Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Steep Price for Free Trade

Joe Baker on the impact of CAFTA:

"The residents of these countries in the last century have lived through state violence and torture, ecological and cultural degradation, political dictatorship and the 20th century mode of forcing small farmers off their land to make way for big corporate agro-export industries.
CAFTA is an effort to further lock them into another such century so it will be more difficult for them to enact laws to protect their own industries, to resist the big multinational corporations or to work together to create other means of production or financial networks. And the poor U.S. consumers? No hard evidence exists that if a manufacturer saves 50 cents on the production of a T-shirt that the savings will be passed on to consumers. It is ridiculous to think that a marginal saving in labor cost will appear in the price consumers pay."

Trade agreements like CAFTA greatly benefit the executives and stockholders of major international corporations and not much else. This is basically a give-away to these corporations, an incentive for outsourcing more manufacturing and agricultural jobs. Even if the price of consumer goods in the U.S. is lowered, many of the jobs needed to buy them are disappearing. While I think that the day of the United States being the foremost world leader in manufacturing is probably behind us, there is a good argument to be made for maintaining some of that economic infrastructure. Moreover, our economy cannot support a growing trade deficit indefinitely.

A fully-employed U.S. middle class can do much more to give economic aid to South America (and the rest of the world) than can any trade agreement creating partnerships dependent on unchecked American consumerism.

These corporations, with the Republican party in their pockets, are outsourcing our middle-class prosperity and replacing it with a corporate-controlled neo-feudalism.

The only thing "trickle-down" economics does is make Middle-Class Americans wonder who's pissing on them!

(Note: Joe Baker is my favorite writer at the only newspaper I read, the Rock River Times. Love it and it's free!)

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