

President Clinton also worked to close the divide between the developed and developing world. In 1999, he announced that the U.S. was willing to forgive debt owed by poor countries if those countries spent the savings on health, education, and poverty reduction. Other wealthy nations followed suit. The administration also financed 2 million micro-credit loans to help people in poor countries start businesses. This exhibit alcove includes various documents on the subject of globalization as well as gifts to the President from countries in the developing world.

Highlighted Object from Exhibit: NAFTA drum, hand painted by Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.