Free Trade rev.06.03.2003

If you try to beggar thy neighbor, they will retaliate. It's a losing battle. Can't you see that?! Check with George Bush on the subject....
From the New York Times....
[registration required, but free]

Here's my point, succinctly, from

Mike Shedlock, "Mish"
Contributing editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

"Look, do we or don't we believe in free trade? To me, it looks like we don't. In order to save, perhaps, 500 underwear-manufacturing jobs, or whatever the count might be, we want everyone in the United States to pay 27.5% more for their underwear. Is this a good deal? For whom? I suppose it makes sense for the 500 people making underwear, but for the rest of the 280 million people in the United States that wear underwear, I seriously doubt this looks like such a great deal."

Morons continue to run France... New York Times, 08.31.2003 [registration required, but free]

Dear New York Times.... If you are going to have lots more diatribes by George Matey, can you have a special subscription that doesn't include his writings?

His opinions are so easy to shoot holes in that it's hardly worth writing about here, but I probably will on my Lessons at Yep, he does sound like an old-school socialist, and I don't buy his arguments.

Just like some of the "town elders" where I live once spoke of "buy local" to save jobs. Well, there is only one car dealership in our town, and it doesn't sell the brand I want to buy, and even if it did, some year in the future, some other brand might provide more quality for a better price. Same as I don't want to pay sugar farmers subsidies, I don't want to subsidize programmers in the USA. He didn't describe any way to protect jobs in the USA, because there are no workable ways to do that, coming from his point of view.

If there's any challenge to be laid down in front of anyone, it should be laid down in front of the houses of Congress:

Delineate in detail all long and short term effects of any law you seek to implement which has a financial bearting upon US companies, and how your law will make it easier or harder for those companies to do business, retain employees, make profit, grow, stay in business, etc., before you enact the law. Make the detail available for public scrutiny first.

Try that one on for size, Mr. George Matey.

"Is Free Trade Our Enemy?" by George Matey:

There is a lot of propaganda out there about the benefits of free trade, but the lines of unemployed people here in the United States, Mexico and other countries that have been raped by free trade are not exactly a good advertisement for the theory or the practice of free trade.

According to Forrester Research Inc., at least 3.3 million North American white-collar jobs could end up in low-cost jurisdictions in the next twelve years. These are good paying jobs in areas like architecture, accounting, engineering, and financial services, among others.

These are the kinds of jobs that have been keeping America going, now that the manufacturing sector has nearly disappeared. And now even these important white-collar jobs are threatened.

The problem is that China, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and other countries have a lot of highly educated and highly skilled workers who will work for less than you will.

In most of these countries, the government foots the medical bills for the entire population, so basic medical care cost is not a big expense for most employers. Not that it matters much. The people in those countries work for so little anyway that big rich American and other foreign companies could well afford the extra perks - perks they can no longer afford in the United States.

What empowers a company to take your job and move it - without you - to another country? Free trade agreements and a lack of legislation to protect jobs here in America.

Hundreds of thousands of American jobs have moved to both Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now, since China is a member of the World Trade Organization, and it is also entitled to certain considerations, those same jobs are looking to move somewhere there.

Mexico is already feeling the pain of losing jobs to low-wage China. Hundreds of Mexican factories that were built along the U.S. border to manufacture things for U.S. customers are now empty. The jobs have moved to China, where labor costs are so low, the cost of transportation from there to here is not even a factor.

Multinational firms like Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, General Electric, Intel, Proctor & Gamble - just to name a few - are already moving white collar jobs to India, the Philippines, Poland and China.

Technology is making it possible to get software programs or financial analysis done anywhere in the world. And since the work can be done so cheaply, many companies are making the decision to move jobs to foreign lands in order to fatten their bottom line in these difficult economic times.

Like your standard of living? Kiss it goodbye.

You are being downgraded culturally as well as economically by the emerging third world - and the compliant greedy capitalistic companies that will gladly sacrifice you for a better looking accounting sheet.

Do I sound like some early twentieth century socialist? I hope so!

Our country is being eroded from within by an uncaring business culture that has adopted liberal economic and social attitudes. When confronted by the fact that lost jobs for Americans harm this country, they glibly reply that yes, that is true, but the jobs we export upgrade the disadvantaged third world countries.

When politicians toot their horns for free trade, they are not championing the American cause. They are championing the cause of their corporate backers and donors who will benefit from manufacturing goods and getting services cheaply abroad, and then selling them worldwide.

They won't be selling them to you because you won't have any money to buy anything.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that the only thing we have to fear was fear itself. That is no longer true. He spoke then to an America that was united in its purpose and determined to recover its prosperity. Fear was the enemy then, because our confidence was shaken. It took time, but Americans worked hard, fought a war, and restored their confidence.

We have many more things to fear now, and yet we are not particularly fearful. We have become so used to being undermined, in our economic beliefs, in our patriotism, in our religion, that we have come to accept this as the norm. No, we are not afraid. We are too numb, and possibly too dumb, to be afraid.

Ideological rot, especially among economists, is the order of the day. Legislative rot, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, is the result. But not the only result.

We are enjoying declining school systems, a decaying support infrastructure that is destroying our cities as well as our suburbs, a government that has money for war but not for medical care, and a growing general dissatisfaction among the population that we are just going through the motions here, like puppets. Somebody else is pulling the strings.

The problem is money. No jobs means no money. The people who still have jobs vote for politicians who promise lower taxes, although lower taxes mean lower standards of everything.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the idea. What I am against, and always have been against, is free trade. I knew that what has happened under free trade would happen because corporations are entities unto themselves and look only after their own interests. It is a shame, but it is true.

I knew, and perhaps I was born with the knowledge, that having a job and an income is an inalienable right. Without a job, all the other rights we have and all the other precious freedoms we cherish don't mean a thing.

That is why I was so disturbed when a certain naive Republican voiced the possibility of a free trade agreement for the whole Western Hemisphere. He said he would push toward that goal.

If we ever had a free trade agreement for our half of the world, how long do you think your job would last?

email plusaf @ plusaf . com; Subject= "Free Trade"

Back to plusaf's Home Page
Back to plusaf's "Other Departments List"

This Page since 02.04.2003 © Copyright 2003 by plusaf. All Rights Reserved