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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #29)

Thu Jun 2, 2016, 08:34 PM

30. Personally, I Gravitate Toward Robert Reich's Views On Trade

Many Progressive Often Cite Robert Reich who has been very supportive of Bernie Sanders. Now, if you agree with his views, then we are in agreement.


Q: When you were the labor secretary to the first term of the Clinton administration, they pushed through the North American Free Trade Agreement. You were part of that administration. Was that a mistake?

A: I don’t think it was a mistake, but it wasn’t really a tremendous help. If you put labor and environmental standards into our trade agreements, it’s not a race to the bottom. If you have an environmental standard and a labor standard that, for example, bars all slave labor, guarantees the right to organize, maintains kind of minimum labor standards throughout the world, you are setting a floor for all nations. It’s not protectionism. This is a way of actually getting everybody up rather than having the bar continue to trend downward. We tried to do this in NAFTA, and, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the Mexican government support. We tried to have a labor and environmental side agreement. I think it would have been a much better agreement had we had that.

* * *

There is, undeniably, much to celebrate about the new economy. American capitalism is triumphant all over the world, and with good reason. Neo-Luddites who claim that advancing technologies will eliminate jobs & relegate most of us to poverty are wrong, even silly. Isolationists and xenophobes who want to put up the gates and reduce trade & immigration are misguided, often dangerously so. Paranoid populists who say global corporations and international capitalists are conspiring against us are deluded, possibly hallucinating. We--you and I and most Americans--are benefitting mightily from the new economy. We are reaping the gains of its new inventions, its lower prices, its fierce competition. We are profiting from the terrific deals its offering us as consumers, and to a large and growing proportion of us an investors.

And yet... As wondrous as the new economy is, we are also losing parts of our lives to it--aspects of our family lives, our friendships, our communities, ourselves.

* * *

Instead of being opposed to globalization, progressives should pressure the world’s wealthiest nations into sharing the benefits. While the global economy has grown at an average rate of 2.3 percent a year during the past three decades, the gap between the best-off and worst-off countries (as measured in per capita gross national product) is 10 times wider now than it was 30 years ago. And with poverty comes disease--AIDS already has claimed the lives of 10 million Africans and is projected to kill 25 million more over the next decade--as well as the continued destruction of the global environment.

Rather than advocate for less trade, progressives should seek to remove barriers that make it difficult for poorer countries to export to richer ones. That means fewer subsidies to farmers in advanced nations, combined with lower tariffs on farm products from the third world and fewer barriers (including “voluntary restraint agreements”) to textile and steel imports from poor nations.

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TomCADem May 2016 OP
hollysmom May 2016 #1
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JDPriestly Jun 2016 #17
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Recursion May 2016 #4
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PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #29
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TomCADem Jun 2016 #30
PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #31
JDPriestly Jun 2016 #15
pampango Jun 2016 #28
PufPuf23 May 2016 #9
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pampango Jun 2016 #27
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