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Reply #136: People are against free trade because... [View All]

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Chants Donating Member (23 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-18-03 10:56 PM
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136. People are against free trade because...
...of a lot of reasons.

Free trade is crucial to developing third world nations. The jobs we outsource go to people who have little alternative to economic development. They can either work the subsitence farm, work in a low tech craft, or some other indiginous market, or take a job that pays triple what they make otherwise, even if American workers do the same thing for 3 times more the money. People take these jobs because they know it's the best deal out there for them.

Is this exploitation? Technically, you bet it is. The workers are clearly being exploited, but it is more than that. The corporations are exploiting underdeveloped economies. These economies have not been able to develop market systems capable of paying these laborers anything close to what these corporations are prepared to pay them. Building factories in these places makes perfect sense for everyone involved. The workers get paid, more cash get infused into the local economy, tax revenue goes up, cottage industries spring up servicing the workers, parents have more to spend on thier children, and the overall standard of living goes up.

The down side to this happy marriage is the American worker. The American worker, who has worked his or her butt off for this corporation simply can't afford to to accept the wages of a third world worker and remain solvent in a highly developed -- and expensive -- developed nation. That is a problem, a very serious problem, morally and economically.

If enough American workers suffer, then the overall American economy suffers. Consumer spending goes down, children are less well off financially, depression, alchoholism, and the rest of the parade of horribles rears its ugly head.

On the other hand, corporate profits drive the economy as well. Pensions, insurance, and a whole host of other benefits thrive off of corporate profits. Grandma and grandpa depend on pensions to live. Adequately funded insurance plans save lives. Even the workers who lost their jobs have well funded pensions.

Of course, a well funded pension means little to the some 40 years old worker with outmoded skills. Workers need jobs, not pensions. If they dont earn now, their pension means little.

So where do you strike a balance? Well, this is not a new problem. Industrialized nations all became industrialized through trade barriers. They protected thier indiginous industries to the point where they were sufficiently developed, and then went global the best they could.

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